This homemade labneh is the perfect addition to a mezze board. It's a tangy Mediterranean yogurt cheese made with only two simple ingredients!
Making good homemade labneh is even easier than making good hummus. You’ll just need some whole milk yogurt and salt with a good sturdy cheesecloth (or maybe even a pillowcase like my grandma does in Lebanon!) I’ve watched my mom make this labneh recipe for years. It’s basically like the equivalent of cream cheese in our family, and I think you’re going to love it!
What is labneh
Labneh (which is also called labnah or labne,) is basically yogurt with lower moisture. It’s an early phase of cheese, which is why we commonly refer to it as labneh cheese. We like to serve it as a dip, but you can also use it in place of cream cheese and stir it into pasta sauces for creaminess and an additional tang.
What is labneh made of?
Homemade labneh is made with just two ingredients:
- Whole milk yogurt
It’s so easy to make, you just need to have a little patience to allow the whey to strain out, leaving you with a rich and creamy dip.
How to make labneh
Start by placing the cheesecloth over a bowl. Add the yogurt into the center of the cheesecloth and stir in the salt. Then tie the cheesecloth at the top so seal in the labneh and allow it to strain from one end.
After letting the labneh strain for 24-48 hours at room temperature, the salt will dissolve into the yogurt, which mellows slightly as it sits. Most importantly, the whey strains out, leaving you with thick, concentrated labneh. It’s not really a complicated recipe at all, but it does involve some waiting and patience.
Remove the strained labneh from the cheesecloth, and transfer it to a serving dish or bowl. Then you’re ready to top it with olive oil, zaatar and vegetables, an dip it with some pita bread.
Tips for making this labneh recipe:
- Add lemon juice to make it more tangy. You’ll just need about 1/4 teaspoon for the whole recipe, but it will add a wonderful flavor.
- Allow at least 24 hours for the labneh to thicken. After 24 hours it will be a wonderfully creamy dip, and if you leave it for an additional 24 hours it will result in a thicker ,more cheese-like version.
- Strain the labneh through a fine mesh sieve over a bowl. If you don’t have a sieve, you can also hang it from your faucet and let it drain into the sink.
How to serve labneh
Good extra virgin olive oil can make all the difference in serving labneh, so can good za’atar. They can really complement the the tangy salty flavor of the cheese. We also serve labneh with lots of fresh vegetables, olives and pita bread, whether fresh or baked to make pita chips. Try it also with my easy yogurt flatbread recipe.
Frequently asked questions
This dip is light and refreshing with a hint of sourness with a slightly tart flavor.
Labneh is a low carb, low calorie dip with no added sugar. It’s a great source of protein and is low in fat. It’s a great alternative to cream cheese and contains good bacteria and calcium.
I love serving this with a good olive oil and a sprinkling of za’atar, but you can also garnish it with fresh herbs like mint or thyme and other spices or chili flakes.
Labneh keeps really well, in fact I often make a double batch when I make it. Store it an airtight container for up to 2 weeks and you can serve it at room temperature or straight from the fridge.
More dip recipes:
It may be difficult to buy labneh in some areas of the country so it’s great to know that you can make it at home with only two ingredients and a cheese cloth. It’s a wonderful yogurt cheese that is gaining in popular in restaurants all over the country. I grew up with labneh and love how versatile it is to use in wraps and sandwiches. I hope you give it a try and enjoy it with my homemade pita chips.
If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Homemade Labneh recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!
- 32 ounces whole milk yogurt
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- za’atar for serving
- extra virgin olive oil for serving
- Line a fine strainer with a thick cheesecloth and set over a bowl.
- Place the yogurt into the cheesecloth carefully and sprinkle with salt. Stir to incorporate. Tie the cheesecloth on the top to prevent any air from entering into the yogurt.
- Set aside the yogurt in the cheesecloth-lined strainer on the counter or in the refrigerator for 24-72 hours, depending on your desired thickness.
- Remove the strained labneh from cheesecloth, and transfer it to a serving dish or bowl. Use the back of a spoon to make a swirly pattern in the top of the labneh. Serve cold or at room temperature with olive oil, zaa'tar, vegetables and pita, if desired.