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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 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:
- Dot it onto a salad, like my Bright Spring Salad or Mediterranean Chickpea Salad.
- Dollop it onto any homemade pizza, such as the Pizza with Apples, Leeks, and Lemon Zest Labneh on page 183 of Love and Lemons Every Day.
- Spread it onto crostini, like the Zucchini & Radish Carpaccio Crostini on page 67 of Love and Lemons Every Day or spread it onto sourdough toast with roasted tomatoes and za’atar.
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!
- 1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
- heaping 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
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.