Labneh

8 Servings
Prep Time 1 day 5 minutes
Total Time 1 day 5 minutes

Labneh is a tangy yogurt cheese made with olive oil and whole milk yogurt. It’s perfect for serving with crisp veggies and warm pita.

This simple recipe uses yogurt to make a delicious dip that’s the perfect Appetizer Recipe. For more delicious dips to make, try out Beer Cheese Dip, Ultimate Spinach Artichoke Dip, and Easy Garlic Shrimp Dip.

About Our Labneh Recipe

This is a traditional dish with a creamy texture and salty, sour flavor. It makes a wonderful dip that you can serve along with veggies, fruit, crackers, pita, and other types of bread. When serving Labneh, spoon it into a serving bowl with olive oil and seasoning on top. Then you can put it out on a platter with all your favorite dipping options.

It’s great for a party or to munch on while you get dinner ready. It will make a delicious addition to a classic Charcuterie Board. Labneh is also a great snack to enjoy between meals, along with some veggies, the same way you might snack on hummus. In the Middle East, it’s often traditionally served as a breakfast dish, so if you want a change from a typical bowl of yogurt, this is a great place to start.

“What is Labneh?”

Labneh, also spelled Labnah and Labne, is a traditional Middle Eastern dish that dates back thousands of years. It’s a yogurt cheese made from strained yogurt. By putting whole milk yogurt over cheesecloth and allowing the liquid to strain out, you can create a thick, creamy, and tangy mixture that’s perfect for serving as a dip. This is similar to the process of creating Greek yogurt, which is also strained. However, Labneh is strained more thoroughly than Greek yogurt to create a thicker consistency.

“Can you make Labneh in advance?”

This is a great recipe to make in advance, and it’s important to start it at least 24 hours in advance as it takes that much time to strain the yogurt. After straining the yogurt, you can add it to a bowl with a lid or an airtight container. Then keep the mixture in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. When you’re ready to serve, transfer the mixture to your serving bowl. Then mix in the salt and add the olive oil and paprika topping.

Prepping the yogurt mixture a few days in advance makes it easy to get the recipe ready for a party or get-together with no extra stress on the days leading up to the event. Add the olive oil and spice at the last minute to ensure the freshest flavor when you serve the Labneh recipe.

Labneh Ingredients

  • 2 cups Plain Whole Milk Yogurt: To make Labneh, you’ll need to start with whole milk yogurt. You can use most kinds of whole yogurt to make it. Goat milk yogurt would probably be the most traditional option, but regular cow milk yogurt will also work well. You just don’t want to use Greek yogurt, as it is already partially strained and won’t result in the same flavor or consistency. Also be sure to use  plain yogurt rather than any flavored yogurts, vanilla or otherwise.
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt: After straining the yogurt, add ½ teaspoon salt to the creamy mixture. Labneh has a distinct tangy and salty flavor that sets it apart from yogurt. When adding the kosher salt, be sure to mix enough to ensure that it’s mixed evenly throughout the yogurt-cheese mixture.
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil: Labneh is traditionally served with olive oil drizzled over the top. The olive oil provides an earthy, herby, and slightly peppery flavor. It also helps to soften the Labneh when you use vegetables or bread to dip into the mixture.
  • 1 pinch Paprika: You’ll get some nice warm, savory flavor with paprika, but it also has a slight sweetness to it as well. It is a perfect seasoning to sprinkle over the top of your Labneh. It will also bring some nice color to the dip.
  • Dippers: Use any selection of veggies or bread that you choose for the dip.
Labneh ingredients

Kitchen Tools & Equipment

  • Cheesecloth: You’ll use cheesecloth to strain the yogurt of extra water. This will give you a nice, thick texture. Cheesecloth is a woven cotton fabric kind of like gauze and is used for lots of things in the kitchen so it will be handy to have some on hand.
  • Colander: The colander will be lined with cheesecloth and will hold the yogurt. This will allow the water to drain away from the yogurt.
  • Large Bowl: Your colander will rest in the bowl so make sure it is large enough to hold it. If you have a footed colander, you’ll want it to rest securely in the base. Test it out first before filling with yogurt. If you aren’t using a footed colander, you want your colander to be suspended above the bottom of the bowl so it won’t rest in the water you’re trying to strain out.
  • Refrigerator: Make sure you have room in your refrigerator for the large bowl so you can chill the dip for at least 24 hours while it strains.
  • Dip Bowl & Spoon: Use any size dip bowl that you like, along with the appropriate spoon. You’ll use the spoon to smooth out the top of the dip, and then you can leave it with the bowl if you’re having a party, so that guest can spoon some of the dip onto their appetizer plate.
  • Platter: Grab a platter to hold whatever variety of dippers you plan to set out.

How to Make Labneh

Time needed: 5 minutes.

  1. Prep Time

    Add two layers of cheesecloth to a colander. Then add the whole milk yogurt and spread it out in an even layer over the cheesecloth. Cover the yogurt with plastic wrap and place the strainer in a large bowl. Then refrigerate the yogurt for 24 hours.Labneh ingredients in bowl

  2. Add Toppings

    After the refrigeration time, spoon the yogurt from the strainer into the dip bowl. Then stir the kosher salt into the yogurt. Use the back of a spoon to make a decorative back-and-forth swirl shape in the mix. Then drizzle extra virgin olive oil on top and add a pinch of paprika.Labneh in bowl

  3. Serve

    Place the homemade Labneh on a serving platter with your choice of vegetable or bread dippers.Labneh in bowl

Nutritional Facts

Nutrition Facts
Labneh
Amount Per Serving
Calories 69 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 8mg3%
Sodium 174mg8%
Potassium 98mg3%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Fiber 0.04g0%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 122IU2%
Vitamin C 0.3mg0%
Calcium 75mg8%
Iron 0.1mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

How to Store Labneh

  • Serve: You shouldn’t leave Labneh sitting at room temperature for more than 2 hours, or it will start to go bad and not be safe to eat.
  • Store: To keep the recipe fresh, you can cover a bowl in plastic wrap or transfer the yogurt dip to an airtight container to store in the fridge. Kept carefully sealed the recipe will keep well for up to 2 weeks.
  • Freeze: Labneh, like many dairy products, doesn’t freeze well. While the homemade dip will freeze, its texture changes when you defrost the recipe. Because of this, it’s better to enjoy the creamy homemade yogurt cheese fresh.

Ideas to Serve Labneh

You should serve your Labneh recipe when the yogurt is chilled and fresh from the fridge. Keep the strained yogurt in a medium bowl and serve it along with crisp, fresh veggies like carrots, grape tomatoes, bell pepper strips, or cucumber spears. Set out any kind of bread for dipping that you like. Cut triangles of pita, try sliced naan, sliced french bread, toast some crostini, or slices of sourdough. Create a full Middle Eastern meal by serving Labneh as the appetizer or side along with Middle Eastern MeatballsGround Middle Eastern Beef Bowls, or Falafel as the main course. 

FAQs for Labneh

How is Labneh different from yogurt?

Labneh starts with yogurt as the base ingredient. However, it’s different from typical yogurt because it is strained to remove most of the liquid for a thicker consistency. Labneh also includes salt in the mixture and has an overall tangier flavor than traditional yogurt recipes. 

How should you eat Labneh?

You can serve Labneh as a dip recipe with an assortment of fresh vegetables, olives, and warm pita bread. It also makes a delicious spread to add to sandwiches or wraps. You could even serve creamy Labneh over salad or spread it over toast. 

Is labneh cheese or yogurt?

Labneh is considered a yogurt cheese. Because of how the dairy product is stained into a thicker consistency, it’s considered cheese, but it retains a sour flavor that’s more similar to yogurt. 

Are Greek yogurt and Labneh the same thing?

While both Greek yogurt and Labneh are strained yogurts, Labneh is strained much more thoroughly. More liquid whey is removed from Labneh than in Greek yogurt, so they are not quite the same. 

What country is Labneh from? 

Labneh has been around for thousands of years, so it’s hard to know exactly where it originated. However, it came from the Levent region, an area that includes parts of historical Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, and Syria.

Labneh in bowl

Recipe Card

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Labneh

Labneh is a tangy yogurt cheese made with olive oil and whole milk yogurt. It's perfect for serving with crisp veggies.
Yield 8 Servings
Prep Time 1 day 5 minutes
Total Time 1 day 5 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

  • 2 cups plain whole milk yogurt , do not use Greek
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pinch paprika
  • vegetables and pita bread for serving

Instructions

  • In a colander add two layers of cheesecloth.
  • Add the yogurt and spread evenly.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and place the strainer into a large bowl.
  • Refrigerate for 24 hours.
  • Spoon the yogurt into a dip bowl, and stir in salt.
  • With the back of a spoon, make a decorative back and forth swirl.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and add a pinch of paprika.
  • Serve on a platter with vegetables like carrots, grape tomatoes, bell pepper strips, cucumber spears, and toasted pita cut into 6 triangles.

Nutrition

Calories: 69kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 174mg | Potassium: 98mg | Fiber: 0.04g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 122IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 0.1mg
Labneh collage

Labneh Variations

  • Lemon Juice: There are lots of ways that you can flavor this soft cheese recipe, and one easy way is by adding a zesty citrus flavor with fresh lemon juice. You can squeeze fresh lemon juice over the Labneh while you add the olive oil topping, and sprinkle some lemon zest over the top as a finishing touch.
  • Labneh Balls: A popular way to prepare Labneh is in Labneh Balls. Start by straining the yogurt as usual. Once the mixture is firm to the touch, transfer the yogurt from the cheesecloth to a deep bowl. Then use a tablespoon scoop and your hands to roll the mixture into small balls. Place the Labneh Balls in the fridge to firm up overnight. Then season them how you’d like by rolling the balls in your choice of seasoning. Add the seasoned balls to a jar and pour olive oil over the top to cover.
  • Seasonings: You can add a variety of herbs and spices to yogurt cheese. Try topping the recipe with garlic powder, Za’atar spice, everything bagel seasoning, black pepper, or red pepper flakes would all make delicious additions to this recipe.

Tasty Dip Recipes

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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