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Labneh Balls in Olive Oil

Delicious labneh balls made from either yoghurt or kefir... These make lovely little hand-made foodie gifts that will bless the recipients with a tasty treat and of course, loads of probiotics! And depending on how you choose to finish them off, they can either last a week or so in the fridge (if you include the fresh herbs) or up to several weeks if you leave them in plain olive oil. There seems to be no clear consensus on how long the labneh balls will safely keep when fresh herbs and garlic are added.

They have been known to keep for up to a year in plain olive oil and za'atar spice. Honestly though, these labneh balls are so delicious they will probably be eaten long before they get a chance to go bad! They make a beautiful display as starters or finger snacks when rolled in a variety of different spices such as chili, mint, thyme, sumac and za'atar.


  • 500ml to 1 litre home-made plain yoghurt or milk kefir

  • ½ tsp of Kosher or Himalayan or non-iodated sea salt

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Any combination of the following (fresh or dried) work well: Rosemary, thyme, oregano, chopped chives, cilantro, basil, paprika, chili, mint

  • Chili flakes

  • Za’atar spice

You will need the following

  • Sterilized 500ml glass jar with sealable lid

  • Cheesecloth SHOP NOW

  • Colander

  • Yoghurt Starter Kit SHOP NOW

  • Milk Kefir Starter Kit SHOP NOW

Labneh balls in olive oil with herbs


  1. Take the finished yoghurt or milk kefir and stir in the salt and za’atar spices (if using).

  2. Place the colander over a large bowl and line the colander with the cheesecloth.

  3. Spoon the yoghurt or kefir into the centre of the colander. Once all the yoghurt or kefir has been added, lift and gather up the corners of the cheesecloth and tie them tightly, giving the ball a good squeeze, wringing out as much of the whey as possible. Then suspend the cheesecloth from a stationary object over a bowl (to collect the whey). Leave it on the counter, at room temperature for 1 hour, drain the liquid that forms in the bowl and then drain further in the refrigerator for another 24 - 48 hours.

    TIP: Scrape the outside of the cheesecloth once or twice to facilitate draining. If the labneh is still too thin, drain for a further 5-6 hours and place a little weight on the ball to force the excess whey out.

  4. Once your labneh has reached the desired consistency, lightly oil your hands with olive oil and scoop out a tablespoon of labneh and gently roll/shape it into a ball using your hands. The labneh will be soft, but you should still be able to shape it into a ball that holds together.

    Rolling labneh and drying balls

  5. Preferably place the rolled balls onto a flat plate, cover with cling film and place in the refrigerator to dry out for approximately 3 hours. However, many have skipped this step and have still attained a good result.

  6. Once the labneh balls have dried, place them in a clean, sterilized jar and cover with olive oil. If you have decided to flavour your oil – place the fresh herbs or chili flakes into the jar and alternate with layers of labneh balls and cover completely with extra virgin olive oil and seal the jar.

  7. Store in the fridge for up to 6 months!