Best Labneh

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

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!

Strained yogurt

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). We found that it was also pretty 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—the possibilities are endless!

how to make labneh

Related: Labneh Dip with Pomegranate

How to make labneh

To make this super thick, strained labneh cheese you’ll need to stir some salt into 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).

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 and stick it into the fridge for a full 24 hours to give the whey plenty of time to separate from the yogurt. 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 something tells me it’ll all be gone by then!

If you don’t want to waste the protein-packed whey that’s left in the bottom of your pitcher, you can try using it in breads, smoothies, and more. In all honesty, I’ve never reused the whey myself, but I’m interested in experimenting with it. I hate throwing out perfectly good ingredients!

Labneh dip

How 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 ways to use this yogurt cheese recipe:

Labneh cheese

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:

Looking for more homemade spread recipes?

This recipe is…

This labneh recipe is vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Labneh recipe

Best Labneh Recipe


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (7 votes, average: 4.86 out of 5)

  • Author: A Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 24 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 24 hours

Description

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


Scale

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  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

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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.

12 Comments

  • 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
      POAndrea
      March 26, 2011 at 7:19 pm

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

    • Reply
      Sonja
      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
    Anne
    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
    Katie
    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
    irena
    April 12, 2011 at 7:58 pm

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

  • Reply
    Zarah
    June 17, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Yum!

    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
      Alex
      June 19, 2011 at 3:02 pm

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

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