Breakfast and Brunch, Middle Eastern Recipes

Authentic Labneh Balls

Authentic Labneh Balls coated in delicious earthy spices and herbs like zaatar, sumac, Aleppo pepper, and parsley

Have you ever heard about these colorful drops pickled in olive oil, with shining colors that tickle your taste buds? These little gems are Authentic Labneh Balls, made up of homemade yogurt cheese rolled in colorful herbs and spices.

Tangy and thick, this homemade labneh balls recipe is so easy to make and requires only 3 ingredients. That’s right, only THREE! When you try them for the first time, you will not even believe how simple it is to make them!


Authentic Labneh Balls coated in delicious earthy spices and herbs like zaatar, sumac, Aleppo pepper, and parsley
Tickle your taste buds with these little gems.


What Are Labneh Balls?

As an integral part of the Mediterranean culinary heritage, labneh is basically thick and creamy strained yogurt, also known as yogurt cheese.

Straining reduces the liquid whey content in the yogurt, turning it into a spreadable labneh yogurt cheese with a creamy thick texture and slightly tangy taste.

Shaping labneh into small balls and then coating them with an aromatic combination of earthy flavors not only yields a delightful result but it is also a better way to make your homemade labneh last longer.

Coating the labneh cheese balls with a variety of aromatic spices and flavors elevates the experience to another level of heaven.

What’s particularly pleasant is that you can choose to enjoy as few or as many balls as you want for when you crave a stronger and tangier taste.


Arabic-style yogurt tub: It is the most efficient yogurt type to make the best Middle Eastern homemade labneh.

Salt: It will help remove the excess water from the yogurt. Add salt to your preferred taste.

Olive oil: You will need lots of extra-virgin olive oil to add until the jar is full, ensuring that all of the yogurt cheese balls are completely submerged.

Aromatic coating: Zaatar, sumac, Aleppo pepper, and parsley are optional aromatic earthy spices to roll labneh cheese balls in.

Check the recipe card for quantities.


How to Make Labneh Balls

First, empty the yogurt into a large mixing bowl and mix in the salt with a whisk until no longer clumpy.

Second, transfer to a cheesecloth and tie tightly.

Now, place into a strainer fitted on top of a bowl to strain the liquid. Since it’s hot, I left mine to drain in the fridge.

Then, leave it to drain for 3-5 whole days.

On the second day, try squeezing extra liquids while twisting the cheesecloth, then leave to strain for the next few days, repeating the squeezing to get rid of any extra moisture.

Once ready, transfer the thick mixture to a bowl, discarding the liquid strained.

After that, start shaping them into little balls.

Next, dip each ball into zaatar, Aleppo pepper, sumac, or dried herbs. This is an optional step but bursts with various earthy flavors.

Then, store balls on top of each other (not squished) in a jar.

Finally, cover the labneh balls completely with olive oil, they should be submerged with olive oil.


Labneh Balls with extra virgin olive oil coated in delicious earthy spices and herbs like zaatar, sumac, Aleppo pepper, and parsley
This is what I call: “deliciousness in a jar!”

Middle Eastern Breakfast

Since ancient times, homemade Labneh has been the queen of the Levantine breakfast table.

The most gorgeous way to serve labneh is in a bowl as part of a mezze selection, with pickled black or green olives, fresh mint, cucumbers, and tomatoes, along with Ka’ak Al Quds (Sesame Bread) and Zaatar Pretzels.

Sipping a cup of hot tea with these will bring warm vibes to family breakfast gatherings☕.

You can also spread these labneh cheese balls on a flatbread, a baguette, or Shrak bread -known as Markook bread- with fresh mint, tomatoes, pickled olives, and cucumbers.

Believe me, this will be your favorite sandwich to bring to work. It will also provide you with a feeling of fullness for a long time. Try it, and let me know how much you enjoy it in the comments section below.



Perfect for Gifting

This beautiful and delicious jar of labneh yogurt cheese balls is such a great idea for host gifts. Be unique and creative when bringing along a little jar of these shining gems. The host will invite you back, for sure!


Variations


Pro Tips

You can use a small cookie dough scooper to shape the balls of labneh yogurt cheese.

Let the yogurt drain at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Try to squeeze extra liquids the second day by twisting the cheesecloth.

Use the remaining olive oil in the jars from the labneh balls when making salad dressings or sauces, so it won’t go to waste.

Try some other wonderful options to coat yogurt cheese balls. For example, you can roll them into nigella seeds, rose petals, lavender, crushed pistachios, dried mint, etc. Any other suggestions? Share them in the comments section below.


Storage Tips


gems of labneh balls in a dish with a lots of olive oil
Perfect solution for your stronger sour cravings!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do these labneh balls last?

A glass jar of labneh balls at room temperature for up to 5 months. Once opened, consume it within 2-3 weeks.

How do I know if the labneh balls have gone bad?

When the flavor of the labneh becomes acidified, then you should know that your yogurt cheese balls have gone bad. Also, if you notice pink spots on the labneh balls, this means that they are moldy.

Can I make vegan yogurt cheese balls?

Yes you can. Instead of using animal-based yogurt you choose a plant-based one. However, the yogurt must have a thick consistency.  


Must-Try Recipes:

Strawberry Mascarpone Crème Croissants

Zaatar and Cheese Breakfast Bake

Tender Zaatar Cheese Buns

Bakery Style Almond Croissants

Palestinian Sesame Tea Cookies

Knafeh Pancakes

No Bake Pumpkin Spice Eclair Cake

Classic Creamy Tiramisu

Qatayef Asafiri (Middle Eastern Cream-Filled Pancakes)

Authentic Palestinian Knafeh


If you’ve tried this recipe, don’t forget to rate it and leave a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience. You can follow me on FacebookInstagram, and YouTube.


Authentic Labneh Balls coated in delicious earthy spices and herbs like zaatar, sumac, Aleppo pepper, and parsley

Authentic Labneh Balls

Fatimah
Tickle your taste buds with homemade labneh balls! Try this easy recipe to get an integral part of the Mediterranean culinary heritage.
No ratings yet
Total Time 5 days
Course Breakfast, Dip
Cuisine Lebanese, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Palestinian
Servings 30

Ingredients
  

  • 1 64 ounces Arabic-style yogurt tub or 2 32 ounces
  • teaspoons salt
  • Olive oil lots of it
  • Zaatar, sumac, Aleppo pepper, and parsley optional

Instructions
 

  • Empty the yogurt into a large mixing bowl and mix in the salt with a whisk until no longer clumpy.
  • Transfer to a cheesecloth and tie tightly.
  • Place into a strainer fitted on top of a bowl to strain the liquid.
  • Since it’s hot, I left mine to drain in the fridge.
  • Leave it to drain for 3-5 whole days.
  • Transfer the thick mixture to a bowl, discarding the liquid strained.
  • Start shaping them into little balls.
  • Dip each ball into zaatar, Aleppo pepper, sumac, or dried herbs. This is an optional step but bursts with various earthy flavors.
  • Store balls on top of each other (not squished) in a jar.
  • Cover the labneh balls completely with olive oil and store the jar in a cool dry place. Labneh balls should be submerged in olive oil.

Notes

  • Let the yogurt drain at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
  • On the second day, try squeezing extra liquids while twisting the cheesecloth, then leave to strain for the next few days, repeating the squeezing to get rid of any extra moisture.
  • Use the remaining olive oil in the jars from the labneh balls when making salad dressings or sauces, so it won’t go to waste.

Nutrition

Sodium: 194mgPotassium: 0.04mgCalcium: 0.1mgIron: 0.002mg
Keyword Labneh Balls, Labneh Cheese Balls, Labneh Yogurt Cheese
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