Labneh in a bowl with a platter of pita, tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers and olives

August 11, 2022

Homemade Labneh

With just 2 ingredients, there are so many ways to enjoy this simple labneh recipe from savory spreads and dips to sweet with fruit and granola.

Dip, spread and condiment in one, this 2-ingredient labneh is made with Greek yogurt and a pinch of salt. The result is a wonderfully thick and intensely tangy version of yogurt. The best part is that with the all that flavor, it still manages to be a blank canvas. You can go savory with spices and vegetables to dress it up. Or do the opposite and reach for honey and fruit to make things sweet.

Labneh in a bowl with a platter of pita, tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers and olives

What’s there not to love about a recipe that celebrates being homemade, but only involves a couple ingredients, stirring and waiting? That pretty much sums up making labneh. Where the effort comes in is deciding how to serve it because you have lots options. It’s a choose your own adventure situation that will take you either sweet or savory.

What Is Labneh?

Often found in Middle Eastern cuisine, labneh is strained yogurt where the whey has been removed. This thickened version of yogurt is then becomes softened cheese with a smooth and creamy texture.

Labneh cheese is similar to cream cheese and has that almost sour, tangy taste. But since it’s made from yogurt, it has less calories and more protein than cream cheese plus the added benefits of probiotics.

The Ingredients

Greek yogurt in a large bowl with small container of salt.

This is what you need:

  • Greek yogurt: Use whole milk yogurt. Going full fat adds richness that enhances the taste and consistency.
  • Salt: In every recipe, salt is a seasoning that activates the overall flavor. Even if you end up adding honey and fruit and going sweet with your labneh, you still want to make sure to stir in salt before you strain the yogurt.

Savory Additions

Sprinkle spices and fresh herbs on top of the labneh after drizzling it with olive oil:

  • Everything bagel seasoning
  • Sumac
  • Za’atar
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Chives

Pair it with raw and roasted veggies:

  • Radishes
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Olives

Sweet Additions

Add these spices to your labneh:

  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamom
  • Nutmeg

Drizzle it with something liquid and sweet:

  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Agave syrup

Include a mix of fresh fruit:

  • Berries
  • Stone fruit
  • Apples
  • Oranges

Add chopped nuts, especially if you are also including honey and fruit:

  • Pistachios
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts

How To Make Labneh

1. Stir together the yogurt and salt in a medium bowl.

2. Place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl. Line it with cheesecloth and spoon in the yogurt mixture.

Stir the yogurt and salt in a large bowl; spoon the yogurt into a fine mesh strainher.

3. Knot the top of the cheesecloth to make a snug bundle.

4. Place 1 large can or 2 small cans on top of the cheesecloth.

Knot the cheesecloth in the strainer and then put a large can on top.

5. Let the yogurt drain in the fridge for 24 hours. Depending on the size of your strainer, you may need to adjust the cans every so often to distribute the pressure more evenly on the yogurt.

6. Serve the labneh with your desired toppings and additions.

Thickened labneh in the strainer; labneh served in a bowl with olive oil, spices and fresh herbs.

Serving Suggestions

For savory dishes:

Mezze platters with a mix of hummus, babaganoush and other dips along with pita bread and crackers. I love my homemade roasted garlic hummus for this.

Spreads for bagels, toast and sandwiches with roasted vegetables, chicken or turkey.

A quick sauce for pasta. Stir labneh into hot pasta and it will melt creating a tangy and creamy sauce.

For sweet dishes:

Granola and fresh fruit with a dollop (or more) of labneh. It’s really good with chunky sesame tahini granola to keep with those Middles Eastern flavors.

Fruit pizza with a sugar cookie crust. You can use from-scratch dough or store-bought dough to bake a big cookie. Let it cool. Then spread it with labneh leaving a border at the edge and top it with a rainbow of fruit for this dessert pizza.

Labneh with fruit, honey and nuts.

Leftovers & Storing

You can store leftover labneh in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 1 week.

More Dips & Spreads

Baked Goat Cheese Tomato Dip
Smoked Almond Hummus
Sweet Potato Hummus
Edamame Pistachio Dip
Mango Habanero Salsa

Did you try making labneh? Did you eat it savory or sweet? Please leave a comment and rating below. Thanks!

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Labneh in a bowl.

Homemade Labneh

  • Author: Paige Adams
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 24 hours draining
  • Total Time: 24 hours + 5 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6
  • Category: Dips & Spreads
  • Method: Straining
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

With just 2 ingredients, there are so many ways to enjoy this simple labneh recipe from savory spreads and dips to sweet with fruit and granola.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 16 ounces whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Savory Serving Ideas

    Olive oil

    Pita bread or crackers

    Spices: everything bagel seasoning, sumac, za’atar

    Fresh herbs: parsley, cilantro, chives

    Raw vegetables: radishes, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots

    Other: olives, roasted tomatoes, artichokes

  • Sweet Serving Ideas

    Sweet drizzle: honey, agave syrup, maple syrup

    Spices: cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg

    Fruit: berries, stone fruit, apples, oranges

    Nuts: pistachios, almonds, walnuts


Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the yogurt and salt.
  2. Place a fine mesh strainer in a large bowl and line it with 2 layers of cheesecloth. Then spoon in the yogurt.
  3. Knot the top of the cheesecloth to make a tight pouch.
  4. To help push the liquid out, you can put 2 15-ounce cans or 1 28-ounce can on top of the labneh.
  5. Let the yogurt sit in the refrigerator and drain for 24 hours to give it time to thicken. As necessary, adjust the cans to distribute the weight evenly.
  6. Serve the labneh with your desired spices, toppings and accompaniments.

Notes

You can serve labneh with sweet or savory toppings as listed in the ingredients. For savory, make sure to drizzle it with olive oil and for sweet, use honey, maple syrup or agave syrup.

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 1 week.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 73
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Sodium: 129.8 mg
  • Fat: 3.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 3 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 6.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 9.8 mg

Keywords: labneh recipe, labneh cheese

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