Labneh Recipe

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Labneh (also spelled labaneh) is a simple yet super delicious Middle Eastern dip. Topped with olive oil or za’atar spice, this tangy, creamy cheese dip is an all-time favorite for breakfast in countries like Jordan or Lebanon.

Labneh can be found at many Middle Eastern grocery stores in the Middle East and beyond. However, it’s really easy to make labneh at home with just two ingredients. And as it is with most dishes, labneh is much better when homemade.

Let me show you how to make traditional Middle Eastern labneh with this step-by-step recipe.

What is Labneh?

Labneh is a creamy cheese obtained from straining yogurt. During the straining process, the whey is removed which results in a creamy spread. The consistency of labneh is tangier than conventional yogurt.

There are various varieties of labneh in the Middle East. It can be made from goat’s milk or cow’s milk yogurt. The taste of labeh largely depends on the type of milk of the yogurt. Goat’s milk will give your labneh a stronger taste, while labneh made from cow’s milk has a milder flavor. Same as unstrained yogurt, labneh has a pleasant sour taste.

How to Make Labneh?

Many Middle Eastern recipes are based on centuries-old traditional methods. Labneh is no exception to that.

To make labneh, you only need two ingredients: fresh yogurt and a pinch of salt. You can enhance this basic recipe by adding toppings such as extra virgin olive oil, za’atar spice mix or other herbs (such as thyme or mint).

Since goat’s milk yogurt isn’t widely available outside of the Middle East, this labneh recipe uses conventional yogurt (whole-fat yogurt) that you’ll find in any grocery store in the US and Europe.

Note: The exact quantities (according to the amount of servings) can be found in the recipe card at the end of this recipe.

Traditional Labneh Recipe Step-by-Step

1. Mix yogurt and salt

Combine yogurt and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir well.

Labneh Step 1

2. Transfer yogurt mixture in a cloth

First, place a cloth in a fine-mesh strainer. Transfer the yogurt mixture onto the cloth. Use the sides of the cloth to cover the yogurt mixture.

By the way, the best cloth type is a linen cloth as this will allow the whey to pass through. Don’t use paper towels as these will break.

Labneh Step 2

3. Place strainer on a bowl

Place the strainer with the yogurt mixture onto a large bowl. The bowl should be large enough to absorb the whey which is liquid (similar to water) without touching the strainer. Place in the fridge and strain for at least 12 hours (better 24 hours).

Labneh Step 3

4. Serve

Scrape into a flat bowl or small plate. Garnish with plenty of olive oil and za’atar spice mix. Serve with fresh pita bread and olives.

Labneh is very popular to make a sandwich. Simply spread on fresh pita bread, sprinkle with herbs (za’atar, thyme or mint) and roll up. In Egypt, labneh is often eaten with honey (which gives a great combination of sour and sweet).

To create a Middle Eastern breakfast platter, serve with hummus, pita bread, olives and cut up vegetables like tomatoes and cucumber slices.

Labneh Recipe

How to Eat Labneh?

  • Labneh sandwich with pita bread
  • Mezze platter (in combination with hummus)
  • Process into labneh balls
  • Process into kishkeh (labneh with bulgur and nuts)
  • With honey (Egyptian style)
  • Sprinkled with herbs (za’atar, thyme, mint…)

Labneh (Strained Yogurt)

Easy step-by-step recipe for Middle Eastern labneh. A creamy dip made from strained yogurt which is popular for breakfast. Based on the traditional recipe you'll find in the Middle East.
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Prep Time 5 mins
Resting Time 12 hrs
Total Time 12 hrs 5 mins
Course Breakfast, Side Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Servings 8 people
Calories 51 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 500 g yoghurt whole milk
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 3 tsp olive oil for garnish
  • 1 pinch zaatar for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Mix yogurt and salt in a large bowl. Stir to combine.
  • Place a linen cloth on a fine mesh strainer. Add the yogurt mixture onto the cloth. Cover with the sides of the cloth.
  • Place the strainer on a large bowl. Strain for at least 12 hours.
  • Remove the strained yogurt from the cloth to a flat bowl or plate. Garnish with olive oil, za’atar and finely chopped parsley leaves.

Notes

  • Labneh can be made from goat’s milk yogurt or whole-milk yogurt (made from cow’s milk). Whole-milk yogurt is widely available outside of the Middle East. It has a less strong flavor when compared to goat’s milk.
  • The nutrition facts are rough estimates and can vary according to the exact weight, brand and type of ingredients used.

Nutrition

Calories: 51kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 2gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 319mgPotassium: 97mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 63IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 76mgIron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Let me know how it was by leaving a comment below.

FAQ & Tips

Below you’ll find the answers to the most commonly asked questions on labneh from fun facts to preparation tips and tricks.

Is labneh healthy?

Yes, labneh is very healthy! Labneh is an important source of protein. Due to its healthy bacteria it’s considered a probiotic dish which boosts the immune system. Furthermore, labneh has less lactose than unstrained yogurt which makes it lower in sugar.

What to eat with labneh?

Despite labneh being a simple dish, there are countless ways to combine it. It’s a popular ingredient for Middle Eastern breakfast, along with hummus, pita bread and olives. Spread on a flatbread and roll up to create a labneh sandwich.

Where to find labneh in grocery stores?

Labneh can be found in any Middle Eastern or Turkish grocery store. Some large chains like Trader Joe’s also sell it. It’s usually kept in the dairy compartment near the yogurt and milk. However, homemade labneh clearly beats store bought labneh. Make sure to try out my recipe.

How long does labneh last?

Labneh can be stored in the refrigerator for at least a week.

Does labneh have lactose?

Yes. However, it’s lower in lactose when compared to unstrained yogurt.

Did You Like this Recipe?

Any questions on my labneh recipe? Let me know in the comments below. I’m more than happy to help you make delicious Middle Eastern food at home.

About Kitty

Ahlan, I’m Kitty! Welcome2Jordan is the result of my love for Jordan, good food and adventures. Through this blog and my self-published travel guide, I’d like to share information on Jordan and it’s heritage, culture and cuisine.

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