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Lebni vs. Labneh — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Maham Liaqat — Updated on April 23, 2024
Lebni and labneh refer to the same product, a thick Middle Eastern yogurt cheese, but differ in regional spelling and pronunciation preferences.
Lebni vs. Labneh — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Lebni and Labneh


Key Differences

Lebni, often spelled as labneh, is a dairy product made by straining yogurt to remove the whey. It results in a thicker consistency similar to cream cheese, while maintaining the tangy flavor of yogurt. Whereas labneh is the more commonly used term globally, lebni is an alternative spelling that may be found in different dialects or regional uses within Middle Eastern communities.
Both lebni and labneh are versatile in their culinary uses. They can be used as a spread on bread or as a base for dips, while labneh might also be rolled into balls and preserved in olive oil, a popular method in many Middle Eastern cuisines.
Lebni and labneh are rich in probiotics due to their yogurt base. They are good sources of protein and calcium, but labneh's nutritional content can vary slightly based on the type of milk used (cow, goat, or sheep) and the extent of whey removal.
In terms of regional variations, lebni may sometimes be seasoned with herbs or spices to reflect local tastes, such as mint or za'atar. On the other hand, labneh could be found plain or similarly seasoned, depending on the culinary tradition it is part of.
The texture of both lebni and labneh is notably smooth and spreadable, but the exact consistency can vary from one producer to another. Some may offer a firmer texture akin to cheese, while others might produce a creamier version that is closer to sour cream in consistency.

Comparison Chart




May vary regionally
More uniformly pronounced


Thick, creamy, spreadable
Similarly thick, with variations


Spreads, dips, seasoned variations
Spreads, dips, olive oil preservation


High in protein and probiotics
Similar nutritional profile

Compare with Definitions


A type of yogurt cheese from the Middle East.
I spread lebni on my toast for breakfast.


Served as a creamy spread or dip.
We served labneh with flatbread at dinner.


Commonly used as a base for savory dips.
For the party, I made a garlic lebni dip.


A thick, strained yogurt product.
Labneh goes well with olive oil and herbs.


Can be made from different types of milk.
Goat milk lebni has a distinctive taste.


May be preserved in oil.
These labneh balls are delicious and preserved in olive oil.


Often found in Middle Eastern cuisine.
Lebni is a staple in our household recipes.


Variably spelled as lebni in some regions.
In our local store, it’s labeled as labneh.


Sometimes seasoned with herbs.
This lebni has a refreshing hint of mint.


Rich in probiotics and calcium.
Eating labneh is a tasty way to get more calcium.


(in Middle Eastern cooking) yogurt that has been strained until it has the consistency of soft cheese, typically served with savoury seasonings as a dip or spread
Fried cauliflower with labneh


Yogurt that has been strained to filter or remove the whey and thus has a consistency between that of yoghurt and cheese.

Common Curiosities

What is labneh?

Labneh is a strained yogurt that forms a cheese-like consistency, popular in Middle Eastern cuisine.

Can labneh be made from any type of milk?

Yes, it can be made from cow, goat, or sheep milk, each adding a unique flavor.

What is lebni?

Lebni is a Middle Eastern yogurt cheese, thick and creamy, used in various dishes.

How is lebni used in cooking?

It is often used as a spread, in dips, or seasoned for added flavor.

What are the nutritional benefits of labneh?

Labneh is rich in protein, calcium, and probiotics, beneficial for digestive health.

Can lebni be used as a cheese substitute?

Yes, its texture and flavor make it a good substitute for cream cheese or sour cream.

Is labneh good for health?

Yes, its high probiotic content supports gut health.

Where is labneh most popular?

It's a staple in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean diets.

What are some popular dishes using lebni?

It's used in dishes like dips, spreads, and as a condiment for sandwiches.

Is there a difference in taste between lebni and labneh?

The taste is generally the same, though variations can arise from the type of milk or added seasonings.

Is lebni suitable for vegetarians?

Yes, it is suitable as it is made purely from dairy.

Does the texture of labneh vary?

Yes, it can range from thick and spreadable to soft and creamy.

Can I make lebni using non-dairy yogurt?

Yes, non-dairy alternatives can be used though the taste and texture will differ.

How do you make labneh at home?

By straining yogurt overnight to remove the whey.

How do you preserve labneh?

It can be rolled into balls and preserved in olive oil.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Maham Liaqat

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