Homemade Labneh is a middle east cheese with the consistency of cream cheese and tang of Greek yogurt. Learn how to make it with this recipe!
Somewhere in between cream cheese and Greek yogurt lies a delicious, creamy middle east cheese known as labneh.
What is labneh?
Traditionally, this soft cheese is made by straining excess liquid from goat's milk yogurt. However, in some parts of the world, it is also made with cow's milk yogurt. This is primarily because it is easier to find cow's milk yogurt than goat's milk varieties.
When you know how to make yogurt cheese, it can be a great way to save money, as store bought labneh can be expensive. In addition to the cost savings, it's a fun project to do with kids! It takes just one or two days for the entire process.
Watching Greek yogurt transform into homemade labneh cheese is fascinating, and the end result is a delicious, creamy, high protein treat that everyone loves!
FLAVOR AND TEXTURE
The texture and consistency closely resemble a semisoft cheese. Many people say the texture is similar to cream cheese. The flavor, however definitely includes the tang of Greek yogurt.
Honestly, there are just two ingredients you need to make this recipe; a container of yogurt and a teaspoon of salt.
If you can source goat milk yogurt, you'll have an authentic version of homemade labneh. Otherwise, feel free to use cow's milk Greek yogurt.
Using traditional (non-Greek) yogurt is not recommended. This is because the final product will not be as creamy, nor will it have the nice tangy flavor that comes from using Greek yogurt.
The only other things you need are:
- several layers of cheesecloth- Be sure to use plenty of layers, as the cheesecloth will become saturated with liquid, causing it to be very heavy.
- Fine mesh strainer
- A bowl to catch the liquid, and of course, the most important thing...
- Patience! The entire process will take 1 to 2 days and there is simply no way to speed the process up.
How to make homemade labneh
- Line a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth.
After that, place the sieve or strainer inside of a deep bowl. I use a large glass measuring cup. Be sure the pieces are large enough to hang well over the strainer, as you will need to bring the corners up and tie them together. Whisk together the yogurt and salt.
Next, pour the yogurt into the cheesecloth.
- Create a pouch to hold the yogurt.
As explained above, bring the 4 corners of cheesecloth up and tie them closed with a knot.
- Refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours.
Keep the container in the refrigerator for at least one day, and possibly longer. The time will depend on the quality of yogurt you use. You can tell when it's ready, simply by placing your hands on the cheesecloth.
When it is ready to use, homemade labneh should feel firm and dry.
Recipes with labneh cheese
There are dozens of uses for this, aside from nibbling on creamy pieces for an appetizer or light snack. Here are just a few ways you can use it.
- smear it on a plate and top with za'atar and a drizzle of good olive oil with veg
- spoon over a plate of warm lentils or couscous
- substitute for cream cheese to make a delicious labneh cheesecake
- use as a topping on savory cakes, muffins, or cupcakes
- add it to a pita pocket with slices of chicken shawarma
- make these delicious pear dutch babies with labneh cream
FAQ - frequently asked questions
Can homemade labneh be frozen?
Unfortunately, no. During the process of freezing and thawing, the consistency and texture of the cheese is compromised. Although it is technically safe to eat after freezing, your yogurt cheese will have an unpleasant, grainy texture.
How to Make Labneh
- 32 oz whole yogurt (See Note 1)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Line a sieve over a larger bowl to catch the expressed liquid with either 3 layers of cheese cloth or a linen towel (See Note 2). Set aside.
- In a bowl whisk together the yogurt and salt. Pour this into the lined sieve and carefully tie the loose cheese cloth or linen ends together.
- Place the the bowl/sieve filled yogurt package in the refrigerator for 24 to 36 hours.
- Discard the liquid and untie the package. The yogurt will be thick and slightly dry with a smooth creamy interior. Gently roll it out of the cheese cloth or linen and keep in a container that seals. Refrigerate for up to a week.
- Traditionally I've read that 2 cups/450 grams of goat's milk yogurt is mixed with 2 cups/450 grams cow's milk yogurt. I love the texture and flavor from using all goats milk yogurt, if you can't find it, source from a Middle Eastern market, order online, or use all cow's milk yogurt.
- When I first made this years ago I used 2 layers of cheesecloth and when I squeezed the yogurt after it had rested over night, I ripped the cheese cloth and the yogurt went everywhere. Triple or use 4 layers to be safe or a linen towel.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.