Homemade Yogurt Cheese

Homemade Yogurt Cheese

The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Drain: 8 hrs
Total: 8 hrs 5 mins
Servings: 5 servings
Yield: 1/3 to 1/2 cup
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
29 Calories
1g Fat
3g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 5
Amount per serving
Calories 29
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 3mg 1%
Sodium 32mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 83mg 6%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 106mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Despite its name, yogurt cheese is not a proper cheese—although it looks very much like cream cheese. Rather, it's the product of straining plain yogurt until the moisture removal yields a rich and spreadable mixture, similar to some types of cheese. Usually made out of plain yogurt or plain Greek yogurt, yogurt cheese is a great ingredient in the kitchen, as it can be used in lieu of fresh cheese in salads, dips, smoothies, and pizzas, or spread on bagels, crackers, or flatbreads. The process is as simple as it can be—you just need one ingredient and some time.

Similar recipes are very popular in the Middle East, India, and Europe. Mixtures such as labneh follow similar methods and are used as a side to savory and spicy foods to counterbalance the flavors and add a touch of freshness to the overall dish. This method works well for any plain yogurt without artificial thickeners—organic is always best—and the resulting consistency of the thick spread makes it a great substitution for fattier cheeses in diets that need to keep an eye on saturated fat intake.

Use this recipe to make yogurt cheese, whether you make your own yogurt or buy it at the store. You need a funnel or strainer, cheesecloth or coffee filters, and a cup or bowl over which you can position the strainer.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain yogurt, or Greek yogurt 

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredient.

    Homemade yogurt cheese ingredient

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  2. Line a strainer or funnel with a double layer of cheesecloth or a single coffee filter and place it over a bowl that will be catching the liquid.

    Line a strainer or funnel with a double thickness of cheesecloth

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  3. Spoon the yogurt into the filter or cheesecloth.

    Spoon the yogurt into the cheesecloth

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  4. Cover the top of the funnel or strainer with plastic wrap and transfer everything to the refrigerator. Let drain for at least 8 hours, and up to 24. The longer you wait, the less moisture it will have and the thicker it will be.

    Cover the strainer with yogurt with plastic wrap

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  5. Remove the yogurt cheese from the filter or cheesecloth and save the whey for other recipes if you'd like. Keep the yogurt cheese refrigerated; it is best when used within one week.

    Remove the yogurt cheese from the strainer

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  6. Enjoy.

How to Use Yogurt Cheese

Yogurt cheese is a blank canvas for flavor. Here are a few ideas on how to use this delicious mixture:

  • Make dips for crudités by seasoning the yogurt cheese with olive oil, fresh or dried herbs, and salt.
  • Use the yogurt cheese as you would on bread, sandwiches, or wraps.
  • Serve yogurt cheese as a side to spicy and heavy foods, like chicken wings, ribs, or curries. Simply pour some olive oil on top of it and a few dashes of salt and pepper.
  • If you give the cheese additional time, it will firm up so much so that you can roll tablespoons of it with greased hands and make cheese balls. Place the cheese balls in a container and cover with olive oil. Use within a week, in salads, on crackers, or anywhere you'd use cream cheese or similar cheeses.
  • Mix the yogurt cheese with salt, pepper, lemon zest, and top with olive oil and pistachios to serve a beautiful appetizer alongside fresh bread.
  • Mix the yogurt cheese with fresh fruit, jam, or jelly, and make ice pops.

Sweet Yogurt Cheese

For a sweet version that is great as a light dessert, follow this easy method:

  • Strain the plain yogurt as directed in the recipe.
  • After 8 hours of straining, mix into the yogurt 3 to 4 tablespoons of honey, agave, or maple syrup and allow it to keep straining for an additional 8 hours.
  • Once the yogurt has thickened to your liking, spoon it into little bowls and add fresh fruit, lemon zest, and a teaspoon of the sweetener of choice.
  • Top with chopped walnuts or almonds and serve.