What is labneh? This thick, creamy dish is made from strained yogurt. Depending on how long the yogurt has been strained, labneh can range from just barely thicker than yogurt to an almost cream cheese-like texture. Good labneh starts with full-fat yogurt. After it’s strained, the flavor is a perfect balance of tanginess and creaminess. This combination of rich and bright flavor makes labneh a wonderful topping for stews, salads, or sandwiches with a Middle Eastern flair.
How to make labneh
It’s easy to make a version of this strained yogurt at home. Start with plain, full-fat Greek yogurt. Place a mesh strainer over a bowl or jar and line the strainer with cheesecloth. Spoon in as much yogurt as you like, and fold the edges of the cheesecloth over the yogurt to cover. Let it strain in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours. At the end of this time, the bowl will be full of excess whey, and the strainer will hold the thick and creamy curds. You can flavor this newly strained yogurt with herbs and spices, or serve it plain.
How to use labneh
A spoonful of this bright ingredient will add a little kick to grain bowls, roasted proteins, or vegetable dishes. We love pairing it with dishes inspired by Middle Eastern cuisine, but you can use plain it in place of sour cream.
Try some of our favorite recipes using labneh
Za’atar-Spiced Chicken & Farro Salad with Lemon-Garlic Labneh
In this dish, herby za’atar-coated chicken is accompanied by a bed of hearty farro (studded with marinated vegetables) and a drizzle of bright, creamy sauce.
Roasted Chickpea & Freekeh Salad with Lemon Labneh & Harissa-Glazed Carrots
This Middle Eastern-inspired grain bowl uses vibrant harissa paste to glaze carrots for a smoky kick. These are tossed together with roasted chickpeas, warm grains of freekeh, and a bright shallot dressing.
Spiced Beef Pitas & Garlic Labneh with Arugula & Date Salad
This recipe is inspired by the flavors of a Greek gyro—a hearty sandwich of rotisserie-cooked meat served in a flatbread. Our take showcases quick-cooking, thin-sliced beef sautéed with a blend of za’atar and Aleppo pepper, then layered onto soft pitas and served with a tangy sauce
Beef over Za’atar-Spiced Rice with Lemon Labneh
In this Lebanese-inspired dish, vibrant spices in our za’atar like sumac and Aleppo pepper bring bright flavor and gentle heat to a bed of rice. It’s all topped with tender beef and a dollop of bright of thick, creamy yogurt for a cooling contrast.