Homemade labneh is a true culinary delight—nothing is as simple or easy as making homemade labneh. And nothing’s quite as delicious! All you need to make this super-creamy Middle Eastern yogurt spread or cheese.
What is Labneh?
Simply put, labneh is a very thick and creamy Middle Eastern-style cheese. It’s made by straining yogurt, which creates an ultra-creamy cheese that’s both savory and tangy. Think sour cream, except thicker and far more heavenly. Or fresh soft goat cheese—except creamier.
Labneh can be served in a variety of ways but it’s traditionally served with a hearty glug of extra-virgin olive oil and za’atar.
Ingredients Needed to Make Homemade Labneh
The ingredient list is short!
- Whole-milk Greek yogurt (aka full fat, no low-fat or no-fat!). I recommend Fage for it’s quality and consistency.
- Kosher Salt. Morton kosher salt is my go-to. If you use Diamond Crystal, double the amount of salt called for.
How to Make Homemade Labneh
If the short ingredient list wasn’t a clue—making labneh at home is easy.
- Combine yogurt and salt.
- Line a fine-mesh sieve or strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth or a triple layer of basket-style coffee filters.
- Spoon yogurt to prepared strainer and smooth into an even layer; fold cheesecloth over top.
- Transfer yogurt-filled strainer to a bowl and place in the refrigerator.
- Let the yogurt strain for 12–24 hours. After 12 hours you will have a classic fresh labneh. After 24 hours you will have a very thick labneh that resembles the labneh sold in tubes at Middle Eastern markets. This thicker labneh is also great for forming the labneh into balls.
Tips for Making the Best Homemade Labneh
- Use quality ingredients! With such a short ingredient list, it’s important to use quality ingredients to get the best homemade labneh cheese. Whole milk Greek yogurt is essential. Low-fat or no-fat Greek yogurt just won’t have the correct texture and flavor.
- If you’re short on time you can speed the process along by patting the surface of the yogurt with paper towels. Not ideal but it helps.
- Strain the yogurt in the refrigerator! This should go without saying, but the yogurt needs to be refrigerated while it strains. In order for the cheese to be safe it eat, it needs to remain chilled.
How to Serve Labneh
Traditionally, labneh is smeared in a shallow bowl or on a plate and drizzled with really good extra-virgin olive oil and za’atar. It’s often served alongside warm pita, hummus and vegetables.
Here are a few other ways you can use labneh:
- As the base for a vegetable salad
- Topped with fresh herbs, olive oil, lemon zest and ground sumac.
- Topped with crispy shallots, garlic and red pepper flakes.
- Serve with smoked salmon and blini
- Serve as a huge spread with hummus, homemade pita bread or naan, baba ganoush, za’atar, and veggies.
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This creamy, silk-smooth homemade labneh is so hands off, it practically makes itself! Just an overnight rest in the fringe and voilà, it’s ready to go!
- 1 container (16 ounce) whole-milk greek yogurt
- ¼ teaspoon Morton kosher salt (or ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt)
For the homemade labneh: line a fine-mesh sieve with 2 basket-style coffee filters or a double layer of cheesecloth. Place filter-lined sieve over a bowl large enough to allow at least a cup of liquid to drain off without touching sieve.
Combine yogurt and ¼ teaspoon salt then transfer to filter-lined sieve. Refrigerate until texture resembles cream cheese and quite a bit of liquid has drained out, at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours.
Discard liquid released from straining. Transfer labneh to a shallow bowl or plate and swirl into an even layer. Top as desired (I love extra-virgin olive oil and za’atar) and serve with warm pita, naan, and/or vegetables.
If you’re making this ahead, transfer the labneh to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
Labneh will last up to 2 weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Serving Size: ¼ cup
- Calories: 76
- Sugar: 3g
- Sodium: 125mg
- Fat: 4g
- Saturated Fat: 3g
- Carbohydrates: 3g
- Fiber: 0g
- Protein: 7g
- Cholesterol: 10mg
Keywords: labneh, homemade labneh, labneh cheese
This recipe and article were originally published on June 3, 2019. It was last updated on August 23, 2021.