Thick & Creamy Labneh

Labneh 3Labneh is a type of Middle Eastern “cheese” made from strained yogurt. Thick and creamy with a mild, tangy flavor, labneh is typically served as a spread or dip. Although labneh can be found in many grocery stores, it’s also really easy to make at home. And if you make it with organic, full-fat cultured yogurt, it’s chock-full of good saturated fat and beneficial probiotics.

Even so, you might be thinking, “Dairy? Really?” If that’s the case, then this recipe might not be for you. It’s true that some people don’t tolerate dairy well. But it’s also true that for others, a little bit of dairy can be part of a healthy, well-rounded diet. As noted in this definitive guide, dairy resides in Primal limbo. If you do indulge, then homemade labneh can be a delicious savory treat.

Making labneh is simple: Wrap full-fat yogurt in cheesecloth and let the moisture drain out for 12 to 24 hours, depending on how thick you want it. Then, pour really good extra virgin olive oil on top and if you like, throw in some herbs and/or spices. Mint, basil, parsley, and chives are good; so are za’atar, black pepper and cumin.

Serve labneh with Primal crackers (Primal Cravings has a great recipe for Everything Crackers) or as a dip for raw vegetables. Spoon it over cooked lamb, roasted vegetables, chili and stew, or any spicy dish that needs a cool, creamy topping.

Servings: 1 ½ cups labneh

Time in the Kitchen: 10 minutes, plus 24 hours to strain the yogurt


  • 32 ounces/3 cups (907 g) organic full-fat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (3.7 ml)
  • ¼ cup really good extra virgin olive oil (60 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs (30 ml)


Set a strainer over a bowl. Drape a few layers of cheesecloth over the strainer.


Pour the yogurt into the cheesecloth. Bring the ends of the cheesecloth up around the yogurt into a bundle and tie with a string or rubber band. Keep the bundle in the strainer or hang the bundle over a bowl so the moisture drips out. Refrigerate at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours while the yogurt is strained.


Use a rubber spatula to scrape the thick labneh from the cheesecloth into a bowl. Stir in salt, olive oil and herbs.

Labneh 4

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12 thoughts on “Thick & Creamy Labneh”

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  1. This sounds almost like it could be considered a savory yogurt. I just wish I could do dairy or coconut yogurt. Maybe if I can find an almond milk yogurt, I can try this.

    1. Back in the day, I would’ve dove naked into a bowl of this stuff, and gladly ladled it on top of baked potatoes, but that was then.

  2. re: It’s true that some people don’t tolerate dairy well.

    A family member here, for example. But let’s be specific. By ‘dairy’ is usually meant bovine beta casein A1 dairy. We haven’t tested A2, as it’s pretty rare in N. America.

    We’re having zero trouble with yogurt made from caprine (goat dairy).

    1. Rare? In my experience small dairies selling into local markets predominately have Gurnsey or Jersey or Gurnsey x Jersey herds.

      My relevant experience here is working as a marketing specialist in a farmer-led sustainable ag organization in the Midwest. Maybe it’s different elsewhere.

    2. Interesting and makes sense. I wonder if goat yogurt would drain the same as cow yogurt. Worth a try.

  3. Shortcut: If you start with plain Greek yogurt, such as Fage, you probably wouldn’t need to drain it first. For Labneh just add salt, herbs, and EVOO to taste.

    That said, I don’t do much dairy other than butter. Most dairy products give me GI tract issues, which makes them all pretty unappetizing.

  4. Tip: The longer you let it drain, the drier it will be come; after around 2 day+- you’ll be able to make small balls the size of truffles (use 2 spoons or your hands), which you can keep in a glass gar and cover with olive oil.

  5. Love this stuff!! Also, I take the liquid, cool it in the fridge and drink it.
    Middle East culture says it is good for the kidneys. I think it is full of Whey.
    I don’t like to waste!

  6. I grew up with labneh. My mother made fresh labneh every few months. But as an adult I figured out long ago to use store bought yogurt and drain as directed. I use it as a spread with cucumbers or other veggies and olives. But my favorite is with eggs in the morning. It is an acquired taste most definitely but it is yummy none the less!

  7. Save the liquid! This is whey, you can use it to make tasty and probiotic rich homemade ferments like real sauerkraut and pickles.

  8. Also, feel free to use either use regular yogurt or Greek yogurt. I personally prefer the extra-thick texture from Greek labneh. Greek yogurt tends to be thicker and creamier.

  9. I use homemade raw milk kefir, strain it and have yummy labne. I don’t tolerate dairy but have no problems with the raw fermented kefir!