Labneh is a famous middle eastern strained yogurt dip that is tangy, creamy, and delicious! You can easily make it at home using just 2 ingredients and a few minutes.
What is Labneh?
Labneh (which is also pronounced labna, or labne) is a middle eastern strained yogurt cheese. The strained yogurt ends up resembling cream cheese in consistency and is excellent served as a dip.
Labneh originates from the Levant region, which is modern day Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine. It is also made in Turkey, and the Turkish labneh is my favourite variety at middle eastern supermarkets.
It is often served as part of a mezze (or appetizers) alongside hummus and baba ghanoush. It's also served for breakfast, often spread on pita bread and topped with Za'atar and olive oil, as well as fresh vegetables and mint.
You don't have to resort to buying it in order to enjoy it! It's so easy to make. In fact, it is cheaper to make at home, and only requires a few minutes.
Watch me make Labneh
Ingredients You'll Need to Make Labneh
All you need to make labneh is plain whole milk yogurt or whole milk Greek yogurt, and some salt. The other important item you'll need is a cheesecloth for straining.
A cheesecloth is a gauze-like fabric that's used for making cheese.
If you don't have a cheesecloth, you can simply use a mesh strainer lined with paper towels.
How to make Labneh, Step by Step
The first step is to place your yogurt in a bowl and mix it well with the salt. Typically, 2 cups of yogurt will yield 1 cup of labneh.
Next, prep the bowl apparatus you will be using. The main objective is to elevate the labneh above the bowl, to allow the liquid to strain out. Here I am using a mesh strainer sitting on top of a trivet to elevate it from the bottom.
Next, spread out your cheesecloth inside the mesh strainer, and spoon in all of the yogurt.
Tie up the corners of the cheesecloth together securely. Make sure the yogurt in the cheese cloth is elevated above the bottom of the bowl, so it is not sitting in the liquid.
Another way to elevate it is to use a wooden spoon. Simply tie the cheesecloth around the spoon and allow it to hang across the bowl.
Place the yogurt in the fridge and allow it to strain for 24-48 hours. After 24 hours, the consistency will be perfect for dipping.
If you wait for 48 hours, the consistency will be closer to cream cheese and very thick and spreadable. Choose the timeframe that works for the consistency you prefer.
Remove the labneh from the cheese cloth and place it on a bowl or plate to serve. The cheesecloth should be washed right away before the labneh sticks to it.
You can create a labneh spread and garnish it with the toppings you enjoy. Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil on top and serve it with fresh pita bread for dipping.
I love topping it with the classic topping which is Za'atar and olive oil. But I also love to fry some almonds along with garlic and chilli flakes which gives a great flavour and crunch.
How to Serve Labneh
In middle eastern culture, labneh is served in two ways, and always topped with great quality extra virgin olive oil:
- For breakfast, along side pita bread. It is often sprinkled with Za'atar and drizzled generously with olive oil. It is also served as a labneh pita wrap, with fresh vegetables like cucumber and tomato, as well as herbs like mint and parsley.
- As a dip or an appetizer. It's served topped with olive oil alongside other middle eastern dips like hummus and baba ghanoush. Pita bread and fresh vegetables are used for dipping.
How to Store Labneh
Labneh must be stored in the refrigerator, in an air-tight container. It will last up to 2 weeks.
Labneh is also often preserved in olive oil. This is done by creating small labneh balls, then rolling them in any desired seasonings, and placing them in a mason jar. The jar is then topped with olive oil, which helps to preserve the labneh.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What do you eat Labneh with? Labneh is almost always served with olive oil and eaten with fresh pita bread for dipping.
Is Labneh similar to Greek yogurt? Labneh is much thicker and creamier than Greek yogurt, but it is similar in taste.
Is Labneh a cheese or a yogurt? Labneh is strained yogurt, which makes it more like a soft cheese.
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How to Make Labneh
- 750 grams Natural Yogurt 6% to 11% fat
- 1 teaspoon salt
- In a medium sized bowl, mix together the yogurt and the salt
- In a separate bowl, place a strainer so that it is elevated and not touching the bottom of the bowl
- Lay your cheesecloth in the strainer
- Add in the yogurt/salt mixture into the cheesecloth and tie it up
- You can also rest a wooden spoon at the top of the bowl and tie the cheesecloth to the spoon with a trivet underneath to ensure it does not touch the bottom of the bowl
- If you do not have a cheesecloth, layer paper towels in the strainer instead
- Allow it to strain for 24 hours in the fridge, or up to 48 hours for an even thicker consistency
- Spread onto a plate and top with olive oil and your preferred seasoning (such as Za'atar, or garlic and chilli flakes). Serve with pita bread.
- If you don't have a cheesecloth, feel free to use paper towels
- For a dip like consistency, allow the labneh to strain for 24 hours. For a thicker spreadable consistency, strain it for 48 hours
- You can use yogurt with a higher fat percentage for an even creamier taste
Thanks for lovely recipe
Amina Al-Saigh says
You're so welcome! 🙂
Very delicious and very easy to make