We Tried a Recipe for Homemade Cheese—It Was Way Easier Than We Thought!

We promise—it's THIS easy to make homemade cheese! Learn how to make this soft, spreadable cheese using nothing more than a container of yogurt and a few squares of cheesecloth.

Cheesemaking isn’t exactly an everyday activity. It requires more time and attention than most of us are willing to give (even if you’re making an easy cheese, like ricotta). The good news is, we have a completely stress-free, homemade cheese recipe made from yogurt!

What Is Labneh?

Erin Coffield, RDN, LDN, food and nutrition expert at National Dairy Council told me about labneh cheese: a soft, cream cheese popular in Middle Eastern cuisine. It’s not only delicious and easy to make, it takes advantage of the many health benefits of yogurt, providing your body with protein, calcium, vitamins and minerals.

How to Make Labneh

Yield: About 2-1/2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 (32-ounce) container of whole cow’s milk yogurt or Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, optional
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons za’atar seasoning (buy it here), optional

Editor’s note: Everything Bagel spice works in place of the za’atar if you already have it.

You’ll also need

  • 2 (12″ x 12″) squares of cheesecloth (available here), or a linen kitchen towel
  • A fine-mesh strainer or sieve

Step 1: Season the yogurt

We start by seasoning the yogurt with salt in a large bowl. You can strain plain yogurt for labneh, but it will taste much better if you salt it first. The salt also helps pull out excess whey, giving you a creamier, thicker cheese.

Step 2: Strain out the whey

Place a fine-mesh strainer on top of a medium-sized bowl. Line the strainer with the cheesecloth (or, a linen kitchen towel), letting a few inches hang over the side of the strainer. Spoon the seasoned yogurt into the cheesecloth and gently wrap the sides over the top of the yogurt, protecting it from being exposed to air in the refrigerator.

Store it in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours, discarding the whey halfway through if your bowl becomes too full.

Step 3: Eat up!

Congratulations, you just pulled off the easiest recipe for homemade cheese! Remove the labneh from the cheesecloth and store it in an airtight container. Serve it as a dip by pressing a dent in the center of the cheese, drizzling the olive oil into the center and sprinkling it with the za’atar seasoning.

How to Enjoy Labneh

Labneh’s flavor and texture are like whipped cream cheese. Here are a few ways to try it, but the possibilities are endless!

  • Spread it on whole grain toast and eat it for breakfast.
  • Use it in place of mayonnaise to amp up the nutrition of your lunch sandwiches or wraps.
  • Slather it on lahmacun for your next pizza night.
  • Whip it with some honey and serve it as a dessert with berries.
  • Make it an appetizer dip for raw or grilled vegetables by topping it with olive oil and Za’atar seasoning.

Or, try using it in these amazing dishes Grandma made with cream cheese!

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Lindsay D. Mattison
After years of working in professional kitchens, Lindsay traded her knives in for the pen. While she spends most of her time writing these days, she still exercises her culinary muscles on the regular, taking any opportunity to turn local, seasonal ingredients into beautiful meals for her family.