Tourist Tip #242 Labneh

You can even make this this rich, tangy Middle Eastern cheese in your hotel room.

Debra Kamin
Debra Kamin
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Debra Kamin
Debra Kamin

Israel is a land that loves its dips, and there are options beyond hummus. One of the most popular dips in the land is labneh (also pronounced labaneh), a beloved white and creamy yogurt cheese.

Made by straining the liquid out of yogurt until it takes on a consistency close to that of a soft cheese, labneh tastes a lot like a tart sour cream or heavy Greek yogurt.

In much of the Middle East, labneh is most commonly served as a dip for warm pita, sprinkled with fresh herbs and finished with a squeeze of lemon and a healthy dribble of olive oil. The oil takes an edge off the cheese's tangy taste and also acts as a natural preservative. Labneh is in fact often sold in the form of small white balls immersed in olive oil.

But there’s no need to limit yourself: Labneh is just as divine as a breakfast food, eaten with a heap of honey and some fresh fruit.

You can even easily make labneh at home or in your hotel room. All you need is a clean T-shirt, string, 4 cups of yogurt (best to use 3% to 7% fat), juice of half a lemon and one teaspoon of salt. Mix the yogurt, salt and lemon in a bowl. Now form a bag out of the T-shirt, pour in the mixture, and using the string, hang it over the sink. Let it drip in peace for at least a few hours and as long as 24 hours; you'll get a cup and a half to two cups of the dip. The longer you wait, the thicker the labneh. Decant from the T-shirt into a container and store in the mini-fridge.

Labaneh.Credit: Dan Peretz
Arugula and labneh dip.Credit: Vered Guttman

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


The Orion nebula, photographed in 2009 by the Spitzer Telescope.

What if the Big Bang Never Actually Happened?

Relatives mourn during the funeral of four teenage Palestinians from the Nijm family killed by an errant rocket in Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip, August 7.

Why Palestinian Islamic Jihad Rockets Kill So Many Palestinians

בן גוריון

'Strangers in My House': Letters Expelled Palestinian Sent Ben-Gurion in 1948, Revealed


AIPAC vs. American Jews: The Toxic Victories of the 'pro-Israel' Lobby

Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic speaks during a press conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia in May.

‘This Is Crazy’: Israeli Embassy Memo Stirs Political Storm in the Balkans

Hamas militants take part in a military parade in Gaza.

Israel Rewards Hamas for Its Restraint During Gaza Op