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Yield: 1¾ to 2 cupsTime: 10 minutes + minimum 4 hours, maximum 24

Recipe from Sababa: Fresh, Sunny Flavors from My Israeli Kitchen courtesy of Adeena Sussman/Avery Penguin Books.

Notes from Adeena:  Try different brands of yogurt to see which works best for you and how much liquid emerges from each type. Though most labanehs call just for yogurt, my friend and colleague Tressa Eaton’s mother-in-law, Roni Darom, adds a bit of sour cream, which lends extra creaminess; feel free to do so, or to just use more yogurt.


  • 4 cups whole-milk yogurt
  • ½ cup sour cream (optional), or more yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, or more to taste
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (optional), for labaneh balls
SidesDairyGluten FreeKosher for Passover


  • Step 1

    If you are hanging the labaneh, find your hanging spot and make sure there’s room underneath it for a bowl to collect the drippings (unless you are hanging it directly over a sink or shower, which also works). If you are straining the labaneh over a bowl, fit an 8- or 10-inch mesh colander over a bowl and line it with a linen or flour sack kitchen towel or three layers of heavy-duty paper towels. In a large bowl whisk together the yogurt, sour cream (if using), and salt until smooth. Pour the yogurt mixture onto the cloth, gather up the edges, and tie them into a knot. Strain over the colander into the bowl, or hang on a hook over a bowl or sink until you achieve the desired texture (all of this is done at room temperature, not in the fridge).

  • Step 2

    4-Hour Labaneh: For looser labaneh, strain for 4 hours.

  • Step 3

    8-Hour Labaneh: For thicker labaneh, strain for 8 hours.

  • Step 4

    12-Hour Labaneh:  To achieve something akin to thick cream cheese, or if you’re making labaneh balls (see below), go anywhere from 12 to 24 hours.

  • Step 5

    To make labaneh balls: Roll the 12- to 24-Hour Labaneh into 1-inch balls (roll in za’atar if desired). Arrange in a clean jar, cover with olive oil, and seal with a tight-fitting lid. Stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container, labaneh keeps for 2 weeks; labaneh balls keep for 1 month.