Preparation info

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Appears in

Yashim Cooks Istanbul

Yashim Cooks Istanbul

By Jason Goodwin

Published 2016

  • About

Not quite cheese, but no longer yoghurt, labne is profoundly Ottoman in its simplicity and versatility. It crops up all across the region once governed from Istanbul, as a side dish, a condiment, a sweet pudding, breakfast food, a dip, or a spicy relish, and when you have made it once you will make it forever.

Labneh is nothing more than yoghurt drained of its whey. To eat it with nuts, stewed fruit and/or honey as a pudding or for breakfast, simply drain the yoghurt plain, overnight, and leave out the other ingredients.


  • Greek yoghurt 500 g/1 lb
  • olive oil 1 tbsp
  • lemon juice 1 tbsp
  • garlic 1 clove, crushed and chopped fine with a pinch of salt (optional)


  • Beat the yoghurt with the oil and lemon juice, and the garlic if you want, and spoon it into a muslin draped in a colander, or a jam muslin bag, suspended over a bowl to catch the whey.
  • Drained overnight, your labne will turn out onto a plate firm but spreadable. If you carry on draining it in the fridge for another day or two it will become quite solid and you can pat and roll it into little walnut sized balls, for keeping in a jar covered with olive oil. Season the oil beforehand with pepper and a handful of chopped herbs – tarragon, parsley, and chives. Let it marinade for a day, and for up to two weeks.