Delicious Homemade Labneh or Yogurt Cheese Recipe - Step To Health

Delicious Homemade Labneh or Yogurt Cheese Recipe

Labneh or yogurt cheese is a Middle Eastern cream cheese alternative. It’s perfect for spreading and accompanying sweet or savory dishes.
Delicious Homemade Labneh or Yogurt Cheese Recipe

Last update: 26 April, 2021

Is there such a thing as a healthy, light, and flavorful cream cheese? Yes! There are many options, including labneh, or yogurt cheese. This delicious option is easy to make at home!

If you want to learn how to make it step by step, keep reading this article. You’ll get a perfect spreadable healthy cheese that you can season to your liking to vary its flavor.

Labneh or yogurt cheese: the Mediterranean cheese spread

Labneh in a bowl.
Labneh or yogurt cheese is made with yogurt and salt and requires some time and patience.

This creamy cheese is included in traditional dishes of some countries such as Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, or Greece. Although you can find it in markets, many people decide to make it at home.

It’s a simple recipe for several reasons. You only need two ingredients: yogurt and salt. You’ll also only need a couple of kitchen utensils and the recipe doesn’t require heat or temperature. Some time and patience will get you amazing results!

Due to its consistency and neutral flavor, labneh or yogurt cheese is very versatile. Like hummus, it’s perfect for dipping in bread, toast, or vegetable stips. Also, you can use it as a creamy topping for a sandwich or salad.

We’re sure you and your entire family will love it, as it’s easy to make and versatile in the kitchen.

Labneh or yogurt cheese recipe

As with all recipes, the amounts can vary depending on how many people will be eating and how much you’ll need for the chosen presentation.

The ingredients and materials you’ll need

  • 500 grams of plain yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • To serve: extra virgin olive oil, spices, or fresh herbs to taste.
  • Wide and thick cotton, gauze, or similar cloth (otherwise, the yogurt will seep through it).
  • 1 big bowl
  • 1 big strainer

How to make the labneh or yogurt cheese recipe

  • Firstly, spread the cotton cloth over the strainer. It’s best for the latter to also be of fine mesh. Place on top of the bowl so that there’s enough space between them to drain the yogurt.
  • Pour the yogurt into a container, add the salt, and mix with the help of a whisk.
  • Pour carefully over the cloth. Tighten well and tie with a piece of twine or tongs. Store in the fridge.
  • If you want to get a spreadable cream, 8 or 10 hours of drainage will do. Remove the yogurt and season with the olive oil and spices or fresh herbs to taste. If you’re not going to eat it right away, store it in an airtight container.
  • You can also make it denser by draining it longer, between 24 and 36 hours. After uncovering the mixture, make cheese balls with the help of a spoon. Place in a glass jar with olive oil and other seasonings if you want more flavor.

Some people use whole milk for the recipe. If you like this option more, simply boil the whole milk and then mix it with the yogurt. The result will be just as delicious and creamy.

Ways to eat labneh or yogurt cheese

Yogurt cheese with olive oil.
You can eat labneh with toast, pita bread, vegetables, or in sweet and savory preparations.

You can add this yogurt cheese either to sweet or savory dishes. It’s very common in mezze or classic appetizers of Mediterranean or Middle Eastern countries. In fact, it’s an ingredient of a typical breakfast made with olives, tomatoes, and cucumbers.

People commonly spread it on pita bread, toast, or vegetable strips, just like hummus or baba ghanoush.

You can also use it to make sauces and salad dressings. In both cases, it’s a good idea to season it with other ingredients, be it fresh herbs, spices, or crushed nuts. Adding cumin or za’atar is the perfect way to add the original flavor of the popular cuisine of the countries it comes from.

Also, some people use it to make cheesecake. If you have a sweet tooth or crave a dessert, this ingredient goes perfectly well with fruits, compotes, nuts, or a little honey.

Another option is seasoned labneh balls, which you can cut up and add to salads, serve as sesame-battered appetizers, or add to pasta dishes.

More things to keep in mind to successfully make this recipe

For best results, make sure to choose a quality yogurt. This is because the raw material is a key point to the success of the recipe. Make sure to choose a yogurt that contains whole milk and lactic ferments without any other added ingredients.

This dish is made with sheep or cow yogurt in countries where it’s considered traditional. However, you can also use goat yogurt if you prefer. Cow’s milk gives it a smoother and more neutral flavor. You need to add fermented milk and protein yogurts with extra fat or 0% sugar.

You can even choose both low-fat and whole yogurt. However, choosing low-fat yogurt will result in a lighter, a bit bland, and not so creamy labneh. Greek yogurt (without added sugar) or homemade yogurt are other good options.

You need to keep labneh in the fridge after making it. In its creamiest version, it can last a maximum of three to four days when stored in an airtight container. Marinated in olive oil, it can last a little longer and be consumed up to a month later.

It’s a good idea to take it out of the fridge for about 15 minutes before eating it to lower its temperature a bit so you can taste it better.

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  • Al-Kadamany E, et al. Determination of shelf life of concentrated yogurt (labneh) produced by in-bag straining of set yogurt using hazard analysis. Journal of dairy science. Mayo 2002. 85(5):1023-30.
  • Atamian S, et al. The characterization of the physicochemical and sensory properties of full-fat, reduced-fat and low-fat bovine, caprine, and ovine Greek yogurt (Labneh). Food science & nutrition. Marzo  2014. 2(2):164-73.