labneh | strained yogurt

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  • 4 cups plain unstrained yogurt, either homemade or store-bought
  • 1 wooden spoon
  • 1 pitcher or other tall container to catch the whey
  • A long sheet of cheesecloth
  • For serving (optional): salt, za’atar¬†(or another spice blend), and extra virgin olive oil


  1. Line a medium-sized bowl (approximately 1 quart) with several layers of cheesecloth. Make sure that the cheesecloth square is large enough to tie the corners around 1 quart of yogurt.
  2. Spoon the yogurt into the center of the cheesecloth-covered bowl, place the wooden spoon over the top then wrap the cheesecloth edges over the top, tying them around the wooden spoon.
  3. Place the ball inside the pitcher, with the wooden spoon allowing it to hang from the top. This will keep it away from the pooling whey, so that it can strain as it hangs.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap, give the fridge a sniff check to make sure there are no funky smells, and strain the labneh in the fridge for about 6-12 hours, depending on the consistency you want. It will be more like Greek yogurt after 6 hours and much firmer after 12. *
  5. To serve, spread thinly on a plate, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and spices.


* Don’t be surprised if the labneh loses a couple cups of whey during the straining process. You might need to empty the pitcher if the whey-line starts to get too close to the ball. Also don’t be surprised if the trickle of whey slows down dramatically after the first couple hours. It will lose most of its whey in the first 6 hours.