Labneh Wa Za'atar (Spiced Yogurt Cheese)

Total Time
Prep 24 hrs
Cook 0 mins

A tasty spiced cheese similar to cream cheese that can be used as a spread over pita, or with cucumber slices, crackers, chips or whatever you like. This is my own za'atar recipe but if you have your own you can use that instead if you like, since mine isn't all that authentic. ;) (The preparation time includes letting the yogurt drain.)

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Pour 2 cups of yogurt into a white flour sack towel or a few layers of cheese cloth, and squeeze out the whey until you cannot squeeze out any more.
  2. Place in a strainer over a bowl and refrigerate for about 24 hours squeezing out the whey every six hours or so until it forms a ball and is the consistency of cream cheese.
  3. Toast the sesame seeds in a small frying pan just until they turn golden; remove from heat.
  4. Mix together the za'atar spices and toasted sesame seeds in a shallow bowl.
  5. Divide the cheese into 3 sections and roll each into a ball.
  6. Roll cheese balls one by one in the spices.
  7. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with fresh mint. Enjoy!
Most Helpful

Leah, this was super yummy.

The easiest way to drain the yogurt is double up some cheesecloth and hang it up over a large bowl for 24 hours! No need to squeeze away and babysit the yogurt, it does not need to be refrigerated during the drain either - in fact, it would take longer if it was.

If you don't like the consistency after 24hrs, form the balls and place on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet and place in the fridge for a few more hours until the balls are firmer to your liking, then cover with the za'atar spice mix.

Sweet Tortellini December 18, 2011

This was pretty good. You can't really go wrong with such a classic combination, labneh and za'atar. I used store bought pre mixed za'atar. and added salt, a dash of paprika and marjoram. and it was very very good.

Maya's Mama August 29, 2010

This is no less than 5 stars in taste but maybe some would knock off a whole star for the tediousness of squeezing it out in a cheese cloth which I used. The bag would be easier. I had a bit of trouble with that part but this is the first time I have ever made cheese and the end product was very good masha Allah. I love the za'atar on it's own as well which I made without thyme per preference and a bit more marjoram and used sea salt. I used Balkan style yogurt and it was almost ready at 12 hours. I would use the same or another good quality yogurt again. Made for Ramadan Tag 2010.

UmmBinat August 15, 2010

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