Homemade Labneh is a lazy chefs dream! This Middle Eastern staple is made by simply straining yogurt. It’s soft texture is reminiscent of cream cheese but has more tang, and also all the beneficial probiotics of cultured yogurt.
This recipe takes minimal effort to make from scratch and is an incredibly versatile ingredient to have in your kitchen. Did I mention this recipe calls for just one ingredient from the grocery store?
Use it as a base for a dip, stir into curries, add to scrambled eggs for extra-creaminess, slather on bread or a toasted bagel instead of cream cheese; I could go on and on and on.
WHAT YOGURT SHOULD I USE TO MAKE LABNEH?
Use plain whole milk yogurt to make homemade labneh. Trader Joe’s European-style is my go-to because it’s creamy but still pourable.
HOW DO YOU MAKE LABNEH?
Labneh is made by straining whey from whole milk yogurt with the help of salt and cheesecloth.
My recipe calls for 32 ounces of whole milk yogurt and 1 teaspoon of fine kosher salt. This may seem like a large amount of yogurt but keep it mind the yogurt will reduce by half in volume once the whey is removed. Feel free to cut the recipe in half for a smaller quantity.
HOMEMADE LABNEH STEP BY STEP:
Line a fine mesh strainer with several layers of cheesecloth or a linen napkin. Stir salt into the yogurt and pour into the lined strainer.
Set the strainer over a deep bowl so the whey has something to drip into. Twist the ends of the cheesecloth into a bundle; rest the ends rest on top. Place in the fridge and strain anywhere from 12 hours to 48+ hours.
Remove from the fridge every so often, pour out the whey, and give the cheesecloth a good wring to help speed up the process. The longer you strain the yogurt, the thicker your labneh will be. I tend to leave it for a longer period of time but that’s simply personal preference.
Below is an example of 24 hours of straining (and quite a few wrings over the sink to speed it along). My best guess is that this is what 48 hours of straining undisturbed looks like.
HOW TO STORE HOMEMADE LABNEH
Store Labneh in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
If you plan on storing for a longer period of time, roll into balls (using about 1 tablespoon of labneh) and place in a clean container with an airtight lid. Pour olive oil over the labneh balls until they’re completely submerged and there’s at least 1/2 ” of olive oil on top . If stored properly, labneh balls will keep for 2-3 months.
WHAT DOES LABNEH PAIR WELL WITH?
Labneh plays well in both sweet and savory dishes; it’s truly a versatile ingredient! Think of it as a more natural substitution for cream cheese. You can use labneh both in savory dips (like the recipes found below) or in your favorite creamy dessert.
LABNEH DIP RECIPES
Recipes pictured above; listed in order:
1. Fresh Herb and Habanero Labneh
2. Caramelized Shallot and Chive Dip
3. Garden and Snap Pea Salad with Lime Infused Labneh
4. Roasted Beet and Labneh Dip
5. Labneh with Hot Honey and Figs
- 1 strainer small holes is better
- cheesecloth or linen napkin you can also use a linen napkin instead
- medium bowl to catch the drippings
- 32 ounce whole milk yogurt
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Stir salt into yogurt and mix well.
- Place a strainer in a large bowl. Line the strainer with several layers of cheesecloth.
- Pour the salted yogurt into the lined strainer. Twist ends of the cheesecloth until the yogurt is covered. This doesn't have to look perfect, you just don't want the yogurt exposed while it strains. Don't forget to empty whey from the bowl a few times during the straining process.
- Let this sit on the counter or in the fridge for 24-48 hours. The longer you let it strain, the thicker your labneh will be. If I'm running short on time, I'll give it a little squeeze every so often to speed up the straining process.
- I normally serve labneh with a generous drizzle of my best extra-virgin olive oil, a few fresh herbs, and a sprinkling of za'atar.