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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
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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!)


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5 from 1 review

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

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!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 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

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

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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15 Comments

  1. J Bell says:

    Yummy and easy!!






  2. Adele Aiken says:

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

  3. Anonymous says:

    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.

  4. Zarah says:

    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

    1. Alex says:

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

  5. irena says:

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

  6. Nicole Franzen says:

    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

  7. Donna from Yumma Yumma says:

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

  8. Katie says:

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

  9. Cooking Rookie says:

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

  10. Anne says:

    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!

  11. Viv @ The Eclectic Life says:

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

  12. Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum says:

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

    1. POAndrea says:

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

    2. Sonja says:

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

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