Homemade Labneh

September 21, 2012

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: These days, everyone makes hummus at home. Its quintessential pairing - labneh - is even easier to make from scratch. All you need is Greek yogurt, good olive oil, za'atar, and a lot of patience. Rivka

Serves: 4-6
Prep time: 24 hrs 2 min


  • 12 ounces of your favorite Greek yogurt (I like Fage)
  • a small pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon za'atar
In This Recipe


  1. Line a fine strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth and set over a bowl.
  2. In another bowl, combine yogurt, salt, and lemon juice. Stir to incorporate. Spoon yogurt mixture into the cheesecloth-lined strainer and fold layers of cheesecloth over the yogurt to cover completely.
  3. Transfer yogurt (and strainer and bowl) to the refrigerator for 12-24 hours. After 12 hours, the yogurt mixture will have thickened into standard labneh; after 24 hours, it will have thickened further, into the extra-stiff labneh that you can buy in tubes at Jerusalem markets. When making it at home, I favor extra-thick labneh.
  4. Remove strained labneh from the fridge, unfold cheesecloth, and transfer labneh to a serving bowl. Use the back of a spoon to make a swirly pattern in the top of the labneh. Drizzle the oil over the labneh and sprinkle with za’atar. Serve cold, with hummus and sliced vegetables and/or warm pita.

More Great Recipes:
Condiment/Spread|Israeli|Middle Eastern|Lemon Juice|Make Ahead|5 Ingredients or Fewer|Appetizer

Reviews (13) Questions (1)

13 Reviews

Goldie October 8, 2018
I have found several types of za'atar in my local grocery store. Can you give me any hints to which one I should try? (There is one called Jerusalem)
saadat September 16, 2017
it turned out very well... recently I moved from the mid east back to Pakistan and was perturbed at the prospect of not getting my fresh labneh for my breakfast... after not finding it on the usual market shelves....i started toying with the idea of DIY..... came here and hit gold...!
Rivka....thanx for this special favor....thumbs pal... may you have many more...:))
Author Comment
Rivka September 17, 2017
So glad to hear this worked for you! I've never had Pakistani labneh, but I'd love to try it one day.
emcsull January 11, 2017
so what about kefir, can I use that ?
bonnie W. June 10, 2015
I'm relatively new to the world of labneh,found the best homemade at an international market in Houston. Really, really luv it with fresh figs and honey. Figs r out of season so I've just tried fresh peaches and honey! Wow , throw a few chopped pecans on top and truly delicious breakfast. Trying your recipe tomorrow!
dinaofdoom August 22, 2014
i've been using a strainer and greek yogurt to make "yogurt cheese", which has a chevre-like consistency. gonna try the lemon & salt and see how it goes!
ashley M. June 4, 2014
Mixing cow and goat milk yogurts makes for a delicious labneh.
sadenis December 8, 2013
I make my own Greek yogurt by setting my homemade yogurt in a cheesecloth-lined strainer. Could I just add the salt and lemon partway through and continue with this recipe?
Author Comment
Rivka December 9, 2013
I don't see why not - let us know how it turns out!
Grandma L. October 2, 2012
Is there a particular za’atar you recommend? Thanks!
Author Comment
Rivka December 9, 2013
Sorry I'm so late to this comment! Don't know how I missed it. Mine is from Israel, so unfortunately I don't know a good American brand. I'd recommend buying it some place where you can smell it beforehand. If you don't have that option, I'd put my money on Kalustyan's having a good one, and you can order from them online.
alamesa September 28, 2012
Never made Labneh and cannot wait to give this a try. I'm constantly making hummus (garlic and tahini heavy!) and this is going to be a welcome change
Author Comment
Rivka September 28, 2012
Make both together! Nothing's better than hot pita with a shmear of each. Enjoy.