Homemade Labneh

5 from 84 votes

This homemade labneh is the perfect addition to a mezze board. It's a tangy Mediterranean yogurt cheese made with only two simple ingredients!

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Labneh is a staple in my house, and honestly, it’s so easy to make. You take some yogurt—make sure it’s the whole milk kind for that creamy richness—sprinkle in a little salt, and let it hang out in a cheesecloth. That’s it. My family’s labneh recipe is just this simple. I’ve seen my mom do it a hundred times. It’s less about skill and more about waiting for that yogurt to get nice and thick in the fridge. We eat it with everything. Spread it on homemade pita, add a scoop to a steaming plate of mujadara, or just eat it with some crisp veggies. A sprinkle of za’atar, a generous pour of olive oil, and you’ve got yourself something that’s so good!

Labneh served in a white bowl with olive oil
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Making good homemade labneh is even easier than making good hummus! You’ll just need a good sturdy cheesecloth (or maybe even a pillowcase like my grandma does in Lebanon!) in addition to the recipe ingredients. Plus, with just 2 ingredients and only 5 minutes prep time, the hardest thing about making homemade labneh is waiting for it to set in the fridge! But it’s so worth the end result of thick and tangy labneh spread.

What is Labneh

Labneh, pronounced “leb-nay,” is a savory yogurt cheese with Mediterranean roots. The word “labneh” comes from the Arabic word “laban,” meaning “white” or “milk.”

Also known as “labnah” or “labne,” it’s made by mixing yogurt with a little salt, then straining it to remove the whey. What’s left is a thick, creamy, and spreadable dip. It’s essentially an early phase of cheese, which is why we commonly refer to it as labneh cheese.

Recipe at a Glance

Cuisine Inspiration: Middle Eastern
Primary Cooking Method: No-Cook
Dietary Info: Vegetarian, Gluten Free
Key Flavor: Mildly tangy
Skill Level: Easy

Summary

  • Tastes amazing: It’s light and refreshing with a hint of sour and tart flavor.
  • Nutrient-dense: Labneh is a low-carb, low-calorie dip with no added sugar. It’s a great source of protein and is low in fat, too. Plus, it contains good bacteria and calcium!
  • Perfect for mezze platters: Thick and rich labneh dip is right at home on mezze platters and cheese boards. Spoon it into a small bowl, swirl it with your spoon, add a glug of olive oil, sprinkle with za’atar, and nestle it onto your board with veggies, pita, and olives. It’s guaranteed to be the first to go!
  • Better than store-bought: Homemade labneh just tastes better! Plus, it’s inexpensive to make, and it’s just nice to know how to make labneh for those times you can’t find it in the store.

Ingredients to Make Labneh

The labneh in a blue bowl once it has been drained.
  • Whole milk yogurt: I recommend full-fat, whole-milk plain, unsweetened yogurt for the thickest, creamiest labneh. You can start with plain Greek yogurt, too.
  • Salt: Use your favorite salt and adjust to your taste preferences.
  • Add herbs and spices: I like to drizzle labneh with good olive oil and a sprinkling of za’atar, but you can also garnish homemade labneh with fresh herbs like mint or thyme and other spices or chili flakes.
  • Add lemon juice to make it more tangy. You’ll just need about ¼ teaspoon for the whole recipe, but it will add a wonderful flavor.
  • Olive it up. Top labneh cheese with finely chopped black and green olives for a colorful and delicious topper.

How to Make Labneh

  1. Line a fine-mesh sieve with thick cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Spoon the yogurt into the cheesecloth and sprinkle with salt.
  2. Stir to incorporate the salt.
  3. Tie the cheesecloth on the top and let the yogurt drain at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 24-72 hours.
  4. Open up the cheesecloth to reveal thick and creamy homemade labneh.

Tips for Making the Best Homemade Labneh

  1. 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 labne.
  2. 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.
Swirled lebneh in a white bowl

What to Serve with Labneh

How to Store Labneh

Labneh keeps really well; in fact, I often make a double batch when I make it. Store it in an airtight container and refrigerate. You can serve it at room temperature or straight from the fridge.

How Long Will Labneh Last in the Fridge?

Labneh yogurt will last for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Can I Freeze Labneh Cheese?

Yes, it is possible to freeze labneh. However, I don’t recommend it because freezing and thawing can affect the texture.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is labneh the same as Greek yogurt?

No, labneh is thicker and more cheese-like than Greek yogurt. But it can be made from Greek yogurt–just strain off the whey and add salt, and you can transform Greek yogurt into labneh cheese!

Is labneh high in probiotics?

Yes, labneh contains the same beneficial probiotics as yogurt.

Can I make labneh without cheesecloth?

Yes, you can make labneh using coffee filters, a thin cotton dishtowel, or any clean, thin cotton fabric.

Slices of fresh vegetables and dip with olive oil

Homemade labneh is so light, creamy, tangy, and absolutely worth the effort to make it at home! With a short list of ingredients and only a few minutes of hands-on time, you’ll love how easy it is to make labneh cheese.

More Dip Recipes:

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This Labneh recipe was originally published on March 2, 2020, and has recently been updated with new photography, tips, and a step-by-step collage to help you better make the recipe. The recipe has stayed the same.

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Homemade Labneh

This homemade labneh is the perfect addition to a mezze board. It's a tangy Mediterranean yogurt cheese made with only two simple ingredients!
5 from 84 votes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 69
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 2 days 5 minutes
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Ingredients
  

Instructions

  • Line a fine strainer with a thick cheesecloth and set over a bowl.
  • Place the yogurt into the cheesecloth carefully and sprinkle it 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 on top of the labneh.

Notes

The nutrition label does not include the extra olive oil for serving. 
Storage: You can store homemade labneh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. However feel free to use Greek yogurt instead of whole milk yogurt if you’d prefer.

Nutrition

Calories: 69kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 15mg, Sodium: 88mg, Potassium: 176mg, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 112IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 137mg, Iron: 0.1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

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Comments

  1. Margaret says:

    I want to try this after having tried it at a nearby restaurant ~ any recommendations on which cheesecloths you recommend? Thank you.

  2. Joann says:

    Do you stir the salt in or just sprinkle? Can you tell me approximately how much salt to what size of yogurt? Thank you in advance:) Have a blessed Easter.

    1. Yumna says:

      You stir the salt in after sprinkling it on top. The full recipe with measurements is at the bottom of the page, you can click “jump to recipe” to navigate directly to it.

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