Labneh recipe for delicious, bright and fresh thick yogurt cheese.
Labneh is packed full of beneficial bacteria from the Greek yogurt it is made from.
Making your own homemade labneh is simple & easy and you can add it to lots of recipes for a probiotic boost. Read on for the recipe.
What does labneh mean? And what is the difference between labneh & yogurt?
What is Labneh? It is yogurt, strained to remove most of the whey (the liquid part of yogurt).
This gives it a thicker consistency than yogurt, like a velvety fresh cream cheese.
Labneh tastes similar to yogurt, with a delicious creamy tang with slight sharp / sour edge.
Labneh is also known as labneh cheese, or labneh yogurt, strained yogurt, hung yogurt, yogurt cheese, or labaneh, labne, labna or lebneh.
Packed full of probiotics (beneficial bacteria), homemade labneh is an easy & delicious ingredient that will help boost your helpful gut bacteria.
Find out how to make probiotic homemade labneh recipe below.
How to Make Labneh?
Strain greek yogurt through a cheesecloth or fine wire mesh, in the fridge, for 12-24 hours.
Make labneh with Full fat Greek yogurt for the best taste & texture.
Greek Style Yogurt or Real Greek Yogurt for the Best Labneh Recipe?
I have tried using both greek style yogurt & real greek yogurt, with good results.
Greek style yogurt, whilst not authentic, gives a tarter result & isn’t quite as creamy, but it isn’t as expensive as the real Greek yogurt.
The “real greek” wins out though, for a smoother, rounded taste.
Plain, live natural yogurt works well too. It hasn’t been pre strained (like Greek yogurt), so you’ll see more whey draining off.
Thick or Thin?
The longer the yogurt strains for, the more whey drains off, and the thicker the texture of the labneh.
After a couple of hours, your labneh will be good for dolloping on top of salads and making dips.
Thick labneh, strained for 24 hours, has a cream cheese texture – perfect for slathering on bread, topped with nuts & honey for breakfast.
You can speed up the process by gently squeezing the muslin a couple of times to help the whey drain off faster.
Labneh Recipe Ideas
Perfect for smearing on crispbreads & toasts, with a drizzle of honey for breakfast or fresh herbs for a snack.
Use labneh in place of sour cream on bagels, topped with salmon & chives.
Or try caraway seed labneh on oatcakes, for the perfect canape.
Make an easy labneh dip by stirring fresh chopped herbs (like thyme or rosemary), plus salt & pepper, through labneh drained for 3 hours.
Then drizzle with plenty of extra virgin olive oil & garnish with more chopped herbs.
Labneh dip is best made with labneh yogurt that has been strained for only a few hours so it’s not too thick to scoop up with toasted flatbreads.
Really thick labneh can be rolled into little balls, in 1 tbsp quantities.
Roll them in fresh or dried herbs like thyme / dill / za’atar , cover in plenty of olive oil and leave to marinate in a sterilised glass jar for a few days in the fridge. Slather onto rye crisps or crackers, for a starter or canape.
Add extra flavour to your labneh:-
Start with the basic homemade labneh recipe below, and add extra flavours:-
For savoury dishes & dips :-
If you’re planning to use labneh for savoury dishes, stir in ¼ teaspoon of fine table salt & a grind of pepper for every 2 cups of yogurt.
Add fresh herbs to the yogurt for a herby fresh cheese.
Use approx. 3 tbsp chopped herbs for every 2 cups of yogurt. Chives, flat leaf parsley & thyme work well.
Add ½ cup extra virgin olive oil to every 2 cups of yogurt for extra flavour & texture.
For sweet dishes:-
Omit the salt & try adding the zest of half a lemon to 2 cups of yogurt.
Labneh sprinkled with ground mixed spice, chopped nuts & drizzled with honey is delicious for breakfast or dessert
For a sweet cream cheese (try with sliced pears & walnuts), stir 5 grams of icing sugar and a tiny pinch of salt, into 50 grams of labneh.
What Can I Use As A Substitute For Labneh?
Before I started making labneh, I sometimes saw it used as a recipe ingredient. Often I ran out of time to make it and wondered what I could use instead of labneh, as a labneh substitute.
I’ve used the thickest part of full fat Greek yogurt as a labneh substitute and also cream cheese and fresh goat’s cheese.
These labneh substitutes give a similar creamy tang but have different textures, thickness & tastes to labneh.
Where to Buy Labneh?
It’s simple to make it at home if you have enough time but you’ll also find it in some delis & specialist food shops in jars, squeezy tubes & containers.
You can sometimes find glass jars of herbed labneh balls in olive oil – labneh balls are delicious folded through in salads & grains or slathered on crusty sourdough bread.
Ensure you buy labneh from the chiller cabinet / cold counter to ensure the probiotic bacteria are present.
You can read more about the history of labneh in Claudia Roden’s masterful A New Book of Middle Eastern Food.
What do equipment do I need to make labneh at home?
To make homemade labneh recipes, you’ll need:-
- A glass or plastic jar or bowl
- A fine sieve (I use a tea strainer that fits a large glass jam jar)
- A cheesecloth or fine muslin cloth
HOW TO MAKE LABNEH RECIPE FOR STRAINED YOGURT. DELICIOUS EASY HOMEMADE LABNEH.
Yield 1 helping
- 2 cups full fat (whole) Greek Yogurt
- 1/4 tsp salt (for savoury labneh)
- Herbs / spices / flavourings to taste
- Glass bowl
- Fine mesh sieve (to fit into your bowl with an inch of space for the whey to drain into )
- Cheesecloth / fine muslin cloth
Place the sieve into the bowl. Line the sieve with cheesecloth (unless you have an extremely fine mesh sieve – see photos).
Stir any flavourings through the yogurt, then scoop into the cheesecloth. Gather edges of cheesecloth and tuck on top of sieve, covering the yogurt.
Place the bowl & sieve into the fridge to drain for 12-24 hours, depending on how thick you like it. Scoop the labneh out of the cloth / sieve into a lidded container. Discard the whey.
Labneh will keep in the fridge for a week, provided the yogurt you use to make it is fresh and well within the use by date.
Courses salad / side dish