Easy Labneh

Homemade labneh is easy and delicious. This tangy, creamy Middle Eastern yogurt cheese only needs two ingredients and can be used in many ways.

Homemade Labneh

Labneh is often called “yogurt cheese” and is creamy like cream cheese with a tanginess like sour cream. It’s a Middle Eastern staple often enjoyed with pita bread.

You strain yogurt to make it but don’t think of it as thick yogurt. Labneh (sometimes spelled labaneh, lebnah, labne, or labni) has a delicious salty, tangy flavor different from plain or Greek yogurt.

How to Make Labneh

Our detailed recipe for making labneh is below, but I’ll walk you through the basic steps and a few extra tips here. To make labneh, you will need plain yogurt and salt (I use sea salt).

You will mix the salt into your yogurt and strain the two in cheesecloth for 12 to 24 hours. As the yogurt strains, it becomes thick, almost spreadable.

Mixing sea salt into plain yogurt to make labneh.

Use whole-fat goat’s milk or sheep’s milk yogurt for the most traditional labneh. If you can’t access them, use a whole-fat plain cow’s milk yogurt instead. Many labneh recipes call for Greek yogurt, which is already strained to remove some whey.

In the photos below, you can see the strained salted yogurt hanging with the whey below it. This was after a night in the fridge.

How to make Labneh - Strained salted yogurt in cheesecloth with whey.

For the best flavor, when making labneh, use:

  • High-quality sea salt (I use Redmond Real Salt)
  • Whole-fat yogurt — low-fat yogurt won’t give you the same thick, rich texture
  • Plain yogurt — make sure there’s no sweetener added
  • Goat’s milk or sheep’s milk yogurt — for the most traditional flavor or use plain cow’s milk yogurt or Greek yogurt

Recommended Tools for Making Labneh

You will need a few simple tools for making homemade labneh:

  • A fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth – I prefer cheesecloth.
  • Butcher’s twine to tie the cheesecloth.
  • Tall-sided bowl or container – needs to be tall enough for the cheesecloth ball (filled with salted yogurt) to hang and drain without touching the bottom.
  • Wooden spoon or similar to hang the cheesecloth ball.

I use a tall storage container (OXO brand), which is the perfect height for holding up my cheesecloth ball and allowing the whey to drain from the yogurt. You can see my setup in the photo here.

How to Make Labneh -- Cheesecloth wrapped yogurt with a wooden spoon holding it up to strain into a tall container.

Ways to Enjoy Labneh

There are many ways to enjoy labneh. Great labneh is salty and tangy and does well with more savory dishes. The most traditional way to serve labneh is on a plate with olive oil and some za’atar, either sprinkled on top or in a small bowl to the side. It’s fantastic with bread, especially pita bread.

Labneh also goes well with roasted vegetables, salads, and sandwiches. Serve it on a mezze plate with other Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes like hummus, baba ganoush, chickpea salad, olives, and Tzatziki.

You can make labneh balls, which also helps extend its shelf-life. Roll your labneh into small balls, and then drop them into a jar with plain olive oil or herb-infused olive oil.

Homemade Labneh with za'atar and olive oil

Save the Whey! When making labneh, you will have whey leftover (the liquid strained out of the yogurt). Your first inclination might be to toss it but don’t. You can use it! Add the leftover whey from labneh to mashed potatoes, salad dressings (it will add a bit of saltiness), and soups.

More Dip Recipes

Easy Labneh

  • PREP

Labneh is a creamy, spreadable Middle Eastern cheese made from strained yogurt. It’s easy to make. You just need some time. I strain labneh in my refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours.

Equipment: Cheesecloth (preferred) or fine mesh strainer, wooden spoon, and a tall-sided bowl or container to catch the strained whey.

Serves 8

You Will Need

1 quart (32 ounces) full-fat plain yogurt

1 teaspoon fine sea salt


    1In a mixing bowl, combine the yogurt and salt. Mix well.

    2Line another bowl with a double layer of cheesecloth. Pour in the salted yogurt and tightly wrap it. Tie the cheesecloth closed around the top with twine.

    3Hang the cheesecloth around a wooden spoon and set it into a tall-sided bowl or container so that the bottom of the cheesecloth ball does not touch the bottom. Do not squeeze.

    4Let the mixture hang overnight to drain. I do this in the refrigerator.

    5The following day, firmly twist the cheesecloth to strain the rest of the whey.

    6Homemade labneh may be thicker than store-bought options. You can serve it as is, thin it with milk, or whip it.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Choosing Yogurt for Labneh: Many labneh recipes call for Greek yogurt because it’s already thicker than regular yogurt. This can save you some straining time. However, you can also use plain (non-Greek) yogurt – just be prepared to strain it a little longer. Opt for goat’s milk or sheep’s milk yogurt for the most traditional labneh flavor.
  • Storing: Keep homemade labneh in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days, covered with a thin layer of olive oil.
  • Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.
Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1/6 of the recipe / Calories 138 / Total Fat 7.1g / Saturated Fat 3.4g / Cholesterol 18.5mg / Sodium 340.6mg / Carbohydrate 5.7g / Dietary Fiber 0g / Total Sugars 5.7g / Protein 12.8g
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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2 comments… Leave a Review
  • Sherry March 3, 2024, 9:12 pm

    This looks so yummy it’s my favorite kind of food.

    • Adam March 4, 2024, 2:21 pm

      We loved testing this recipe! It is so easy and the results were delicious 🙂


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