The thick texture of labneh – a yogurt cheese with roots in the Middle East – is similar to cream cheese, but slightly tangier. Vary the toppings to make a savory spread that will surely make it to your list of favorite appetizers.
Labneh is a Middle Eastern cheese made from strained yogurt. It is easy to make at home by simply adding a bit of salt and straining the excess whey with the help of a strainer and some cheesecloth or other porous fabric.
Greek yogurt: More readily available than goat yogurt, Greek yogurt is a non-traditional stand-in that will provide the creamy dairy base that makes labneh delicious. If you have easy access to goat yogurt? By all means, use that! Using whole milk, full fat yogurt will result in the creamiest labneh cheese.
Salt: Labneh is traditionally a salty spread. A finely ground salt will blend right into the yogurt; a larger grain will leave specks of salt throughout. Choose what you prefer!
Toppings: What you choose to top labneh with can be as simple as a swirl of high quality olive oil or as elaborate as adding an assortment of fresh herbs. The batch you see here is topped with sesame seeds, red pepper flakes for a little spice, dill, and pine nuts. Za’atar seasoning is another common topping.
To make the labneh, combine yogurt and salt in a small bowl and stir until blended. Line a metal strainer with several layers of cheesecloth and position strainer over a large, deep bowl.
Transfer yogurt mixture to the lined strainer and cover. Place in the refrigerator to drain for 1-2 days. (The longer the yogurt is strained, the firmer the labneh will become).
Sprinkle with the toppings, drizzle it with olive oil, and serve with baked pita bread or crispy toasts.
Topping This Homemade Labneh Recipe
This recipe is topped with easy but flavorful ingredients to make for a delicious spread.
Adjust each of the seasonings as per preference after giving it a taste test.
Also, take into consideration the texture of the Labneh. If you prefer a smoother blend you can chop the dill, pine nuts, and sesame seeds further.
How To Serve It
The best part about homemade labneh is that it’s so versatile. It works just as well on its own as it does mixed into something.
A few ways to enjoy it:
- As a dip with warm pita bread or raw veggies
- Spread into a wrap, rollup, or sandwich (try it with Piadina!)
- As the base of a bruschetta or dolloped on top of a salad
Once made, you can store it in the fridge in an airtight container as you would yogurt. It will last roughly 6-10 days.
Frequently Asked Questions About Labneh
No. Labneh uses Greek yogurt to make a thicker version more like whipped cream cheese. This is done by straining out the whey in the yogurt through a cheesecloth. It is then seasoned as desired and served as a dip or spread.
Labneh is like a blend of Greek yogurt and sour cream. It is much thicker than Greek yogurt from having been strained through a cheesecloth but has a slightly tangy flavor that’s similar – but slightly lighter than – sour cream. This makes it a bit more versatile as it can be used as-is as a dip, condiment, or spread.
Both! It is made by straining Greek yogurt until most of the liquid is gone which makes it into a product similar to soft cheese. It has with a tangy flavor and can be topped with any seasonings you enjoy.
- 2 cups Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the topping
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Place a colander over a bowl and cover it with cheesecloth.
- Mix the yogurt with 1 teaspoon salt and transfer it to the cheesecloth. Cover with a plate and refrigerate for 24 hours. For thicker labneh you can leave it for a couple more hours.
- Spoon some labneh onto a plate and swirl to create a pattern.
- Sprinkle over the topping and drizzle with some olive oil and serve with baked pita bread
For a thicker labneh, let it sit and strain for up to 30 hours in the fridge.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 3 Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 241Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 786mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 17g