This creamy labneh dip is everything we love about a good appetizer. It’s make-ahead friendly, easy, and absolutely stunning. The creamy tang of the labneh pairs wonderfully with the nutty spice mixture, sweet-tart cherries and fruity olive oil.
What is Labneh?
Simply put, labneh is a very thick and creamy Middle Eastern-style cheese (often times called yogurt-cheese). It’s made by straining Greek 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.
This Middle Eastern yogurt dip 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.
What is Dukkah?
First off, dukkah can also be spelled dukka or duqqa, which is the traditional spelling of this Egyptian spice blend. Usually made of nuts and seeds, the combination can vary depending on the region and cook. Hazelnuts or chickpeas are often the base while cumin, coriander, sesame seeds and pepper are added for flavor and spice.
The nuts, seeds and spices in dukkah are ground down into a coarse powder and sprinkled over vegetables and meats, or mixed with olive oil and served alongside bread as a dip.
Make Ahead Tips
Every component of this appetizer can be made ahead. Strain and store the labneh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
The homemade dukkah can be made at least a week ahead of time, if not two or three. Store the nut and spice blend in an airtight container at room temperature.
And the sweet-tart pickled cherries can be stored at room temperature, in an airtight container, for a few days. Any longer and I would recommend you pop them in the fridge.
Tips for Making the Best Labneh Dip
- Use whole milk (or full-fat) Greek yogurt for the labneh.
- Drizzle the dip with good quality olive oil. I like robust- or bold-style extra-virgin olive oil, but use your favorite.
- Strain the yogurt for the specified amount of time—you can’t rush the process!
- Add chopped fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary or oregano.
- Swap the pickled cherries for your favorite oil-packed olives.
- Like a little spice? Sprinkle some cayenne or red pepper flakes over top.
- For a bit of brightness, grate fresh lemon zest over top.
- Don’t have time to strain yogurt for homemade labneh? Try swapping in softened cream cheese.
A creamy dip that’s full of flavors and textures! Homemade labneh gets topped with a nutty spice mix, pickled cherries and good olive oil.
Spread labneh onto a large plate or in a shallow bowl. Sprinkle dukkah over labneh then spoon cherries and a bit of their juices over top. Drizzle olive oil over dip. Finish with ground sumac and flaky sea salt, if using.
Serve with your favorite crackers or toasted bread.
It takes 5 minutes to assemble this appetizer—assuming you have all of the components ready. You’ll need to make the labneh, dukkah and pickled cherries ahead of time. All can be made at least a few days in advance.
Keywords: labneh dip