Making Cheese at Home: 2-Step Labneh

Calling all Greek yogurt lovers – meet Labneh. While Greek yogurt is famous for its tangy versatility, labneh cheese should be recognized too because it takes that tangy taste to the next level. It’s the perfect addition to your next mezze dish that will have your foodie guests in awe!

What is Labneh?

Simply, it’s yogurt cheese: yogurt strained into thick, creamy, spreadable goodness. Made with cow’s milk and preserved in extra virgin olive oil, this dish of Middle Eastern roots is perfectly paired alongside triangles of toasted pita and brine-cured olives. Have I convinced you that you need to make this deliciously simple cheese? Good. Let’s get to it!

Tools You’ll Need

  • Large fine-mesh sieve
  • Cheesecloth
  • Spatula
  • Large bowl
  • Cereal bowl
  • Weight (like a can of beans or tuna)
  • Plastic wrap

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces full-fat yogurt

Instructions

  1. Line fine-mesh sieve with cheesecloth. With a spatula, gently add the yogurt to the cheesecloth-lined sieve. Place strainer with cheesecloth and yogurt over the bowl to let the whey from the yogurt drain off.[[{"fid":"3728","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","alignment":"","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false,"external_url":""},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"7":{"format":"default","alignment":"","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false,"external_url":""}},"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"7"}}]]
  2. Bring the sides of cheesecloth up and tie to cover top of the yogurt. Then place a cereal bowl with a weight (like a can of tuna) on top of the tied cheesecloth to help press the liquid whey out of the cheese.
    [[{"fid":"3727","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","alignment":"","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false,"external_url":""},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"6":{"format":"default","alignment":"","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false,"external_url":""}},"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"6"}}]]
  3. Place the yogurt setup in the fridge and let it sit for three days.
    [[{"fid":"3726","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","alignment":"","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false,"external_url":""},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"4":{"format":"default","alignment":"","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false,"external_url":""}},"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"4"}}]]
  4. Take the bowl out of fridge and unwrap the cheesecloth to test the density of the yogurt by touching it. It should be a solid disc that crumbles easily. Take the cheese and gently place it in a clean bowl. Add any ingredients you want to your labneh and mix together. You can reserve the drained liquid (i.e., whey), which can be added to smoothies, soups, casseroles or oatmeal for added protein. 
    [[{"fid":"3725","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","alignment":"","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false,"external_url":""},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"5":{"format":"default","alignment":"","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false,"external_url":""}},"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"5"}}]]
  5. Roll labneh into balls and place on cheese board or roll into logs (by placing onto plastic wrap and rolling tight). Keep refrigerated for up to five days.
    [[{"fid":"3724","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","alignment":"","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false,"external_url":""},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","alignment":"","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false,"external_url":""}},"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]]

Variations

Olive Oil and Herbed Labneh (Pictured)

  • Labneh
  • 2 ounces extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
  • ½ teaspoon lemon or orange zest
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk olive oil, herbs and zest together. Roll labneh into ¾ inch balls, place in a plastic container and pour olive oil mixture over the top. Seal tight and marinate for at least 8 hours.

Honey Almond Labneh

  • Labneh
  • 4 ounces sliced almonds
  • 2 ounces honey
  • 1 tablespoon chopped lavender (optional)

Roll labneh into cheese balls or a single log. Place on a serving dish and add sliced almonds and honey.

Need more inspiration for your next mezze meal? Check out a few of our favorite recipes.

By Sarah Ryan, MS, RDN, LD

Sarah is a registered dietitian nutritionist and foodie. She has a special interest in sports nutrition and is certified in food allergy training. When she isn't working, you can find her in the kitchen baking delicious cakes and beautiful pies. Learn more about Sarah