Homemade Labneh

If you're not already making labneh, now's the time to start! This creamy, tangy yogurt cheese comes together with just 2 simple ingredients.

Labneh dip

The hardest part of making labneh cheese is waiting. Everything else is simple. Mix together 2 ingredients – Greek yogurt and salt – wrap them in a cheesecloth, and hang it over a bowl to strain. Then, things get tough: you’ll have to wait 24 hours to open the cheesecloth and enjoy the thick, creamy yogurt cheese inside. But if you try this labneh recipe, I think you’ll agree that the wait is totally worth it.

If you’re not familiar with labneh, it’s a soft cheese made by straining yogurt to remove the whey. It has a thick, spreadable texture similar to soft goat cheese or cream cheese, and thanks to its yogurt base, its flavor is rich and tangy. Throughout the Middle East, it’s a common addition to mezze platters, where it’s served as a dip with olive oil and spices, but the uses for it don’t end there. You can dot it onto salads, dollop it onto pizza, slather it onto sandwiches, and more!

Labneh cheese

How to Make Labneh Cheese

For how delicious labneh is, it’s shockingly easy to make. Here’s what you need to do:

First thing’s first: choose your yogurt wisely. No matter what, look for Greek, whole milk yogurt. Don’t substitute low fat or fat-free yogurt in this recipe. And depending on the thickness of your yogurt, you may want to use two layers of cheesecloth instead of one. If your yogurt is quite thick, one layer works just fine. If it’s thinner, use two layers for the best results.

Adding yogurt to cheesecloth for labneh recipe

When you’re ready to make the labneh cheese, stir together the yogurt and salt. Mix them up in a small bowl, and then scrape the mixture into a layer of cheesecloth.

Yogurt cheese in cheesecloth

Next, tie the cheesecloth around a wooden spoon. Bring the edges of the cheesecloth together, and knot them around the spoon’s handle. Place the spoon across the top of a deep bowl so that the labneh hangs in the center without touching the bottom of the bowl. Chill for 24 hours, or at least overnight. The longer you strain the yogurt, the thicker your labneh will be.

Tying cheesecloth around a wooden spoon

The next day, your labneh will be ready! Remove it from the cheesecloth and enjoy it right away, or store it in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.

Labneh cheese in a cheesecloth

Labneh Serving Suggestions

My favorite way to enjoy labneh is simple. I drizzle it with olive oil, sprinkle it with garnishes like za’atar, everything bagel seasoning, fresh herbs, or lemon zest, and scoop it up with fresh veggies and warm pita bread. Served this way, it makes a fantastic addition to a crudité platter, but Jack and I would happily devour it for a light dinner or lunch too.

You can also use this homemade labneh cheese as you would a soft goat cheese. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Alternatively, it would be a great replacement for cream cheese on a homemade bagel topped with vegan carrot lox.


More Favorite Spreads and Dips

If you love this labneh recipe, try making one of these spreads or dips next:

Then, check out this post for more of my favorite easy appetizers!


rate this recipe:
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Resting Time: 1 day
Serves 4
Labneh is a soft Middle Eastern cheese made from strained yogurt. It's surprisingly easy to make, and it's really versatile. Serve it as a dip with good-quality olive oil and za'atar, or add it to salads, pizzas, sandwiches, and more!


toppings & serving options

  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • Za'atar, crushed pistachios, lemon zest, and/or red pepper flakes

  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Crisp veggies, pita, or crackers


  • In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt and salt.
  • Scoop the mixture onto a layer of cheesecloth (or 2 layers, depending on the thickness of your yogurt). Bring the edges of the cheesecloth together, tie it around a wooden spoon, and place the spoon across the top of a medium bowl so that the labneh hangs in the center but does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Chill overnight.
  • Remove the labneh from the cheese cloth. Transfer to bowl and serve as a spread with desired toppings and veggies, pita, or crackers for dipping. It can also be dolloped, like soft goat cheese, onto salads, pizza, or flatbread.


Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Victoria Migotti

    What percentage do you suggest for the Greek yogurt would you use for this recipe?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Victoria, 5%… some label it “whole milk” or “total”

    • Dave L

      I used the only Greek yogurt I could find, which was 10% milk fat. From a texture standpoint it came out great, wonderful spreadability. Unfortunately this yogurt had added sugar, 27 g per 3/4 cup which is way too much for the blood glucose challenged, next time I will see if this brand (Bles World made in Coalhurst Alberta) has a lower or sugar free variety.

      • Jeanine Donofrio

        Hi Dave, regular plain Greek yogurt is best for this recipe – it shouldn’t have any added sugar.

        • Dave L

          My wife makes her own yogurt, from whole milk, no added sugar. Although it is not “Greek” yogurt it worked very well, it did have more moisture to strain out but 24 hours in the fridge was plenty to get that done.

  2. Emily Moore

    5 stars
    Labneh is new to me, but this is so easy and delicious. Thank you!

  3. Catherine

    Tell me about the cheese cloth. Any special brand or material you recommend? I’m obsessed with labneh and you’ve got me hooked to make it!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Catherine, no special brand – you can just search on amazon, they’re all pretty much the same (I try to choose one that says organic). I’ve also seen it sometimes at high end grocery stores. Happy labneh making!

  4. Radu from basilbunch.com

    Very interesting! Thanks for this recipe. I will try it and come back to let you know how it was 🙂

  5. Jennifer

    Could you use a vegan yogurt instead ?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I don’t think it would be the same, vegan yogurts are different in texture and flavor (I often find they’re too sweet). If you have my cookbook, Love & Lemons Every Day, there’s a vegan almond cheese that’s on page 73. It’s not the same process, but it’s a super delicious cheese-like spread.

  6. Veronica Nessler

    Can I mix in homemade basil pesto and use it as a bread or cracker spread? How do you use it on pizzas?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      You can!

      I used it how I would use goat cheese – tear off small pieces and dollop it all over.

  7. Elsie

    Can the Whey be used in other recipes? I recently saw bread recipe that called for whey,is this the same thing?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m not sure about the bread recipe you saw, I’d guess they were calling for whey powder? Depending on the thickness of your yogurt, there should only be a little liquid left behind. I don’t think it’s enough to reuse.

    • Sally

      5 stars
      Hi Elsie,
      In an organic Australian full cream yoghurt, I usually get about 1-1 and ½ cups of whey as I like my labneh more cheesy with the olive oil and zaatar after. I use the whey in my bread maker replacing the water and salt content in the recipe. It has brilliant proteins that are very good for you. Goodluck

  8. Sheila

    Thank you for sharing this. How long does this last on the fridge?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I keep it for about 5 days, although it’s usually gone before then!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.