Labneh Recipe

I've been straining yogurt, aka making labneh, quite a lot lately. It started when I received a package from Jaipur, India. The package was cloth-covered and hand-stitched at the seams. My address in massive black penmanship. It may have been the most intriguing package I've received via post, and was sent by my friend Melissa, who (some of you might remember) I met after sitting down for lunch at the Anokhi Cafe. Melissa runs the cafe, and we hit it off from there. I remember her telling me about her favorite strainer - which she described as an unattractive plastic piece of crap, but one that does a fantastic job on the yogurt front. She sent me one! And she was right, this strainer has a very fine, double lining, which allows the liquid whey to flow from the yogurt leaving a thick silky white yogurt cream behind - perfect for spreading, rolling, and blending. I thought it might be interesting to keep a list of all the things I did with the last batch I made. And, before I get ahead of myself, you really don't need a "special" strainer to do this, you can use a couple layers of cheese cloth instead - a bit more messy, but it does the job too (I'll put detailed instructions in the recipe section)...


With the last batch of labneh, here's how I used it....

- The above open-faced sandwich was on of the first things I made - a fast A+ lunch. Thin toasted bread, a layer of labneh, pan-fried hedgehog mushrooms, poached egg, shredded radicchio and tarragon, sea salt.

- smashed a few threads of saffron with brown sugar in a mortar and pestle added a bit of labneh, and used it to fill pitted dates.

- spread across a shallow bowl, drizzled generously with olive oil, fragrant Mexican oregano crumbled across the top, served with toasted pita wedges.

- shaped into small balls, rolled in za'atar, drizzled with lots of olive oil.

- Served a dollop alongside an asparagus frittata with loads of fresh herbs and a drizzle of lemon olive oil.

- slice of rye toast, layer of labneh, layer of jam.

- I've made it with less salt and used it as a beautiful frosting. It kind of ends up being in the realm of a cream cheese frosting. Sweeten the labneh with honey, sugar, sifted powdered sugar, etc - whatever your preference.

I'm also, of course, curious about how you use it. Give a shout in the comments if you make strained yogurt and do interesting things with it! xo-h


This recipe uses a large container (1 quart) of yogurt, which strains down quite a lot. That said, ff you think you'll have a hard time using this much labneh, half the recipe. The longer you let the yogurt strain, the thicker it gets.

32 ounces plain full-fat yogurt
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

If you don't have a strainer like the one pictured above, don't worry, you can use cheesecloth in its place. Simply line a deep bowl with a double layer of cheesecloth. Stir the salt into the yogurt and pour into the cheesecloth. Bring the cloth together into a bundle and secure with a string. Hang the bundle over a bowl (or wide pitcher), making sure the bottom of the cheesecloth is suspended in air (you don't want it sitting in the liquid). I used to do this by securing the bundle to a wooden spoon. Cover the whole contraption, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, but go longer if you like - it's all about personal preference. Much of the liquid will drain out and the yogurt will thicken. Remove from the cloth and proceed with one of the above suggestions.

Makes about 2 cups of labneh.

Prep time: 1500 min

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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It looks so thick and luscious! I just want to run my finger right through that smoothness :)

Averie @ Averie Cooks

This looks absolutely amazing, and the za'atar treatment reminds me exactly of what they serve with crackers and a swirl of olive oil at this little bakery on 9th Street. Thanks for reminding me to give it a spin at home.


I've made it without salt and used it in place of cream cheese in cheesecakes. It goes really well in a baked cheesecake!

Also, an option if hanging it seems like a hassle - I line a strainer/colander with cheesecloth, and make sure there's plenty of clearance between the bottom of the strainer and the bowl.


I love your sweet labneh ideas, Heidi. I've also been making loads of labneh lately. I like to roll it in chilli, rosemary and fennel to store in oil. Also, it's delicious mashed through fried slices of eggplant and mint to serve as a side dish.


It's all yogurt, all labne, *all* the time around here. What do I have to do to get you to come south? I'll feed you all kinds of yogurty goodness. The fridge is literally (LITERALLY!) full of it!


I have been wanting to do this for SO long! I feel like it would be great used to make a cream pie... maybe mixed with sweet potato? Can't wait to try it!

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table

I've always been curious about this.. I've seen versions where they are rolled into balls and herbs, then placed into a jar of olive oil and kept in the fridge. I'm going to look for a fine sieve and make this.. it just looks too good!


Mmm!! This looks so amazingly tasty! That open-faced....

Belinda @zomppa

Labneh (store-bought, thus far) has been making its way into a lot of my meals too lately! I like it on toast in the morning, sometimes with a drizzle of honey. Its sharpness is particularly nice with a caraway-studded rye. I've also found that it does a good job of counterbalancing the sweetness of some dishes, like the red pepper bulgur pilaf in Plenty.

Do you find that there's a significant difference between the store-bought stuff and your homemade version?


Your open-faced sandwich looks dreamy. This is not vegetarian, but labneh is also nice on slices of dense rye or whole grain bread with smoked salmon and cucumber + s&p.

Denise | Chez Danisse

I use and love this strainer:

I like putting labneh seasoned with chives in my daughter's lunchbox, to spread on crackers or dip veggies in. I love that it doesn't spill or leak like yogurt!

Emma Caspar

This is how we make hung yogurt. I had no idea it's so similar to Labneh! Thanks for sharing.


I add a little minced garlic and salt and use it as a dip, instead of cheese spread. I also make the Indian yogurt based sweet called Shrikhand with it, my favourites are the dry fruit, mango versions of it.


I've had good luck with a simple strainer and a double layer of cheapo paper towels. They peel right off the bottom of the strained yogurt and you don't need to worry about cleaning them as you would cheesecloth.


Open faced sandwiches were always my favorite, as it's very popular in Poland. It makes me feel like at home :)

Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today

Labneh and Za'atar are like Pb&J. Nothing better than dipping a piece of pita bread into a marriage of the two.

Also, I recently started using labneh as in the most delectable gluten-free lemon muffin recipe. It adds incredible moisture to GF baked goods.

Thanks for sharing your labneh tips :)


I love labneh on a slice of sourdough with barely cooked fruit and a tiny drizzle of honey. Great idea to put it into dates.

Rather than any clever hanging arrangement, I've found works it works really well just to put the muslim cloth in a sieve that rests high over a bowl. A couple of heavy ceramic pots on top of the yogurt to weight it down gives you even thicker labneh.


I love labneh, we my friends we like to go to Cafe' Mogador in the East Village wher they serve the best Labneh in town (or so I like to think). Never thought of making it at home though, something I should really do!


Labneh can replace mayo in potato salad, tuna sandwiches, egg salad sandwiches and deviled eggs. Better for you and tastes great. Good on toasted everything bagels.

Julie in San Diego

It is sometimes the cheapest contraptions that do the trick, right? I still have a small knife with a plastic handle me and my dad bought at a market in Paris because we couldn't wait to slice into a ripe melon we had just bought - it cost us about 1 EUR and it is still my favourite knife for slicing tomatoes.

I love all of your ideas for the labneh - I think I would also try mixing it with chopped cherry tomatoes, basical, garlic, salt and pepper to have with bagels. Or with a freshly made blueberry compote for dessert. And yes, it sounds like a wonderful alternative to cream cheese for frosting.


I've never made labneh but after reading this I must give it a try! The open faced sandwich with radicchio (one of my favorites!) looks so tasty!

la domestique

One of my very favourites and some excellent ideas of how to use it. Thanks Heidi!


Labneh, fresh figs, sprinkled with rose water... Maybe a few chopped pistachios... mmm!


hi heidi!
i've been wanting to try alice medrich's labneh tart.

HS: Great reminder Shari! Hope all is well with you. xo


I love making labneh with lemon olive oil and fresh herbs. It's SO refreshing. I also make "cream cheese" using strained yogurt. I made an "everything" version here and it's been my favorite so far.

Krissy @ Make it Naked

Heidi i had completely forgotten about this kind of sieve..In India that's what most people use and I remember we using it as well for lot of are right it is really good! Gosh i need to tell my mother to send me some from India now!
I gave Indian yogurt but that's is from milk..never made labneh before! Bit it looks very very good here!


I like to strain organic honey yogurt and make frozen yogurt. It has a wonderful flavor plus a tang.


That open face sandwich with the labneh looks to die for! What a gorgeous lunch. Thanks for all the ideas!

Marie @ Little Kitchie

Another "eat with pita" recipe:

Quickly saute finely sliced zucchini in olive oil (use a very hot pan, so it sears a bit before wilting too much) with thyme. Let cool to room temperature, then mix into labne with toasted pine nuts and drizzle with more olive oil.


Labneh and anchovies on toast is a delicious snack!


Reading this has made me seriously hungry!

I am considering packing in work for a while and going and buying some Labneh, because honestly I am not sure I can wait around to make it.

It looks too yummy!

Misty Piper

I use a more homemade contraption that works like a charm to strain yogurt: line a fine mesh colander with a large coffee filter (the basket kind that we use at my office) and put the yogurt in there. My colander has pegs on it so it rests on bowls easily and so there's not tying or spoon needed. So delicious. Love your ideas!


This open-faced sandwich is wonderful, I will definitely make labneh and have this delicious treat for one of next breakfasts!


What an inspiring list of ideas! I think I'm going to throw some yogurt in the strainer right now....

Katie (A Fork in Hand)

I think it's delicious with fresh strawberries, balsamic, chives, and basil. It's a little like a caprese insalata but different.

Hedi, We'd love to send you a copy of our soon-to-be released book, The Southern Vegetarian Cookbook: 100 Down-Home Recipes for the Modern Table. Please let us know the best place to send it.

Justin Burks

I never add salt to mine, and I use it for lots too. One of my favorites is a nut mousse - mix in enough nut or seed butter (even peanut butter tastes great) to thicken it into a mousse texture, dish it into pretty bowls and drizzle maple syrup on top.


Labneh is one of my most favourite things to make and eat. Yum.

Emma Galloway

You have no idea how excited I am by this Labneh recipe. My husband is obsessed with labneh and I've been wanting to make it for a while, I just couldnt find a good recipe. I'll definitely be giving yours a try.

I love all your recipes, your on my inspiration page on my blog.


I think I still prefer the special cheesecloth my friend brought me from Japan - the hanging weight draws out the whey so well. Love using my labneh to make the most tangy and delectable ice cream!


Ahhhh labneh, the Lebanese flavor-maker! It belongs on nearly every plate we make, and especially on its own with some Lebanese flatbread and an olive. Heaven. Heidi, I love that strainer and have to get one.

Here's something about Lebanese labneh preserved in olive oil.

Thank you Maureen! xo

Maureen Abood

My grandma used to mix the labneh with roast red peppers (no skin), delicious.. That said, there is rarely a dish in Bulgaria which doesn't include peppers, yogurt or feta, or all of those at once...


Great post - I love your creative suggestions for using this lovely treat! Will be trying some of them this weekend for sure. Thanks!


Years ago Progressive made a yogurt strainer, and luckily I bought two sets. They are flat bottomed, cone shaped plastic, with 6 very fine fabric-y mesh inserts between the plastic ribs. After 15 years (maybe more) of use, one of the cones has a tiny tear at the top of one of the mesh panels. So far it hasn't effected the straining process, but I worry.
A favorite recipe for strained yogurt around our house is an Afghan recipe for "Quroot". It calls for 'a ball of drained, salted and dried yogurt, rehydrated with water, worked to form a thick sauce'. Afghans living abroad have substituted 2 cups of 'Chakah' (drained yogurt), 1/2 cup grated mature cheddar cheese, and salt to taste, to make a version of Quroot. The easiest way to mix is to take a little of the Chakah and mix into the grated cheese with the back of a spoon until completely blended. Then stir in the rest of the Chakah, adding salt to taste. I let this sit for about 30 minutes, then stir again to incorporate any whey. A wonderful dip for both pita and veggies.
I use the 32 oz container of yogurt to finish with the 2 cups of strained yogurt needed for this recipe. If anyone here has any pull with Progressive, ask them to please offer their yogurt strainers again!

Tami in Ruidoso

Instead of the salt, add sugar (to taste), stir in some saffron and ground cardamom and you have an Indian dessert called Shrikhand.


I had a German roommate who taught me how to make this! We just called it yogurt cheese but it's the same thing. And I still make it, using a coffee filter and my Melitta pour-over coffee thing, resting on top of a jar in the fridge.. yummy :)

Here's a different question, though.. what can you do with the liquid that's left over?


Labneh is a great sub for creme fraiche and cream cheese. Also, I like to swirl the oil and za'atar into the labneh when it's done. Yes, great w eggs.
Use a fine mesh colander and cheese cloth set in a larger bowl. No contraption required! 24 hours.
Best Labneh ever - Druze village in the Golan Heights.


i do it my mom's way---using a large square of thin muslin (i use pieces of her old saris) and gather up the ends and tie it to the oven handle and let the whey drop into a bowl.

HS: Love this.


drool... on the look out for (the beginner) strainer.

Chanda, I'll try to find one for you. And one for Bonni too. Strainers all around!


There is a Lebanese cafe I used to frequent in London that serves labneh on Saturdays for breakfast with a special type of bread baked/sprinkled with a sumac mixture. I cannot recall the name of the bread but it is round and about ten inches wide. It is served with sliced cucumbers and tomatoes, so you can top the bread with the labneh, then the toms and cukes. I used to order extra bread and take it home in order to reheat the next day.


If your beloved plastic "piece of crap" ever breaks, you can also get good results if you put a coffee filter into a regular metal (not so fine) strainer.


this makes a wonderful cream cheese/mascarpone substitute in most recipes! I use this in my favorite banana bread recipe.


I like to strain the yogurt overnight so the remaining labneh becomes somewhat firm. I then scoop small balls of it and place them in a jar of really good olive oil along with peppercorns, thyme sprigs, bay leaves and sliced garlic. I let everything marinate for at least a week. Really good olive oil is a key here as when you scoop up a ball of labneh it comes with olive oil attached. A fabulous, mouthwatering spread on crackers a leaf of romaine or some crusty bread along with a slice of tomato. After reading your suggestion, Heidi, I'll add some za'atar to the olive oil mix next time as well.


You can even use a clean pillow cover to drain the yogurt.

Mona Amiri

LOVING all the great comments! Keep them coming. -h


I make my labneh into balls and put them in a large glass container filled with grapeseed oil (it doesn't congeel when in the fridge like olive oil does) with garlic and fresh herbs (thyme, oregano, rosemary and basil). They last for a week or two but rarely do they last that long in our family. Everyone loves them and oohs and aahs when friends come over. They look beautiful when served with homemade GF crackers or crostini or dropped into individual bowls of nettle or tomato soup. Labneh is the best!


I've used it as a sour cream substitute, and I love spreading it on pancakes or waffles and topping it with fresh sliced strawberries.

For straining, I have some very old, thin flour sack towel that I use to double-line a wire mesh colander.


I use a melitta coffee cone with a coffee filter to strain my yogurt. When it is thick you can just pick up the filter and peel it off the yogurt in a bowl. My favorite use is as a dip with fresh lemon juice & zest plus some fresh dill leaves. I am lucky enough to make my own yogurt from raw milk from the neighbor cows!


What brand/where can I get the strainer in the photo? Most strainers have a weave that is too large. Do they sell it on Thanks!!

Caroline in L.A.

I was looking for something to strain my yogurt at a local restaurant supply store and the salesperson directed me to this rack and filter. It's great, and I've used it for years.


Love labneh with mint and garlic and olive oil.... Thanks for the other ideas!


Such inspiring ideas! I use a jelly strainer for making ricotta and I think it would work equally well for this. I picked mine up at my local farmers co-op, it was with the canning supplies. It has a handle so you can hang it over a bowl and it's very easy to clean. Running out to get some yogurt right now!


My husband and I traveled to Jordan and Israel last year and labneh was one of the greatest foods we discovered there. We loved it on toast or flatbread with jam for breakfast. It brings back memories from our first day in Amman, sipping mint tea, chewing on olives and listening to the call to prayer. Time to make some at home!! Thank you :)


We call it Lebanese fast food in our house. My mother-in-law always made her own yogurt. When it had set overnight and had thickened, she would pour it into a very clean old pillowcase. An elastic band would be wound around the top and then hung on a cabinet handle over a large bowl to drain until the whey finished dripping. Stored in glass jars in the fridge it was also ready for a quick snack spread on Lebanese bread for a "starving" family. I like to carry on her tradition!

Kathleen Haboush

Thank you for posting the recipe... As a Lebanese and this is one of our staple food. I love eating Labneh on a warm french bread drizzled with some salt and EVOO. or I use it instead of mayo in some recipes and u can eat it with olives and cucumbers. in our home Labneh doesn't stay long so the more the better.


It's been a couple if years since I've been hooked to your blog, but I'm so internet shy, never could chime in.
After Zaatar and now with Labneh I just have to!
Both are the base for a Lebanese breakfast of champions! Whether it's cold Labneh added on a sizzling Zaatar Manoucheh with tomato olives cucumbers and mint, or just eaten with bread; these are the base for our every day breakfast.
So happy you're enjoying it!

As Maureen suggested above, preserved Labneh in olive oil is delicious. You can add to it Zaatar or red pepper.

I usually use Labneh as a base for dips. As I can't find any sour cream, your recipe for the delicious onion dip has become Labneh + Caramelized onions in my house.
Also, for a nice dip to have with crudités, just some Labneh with fresh cilantro and curry, salt and pepper to taste and a little lemon. The colors are fabulous and the taste is very refreshing.
I've also used Labneh to stuff fresh zucchini flowers right out of the garden before dinner.
Last but not least is stuffed vine leaves preserved in oil, stuffed with Labneh of course.

As a little side note, goat Labneh is heavenly! If you can find goat yogurt or make your own, you need to strain it a lot longer and you'll have the traditional goat Labneh (here we strain it in a special cheesecloth bag hung over the sink).It is then either shaped in small balls dipped in olive oil or in logs. It is very tangy, and usually saltier, blended with a generous amount of olive oil before degustation.

I'm sorry this post is so long, guess I'm very excited to contribute! Thank you for everything you've been sharing with the world, reading (and tasting!) had been a weekly pleasure!


Fave use of strained yogurt for me is a layered fresh fruit parfait/trifle using TJ triple ginger cookies as base and middle layer. Low fat plain stony field yogurt is strained thru funky more than 30 yr old cone strainer with fine nylon mesh screen inside and small hole at base of cone to release fluid. When yog is right consistency a small amount of maple syrup is stirred in. Bottom of single or multiple small bowls is covered with single layer of ginger cookies. This is covered with layer of yogurt then layer of fresh or frozen unsweetened berries then another layer of cookie, yogurt, and berries. Good instantly or later when yog & berry have soaked into and softened cookie layers. Sometimes I add a layer of low sugar fruit jam on top of first layer of yogurt.


It's been a couple if years since I've been hooked to your blog, but I'm so internet shy, never could chime in.
After Zaatar and now with Labneh I just have to!

Both are the base for a Lebanese breakfast of champions! Whether it's cold Labneh added on a sizzling Zaatar Manoucheh with tomato olives cucumbers and mint, or just eaten with bread; these are the base for our every day breakfast.
So happy you're enjoying it!

As Maureen suggested above, preserved Labneh in olive oil is delicious. You can add to it Zaatar or red pepper.

I usually use Labneh as a base for dips. As I can't find any sour cream, your recipe for the delicious onion dip has become Labneh + Caramelized onions in my house.
Also, for a nice dip to have with crudités, just some Labneh with fresh cilantro and curry, salt and pepper to taste and a little lemon. The colors are fabulous and the taste is very refreshing.
I've also used Labneh to stuff fresh zucchini flowers right out of the garden before dinner.
Last but not least is stuffed vine leaves preserved in oil, stuffed with Labneh of course.

As a little side note, goat Labneh is heavenly! If you can find goat yogurt or make your own, you need to strain it a lot longer and you'll have the traditional goat Labneh (here we strain it in a special cheesecloth bag hung over the sink).It is then either shaped in small balls dipped in olive oil or in logs. It is very tangy, and usually saltier, blended with a generous amount of olive oil before degustation.

I'm sorry this post is so long, guess I'm very excited to contribute! Thank you for everything you've been sharing with the world, reading (and tasting!) had been a weekly pleasure!


That gives me so many ideas. I'm going to try it with plain goat yogurt.

Fiona Tavernier

Has anyone ever used coffee filters (unbleached, of course) to strain the yogurt?


We use a metal coffee filter to drain the yogurt (we don't use it for coffee). Just set the filter in the empty yogurt container and drain away. Great for morning berries and granola


I am drooling. Will definitely try a million iterations of this.
I want to ask the same question someone else did: Is there something that can be done with the liquid? My understanding is that the liquid from yogurt contains a lot of the probiotics. I'd like it not to go to waste!


I'm actually Lebanese, and my family makes this all the time! We actually start from milk, boil it to make the yogurt, and strain it from there. I remember my mother always telling me to watch the pot and make sure the milk doesn't boil over when I was little!

I have to say, though, I've been eating labneh with olive oil, mint, zaatar, and pita bread for breakfast for as long as I can remember, but I would never have thought of all those delicious variations! Thanks for the insight, Heidi! :)


I have been making this for quite a while but didn't know it was labneh. I just called it yogurt cheese. I put the yogurt in a dish towel and tie up the ends with a string dangling from a kitchen cupboard, with a bowl beneath it to catch the whey. I've made it plain or with smoky hot pepper flakes, or lots of fresh dill, or toasted caraway seeds or HOT chiltepin pepper.


Thanks so much for the recipe. I plan on trying this. I was wondering if you could post a picture of the "cheapo" strainer with nothing in it so I can get an idea of what you mean by a "double lining"? Please don't go to any great effort, if you have a picture already it would be nice to have a picture in my mind of what I am shopping for.


I really love labne on grain-free cashew sandwich bread with Chez Pim's Peach-Saffron jam.


As a lazy cook, I can't resist saying that I've made labne starting with Greek yogurt (non-fat) to speed the draining process along. Thanks to all who've given great techniques, and great uses for the resulting labne!

Susan from Pleasanton

I love labneh!
Thank you for posting this.
Do you know how to make it sour?


I've used it in vegetarian Lasange instead of ricotta delicious


Not much more I could add here except I would love to have that strainer! for years while in the US I used a sieve lined with paper towels or an extra large coffee filter. As for the many uses of labneh, your compilation is impressive; I do like it sweet but prefer out of the bowl with lots of our homeproduced olive oil and zaatar the best. So glad it is becoming known outside of Lebanon.


One of my favorite recent uses is to mix harissa with it - either before or after straining - depending on how far ahead I am thinking. It is great on grilled toast, in soups, with eggs... and the list goes on.


If you make the labneh with Greek yogurt, how long does the straining process take? Also, does using non-fat yogurt make a significant difference in the texture?


Hooray for labneh! I make mine in a totally cheap and awful nylon mesh strainer too--thank you Goodwill. :) I definitely eat mine in lots of sandwiches, but also do a lot of faux-sour cream applications over curry, chili and enchiladas. And always in soup! I love it so. :)


A couple of people have asked what can be done with the liquid that is drained from the yogurt. You can use it to make lacto-fermented kimchi, salsa, mustard, and many other things. Just search for "lacto-fermented recipes" and lots of options will pop up.


Labneh is lovely in mac & cheese. It adds a certain silliness when swapped out for about a 1/3 of the cheese in a recipe. Great post! Thanks.


Okay firstly i recently was in Jaipur and happened to visit the Anokhi cafe. I must say their lemon pie and cheesecake were absolutely out of this world! Secondly, we use (in India) strained yoghurt to make what we call a 'raita'. In this, you mix the yoghurt with salt to taste, a bit of chilli powder, and some finely chopped onion, cilantro and optionally tomato and cucumber. This goes very well with any type of flavoured rice or bread and is cool and refreshing in an Indian summer :)

Arti Shroff

Also I noticed a lot of people asking about the whey, and I do have a recipe that kind of uses it. We mix yoghurt back into the whey ( to the desired thickness) and add salt, some finely chopped cilantro and green chillies to get a lovely spicy buttermilk. However it's tasty even without the chillies if you don't like the spice.

Arti Shroff

Confused! What is the difference between greek yogurt and labneh? I make my own greek yogurt from scratch using organic whole milk (so rich!!), so the process seems exactly the same, except I don't add the salt.


I keep a few large squares of muslin around for straining things. Sometimes I tie it into a bag and hang it over the sink, but I always end up with a weight, usually a brick, on top of the folded-over muslin. I also have a metal chinois I found at a yard sale, but that doesn't work as well for me. I used to work at an Indian restaurant, and they used an enormous metal chinois lined with a tablecloth for making paneer.


I have a question. I make Greek yogurt by straining my homemade yogurt until it is nearly half the volume I started with. How much thicker is labneh to Greek yogurt? What is the consistency I'm looking for?
Thank you for all your great recipes and ideas!


Love making Labneh with my Donvier yogurt strainer, but I use my fermented kefir instead of yogurt mostly. I make less yogurt now that I'm into making raw whole milk kefir. I'm loving all the new ideas for my delicious labneh, and with Za-atar! Your Louisa Shafia notes led me to an old persian cookbook, and making of a favorite KuKu-e, made with lots of eggs, 2 cups of lebnah, grated carrots, green onions and walnuts, lots of good spices, (I think it was za-atar, sumac, a pinch of ginger and sea salt, maybe a little saffron) and baked with drizzles of butter on top. It was delicious warm from the oven and cold the next day! I've made some really good cheese cakes with labneh too. It's so good on my seeded pop-overs with various spices and raw honey. Now my mint is coming in strong, and I will be putting mint and labneh on everything!


An added note on the liquid that is drained from yogurt or kefir, it is called whey, and is a rich source of protein and many enzyme factors, probiotics, etc. . so save it for your pet, or dilute to use on plants, or to cook with. I use it in cornbread and pancakes, soups and smoothies.


I am middle eastern and use labneh in a variety of ways, but I'm wondering what the benefits are of creating it from store-bought yogurt? If you are already going to purchase a container of yogurt from the store (and then proceed to strain it) I'd say just go ahead and purchase a container of labneh. Am I missing something? Unless you are making it from scratch (starting from milk), it seems that this is one of those recipes where the extra effort does not yield superior results. Please correct me if I am wrong --- does straining store-bought yogurt taste better/fresher than store-bought labneh?


We call it yogurt cheese and use it like sour cream or cream cheese. My strainer stands up in a bowl- bought it probably 30 years ago and is the perfect size for a coffee filter (cone-shaped).
Love all the suggestions.


This is a staple in Afghan cookery as well and known as "chaka". A dollop of it in homemade Aush, Persian soup is delightful. So many wonderful uses for this. Thanks for sharing!


Used it to make mint sauce (mint, grated cucumber, lemon juice, olive oil, and fresh ground pepper), and served it over your Moroccan mint roasted vegetables. :) p.s. Please come visit Hokkaido next time you're in Japan. :)


Mmm that open faced sandwich looks so good! What a fantastic little strainer, that labne looks lovely. I'm going to have to hunt around to one similar in all the discount stores near me. I want labne now!

Ally @ Om Nom Ally

do you have the reciepe for burnt cream?

dawn a

With Chlodnik, cook beetroot and potato in veg stock, cool, add cucumber, shallot and yoghurt, blend. Serve w labneh, chopped chives and grated horseradish. Yum!


Gorgeous! love strained yoghurt! In Western India where I grew up, it was called hung yoghurt because it was hung up in massive cow-sized muslin bags and drained. Some pictures of the home process here ..

A bit of sweet tooth in our home. We make Shrikhand with nuts and natural sweeteners (luscious Indian yoghurt dessert)

I also make a brown sugar labneh to bake on top of my fruit Brioche. It tastes amazing with a cuppa!

Sneh | Cook Republic

I like to shape it into balls too, and then put it in olive oil with herbs or cumin, or roll it in dukkah. I never use salt...
FYI, another thing to do with labne: Shrikhand, a labne dessert with saffron and cardamom, I love it! (I am not sure if I can put links here, but just in case


Alessandra've inspired me I'm making some today. Love the little zatar coated balls


I just put a clean coffee paper coffee filter in a large sieve set over a large 4 cup measuring cup, cover with another filter and pop it all in the fridge...easy clean up too!


The traditional way is still one of the best. The Lebanese have been making this for millenia. It is served with a variety of foods, but one of the best is black olives. Spread the labaniya on flat bread and eat with pitted olives. Fabulous! Green onions, tomatoes, cucumber slices, and boiled eggs are also good additions and don't forget a first-rate olive oil.


Have been making raw milk yoghurt and labne for years. To answer Missy, just keep straining the yoghurt until it becomes firm. I don't put salt in mine. I leave it (in the fridge, because I live in Queensland) for at least 24 hours and often longer before using.
The whey is an amazingly nutritional product - don't throw it out, drink it or cook with it - put it in bread for instance. I use labne anywhere I would use a soft cheese, in place of ricotta, cream cheese, soft goats cheese, etc. eg roast beetroot wedges in olive oil, top with rocket and dollops of labne, squeeze of lemon juice, salt and freshly ground pepper and drizzle of olive oil.

Jen Beattie

Cut stone fruit in half, grill it up and then drop a good dollop of labneh where you took out the stone, add a sprinkle of nutmeg and go to heaven!


one person asked, I also want to know - uses for the whey left from the straining? I use the whey from making goat cheese for the liquid in bread and quick bread recipes. Any other ideas?


I recommend Martha Stewart's Yogurt Blueberry Pie with Granola Crust — once the crust is baked, just fill and fridge. And, the granola is a brilliant substitute for the usual graham crackers (which I never seem to have on hand...)! I make my own yogurt and strain it with a strainer from NE Cheesemaking.

diary of a tomato

Yogurt and labneh have been a staple in our house all my life. Like Kathleen above its a "no special equipment needed." We use flour sack toweling and tie it into a bag and let it drip from the kitchen faucet. And honestly if you are going to use store bought yogurt you may as well get store bought labneh.

Yogurt is soooo easy to make. It just seems exotic like using yeast to bake. Once you get the hang of it NBD. And you can use it endlessly.


That labneh looks so luscious and tempting! I use labneh to make a mock-hollandaise sauce for eggs benedict (whisk it with a little fresh lemon juice, melted butter, salt, and pepper), and I also like to mix up labneh with olive oil and za'atar as a pita chip dip.

Allison (Spontaneous Tomato)

Like Bonnie, I've started making a variation of the traditional Lebanese breakfast that is offered at a Philadelphia coffee shop called Java Company.
They spread a good amount of labneh on a slice of fresh crusty bread and top it slices of green olives, mint (fresh or dried) and olive oil.

Karin Ross

Tsk, tsk, all those comments on such a wonderful yogurt product and nary a mention of the whey that drains off. If you throw it out you are nuts. Heidi, you must have Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon in your stack. Another favorite way to use the whey is to ferment peppers and mustard. The Well preserved website has lots of great ways to use whey, too.

Thomas Leavitt

In Australia, we buy 1 kilo tubs of ricotta in large blue mesh plastic containers. Two of these strainers, perched over a bowl makes the perfect drainer for making labneh. Labneh is polpular in Melbourne, thanks to the large Lebanese community.


Delicious! I like to roll labneh into little balls and marinate them in olive oil with rosemary sprigs and sliced garlic.


I have been making lab eh for years, swirled with zataar on top and olive oil served with pita. I use it as a replacement for sour cream. I use it blended with fruit, wheat germ, for the kids. Or they get it with wheat germ and honey. But lately I feel bad to waste the whey. It has nutritional value, and I have been wondering what I can use it for? Any ideas? I never have used salt in making the labneh - is it needed? And I use a japanese nesting mesh bowl with a steel bowl for straining, lined with the paper towel.


I just use a colander lined with a paper coffee filter and a bowl underneath to catch the liquid. I've also used my "Pour over" ceramic coffee filter (with #2 or #4 filter paper) and the mug catching the drippings. I leave it in the fridge at night, have it in the morning or later.


I've made it, but I live close to a fantastic Middle Eastern restaurant with a store attached, and they sell it. In the summer, when our garden is making a couple pints of raspberries a day, I mix in a little lemon juice and zest and some honey and scatter berries on top. It's the easiest and the best way to serve raspberries.


Done, with goat it:) & a late thank you for mentioning the "instant love" retreat. It was fantastic;)


I like to use nonfat organic yogurt, which makes it practically "free food"! I don't add salt until later. So many possible variations!
I add olive oil and Dukkah, which I have been buying from TJ's lately. Also Aleppo or Merken pepper, fennel-saffron salt.
The Turkish restaurant down the street mixes in walnuts and fresh dill.
How about a parfait with a little honey and lemon zest in the labneh, and any homemade jam (raspberry freezer jam in our house), with some crushed cookies or nuts or both, layered into short glasses or jars.


I drink the whey like buttermilk. Very nutritious. You can season it if you want. Try blending it with cucumbers, yogurt, curry or coriander, orange or lemon zest, mint, etc.


Yum! I've got some draining in the fridge right now. I've seen it fermented here (also includes some tips for using whey):

I like adding some chopped red chilli (long/mild) to the yoghurt before draining. Another favourite is adding fresh lemon thyme leaves instead. Great for the lunchbox to put on roasted root vegetables. My new favorite thing is to wolf it down on some pumpernickel with some fresh tomatoes, basil and flax oil on top.

There's also boiling a whole orange for an hour (blood orange is great), chopping it up to remove the seeds, whizzing it in the blender and then mixing it through the labneh and adding powdered sugar (or your favourite sweetener) to taste. Delicious as is or put it though your ice-cream maker.

I tried to do the same thing by boiling a whole lemon and adding walnuts, but the pith made it too bitter. I think David Leibovitz has a better lemon frozen yoghurt recipe that you could put labneh in.


Hurrah for labne! So glad you are enjoying it Heidi and thanks for your ideas.

I use two litres of Greek yoghurt a week to make this stuff. I use a double lined stainless steel mesh strainer over a deep bowl. I leave it on the counter for 12 hours and then in the fridge for 12 hours.

I feed it to my baby son for his breakfast with cereals and fruit, or mixed in with fruit for a snack. He also loves it with dahl for lunch or beef stew (kind of like a baby stroganoff) for dinner.

I eat it for breakfast with prunes, sprinkled with acaci.

I use it everywhere I would normally use sour cream, cream cheese, etc. I have also made an amazing ice cream using one of David L's recipes from The Perfect Scoop. So rich!

I also keep the whey. I use this to make my own homemade ginger beer, which I ferment on the bench top for days. I have also used it to ferment veggies, too, like cabbage for sauerkraut. Devine!

Mrs D

i've been adoring a fantastic preserved lemon spread (think pesto, but bright and punchy), purchased from my local whole foods and in the process of being reverse-engineered, which would be absolutely lovely with lebneh.

any idea whether these strainers are available in the states? they do look like an excellent tool for the job. also, for straining chai tea...thanks, heidi!

HS: Hi Molly! Sorry for the delay! It is a Krishna brand "Marvel/Super Delux" - love the lemon spread idea!


Hi Heidi! When I sat down yesterday to visit 101 Cookbooks I had just finished preparing a fromage blanc which was carefully tucked in my refrigerator, wrapped in cheesecloth & hanging from a wooden spoon over a bowl. Read your post and 10 minutes later, my first attempt at Labneh was also tucked in, right next to the fromage blanc. This morning I enjoyed Labneh spread on rye toast with a drizzle of olive oil and chives snipped from my herb boxes...What a treat! This afternoon I will be making 2 blueberry breakfast cakes, one with the traditional fromage blanc, the other substituting the Labneh for the fromage blanc...I look forward to seeing how the two compare. We are having roast chicken sandwiches this evening and the Labneh will be substituted in for mayonnaise in Deborah Madison's "Tarragon Mayonnaise with Orange Zest" (from her new book ~ Vegetable Literacy), which will dress our sandwiches. Thanks for introducing me to Labneh (as well as that wonderful cookbook of Deborah's)!

Kristin | The Dinner Concierge

I use it to make a thick tzatziki-like spread and, since I'm not a cream cheese fan, I spread it on bagels or multigrain bread with lox. It's great on a baked potato or in menamen, a Turkish egg and peppers dish, with a sprinkling of pul bibir on top.

Lisa London

I know what I'm going to be asking my mum to send in my next care package. Thanks for the wonderful reminder about this strainer. :)

Shaheen [The Purple Foodie]

I stirred some of this into your tomato soup recipe. Delicious!

If anyone has any luck finding an online source for buying a strainer please do post it here! Cheesecloth gets expensive quickly and I would gladly invest in something more permanent.


a large smear of labne on a plate with a salsd of arugala, beets and oranges..


We eat labneh with fresh herb omelettes. We also eat it with roasted egg and ful mudammas (cooked fava beans with olive oil, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes).

Instead of cheesecloth, we line a sieve with a large, brown coffee filter. It is less messy and much easier to distinguish between the filter and the yogurt.

Answer to earlier posts: labneh is similar to Greek yogurt, but is thicker and includes the salt. The consistency should be somewhere between Greek yogurt and cream cheese.


Googled around, didn't see anyone else using salt to make their labneh/yogurt cheese, so I opted to do without. Used greek yogurt and a large funnel, 2 unbleached coffee filters and a carafe. 24 hours later we ate lovely smoked salmon and yogurt cheese finger sandwiches. YUM.
Question: with the salt, does it become extra dry/firm? Ours was cream cheese consistency; not appropriate for forming balls to roll in herbs...


I can't see it online anywhere but there's an amazing recipe for spiced labneh in the Moro cookbook. It uses fenugreek seeds, green chile, garlic and nigella seeds. It's incredible, I recommend you seek it out! I usually make it that way but sometimes shape some into balls and roll them in something (cumin seeds/rosemary and garlic) and keep them covered in olive oil in a jar in the fridge.


I made this with yogurt from a local dairy. I poured the yogurt into a cheesecloth and set it inside a mesh sieve on top of a bowl to drain.

It turned out great! I used it as a spread for a wrap filled with lettuce, roasted tomatoes, artichokes, asparagus and red bell peppers. It was perfect with a squeeze of lemon. Can't wait to try all these other helpful suggestions!


Rachel, I use some fine cotton cloths, Japanese towels myself, but they are the same material as traditional men handkerchieves (fine and much larger that ladies', so they may be big enough if you make small doses), I tried different types of cloth but this is the one that gives me the firmer results. And it is cheap.



Favorite way to eat labne is to mix it with a small clove of smashed garlic, sea salt, lots of dried mint with evoo on pita. I make labne using bulgarian unhomogenized yogurt from whole food. Also second the preserved goat labne balls in olive oil, heavenly and way yummier than chevre


Labneh is so great and so verstaile. We usually have this as an accompaniment to a traditional moroccan couscous cooked in a tagine with chicken or meat and vegetables. Yum!


Have you tried the thick labneh swirled with equal parts tahini and honey? I found the recipe in the Moro East cookbook and have literally not stopped eating it since. I know it works with regular old greek yogurt, but need to give this new combo a try. Thanks for the how to!


Made my first labneh this week using the cusipro-donvier strainer that I purchased from Amazon. It was no muss, no fuss and the container fits easily in the refrigerator and cleans up very easily. We had kalamata olive bread slathered with it with chopped arugula and some Za'atar I made. It was marvelous !!!


Spread on a cracker and topped with nettle pesto. So yummy.

melissa s.

I have been meaning to make labneh for ages, never see it in the shops here, and this may be the prompt I needed. Have many ideas what I would like to eat it with so will give it a go!


Please Heidi, help us find the Krishna brand Super/Delux yogurt strainer! I, like many other regular readers, spent a lot of time trying to Google a source but didn't find one.

Karen Bagshaw

I gently sweeten it with honey and use it to fill a raw pie crust made of brazil nuts, coconut and dates. With a fresh fruit topping it makes a beautiful dessert. Love the idea of balls rolled in herbs. Brilliant!


I skimmed through most of the comments, but didn't read each one, so I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned this strainer. I've been making labneh for about 25 years and I absolutely LOVE it! I have two of them because I often have more than one batch straining. Oh, and I never use Greek Yogurt for my labneh... the texture just seems not right. My favorite at the moment is the Brown Cow yogurt which I get at Whole Foods. I love all of the suggestions for using labneh. I use it just about anywhere that cream or sour cream is called for, but of course, just as a dip (lots of herbs and sea salt) is as good as it gets!


Don't know if anyone mentioned this or not, but this makes a yummy alternative to ricotta in lasagna. These other suggestions sound delicious, too.

Megan C

My favorite way to eat labane - on toast with tomato and avocado, salt and pepper. My son's favorite way - scooped up with a toasted pita triangle, preferably drizzled with olive oil and zaatar, sesame seeds and sea salt.

sarah vine

Heidi, I love reading your recipes, India there are so many variations to hung of them..add sugar, peeled pistachio and saffron and mix it vigorously till sugar melts, and have a great summer dessert in hand called Shrikhand !!


Heidi - that's one of my favorite strainers too. My mom send it over from Udaipur! Anyway - labneh is a staple in our house. Spread it on whole wheat pita bread with any kind of sandwich fillings and vinegary pickles (carrots, turnip,dill) tucked in. On savory scones. Labneh, crushed garlic, tahini, cumin, lemon and parsley - thinned if required - makes best garlic sauce.

Just received Ottolenghi's Jerusalem cookbook. Made the root slaw with labneh - divine. I use a metal strainer lined with a man's handkerchief (buy them by the dozen - cheap, all cotton and they work for all kinds of straining, like stock!) propped on top of a mixing bowl.


I half the recipe using orgnic low fat plain yogurt, added dried basil and black pepper to the recipe - turned out marvelous

dixya@food, pleasure, and health

The strainer is easily available on ebay...if its not double lined, you could simply put one layer of cheese cloth/muslin/ kitchen towel over it and use...and their are so many varieties, they come with steel handle too, which are used in Indian homes for ages...


I love it with flatbreads and anything middle eastern

Also, I work in a restaurant, and we serve "deep-fried yougurt" which is labneh with garlic added, rolled into balls, covered in breadcrumbs and deep fried.


I, like many readers, also searched for a source for the strainer. Here is a link to what appears to be it. This place calls it a water strainer. However, it appears to be a source for wholesalers. I sent an email asking about a link or any information about buying one, but never heard back, or if I did, it went to my spam folder and I never saw it.


I've never heard of this before! Thank you for this post, I just pinned it. :-)

I'm definitely intrigued by the frosting variety!

Kelly @

I just use a linen dishcloth inside of a spaghetti colander, and then I put a pot on top to press it if I want it extra thick. It works fine. Bulgarians use it to make "Snejanka" (snow white) salad:

Press 1L yogurt until very thick.
Add 1/2 tsp salt, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 2-3 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 a cubed or grated cucumber. Serve in scoops on a hot summer day. (Optional: chopped black olive garnish.)

When I make cheesecake with it, it's a bit bland so I add lemon zest and salt.

Bulgarians use yogurt for everything including baking with stirred yogurt instead of fresh milk - this is great for those of us who are lactose intolerant since I can digest yogurt. (My husband is Bulgarian.)


I wish I would have read this a few weeks ago. I was just in Jaipur for 2 weeks and would have loved to bring a strainer back with me. I even ate at Anokhi!


I love this post! And I'd give anything for that strainer! :) I grew up on Labneh. There was always some in the fridge. My Mom used to put the yogurt in a cheesecloth, tied it up and hung it from a handle of one of her upper cabinets and it hung for the whole day! I don't do it that way…I use a strainer also and refrigerate for a couple of days.


Check out Arto Der Harountunian's THE YOGURT COOKBOOK. He suggests many uses of labneh. One of my favorite recipes is ... labneh balls rolled in fresh herbs with pita bread. Easy, delicious and healthy!


we make dahi ke kebabs( yogurt kebabs) by adding onions,yellow chilli powder,corriander leaves,saffron threads,roasted chick pea flour,sugar,salt, cardamom powder& garam masala to it.
shape them into thick roundels & shallow fry on non-stick pan till golden brown on both sides.


There are indeed many fans of labneh, with our family joining the forces. One of our favorite ways is spreading on rye bread (plain or toasted), topping with thinly sliced cucumbers or radishes. It is simple and wonderful. Great after a trip to the gym, especially in summer time. We also do the same as Cassius posted, basically a cucumber salad, which again is served with pita or toasted bread of some kind. Being of Russian heritage, this is cousin to cucumber,sour cream and dill with garlic. No matter, the end result is delicious. Keep posting so we can share more great ideas. Have a great all. :-)


I am so excited to make this. My friend's mom used to make it when we were kids and I've been wanting to know ever since. Thank you for the post. Making it this weekend!


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