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Creamy Homemade Labneh Recipe for a Taste of the Middle East

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Get ready to gorge on one of the Middle East and West Asia’s richest and creamiest dishes with our labneh recipe. It’s easy to make, and hard to stop yourself from coming back for more!

Labneh Recipe

Labneh is a luxuriously rich and creamy strained yogurt. It’s served in many countries in the Middle East, across Asia, and the southern regions of Europe.

You’ll find labneh in Lebanese cuisine, Turkish cuisine, and generally in plenty of Mediterranean cuisines also.

While time consuming to prepare, labneh is very simple to make and is more than worth the wait when you finally get to spread a thick, glistening dollop of it over a slice of bread, or a sweet, juicy cut of melon. Good things come to those who wait, we can assure you!

Labneh Ingredients

Labneh is made with just two simple ingredients:

  • Creamy Plain Yogurt, Full-Fat – 1 liter or 32 oz
  • Salt – 1 tbsp

When you pick the yogurt for labneh, pick the best yogurt you can for the best results. It needs to be full-fat yogurt (not low-fat or zero-fat yogurt) to achieve the luscious, creamy texture synonymous with the dish.

You’ll also need:

  • Cheesecloth or Muslin
  • Strainer

Labneh Recipe (Step-by-Step) Instructions

Step 1 – In a bowl, mix the yogurt with the salt. The salt will help drain the liquid or moisture out of the yogurt and achieve that desired creamy labneh consistency.

Step 2 – Put the cheesecloth over the strainer and the strainer over a bowl to contain the liquid draining from the yogurt. In the cheesecloth, add the yogurt-salt mixture.

Step 3 – Cover the yogurt with the sides of the cheesecloth and place it all in the fridge. For it to strain faster, you can add some weights on top of the cheesecloth. We used a couple of cans to add weight, but this part is entirely up to you.

Step 4 – After about 12 hours, check on the yogurt, and you should have achieved a consistency similar to cream cheese. Our yogurt was quite thick and creamy so it only took us 12 hours to make the labneh. However, depending on the yogurt, it may take longer (even up to 24 hours).

Naturally, you can check in the bowl to see all the moisture that has strained from the yogurt, as shown below.

Step 5 – You can now plate it up and serve it in a million different and delicious ways. One of our favorite ways to serve it is with za’atar seasoning and extra-virgin olive oil.

Another wonderful way to enjoy labneh is with extra-virgin olive oil and fresh olives, or simply with olive oil and fresh mint. The possibilities really are endless.

If you’re eager to embrace a tasting experience of sheer indulgence, tear a piece of pita, dip it into the labneh and scoop up a sizeable dollop, and prepare for some serious groans and satisfying moans!

Labneh is also a great choice with kebabs or in wraps and can be used in many recipes instead of cream cheese.

You can also serve it with fresh fruit if you like the combination of slightly salty and sweet, as shown below.

Labneh keeps in the refrigerator for up to a week. So if you’re lucky enough to have any left after serving it to your guests at a dinner party, you can enjoy a generous helping of this sumptuous dish with some fruit, bread, or your lunch or dinner on a weeknight.

This dish really is unbelievably creamy, and the better the quality of yogurt you can use, the more divine this Middle Eastern favorite becomes.

The Middle East, West Asia, and the Mediterranean have given birth to some truly dazzling dishes. But to achieve such flavor and richness from such a simple set of ingredients, labneh really does exceed expectations on so many levels.

Labneh Recipe Card

Labneh

Labneh
Prep Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • Creamy Plain Yogurt, Full-Fat - 1 liter (32 oz)
  • Salt - 1 tbsp

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, mix the yogurt with the salt. The salt will help drain the liquid or moisture out of the yogurt and achieve that desired creamy labneh consistency.
  2. Put the cheesecloth over the strainer and the strainer over a bowl to contain the liquid draining from the yogurt. In the cheesecloth, add the yogurt-salt mixture.
  3. Cover the yogurt with the sides of the cheesecloth and place it all in the fridge. For it to strain faster, you can add some weights on top of the cheesecloth. We used a couple of cans to add weight, but this part is entirely up to you.
  4. After about 12 hours, check on the yogurt, and you should have achieved a consistency similar to cream cheese. Our yogurt was quite thick and creamy so it only took us 12 hours to make the labneh. However, depending on the yogurt, it may take longer (even up to 24 hours).
  5. You can now plate it up and serve it in a million different and delicious ways. One of our favorite ways to serve it is with za’atar seasoning and extra-virgin olive oil.

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Author: Doina is a content writer, strategist, and passionate cook, who loves to use dishes tried on her travels to inspire and evolve her own home cooking.

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