Easy Homemade Labneh

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

Homemade Labneh

I am obsessed with making labneh at home, and after trying this recipe, you will be too. It’s ridiculously easy, and the results are incredible. It’s deliciously creamy, salty, and tangy. I love it. 

Labneh is a creamy, spreadable Middle Eastern cheese made from yogurt and salt. It’s hard to believe that two simple ingredients can make something so delicious, but they can and do!

Key Ingredients

  • Yogurt: I use full-fat plain yogurt to make labneh. For the most traditional flavor, use goat’s milk or sheep’s milk yogurt. This labneh recipe also works really well with cow’s milk or Greek yogurt. Whatever you use, make sure there’s no flavor or sugar added, and that it’s whole milk (full-fat).
  • Salt: I love using high-quality sea salt and have used Redmond’s Real Salt in the photos.

How to Make Labneh

You strain yogurt to make labneh, 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. The first time I tried making labneh at home, I couldn’t wait to make it again. It’s that good.

Mixing sea salt into plain yogurt to make labneh.

To make labneh, mix the salt into your yogurt and strain the mixture in cheesecloth for 12 to 24 hours. As the yogurt strains, it becomes thick, almost spreadable. If you’ve used Greek yogurt, you’ll probably be closer to 12 hours since it’s thicker than plain yogurt.

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.
  • A tall-sided bowl or container that’s tall enough for the cheesecloth ball (filled with the salted yogurt) to hang and drain without touching the bottom. 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 below.
  • A wooden spoon or something similar to tie the cheesecloth ball around for hanging.

In the photo below, you can see the strained salted yogurt hanging with the whey below it. We took this photo after it had been in the fridge for a night. Once strained, the yogurt and salt mixture will be thick and creamy, similar to cream cheese.

How to Make Labneh: Stained yogurt with salt hanging in a container

Storing Homemade Labneh

Store homemade labneh in an airtight container and refrigerate for 2 weeks (I like to add a thin layer of olive oil to the top). To extend the shelf life, roll the labneh into small balls and then add them to a sterilized jar. Completely over the labneh balls with olive oil, and refrigerate for a few months (the balls need to be fully submerged in the oil to last this long). If the olive oil solidifies in the fridge, remove the jar about an hour before serving so it can come to room temperature.

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.

Homemade Labneh with za'atar and olive oil

Easy Homemade Labneh

  • PREP
  • TOTAL

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

Directions

    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.
  • 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 creamy soups.
  • Storing: Keep homemade labneh in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks, covered with a thin layer of olive oil.
  • The nutrition facts provided below are estimates.
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.

    Reply
    • Adam March 4, 2024, 2:21 pm

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

      Reply

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