Seasoned Labneh Balls in Olive Oil


Preparation info

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Appears in

Home Made

By Yvette van Boven

Published 2011

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This is a variation on the recipe for spreadable labneh.

If you leave the yoghurt to hang longer, the labneh becomes drier and you can roll it into balls.


  • 2 litres (8 cups) preferably Greek or Turkish yoghurt, but any regular whole (full-fat) yoghurt will do
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, freshly crushed (optional)
  • 500 ml (16 fl oz/2 cups) olive oil (or more, if necessary)
  • a few bay leaves, some dried red chilli flakes, or something else you like, perhaps cardamom pods
  • 1 jar dried oregano (approx. 15 g/½ oz/¼ cup)
  • 1 jar dried thyme (approx. 15 g/½ oz/¼ cup)


Mix the salt, pepper and garlic through the yoghurt. Place a clean dish towel on a colander or strainer and pour in the seasoned yoghurt. Cover with plastic wrap and put in a cool place, or pull the corners together and tie the dish towel with a thick elastic band or string as tightly as possible around the yoghurt, thus increasing the pressure.

Make a loop in the string and hang the filled towel over a bucket or over the sink.

It is handy to turn a stool upside down, hang the towel on the cross and place a bucket under it.

Or you can hang the towel from a tree outside, if the weather isn’t too hot. You’ll come up with something.

Hang the towel for at least three days in a cool place. Every day try to tighten the towel a little more (as much moisture as possible has to be extracted).

Place half of the olive oil, bay leaves and other spices in an attractive tall glass container, preserving jar or clean vase.

Mix the dried oregano and thyme on a plate. With clean hands, create small balls, the size of a walnut, with the drained yoghurt, and carefully roll through the herbs. Slide them into the oil one by one and top up the container with olive oil in order for the balls to ‘float’.

Eat them as a snack with a drink or serve after a meal as part of a cheeseboard.