Labneh Yogurt Cheese

labneh cheese on middle eastern salad
T.Tseng/Flickr/CC 2.0
Ratings (13)
  • Total: 10 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Straining time: 24 hrs
  • Yield: 1 pint (16 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
262 Calories
29g Fat
1g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 pint (16 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 262
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 29g 37%
Saturated Fat 4g 21%
Cholesterol 2mg 1%
Sodium 26mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 1g
Calcium 24mg 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.)

Labneh, or labna, is a Lebanese-style soft cheese. It is one of the easiest (arguably the easiest) cheeses to make at home. The optional herbs add flavor and color.

Labneh has a consistency like cream cheese but fewer calories and a slightly tangier flavor. Shaped into balls and covered in olive oil (the traditional way to store this cheese), labneh will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

Equipment:

  • Colander
  • Large bowl
  • Cheesecloth, muslin bag, or paper coffee filters
  • 1 clean pint (500 ml) glass jar with lid​

Ingredients

  • 1 quart/1 liter yogurt
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional: black pepper to taste
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme, mint, parsley or chives
  • Optional: 1 pint/500 ml extra-virgin olive oil

Steps to Make It

  1. Place the colander over a large bowl. Line the colander with the cheesecloth, muslin bag, or paper coffee filters. Spoon in the yogurt.

  2. Leave the yogurt to drain for 24 hours, refrigerated for a milder flavor or at room temperature for a tangier labneh.

  3. The liquid that separates out into the bowl is whey. You can use it to kickstart lacto-fermented pickles, especially if you want to reduce or eliminate the amount of salt in them. Whey will keep in the refrigerator for up to a month.

  4. Mix the salt, pepper, and herbs (if using) into the yogurt.

  5. Spoon the labneh as is into jars or containers and store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. For longer storage, use the traditional oil-preserved method below.

  6. Lightly coat your hands with olive oil. Scoop up a scant tablespoon of labneh and gently shape it into a ball. The labneh will be soft, but you should still be able to shape it into a ball that holds together.

  7. Place the labneh balls carefully into clean, dry glass jars. Pour the extra-virgin olive oil over the labneh. For decoration and extra flavor, you can tuck in a few sprigs of fresh herbs as you add the labneh and oil.

  8. Lightly tap the jars on the side to release any air bubbles. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

Enjoy your labneh as a spread on hearty bread or crackers. The leftover oil makes an excellent dipping sauce for bread, especially if you added sprigs of fresh herbs to the jars.