Labneh can be made in two ways: labneh using homemade yogurt (starting from milk) or using store-bought yogurt. This labneh recipe starts from store-bought yogurt and it's perfect for when you are short on time and want to simplify things.
You might be wondering, why would I go through the hassle of making homemade yogurt? Well, there is a difference in taste between labneh made from homemade yogurt and labneh made from store-bought yogurt. The difference is that labneh made from store-bought yogurt is not sour. It has the same consistency, however, it's not the same in taste as making labneh from milk.
What I Love About This Recipe
I love how simple and easy this recipe is. It's literally one step- strain yogurt. If you are short on time and want a really simple way to make labneh, this recipe is for you. Not to mention, there are so many ways to eat labneh: sprinkle some za'atar on top, labneh on a toasted bagel, garlic labneh with pita chips, labneh pita sandwich, and even labneh frosting! Mind blown.
I recommend full-fat unsweetened plain organic yogurt like the one below. Two quarts of yogurt will yield about a quart of labneh. This is literally the only required ingredient.
How To Make Labneh With Store-Bought Yogurt
Place two layers of a strong paper towel laid perpendicular in the strainer. Alternatively, use a large diameter thin cotton cloth.
Add the strainer on top of a second bowl to catch the drippings (whey) of the yogurt while straining.
Pour the yogurt on top of the paper towels. Strain the yogurt overnight or for a minimum of 6 hours in the fridge.
Once the labneh has reached the desired consistency, remove and drain the bottom bowl of whey liquid. Pour the labneh into a container. Add some salt to taste.
Tips and Tricks
- Use a thick paper towel. If you are living in the U.S., most paper towels are thick. However, in other parts of the world, paper towels are very thin and similar to tissue. If using a paper towel, make sure it's a thick one.
- Use high-quality ingredients, aka organic yogurt. I splurge on high-quality yogurt whenever available to make labneh from store-bought yogurt.
- Continue straining until labneh is desired consistency. Depending on if using a paper towel or thin cloth fabric, the straining time may vary. Just keep straining until the labneh spread is the desired consistency.
Substitutions and Variations
- Use dairy-free yogurt to make dairy-free labneh. Make sure to get unsweetened dairy-free yogurt like unsweetened coconut yogurt and unsweetened almond yogurt.
- Strain the yogurt in the same way as Greek yogurt by using a Greek yogurt straining cloth bag.
How To Eat
Eat labneh in a variety of ways: as a dip or in a labneh sandwich, with vegetables, pita chips, or pita bread. Some sides that go well are fresh mint, sliced cucumbers, fresh tomatoes, and olives. And, don't forget the pita bread or pita chips!
If you are a garlic lover, labneh is excellent with some mashed garlic. Garlic labneh is can be made with a mortar and pestle or garlic press. Mash 1 clove of garlic with a pinch of salt for every 1 cup of labneh. Mix the mashed garlic and labneh well together.
Another way of eating labneh is with za'atar, olive oil, and salt flakes. This is my favorite way to eat labneh. You can eat za'atar labneh with fried pita chips or regular pita bread.
Store the labneh dip in an airtight container in the fridge up until the expiration date on the store-bought yogurt container. I don't recommend freezing labneh.
I recommend using organic full-fat unsweetened cow's milk plain yogurt.
Labneh made from store-bought yogurt is similar in taste to Greek yogurt, however, labneh is a little bit thicker in consistency closer to cream cheese. Historically, Greek yogurt is made from goat's milk whereas labneh is made from cow's milk.
Perfect Labneh Pairings
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Labneh Made From Store-Bought Yogurt
- 2 quarts whole milk yogurt unsweetened
- Add 2 layers of paper towels (thick quality paper towels) or a cotton cloth fabric in a large strainer. If using paper towels, layer them perpendicularly.
- Place the paper towel lined strainer on top of a bowl.
- Add the yogurt to the paper towel-lined strainer.
- Let the yogurt drain overnight or for a minimum of 6 hours in the fridge.
- Drain the liquid whey from the bowl.
- Add salt to taste to labneh.
- 2 quarts of yogurt yield about 1 quart of labneh.
A life without labneh is not a life at all. Truly good stuff, the tart and salty are a fabulous combination.
OMG, that's my motto too- labneh makes everything better.
I just made my first labneh last week. I wish I’d seen this first, I made it much too difficult. It’s wonderful, and I will make it again, often!
Thanks for the comment! Labneh can be made from scratch using milk and a starter yogurt (takes about 1.5 to 2.5 days depending on how sour you want the labneh to be). OR, you can simplify things and make labneh by just straining store-bought yogurt! Store-bought yogurt labneh won't have the "sour" taste typically that you have when you make your yogurt from scratch. Either way, Labneh is AMAZING. You can do so much with it like, labneh on toasted bagels, or a labneh pita sandwich, or even labneh dip with some za'atar and olive oil and eaten with pita chips.
Great option for straining yogurt from the store but I’m glad you mentioned the taste. A lot of labneh sold in the non Middle Eastern grocery store are not that tangy, not in the same way as making it from scratch from milk. I still like that this can be done to simplify things because it’s just one step. And using a paper towel is genius. Easy clean up
Thanks for your comment! I prefer to make labneh from milk because it tastes like the labneh I know. It takes a few days, but it's just a few steps.