Making cheese yourself sounds really hard, right? Sounds like it would be a lot of work, you’d need some fancy equipment or ingredients, and it probably wouldn’t be worth the effort, right?
Wrong, my friends! Enter homemade labneh. I bet you have all the things you need to make it in your fridge right now. And your end result is this silky, tangy, ultra spreadable Middle Eastern bowl of goodness.
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What is Labneh?
Labneh is a Middle Eastern spreadable cheese, eaten most commonly like a dip as part of a mezze platter. It’s made with full fat greek yogurt that’s been combined with lemon juice and salt then strained until very thick.
It’s tangy like plain greek yogurt is but with much more substance – almost like a fresher tasting version of cream cheese. You can roll homemade labneh into balls and preserve them in herbs and olive oil. Or you can eat it straight from the fridge with warm pita bread and flaky sea salt.
No matter which way you serve it, labneh is addictive. It also packs a protein punch (just think about all the same benefits as Greek yogurt). And it is SO easy to make.
What you Need to Make Homemade Labneh
Ready for this? For homemade labneh you will need just three ingredients and three tools.
The three ingredients you’ll need are: full fat Greek yogurt, fresh squeezed lemon juice, and kosher salt.
The three tools you’ll need are: a bowl, a fine mesh strainer and cheesecloth. We all have bowls I’m sure, so no explanation needed there. I’m obsessed with my OXO mesh strainer (I don’t even have a colander anymore, I only use my strainer). And you can buy cheesecloth on Amazon for super cheap.
P.S. I also use cheesecloth to bundle herbs together in a bouquet garni, to strain homemade chicken stock so it’s super clear, and to strain leftover frying oil. It’s a lifesaver!
How to Make Homemade Labneh
To make homemade labneh, all you’ll need to do is mix your greek yogurt, lemon juice, and kosher salt together. Then, pour that into the fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth and cover it with the cheesecloth.
Now here comes the hard part: Put that strainer over a bowl and put it in your refrigerator. Leave it there for a day. Boom, you have homemade labneh.
The longer you leave the labneh in the refrigerator to strain, the thicker it will be. I actually like the consistency best after about a day and a half. Mix it up on Saturday morning, and your labneh is ready for a mezze platter on your porch by Sunday evening.
How to Serve Labneh
Dressing up labneh to serve it is the very fun part. Here’s where you can let your creativity come through. My favorite way to serve labneh is to spread it on to a small plate, drizzle with a lot of good olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt and za’atar.
For really pretty presentation you can drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt, sumac, and fresh herbs. The pink sumac against the white labneh is just so inviting.
And for a sweeter take, you can drizzle with honey, sea salt, and some coarsely chopped nuts.
No matter how you top your homemade labneh, serving with warmed pita or naan is obligatory. Definitely obligatory.
And that’s it! Making the labneh is like a delicious little science experiment, and once you do it once I guarantee you’ll be hooked. If you give this a try, please let me know in the comments or on Instagram or Facebook. I love to see what you’re making!
Homemade labneh is a luscious Middle Eastern dip that is incredibly easy to make at home! Serve it topped with lots of herbs & spices and lots of warm pita!
- 12 oz plain Greek yogurt full fat
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Combine greek yogurt, lemon juice and kosher salt in a medium mixing bowl
Place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl and line the strainer with cheesecloth. Add the greek yogurt mixture to the strainer and cover with the extra cheesecloth
Place the strainer and bowl in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours and up to 48 hours. The bowl will collect the whey that drips from the yogurt
After 24 hours, remove the bowl and strainer from the refrigerator. Squeeze the labneh in the cheesecloth to drain excess liquid
Unwrap the labneh and spread onto a large plate and dress with toppings of your choice. I like to drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt & za’atar
Make sure to serve with lots of warm pita bread!
Recipe adapted from Food 52.
Use the leftover whey in place of lemon juice in salad dressings or smoothies. Also, swap whey 1 to 1 for water in any bread recipes that could benefit from a tangy sourdough like flavor.