Traditional recipes

Labneh recipe

Labneh recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Side dish

Labneh is a Lebanese yogurt dip or spread. Using a very good olive oil is crucial to the flavour.

3 people made this

IngredientsServes: 12

  • 300g Greek yogurt
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt, or to taste

MethodPrep:10min ›Ready in:10min

  1. Mix Greek yogurt, olive oil, mint, dill and salt together in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate up to 12 hours.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(5)

Reviews in English (4)

by Ajijaak

This is fantastic! Now a weekly staple in my diet! Can eat with pita or veggies. Blend with hummus, pickled beets, etc, for a more traditional Middle Eastern meal. Yummmm!-24 Nov 2018

by SH1234

I liked the recipe. I was looking for a recipe for veggies. I put less mint and salt than the recipe called. Also, added some garlic.-27 Dec 2016


9 Essential Cookbook Recipes for Summer

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Sometimes we have a hard time arguing that people should cook in the hottest summer months. Why bother turning on the stove when you could let peak-season raw tomatoes shine in all their savory-sweet, tangy glory? Why haul out your Dutch oven when you could relish a cooling, crunchy bite of shredded green papaya, dressed with chiles and a balancing squeeze of lime?

But it’s worth it to turn the oven on on Sunday morning so you can enjoy a big pan of butter mochi at your next picnic, and tart-sweet raspberry buns for dessert all week. And summer’s not really summer until you fire up your grill to make Yotam Ottolenghi’s justifiably hyped Eggplant With Buttermilk Sauce, a cover girl of a dish if we ever saw one.

All of this is to say, the recipes you really need right now are a mix of no-cook options for steamy evenings and worth-it bites that more than justify the heat required. Below, we’ve rounded up a few of our all-time favorite recipes to make in the summer—recipes that we love so much, we can’t imagine getting to September without them. While we spend most of our time developing new recipes and combing through brand-new cookbooks, here we’ve focused on cookbook stalwarts: the recipes that we make over and over again as soon as the air conditioner kicks on and the grill gets going. Maybe they’ll become classics for you too.


Homemade Labneh with Za’atar

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 10 M
  • 18 H, 10 M
  • Makes 16 ounces (454 g)

Special Equipment: Middle Eastern Cheesecloth

Ingredients US Metric

  • For the labneh
  • 24 ounces store-bought or homemade plain whole milk yogurt, without any additives or flavors
  • For the za'atar seasoning
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground thyme
  • 1 tablespoon sumac
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon fine kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Directions

Line a strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth, covering all sides. Place the strainer on a large bowl for draining.

Pour the yogurt into the strainer. Bring together the sides of the cheesecloth and twist them tightly around the yogurt. Place a small plate on top of the bundle and weigh it down using a heavy can or similar object.

Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, checking the bowl and draining the whey occasionally so that the strainer isn’t resting in any liquid. The longer you let it drain, the thicker the cheese will become. After draining, the labneh will be thick and spreadable, like a soft cream cheese.

When the draining is complete, give the cheesecloth one last squeeze to remove any lingering whey, then remove the labneh from the cheese-cloth and discard the whey left in the bowl.

In a medium bowl, add the labneh and use a spatula to stir to remove the cloth markings and to make it nice and creamy.

In a small bowl, combine all za’atar ingredients and mix well.

Drizzle the labneh with the olive oil and sprinkle with the za’atar to taste.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

I adore labneh on everything - sumac chicken, bagels, in salads and as a dip. Unfortunately, it's hard to find here and I was thrilled to find this recipe. It's SO easy to make and turned out perfectly.

I used my favorite brand of whole milk yogurt and after straining for 24 hours, most of the whey had been forced out. I used a triple thickness of cheesecloth, twisted and bound the loose ends tightly, then placed under a weight. I gave it one last squeeze before emptying the cheesecloth and that seemed to purge the last of the whey.

At this point, it was the right texture. I added the oil and za'atar, stirring to combine. I prefer this to just sprinkling the herbs on top I find that the moisture of the cheese makes the flavors stand out even more. After sitting in the fridge for a few hours, I served it with grilled chicken, pitas and cucumbers. And I still had more than enough for the next morning's bagels.

When the most difficult component of a recipe is owning cheesecloth, there's no reason not to try it. Having made the other labneh recipe from the site, I had high hopes for this one and I was not disappointed. Your patience is rewarded with a lusciously smooth cheese with no preservatives, stabilizers, or off-tastes and you can season it any which way you choose.

Depending on the size of the gap between the bottom of your bowl and your strainer, you may need to dump the liquid out once or twice to make sure it doesn't sit in its own liquid. The included za'atar recipe is quite good, with a nice lemony tartness from the sumac, and I used 3 tablespoons worth to season my cheese, with extra for sprinkling on top. For my own personal tastes, I would add a little ground chile on top (like Aleppo pepper or Urfa biber) when serving to round out the flavor. No complaints, and for how much better it tastes than anything I buy at the market, I'm going to be making this (in some form) every week.

Sourcing labneh is difficult at the best of times, and in times of Covid, doubly so. Who knew it was so easy to make yourself? This easy recipe yields a wonderful creamy spread with minimal effort and maximum results. The za’atar mix comes together in minutes, and is miles ahead of anything store-bought. Spend the few minutes it takes to toast your own sesame seeds and you will be rewarded with a very tasty blend.

I let my yogurt strain for 27 hours before removing it from the cheesecloth. Quite a bit of liquid was released over that time, and in fact I found it necessary to pour off the whey while refrigerated so that the bottom of the strainer cleared the liquid. From the original 24 ounces of full fat yogurt, I ended up with 12 ounces of labneh.

Instead of sprinkling the za’atar into the entire end product, I chose to keep some of the labneh plain for other uses. The rest was topped with za’atar and olive oil as directed. We loved it as a topping for baked potatoes, and will enjoy the rest with some warm pita or crispy toast. The plain labneh spread on toast with a drizzle of honey and toasted almonds was also delicious.

What a difference in the amount and consistency that result from draining yogurt for a full 24 hours. I started with 24 ounces and ended up with 13 oz. of rich, creamy cheese.

The labneh was very much like a soft cream cheese to which I added about 2 tablespoons of the za’atar seasoning. The result was a delicious spread that I’ve used on crackers, as a dip, and on bread. The za’atar seasoning has also amped up the flavor of roasted chicken thighs and will likely find its way onto other proteins and veggies before it’s gone. A very satisfying process I had been anticipating trying, so it’s inclusion on the list was the encouragement I needed to give it a go.

I love Middle Eastern recipes, and have always wanted to make labneh but just never put forth the effort. It’s not easy to find at the store, and I’ve substituted yogurt so many times, but it’s just not the same.

The result of this recipe is much richer than I think I could find in the store. And, I love that it’s possible to control the thickness by adjusting the draining time. The fact that it will keep for 3 months in the fridge is also a huge benefit!

This was wonderful as a topping for some spiced meatballs over rice, on top of roasted sweet potatoes, and tucked into an omelette (tasted just like goat cheese). I feel that the possibilities could be endless.

The only change I would make would be to leave the labneh unseasoned, so that it could be seasoned differently for various dishes. I have other ideas for this labneh, but not all would benefit from the za'atar flavor.

I happen to love cream cheese and was intrigued by this recipe for what looked to be an excellent alternative, and a healthier one as well.

I found the recipe to be as simple as could be and the payoff was HUGE. The extra creamy end result gave me a product that could be enjoyed so many ways—on a pita, mixed with herbs, in a savory galette. I loved trying them all.

How else did I use my labneh? On pumpernickel toast with thinly sliced radish on top, on roasted tomato crostini, and as the base of a Labneh Green Goddess dip. On multigrain crackers and with a little olive oil drizzled on the top. I think it would also have been good with honey drizzled on top.

I plan on also using it in a Mujadara pita roll-up, in another savory galette, and also added to shakshuka. This labneh is so very versatile!

This recipe makes a decent labneh, certainly better than anything available at the stores. And you have the benefit of knowing all the ingredients that go into it. The za'atar herb mix is simple and fresh.

I used a traditional whole milk Greek style yogurt and allowed it to drain for 24 hours in the fridge. Making this sort of thing in the past I have used a regular-style yogurt and found that draining the Greek style for this long resulted in an almost too thick spread. Next time I would just use a regular yogurt or drain it for less time. The addition of the za'atar and olive oil helped loosen it a bit.

The spread was very tangy and with the addition of the olive oil and za'atar quite earthy in taste. While not the favorite thing we've ever done with homemade labneh, it was pretty good. We normally use this type of a spread mixed with a good dollop of pesto on garlic toast or a baked potato. Certainly worth doing yourself at home.

Homemade cheese, ok, up for the challenge. I realized that despite the fact that pre-pandemic eating out was among my favorite pastimes, I had never actually ordered labneh in a restaurant. Nor had I paid much attention when I tasted it when it was served alongside a meal. Which left me wondering….how should it taste, what should the texture be, what are the best flavors to enhance it, should it be made with Greek yogurt or not, does it matter what type of cheesecloth you use?

Armed with a large container of full-fat Greek yogurt I lined my strainer with cheesecloth. But then I thought that the cheesecloth was very loose and that so much yogurt was going to pass through it, I actually lined it with a double layer folded in half. I refrigerated it with a weight for 20 hours and it was in fact thick and spreadable like cream cheese. I used 2 teaspoons of za’atar , drizzled it with olive oil, and served it with every meal we had over the next few days. My yield was about 2 cups.

More questions remaining, I noticed that every labneh recipe I saw online called for salting the yogurt, there were various directions about the use of Greek vs. non-Greek yogurt. Cheesecloth comes in a variety of weaves, often releasing more than whey when squeezed. I’m anxious to do it again and try some other yogurt, other cheesecloth, and other flavorings.

I imagine it would be good with harissa, with fig jam, meats, pita, toast, and eggs. Would serve it with a Mediterranean platter with spreads like hummus and baba ghanoush. We ate it with kebabs, salads, and crackers. Additionally, I can't wait to try it at some of our Middle Eastern restaurants to see how they prepare it and to compare my results. It is so satisfying to be able to easily make cheese at home with ingredients that are readily available.

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Comments

Can someone comment on using Chobani whole milk greek yogurt vs Fage whole milk greek yogurt. Their consistency is so different to start am wondering if those of you with good results used either of these brands to start. Thank you.

Denise, I don’t think any of our testers used these brands, but we’d love to hear from any readers that did.


37 Most Popular Lebanese Recipes

Lebanese cuisine is without doubt one of the most typical expressions of Middle Eastern cuisine, extremely varied and strongly influenced by the Arab-Muslim tradition. Like all Middle Eastern cuisines, it is based on the rural traditions of farmers and nomadic peoples who have lived in the area for thousands of years. Certain dishes described in the ancient Egyptian texts and in the Bible are still prepared today.

There is this part of the world which has given birth to many elements of Mediterranean culture and which in turn preserves elements from the Middle East, the ancient region of Canaan, Arabs, Asia, Africa and Europe and that is what is called the Fertile Crescent. This region also includes this small strip of land overlooking the sea called Lebanon, the land of cedars, a tree that serves as a national emblem. Canaanites, Chaldeans, Arabs, Byzantines, Druze, Ottomans, and especially the Phoenicians, are among the many cultures that have crossed the lands surrounding Beirut.

Today, Lebanese cuisine uses fresh and tasty ingredients and refined spices. Extremely varied, it is influenced by the Arab-Muslim tradition interpreted with a French touch.

Lebanese cuisine is above all very similar to Palestinian and Syrian cuisines. The spread of this cuisine from the Mediterranean basin took place through the conquest of these Phoenicians and that of Islamic warriors in North Africa and Europe, therefore on all the shores of the Mediterranean.

The cuisine of the Middle East as a whole owes a lot to the creativity of Lebanese cuisine, which is with Palestinian and Syrian cuisine, rich in vegetables, fish, local products, meat and especially lamb. It is often refined with the use of olive oil, delicious spices, and dried fruits such as almonds, pistachios, nuts, and hazelnuts.

The pride of Lebanese cuisine is the mezze, these refined aperitifs that always find their place on the tables of the Middle East, and which consist for a variety of dips, salads, savory pastries with exquisite flavors, which have their roots in the mists of time.


What is labneh?

Labneh (also called labna or labni) is a Middle Eastern cheese from the Levant. It&rsquos traditionally made from yogurt that has been strained for long enough to remove most of its whey. It has the tart and sour taste of yogurt but is spreadable and creamy. In addition to serving it fresh with olive oil and zaatar, it&rsquos also common to let this yogurt-based cheese dry and then roll it into balls. These balls are often stored in a jar filled with olive oil and herbs.


More things to keep in mind to successfully make this recipe

For best results, make sure to choose a quality yogurt. This is because the raw material is a key point to the success of the recipe. Make sure to choose a yogurt that contains whole milk and lactic ferments without any other added ingredients.

This dish is made with sheep or cow yogurt in countries where it’s considered traditional. However, you can also use goat yogurt if you prefer. Cow’s milk gives it a smoother and more neutral flavor. You need to add fermented milk and protein yogurts with extra fat or 0% sugar.

You can even choose both low-fat and whole yogurt. However, choosing low-fat yogurt will result in a lighter, a bit bland, and not so creamy labneh. Greek yogurt (without added sugar) or homemade yogurt are other good options.

You need to keep labneh in the fridge after making it. In its creamiest version, it can last a maximum of three to four days when stored in an airtight container. Marinated in olive oil, it can last a little longer and be consumed up to a month later.

It’s a good idea to take it out of the fridge for about 15 minutes before eating it to lower its temperature a bit so you can taste it better.


Labneh recipe - Recipes

A middle Eastern style cheesy dip made with healthy creamy yoghurt. If you like hummus, you will also like this. For this recipe I used goat’s milk yoghurt, it will give you a much nicer flavour. You can however use any natural full cream yoghurt, even Greek yoghurt will still work fine.

Labneh is basically yoghurt that has been strained of its liquid, (known as whey) giving you an exceptionally smooth yoghurt cream cheese. You simply add a little salt and voila! Two ingredients, how simple is that!

In this recipe, it’s used as a party dip, but could also be used, in the same manner as cream cheese. On baked potatoes, sandwiches, vegetables etc. there’s a million uses.

For the herbs and spices, I simply used, sumac (A flower that has a tangy lemony spice). Dried oregano and sesame seeds. You can make up your own flavours, including mixing it with freshly minced garlic. Adding lemon juice, thyme, fresh herbs etc.

You can serve it with raw vegetables, radishes, olives, bell peppers, cucumbers etc. Serve garnished with fresh mint and warm pita bread. Enjoy a batch of labneh today!

Ingredients

    35oz - 1kg goat milk or plain whole milk yogurt 2 tsp salt (or 1%) 2 warm pita breads (with olive oil) Half tsp oregano herb Half tsp sumac spice 1 tbsp sesame seeds (freshly toasted) ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (some cheesecloth) Optional mint leaves for garnish

Steps

Wash your muslin in hot water, rinse with cold water and wring dry. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, pour in the contents of your yoghurt. Add the salt and mix well until smooth.

In another deep bowl or container, line the muslin or cheesecloth (I used double fold) over a large sieve. Pour in the yoghurt mixture. Pick up each corner, twist into a ball until firm and refrigerate overnight or 24 hours.

The next day, remove from fridge and empty the cheesecloth content into a serving plate or bowl large and deep enough. Using a spoon, spread labneh into circle groves. Top with extra virgin olive oil, sumac, oregano and toasted sesame seeds. Serve with warm pita bread.


How to make labneh: a tutorial

To make this super thick, strained labneh cheese you’ll start with a container of plain yogurt. Whole milk yogurt works best for this labneh recipe since it’s thicker than nonfat yogurt and has a lot more flavor. And if you want a really thick labneh, use plain Greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt (you might not need to strain the Greek yogurt for as long, though). Here are the basic steps for how to make labneh (or head to the full recipe):

Step 1: Mix whole milk yogurt and salt.

In a bowl, mix 32 ounces of plain whole milk yogurt and 1 teaspoon kosher salt.

Step 2: Strain the yogurt for 24 hours.

Once you’ve stirred in the yogurt, you simply have to pour it into a cheesecloth and tie it onto a wooden spoon. Suspend the spoon over the mouth of a pitcher. Then place it into the fridge for a full 24 hours to give the whey plenty of time to separate from the yogurt.

Step 3: Remove from the cheesecloth. Refrigerate or use immediately!

After 24 hours have passed, you should be left with a thick, creamy labneh. Homemade labneh keeps in the fridge for up to two weeks. But usually it’s all be gone by then!


  • 3 teaspoon garlic
  • 2 tablespoon virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup thick sour curd
  • 4 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoon fresh cream
  • salt as required
  • 1 sprig parsley

How to make Labneh Dip

Step 1

In a mortar-pestle, add sesame seeds, olive oil and pound them until they are transformed in a coarse paste. Keep it aside for further use.

Step 2

Take a deep bowl, and add curd, garlic, fresh cream, olive oil-sesame paste and salt as required and mix them into a mixture. Whisk the mixture until it is smooth in texture. Once done, cool the mixture in a refrigerator for at least an hour.


Line a large bowl with a piece of cheesecloth or other fine cloth. In another bowl, mix the yogurt and salt well. Transfer the yogurt to the cheesecloth, pick up the edges of the cloth, and tie them together well to form a bundle. Hang this over your sink or over a large bowl and leave for 48 hours. By this time the yogurt will have lost most of its liquid and be ready to use as a spread.

To go the whole hog, leave it hanging for a day longer. Remove the cheese from the cloth and place in a sealed container in the fridge. Once it is thoroughly chilled, preferably after 24 hours, roll the cheese into balls, somewhere between the size of an olive and a walnut.

Take a sterilized jar about 2 1/2 cups / 600 ml in capacity. Pour some of the oil inside and gently lay the balls in the oil. Add some more oil and continue with the balls until all the cheese is in the jar and immersed in oil. Seal the jar and keep until needed.

Before serving, scatter the mint and pepper on a flat plate and roll the balls in it.