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.

Labneh

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!

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Labneh

rate this recipe:
5 from 15 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Resting Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 5 minutes
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!

Ingredients

Toppings & Serving options

Instructions

  • 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.

27 comments

5 from 15 votes (11 ratings without comment)

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Nick Rule
    05.18.2024

    Can I double this recipe? I want to make this for a party.

  2. JENNIFER from wolftreekitchen.com
    02.29.2024

    5 stars
    Thank you! Turned out amazing! How long in the fridge will this last, and do you suggest mixing oil into it a little to keep it moist?

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      03.01.2024

      Hi Jennifer, it will keep for about 5 days in the fridge. I haven’t had any issues with it drying out once it’s sealed in an airtight container.

  3. Jesse Brown
    02.16.2024

    I have been making some yogurt that is the best yogurt I have ever made—or eaten.
    Five quarts of milk-(goats milk if you have it.)
    2 cups of Greek Gods Yogurt
    2 cups of yogurt from the last batch.
    1 capsule of Stonehenge Health Dynamic Biotics.
    Heat the milk to 180 degrees then let it cool to 110 degrees. Add the yogurt and the capsule of Dynamic biotics and thoroughly mix it with a mixer.
    I pour it into pint jars, put lids on the jars and put them in a fruit dryer for 8-10 hours at 115 degrees.
    I have been amazed at how good it is. And I don’t have to take a biotics capsule every day. I just eat my yogurt.

  4. Melody
    12.21.2023

    So much easier to strain your yogurt through a Permanent or “gold” coffee filter. Wash right away and it comes clean pretty easily.

  5. Brielle
    10.26.2023

    In the recipe it says to chill it overnight, but earlier in the introduction you said “you’ll have to wait 24 hours to open the cheesecloth” … so it is overnight (which is typically 8 hours) or 24 hours?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.26.2023

      Hi Brielle, sorry for the confusion – overnight is sufficient, the longer you wait, the thicker it’ll be.

  6. Victoria Migotti
    08.31.2021

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

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.31.2021

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

    • Dave L
      08.13.2023

      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
        08.14.2023

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

        • Dave L
          08.17.2023

          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.

  7. Emily Moore
    07.20.2021

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

  8. Catherine
    07.08.2020

    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
      07.09.2020

      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!

  9. Radu from basilbunch.com
    05.31.2020

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

  10. Jennifer
    05.31.2020

    Could you use a vegan yogurt instead ?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.31.2020

      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.

      • Melody
        12.21.2023

        Sweet? No. I make vegan soy yogurt with WestSoy and some commercial soy yogurt for the initial starter in the instant pot for 14 hours, then drain it for a few hours using a permanent coffee filter. It’s wonderfully thick and tangy. You can control the tang by how long you “cook” it. Now sure where the “sweet” is coming from. Maybe you tried one of the commercial ones with all the additives.

        Yes, @Jennifer – it will work just fine. Just make sure you have one with some tang to it.

  11. Veronica Nessler
    05.31.2020

    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
      05.31.2020

      You can!

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

  12. Elsie
    05.31.2020

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

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.31.2020

      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
      12.31.2021

      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

  13. Sheila
    05.30.2020

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

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.30.2020

      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.