This Lebanese homemade yogurt recipe, or laban in Arabic, is simple and easy to make using two ingredients: a starter yogurt and milk. This recipe doesn't need any fancy gadgets, just a stovetop pot with a cover and towel.
What I Love About This Recipe
This homemade yogurt recipe is failure-proof and the easiest, simplest way to make homemade yogurt. My family makes a big batch of homemade yogurt every two weeks.
- Whole milk: Use whole milk for creamy homemade yogurt. I prefer grass-fed organic milk. I do not recommend skim milk or part-skim milk.
- Plain full-fat yogurt: Use unsweetened plain full-fat cow's milk yogurt. Plain yogurt differs from plain Greek yogurt. I recommend plain yogurt.
See the recipe card at the bottom of the post for quantities.
How to Make Homemade Yogurt (Laban)
Add the milk to the stovetop pot on high heat.
Bring the milk to a boil, then turn off the stove.
Pro Tip: Monitor the milk closely so the milk doesn't boil over.
Allow the milk to cool down until you can hold your (clean) finger in the milk for 10 seconds. Skim the film off of the heated milk.
Scoop two cups of warm milk and mix with two cups of starter yogurt.
Whisk the starter yogurt and milk together until smooth in a separate bowl.
Add the yogurt and milk mixture back to the milk.
Cover the milk with the pot cover and wrap it in a towel.
Let the yogurt sit covered for 24 hours at room temperature or in a slightly warm place in the house. If you would like sour yogurt, allow the yogurt to sit covered for 48 hours at room temperature.
The yogurt may have more whey than store-bought yogurt, which is normal. If you want to thicken the yogurt, strain the yogurt using a thin cotton cloth or kitchen sack towel.
The yogurt may look bumpy or curdled. It's optional to use a whisk to smooth it out. Store the yogurt in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Tips and Tricks
- Watch the milk while it boils. It's easy for milk to boil over and make a mess, so watching the milk while you bring it to a boil is best.
- Keep the yogurt wrapped in a towel. The yogurt needs a warm room temperature environment.
- Use organic, grass-fed milk for the best-tasting yogurt.
- Do NOT use a thickening agent like corn starch. If you want thicker yogurt, you can strain the yogurt with paper towels (similar to how labneh is made). Place a strainer on top of a large bowl. Add two layers of paper towels, then pour the laban yogurt on top. You can also use a cloth bag or cloth cotton towels.
Substitutions and Variations
- Make goat yogurt using goat milk (and goat yogurt) instead of cow's milk.
- This method uses live yogurt cultures from a starter yogurt. However, yogurt can be made with a freeze-dried yogurt starter.
- Make cucumber yogurt salad by mixing diced English cucumbers (or Persian), crushed garlic, dried mint, and salt.
- Laban drink is a common yogurt drink in the Middle East. It's sour and less thick than yogurt.
Use a large stovetop pot with a lid to boil and store the yogurt. Wrap the stovetop pot in a towel to keep the yogurt warm while resting at room temperature.
Store the homemade yogurt in an airtight container in the fridge for about two weeks.
Yes, yogurt can be made at home with basic kitchen tools: a stovetop pot, cover, and towel.
Make homemade yogurt by bringing milk to a boil. Allow the milk to cool down to the point you can stick your finger in it for 10 seconds. Add the starter yogurt and mix. Cover the stovetop pot and wrap it with a towel. Let the yogurt form at room temperature for between 24 hours and 48 hours.
It depends on how much yogurt you need. You can make one gallon of yogurt for the cost of one gallon of milk.
Fresh homemade yogurt lasts about two weeks in the fridge.
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Easy Lebanese Homemade Yogurt (Laban)
- 1 gallon whole milk
- 2 cups of plain full-fat yogurt
- Bring the milk to a boil in a stovetop pot, then take it off the heat.
- When you can hold your clean finger in the cooled milk for a full 10 seconds, the milk is ready for the starter yogurt. Mix two cups of starter yogurt with two cups of cooled milk in a separate bowl. Pour the yogurt and milk back into the milk.
- Cover the stovetop pot and wrap it in a towel. Allow the yogurt to form for 24 to 48 hours.
- If desiring more tangy yogurt, keep the yogurt forming at room temperature for 48 hours.
- Once the yogurt is formed, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.