Yogurt Cheese is so easy to make! I mean, seriously simple! Technically, it is a soft cream cheese made from strained yogurt, and is commonly known as Lebanese Cream Cheese or “Labneh” in Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine.
During my research, I ran across several comments that claim it is similar in texture and taste to both goat cheese and marscapone. I’ve not tasted either, so I can’t verify that.
For a savory appetizer, it can be flavored with a variety of herbs, peppers, olives, etc. Or add sweet ingredients and serve as a light snack or dessert. It’s delicious on sandwiches and bagels, too.
Now that I know how to make my own Slow Cooker Greek Yogurt, I’m looking forward to trying all kinds of combinations and maybe even inventing a few of more!
How To Make Yogurt Cream Cheese
Line a strainer with a coffee filter or a double layer of cheesecloth, and place the strainer over a bowl. Use a bowl deep enough so that the strainer sits above the bottom of the bowl. Carefully scoop 2-4 cups of Greek yogurt into the strainer, cover with a coffee filter or paper towel, and place the bowl in refrigerator at least overnight, or until it has reached the desired consistency. For a thicker cheese, let it drain 24 to 36 hours. The next day, the yogurt will be thick and creamy, and the drained liquid (whey) will be in the bowl. If it becomes too dry, mix a little whey back into the cheese.
You now have plain Yogurt Cream Cheese in the strainer, similar to whipped cream cheese. The resulting whey can be saved to use in a number of recipes. If you are not familiar with whey uses, take a quick look at this site. Transfer drained cheese to a covered container, and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Note: The picture above shows only half of the quart jar of Greek Yogurt draining. I was experimenting to determine yield. Best I can figure, 2 cups of Greek Yogurt will yield approximately 2/3 cups of Greek Yogurt Cheese. So a full quart of Greek Yogurt will yield about 1 1/3 cup or 12 – 13 ounces.
Served plain with just a little pinch of salt mixed in, it’s not quite as tangy as Greek Yogurt and makes a good substitute for cream cheese to spread on crackers. Which is a good thing, since Hubby doesn’t like yogurt.
What to do with Greek Yogurt Cheese
Place the Yogurt Cheese in a bowl and add your choice of seasonings. It works well to use a fork to mash in the dried seasonings for more even mixing, and then stir with a spoon for a smoother appearance of the finished Yogurt Cheese.
The following seasonings are pretty common for flavoring, after adding a little salt and pepper. Use approximately 1 tablespoon fresh herbs or 1/4 teaspoon dried for flavoring. Add more seasoning, if desired.
- Rosemary leaves
- Italian seasoning
- Basil and garlic powder
- Rosemary, garlic, pepper
- Chopped olives
- Chopped roasted red bell peppers
Experiment with different combinations to come up with your own signature appetizer blend! If it is thick enough, mold into an attractive shape or log after adding seasonings. Wrap with plastic wrap or parchment paper and chill in the fridge for a few hours.
To serve, put it on a pretty dish, maybe drizzle with a little olive oil. A little chopped fresh herbs over the top makes for an attractive presentation. Serve with snack crackers or pita chips.
Greek Yogurt Cheese Treats
For a nutritious breakfast or snack, use it plain to spread on bagels or thin toast and top with sliced fruit. Yummy!
For a sweet treat, try one of the following combos:
- Cinnamon, drizzle honey on top
- Chopped pecans, drizzle top with caramel, top with more pecans
- Chopped apples, with caramel drizzle. Pecans?
- Chopped strawberries, top with a little strawberry syrup
- Chopped & drained cucumbers and chopped mint leaves
- Chopped cherries
- Chopped pineapple, top with coconut
- Lemon zest, chopped Lemon Balm leaves, poppy seeds
Serve with fruit slices, vanilla wafers, graham crackers or sweetened pita chips. There are endless combination possibilities!
Once you make your own Greek Yogurt Cheese using store-bought yogurt, make your own with my Slow Cooker Greek Yogurt recipe.
Greek Yogurt Cheese is much cheaper than its store-bought counterpart. Even more so, if you make your own yogurt at home, using the recipe linked above the picture.
Give it a try! You’ll like it!
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