Best Homemade Labneh

This best homemade labneh recipe makes a thick, creamy spread, also called yogurt cheese. It’s great on bagels, sandwiches, or as a dip for pita bread!

Labneh recipe

Labneh is yet another Mediterranean food that we found in Mexico (incidentally enough!). We ordered it with a trio of dips that also included hummus and baba ganoush. It seemed that the creamy, slightly sour cheese must be some sort of fancy Middle Eastern concoction. We learned that labneh, known as labneh cheese or yogurt cheese, was no more than strained yogurt. The first labneh recipe I found made it look so easy that I insisted on checking it three or four more places just to make sure. Keep reading for our labneh recipe!

What is labneh?

Labneh, known as labneh cheese or yogurt cheese, is simply yogurt that’s strained overnight and then mixed with salt. This extra thick Mediterranean yogurt cheese is a suitable dip for pita or veggies. The consistency and taste is somewhere between sour cream, yogurt, and cream cheese. It’s generally served with olive oil and some spices or herbs (paprika, garlic, thyme, etc).

It’s also tasty as a sandwich spread, or for anything else that needs a bit of zest. You could even experiment with using it in baked goods in place of cream cheese or Greek yogurt—the possibilities are endless!

How to make labneh

How to make labneh: a tutorial

To make this super thick, strained labneh cheese you’ll start with a container of plain yogurt. Whole milk yogurt works best for this labneh recipe since it’s thicker than nonfat yogurt and has a lot more flavor. And if you want a really thick labneh, use plain Greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt (you might not need to strain the Greek yogurt for as long, though). Here are the basic steps for how to make labneh (or head to the full recipe):

Step 1: Mix whole milk yogurt and salt.

In a bowl, mix 32 ounces of plain whole milk yogurt and 1 teaspoon kosher salt.

Step 2: Strain the yogurt for 24 hours.

Once you’ve stirred in the yogurt, you simply have to pour it into a cheesecloth and tie it onto a wooden spoon. Suspend the spoon over the mouth of a pitcher. Then place it into the fridge for a full 24 hours to give the whey plenty of time to separate from the yogurt.

Step 3: Remove from the cheesecloth. Refrigerate or use immediately!

After 24 hours have passed, you should be left with a thick, creamy labneh. Homemade labneh keeps in the fridge for up to two weeks. But usually it’s all be gone by then!

Labneh dip

What to do with leftover whey?

After making labneh, you’ll be left with protein-packed whey in the bottom of your pitcher. What to do with the leftover whey from making labneh? You can try using it in breads, smoothies, and more. In all honesty, we’ve never reused the whey ourselves, but we’re interested in experimenting with it. Let us know if you’ve tried this in the comments below!

Labneh cheese

10 best ways to use labneh

There are so many ways to use this labneh recipe! From a dip, to a sandwich spread, to a dollop on soups and grain bowls, there are infinite uses of labneh cheese. Here are a few of the top ways to use this yogurt cheese recipe:

  1. Dip: Make labneh dip with crackers or bread.
  2. Bagels: On a bagel with Everything Bagel seasoning.
  3. Sandwiches: Spread on Pear & Walnut Sandwich.
  4. Fancy toast: Try on Ricotta Radish Toasts or Radish Toasts.
  5. In pasta: Make a creamy sauce with Creamy Pasta Marinara.
  6. In mac and cheese: Use it in place of yogurt in Mac and Cheese with Greek Yogurt.
  7. Soups: Garnish creamy soups like Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower Soup.
  8. Stews: Dollop it on Moroccan Stew with Chickpeas.
  9. Grain bowls: Dollop on Roasted Fall Vegetable Grain Bowl.
  10. Pancakes: Use it in Greek Yogurt Pancakes, or sweeten with maple for a dollop on top.

This labneh recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Labneh recipe

Best Labneh (Easy & Homemade!)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (22 votes, average: 4.14 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 24 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 24 hours
  • Yield: 8 1x


This best homemade labneh recipe makes a thick, creamy spread, also called yogurt cheese. It’s great on bagels, sandwiches, or as a dip for pita bread!


  • 32 ounces plain whole milk yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Cheesecloth or handkerchief


  1. In a bowl, mix the plain whole milk yogurt and 1 teaspoon kosher salt.
  2. Pour the yogurt into a cheesecloth or handkerchief and tie it over a wooden spoon. Hang the cheese cloth over a pitcher and allow to strain in a refrigerator for 24 hours.
  3. After 24 hours, several cups of whey should strain from the yogurt. That’s it! Transfer the labneh to a container or use immediately. Keeps in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  • Category: Side
  • Method: Mixed
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern

Keywords: labneh recipe, homemade labneh, yogurt cheese, labneh cheese, how to make labneh, strained yogurt

Looking for more easy Middle Eastern recipes?

Middle Eastern recipes are full of flavor and many popular dishes are actually vegetarian! A few of our favorite Middle Eastern-inspired recipes are:

  • Classic Homemade Hummus Easy homemade hummus has the BEST zesty flavor and creamy texture: and it’s much cheaper and tastier than store bought!
  • Classic Falafel Here’s how to make falafel: the authentic way! It tastes just like a restaurant, herby and fried to crispy perfection. Try it in the ultimate falafel sandwich.
  • Best Tahini Sauce A vegan lemon tahini dressing that’s perfect on anything: a Buddha bowl, a sandwich or veggie burger, or as a dip!
  • Easy Shakshuka with Feta A classic dish of eggs poached in a savory tomato sauce, it works for brunch, lunch, or dinner.

More homemade spreads & dips

Last updated: October 2019

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum
    March 25, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Wow – talk about something fancy turning out to be pretty easy! Now to find a cheesecloth…

    • Reply
      March 26, 2011 at 7:19 pm

      I don’t bother with a cheesecloth but use a “flour-sack” kitchen towel instead.

    • Reply
      March 26, 2011 at 8:42 pm

      We bought a pack of cotton handkerchiefs instead of cheesecloth (per the link above) – they work great!

  • Reply
    Viv @ The Eclectic Life
    March 25, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Yummmmm. I always eat pita bread and hummus so I think making this would be a nice change of pace.

  • Reply
    March 25, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    I love Mediterrenean dips – a favorite meal of mine is dipping pita in all kinds of different things– hummus, tabbouleh, tzatziki, labneh, etc. I can make all the others but I just assumed labneh was too inaccessible. I had no idea that was so easy…thank you for bringing labneh into my life once again!

  • Reply
    Cooking Rookie
    March 27, 2011 at 8:01 am

    Yep, great recipe. And you can even strain the yogurt using a thick paper towel :-).
    Love your photos!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    How easy! I’m always on the hunt for mediterranean food. This looks great.

  • Reply
    Donna from Yumma Yumma
    March 29, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    This looks really yummy! And the picture is pretty too!

  • Reply
    Nicole Franzen
    April 7, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    That looks divine. Its one of my favorite things to eat at this Mediterranean resto I go to. Tangy and creamy with warm pita, yum

  • Reply
    April 12, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Cute post, blog, great recipe and beautiful photos. Love the way you plate the dishes:)

  • Reply
    June 17, 2011 at 5:47 pm


    Ps. An addd idea: using the whey when you bake, instead of water and such, makes the bread very juicy and ricker in protein. Just thought I’d toss it out there. :D

    • Reply
      June 19, 2011 at 3:02 pm

      Cool! I didn’t know this, thanks for the tip!

  • Reply
    February 21, 2020 at 3:55 pm

    I use the whey from my homemade ricotta to add to pasta water…..really makes a yummy “bath” for the pasta. I’m sure the whey from the labneh would do the same.

  • Reply
    Adele Aiken
    April 9, 2021 at 9:35 pm

    I use my whey to make a wonderful lemon meringue pie! I found the recipe on Pinterest.

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