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Labneh Recipe From the Mountains of Lebanon

by Lily

I grew up on homemade yogurt and labneh. Pretty much every Lebanese kid does. And after so many years eating labneh, I never tried to make it myself. I asked my father how to make our family homemade labneh recipe. It’s simple and doesn’t need any fancy equipment. He told me this is how my Tayta Lily (my Lebanese grandmother) used to make it.

All you need to make labneh is a starter plain yogurt and whole milk. I use a full-fat plain yogurt as my starter yogurt.

milk and yogurt

The Family Labneh Recipe

Put the milk in a large pot. Set heat to high until the milk just starts to boil. Immediately remove from heat.

This is important! You have to watch the milk, otherwise, you will run the risk of the milk boiling over and making a mess.

boil milk

Let milk cool down to a temperature that you can stick you finger in for 10 seconds.

Yes, I’m not joking. This is the step in the recipe. You see back in the day, they didn’t have fancy kitchen gadgets to read temperatures. They had to use their fingers!

If the milk is too hot, then come back until you can keep your finger in the milk for 10 full seconds.

Add the starter yogurt to the milk. The ratio is 1 cup of yogurt to 1 gallon of milk.

Cover the pot and wrap with a towel. Let yogurt sit at room temperature for a full 24 hours.

Once the yogurt is made, now we need to strain out the excess water for around 8 to 10 hours to make the lebneh recipe.

There are two methods I tried to strain the yogurt:

  1. Paper towels
  2. Cotton cloth fabric
strain with paper towel
Paper Towel
strain with cloth napkin
Cotton Cloth

The paper towels easily broke after the full 24 hours. I prefer the cotton cloth. Both paper towels and cotton cloth were effective in removing the excess liquid (which is whey).

The labneh is ready once it sort of sticks together. Labneh has more moisture than cream cheese, yet less moisture than sour cream. It’s in a camp of its own.

lebneh yogurt

Put labneh in a bowl that can stored in the fridge. I typically eat the labneh within 2 weeks.

Labneh Recipe

How to Eat Labneh

I normally eat my labneh recipe with zaatar, olive oil, and salt sprinkled on the top as a dip. My preference for dipping is fried pita chips or regular pita bread.

labneh with olive oil and zaatar

My childhood way of eating labneh was as a sandwich. Now, over the years I’ve made some amazing labneh sandwiches. The one below is the best.

Labneh Pita Bread Sandwich

Split a large pita bread. Spread the labneh in a thin layer all over the top of the pita bread. Sprinkle zaatar and salt. Drizzle some olive oil. Add fresh mint leaves, Lebanese olives, and Persian cucumbers. If you have really delicious tomatoes, add those too in thin slivers. Enjoy!

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Labneh Recipe

Labneh Recipe From the Mountains of Lebanon

  • Author: Lilian B.
  • Prep Time: 32 hours
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 32 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Have you ever wondered how to make homemade labneh? This is my Lebanese grandmother’s labneh recipe that doesn’t need any fancy equipment.



  • Gallon of full fat milk
  • 1 cup full fat plain yogurt


Make Homemade Yogurt

  1. Bring 1 gallon of whole milk to a boil. Be very careful to take off heat once the milk starts to boil, otherwise the milk will boil over the stovetop.
  2. Turn off heat and let milk cool down.
  3. Once you can stick your finger in the milk and count for 10 seconds, the milk is ready for the yogurt.
  4. Add 1 cup of yogurt and stir the mixture once.
  5. Cover the pot and put a towel around the yogurt. Keep in the warmest part of your home for 24 hours.
  6. After 24 hours, the homemade yogurt is done!

Strain Yogurt to Make Labneh

  1. Add a cotton cloth or 2 layers of paper towels in a large strainer.
  2. Place the strainer on top of a bowl.
  3. Add the yogurt to the strainer.
  4. Let the yogurt drain for 8 to 10 hours.
  5. Drain liquid from bowl. 
  6. Add salt to taste to labneh.
  7. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.


  1. I usually put 1/3 of the yogurt aside to keep as yogurt. The remaining 2/3 yogurt is strained to make labneh.
  2. Another option for making labneh is using pre-made plain yogurt. 
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Boiling
  • Cuisine: Lebanese


  • Serving Size: 4 tablespoons
  • Calories: 208
  • Sugar: 16 g
  • Sodium: 167 mg
  • Fat: 11 g
  • Saturated Fat: 7 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 4 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 18 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 11 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: lebneh labneh yogurt cheese homemade yogurt

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Lara April 30, 2020 - 2:54 am

What’s the difference between this yogurt and Greek yogurt?

Lilian B. May 17, 2020 - 1:58 am

Labneh is very similar to Greek yogurt, but it’s slightly thicker. You could make it the same consistency as Greek yogurt by stopping the straining process once it reaches the consistency you like for Greek yogurt.


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