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Labneh (cream cheese) recipe (1)

Produced in just a few hours from only two ingredients – yoghurt and salt – it’s easy to see why Labneh is becoming increasingly popular among food bloggers and writers alike. For those of you not in “the know”, labneh is a fresh soft cheese (also known as strained yoghurt) traditionally eaten in the Middle East. Though it is used in some cooked dishes, labneh works best as a dip or meze with a delicious topping of herbs and olive oil.

As its secondary name suggests, the process of making labneh involves straining the whey out of the yoghurt. This removal of the sweet whey intensifies the yoghurt-flavour, making for a rather tangy cheese. Of course, it is delicious served with only a little good-quality olive oil, but it really comes into its own with a little imagination.

Labneh (cream cheese) recipe (3)

By the way, if you thought spreading a thick layer of shop-bought cream cheese on your bagel in the morning was delicious, just you wait until you try this recipe. Breakfast will never be quite the same again.


Serves 4-6


• 500g natural yoghurt

• ½ tsp salt


1. With the yoghurt still in its pot mix in the salt. Line a sieve with a large square of muslin and tip or spoon the yoghurt into the centre of the cloth. Fold over the corners and stand a jam jar, or similar, on top. Set over a bowl and leave in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

2. Remove the labneh from the muslin. At this point you can stir in whatever herbs/spices you like, or leave plain to be spread on bread, dipped or topped with other ingredients.

Labneh (cream cheese) recipe (2) Labneh (cream cheese) recipe (4)

Cost: It doesn’t take an in-depth financial audit to realise that the cost of making Labneh entirely depends on your choice of yoghurt (unless you’re using some seriously expensive salt). Cows’ yoghurt tends to be a little cheaper than goats’ or sheep yoghurt. However, the flavour you get from the milk of our smaller ruminant friends could potentially help your Labneh stand out and give it a more authentic taste. In this case, the cost really is up to you!


56 replies on “Labneh”

I LOVE labneh – I grew up with my mother straining big batches of yogurt all the time in our house. She’s Lebanese, so that’s like you said, a staple our stomachs. Thank you for sharing this simple, but so delicious recipes with the world!

I have wanted to make labneh for years – don’t know why I never have. I have also seen recipes with the labneh in small balls, marinated in olive oil, but I like the simplicity of your approach. I’m off to buy some muslin! margaret

I love the idea of making this. I’m always excited when I come across something that is a little different that I’ve never thought of making before but actually would be so easy.

I have been making what we call ‘yogurt cheese’ for years! In fact, I make it so often I have purchased a reusable coffee filter so that I need not use paper filters or cheese cloth to strain. You need a dedicated reusable coffee filter otherwise your yogurt make take on coffee flavour. I have used ‘yogurt cheese’ as a replacement for cream cheese in cheese cakes, dips and soup thickeners! I love your simple dip and how it’s presented on that beautiful board, is it olive wood?

Had something similar, I think, in Turkey. Served on a plain ceramic plate with a dollop of local hone. It was to die for. This looks very doable. Thanks!

I grew up eating Labneh! I am really pleased to see such a staple in the Lebanese food arsenal get so much good hype. Though humble, Labneh is a very versatile food, we bake it on dough with cooked ground meat to make some sort of calzone, or even eat it with flat bread with an array of vegetables.

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