Labneh balls

Labneh is simply a yogurt that has been strained in a cloth. It's popular in the Levant and the arabian peninsula and its very common for breakfast, dinner and sandwiches. Labneh is used as a spread on pita bread. Olive oil, vegetables like tomatoes, cucumber mint and olives are usually added to the sandwich.

Besides being used fresh, labneh is also dried then formed into balls, sometimes covered with herbs or spices and stored in olive oil glass jars. The cheese can then be kept for over a year.

We simply roll the dried labneh into balls then place them in a jar and fill the jar with enough olive oil to cover. We can find ready made labneh balls, sold in supermarket in big glass jars, but it's always better to go homemade. You can choose to make them plain, this time, i wanted to roll my labneh balls with crushed dried mint, (you can roll them in oregano, thyme or zaatar). I placed them on a bed of chopped tomatoes and served them with arabic bread.

500 g labneh
1 onion finely chopped
1 tomato finely chopped
2 tbsp crushed dried mint or oregano, thyme or zaatar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
crushed walnuts

In a medium bowl combine yogurt and salt. (The salt helps draw out the whey).
Line a colander with a double layer of cheese cloth. Place colander inside a large bowl to collect whey. (or you can also line a sieve with coffee filters). Tip the yogurt and salt mixture into the lined colander. Tie the corners to make a pouch. Cover colander/bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Allow yogurt to drain in the refrigerator 24 hours. They are ready when the cloth is no longer wet. Change the cloth and use another one then refrigerate another 8 hours, until the humidity is gone.

Combine the tomatoes, onions and olive oil. Then place in a dish.

Form labneh balls, then roll them in some olive oil, then in dried mint (or oregano, thyme or zaatar...) and place them on top of the tomatoes. Serve with pita bread, baguette or crackers.

You can place the labneh balls in a jar filled with olive oil. It can be kept over a year.

Boules de labneh
500 g de yaourt nature
1 càc de sel 
1 oignon, finement émincé
1 tomate finement émincée
2 càs de menthe séchée, d'origan, de thym ou de zaatar
une poignée de noix écrasées

Dans un bol moyen, mélanger le yaourt et le sel.
Tapisser une passoire avec un torchon propre. Verser le yaourt dans le torchon. Refermer les bords du torchon pour former un pochon, nouer et placer la passoire dans un grand saladier.  
Laisser égoutter dans le frigo 24 heures. Changer le torchon et réfrigérer 8 h ou jusqu'à ce que le torchon ait absorbé l'humidité du fromage. Le labneh ne doit pas être humide pour former des boules.
Former des boules, et les faire tremper avec un peu d'huile d'olive, puis les enrouler de menthe séchée. d'origan ou de zaatar.
Déposer les boules sur les tomates, et servir avec du pain libanais, de la baguette, ou de crackers.

On peut conserver les boules de labneh dans un bocal rempli d'huile d'olive, à température ambiante, pendant plus qu'un an.


  1. Delicious! That is such a scrumptious speciality.

    Happy Holidays!



  2. Thank you Rosa,
    Happy Holidays to you too!

  3. I love making labneh balls...they do not last long in my house! I'm definitely craving them now...looks delicious! :)

  4. I've never tried labneh, but your lovely recipe is making me curious. Looks absolutely delicious :) Have a wonderful Holiday Season,Cherine!

    HUGS <3

  5. Love the herbaceous and savoury flavours in this dish!

  6. I have never heard of labneh until now, but I am very interested in giving it a try now!

  7. Yum! Ever since getting back to lebanon I have been having labneh for dinner every night, it is addictive! Love these balls!

  8. I've never tried making labneh but it sounds easy enough. What a wonderful and healthy dish.

  9. This looks so festive! And, the herb-covered labneh sounds delicious.

  10. I love them, they're wonderful and wonderful.
    Happy a New Year to you.

  11. What an amazing yogurt appetizer! The salsa looks
    great too.
    Happy New Year!

  12. It looks great for appetizers with friends! Thanks for the idea, and the best for you in 2012!

  13. this looks delicious! we ate something like this at a wedding recently. I wiped the plate clean with lebanese bread. yummy!

  14. I have been making homemade yogurt for some time now. Labneh is always one of the things I want to make from the homemade yogurt. But I never remember not to eat all the yogurt before making Labneh. Thanks for sharing your recipe. They sound like a perfect lunch or breakfast :)

  15. Must try labneh next time I make the yogurt. This looks so beautifully presented.

  16. am a huge fan of labneh, do it every month at least once. never tried rolling the balls in a crust / spices! great idea, thanks.

  17. Hi, Thanks a bunch for the great idea. I make Labneh all the time but never tried rolling it in herbs or preserving it in oil. Am totally doing this right away. I also love the idea of adding walnuts to the ubiquitous tomato salad. Will try that out soon as well. Thanks a bunch for great ideas.

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