Homemade Syrian labneh

Some call it yogurt cheese, others call it the Syrian cream cheese but it is most commonly known as labneh. It is a staple food on any breakfast menu, makes a wonderful sandwich with a few mint leaves or some pitted olives or better yet with a sprinkle of zaatar. To put it simply labneh is strained yogurt.It is super easy to make and very tasty and the best part is, you can flavor it any way you like. Mint, oregano, sumac, olives, chili flakes.

Compared to cream cheese, labneh is much healthier and lighter in calories.You can make it using regular yogurt or fat free yogurt but the best labneh is the one you make out of homemade yogurt.  If you strain it further, you will get a labneh that you can roll into balls and these are called “labneh korat”or”labneh mka3baleh” which means “labneh balls”. Put these in a jar and submerge them with oil and they will last a whole year in the fridge. Labneh balls also make for a wonderful appetizer if you make them small enough. You can serve them plain or rolled in zaatar, sesame seeds, parsley, sumac, or pepper.You can even serve a platter of labneh balls rolled in different toppings, they make for a very pretty and tasty appetizer. You can also add them to salads if you feel like adding a refreshing new twist to your regular salad.



Homemade labneh

1 Kg Yogurt (greek ,regular or fat free)

1 teaspoon salt

Cheesecloth or a fine weave fabric




Place a  piece of doubled cheesecloth or soft cotton fabric (preferably undyed and  clean) in the colander and place the colander over a deep bowl

Stir the salt into the yoghurt then spoon the yoghurt in the center of a piece of the cheesecloth.

Leave to drain for 3-5 hours . (if the weather is hot allow it to drain in the fridge).

Remove from the cloth and store covered in the refrigerator until needed.


To Serve Labneh:

Spread it evenly over a medium-sized plate. Sprinkle with fresh seasonal herbs like mint, za’atar, or dill – or place a few olives around the center of the plate. Drizzle a thread of olive oil over all. Serve with pita or other fresh bread

Use it as a spread to make a sandwich, plain or with some zaatar or mint on top.

Serve it as a dip with cucumber, carrots or celery sticks.


Lara Khouli