Labneh cheesecake

January 21, 2015  •  Category: ,



My daughter reconciled me with the idea of making cheesecake using labneh (which is drained yogurt cheese). She had made delicious labneh bars (a few years ago she used to look at me and smirk “don’t ever expect me to enjoy cooking”)
Well, here is the verdict: This was the easiest, lightest and fluffiest cheesecake I have made ever. Truth be told, I only like cheesecake when the batter has a whipped meringue in it; otherwise, I think it is too dense and too rich.
My version has a generous amount of grated orange rind (optional). Like all cheesecakes, it lends itself to many versions and flavors.
No SOUR taste whatsoever.

Here it is.
12 plain cookies to line the pan (or more depending on the size of the cookies used)
1 lb labneh (450g.), whole-milk yogurt drained overnight. I used a commercial jar “country-style” labneh
3/4 cup granulated sugar (up to 1 cup if you like it sweeter)
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoon grated orange or lemon rind
1 tablespoon orange juice or lemon juice
1/3 cup all-purpose flour

cookie base
lining cookies

Preheat the oven to 350F (180C)
1. Line the cake pan with baking paper. Line the pan with the cookies. I used a 9″ square pan and rectangular plain cookies that fit perfectly. I used 12 cookies to fill the bottom of the pan.
2. In a mixing bowl, place the labneh, eggs, sugar, orange rind and orange juice. Mix to combine well and add the flour through a sifter. Mix and combine well. The batter should be smooth, creamy and thick. Pour onto the pan over the cookies and place on a baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cake is golden all over and feels set. Cool and serve. The cake can also be refrigerated and serve for several days from the fridge.
NOTE: If making the labneh at home, weigh it after it has been drained overnight. To make labneh, line a sieve with a couple of paper towels and place it over a bowl. Pour the yogurt (full-fat if possible) and let it drain overnight. You should see at least a cup of whey in the bowl. You can dump it or keep it to make something else (bread, cheese, etc). What is left is labneh. Salt it a bit or leave as is and weigh.


28 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. leaf (the indolent cook) says:

    This looks SO good! And I love that it’s easy too, especially how the base is just lining up cookies. I really have to try this sometime.

  2. Aline says:

    People would laugh at me every time I mentioned that I eat my jam with labne and the taste is very similar to cheesecake. It’s awesome that I now found an official recipe for a real cheesecake hehe 😀

  3. Ksenia @ At the Immigrant's Table says:

    I love the use of Labaneh here. Genius! Though of course, I’m a bit nervous about the raw eggs in the batter… But not THAT nervous 😉

    • Joumana says:

      @Ksenia @At the immigrant’s table: the eggs are baked and therefore cooked.

      @Nuts about food: Thanks 🙂

      @Anna: Thanks 🙂

      @Aline: Actually I was planning on adding a swirl of raspberry jam in the batter but I got lazy 🙂

      @Krista: Thanks, hope you try it and like it!

      @Maritachicita: Thanks so much!

      @Hélène: signale-moi ce que tu as pensé si tu le fais un jour 🙂

  4. Anna says:

    This looks awesome!

  5. Kathy says:

    Joumana, this looks fabulous! Looking forward to making it

  6. Krista says:

    This sounds fantastic. I really, really love labneh, so I know I’d love this. 🙂

  7. Hélène (Cannes) says:

    MAgnifique ! Il faut que j’essaye cette version-là très vite !

  8. maritachicita @ says:

    Oh this looks delicious. I finally found out where to buy some Labneh in London, and will have to give this a try. It looks quite easy x

  9. Susan says:

    Your cheesecake looks wonderful, Joumana, and it must be so much lighter in calories than our traditional New York style cheesecake. Yours is so much easier to make also.

  10. Alicia (foodycat) says:

    I love the idea of just lining up the biscuits on the base! So easy (and no extra fat…). I love the tang of labneh, which I think would be lovely in a cheesecake.

  11. humble_pie says:

    very dear Joumana
    i know that you have a specialization in cake & pastry making – among many others – so i hope you won’t mind if i ask another pesky detail about this scrumptious, easy recipe
    before asking, though, your reply about freezing the chocolate fondant before baking quickly in a hot oven – it’s the only way to end up with a runny delicious centre – was so welcome! i’d never have thought of that, but of course the technique somewhat resembles the procedure for baked alaska. Light bulb, thank you!
    now to the question: you mention placing the cake pan containing the raw cheesecake preparation upon another baking sheet in the oven. Wondering why the extra baking sheet underneath? i’d not heard of this technique but perhaps it’s a good idea for all kinds of cakes or pies with pre-cooked shells or bottom layers?

  12. Aaron says:

    I made this today, and it turned out pretty great 🙂 It took my oven about 40 minutes to cook, and even then it wasn’t completely set, but it’s tasty. I used graham crackers as the crust.

    • Joumana says:

      @samir: I would use the commercial brand in the US, I think the results would be the same. Sure if you like, throw in some chocolate chips 🙂
      Aaron: I am glad it worked out. I use a commercial electric oven with a convection feature so all the stuff I bake takes less time. I will try to remember this next time when I give directions. 🙂

      @humble_pie: I placed the cake over a baking sheet out of precaution. I have a convection oven and precisely because the cookies are already baked, I did not want to end-up overbaking them. Still, even when I bake muffins I like to place the muffin tin on the baking sheet. I don’t mind your questions, it actually helps me analyze what has become intuitive over the years! 🙂

      @Alicia, Foody cat: Hope you try it someday and let me know what you thought! 🙂

      @Oui, Chef: Merci 🙂

  13. samir says:

    looks great! and not too sweet!….. need to try this out.. maybe adding mini chocolate chips? do u think the commercial labneh found in US would work..they have pectin added?

  14. Oui, Chef says:

    I must say, Joumana, you are one of the most creative cooks I know….this is just brilliant.

  15. Sylva T. says:

    Excellent, one of the best cheesecakes I have ever made.

  16. MaryAthenes says:

    Ca a l’air si simple ! Je dois pouvoir utiliser le yaourt grec, un yaourt egoutté. J’adore les cheesecakes !
    Bises d’Athenes

    • Joumana says:

      @MaryAthenes: Je crois que le labneh est égoutté plus longtemps, en tout cas, il est comme la crème fraiche en consistance, très épais.

  17. fatooma says:

    I grew up in Canada, and it was easy to make cheesecake there but i moved to lebanon recently and counldnt easily get cream cheese in the villages, so i was sort of frustrated and was always thinking what i could substitute until i thought of mixing labneh and butter. I tried once a no-bake cheesecake with some labneh and Picon spread cheese, yes, like LaVache Qui Rit ones, and it came out delish! But lets face it Picon is as expensive as Philadelphia… well i eventually experimented with only labneh, vanilla, sugar and whipped cream! It came out just as great and I am mocking myself for overlooking Labneh that we always make and eat daily. I thought i was the only one but i googled it and found your recipe and hey, i can make cheesecake again and again in an even healthier Lebanese version. Hurray for Labneh!

    • Joumana says:

      @fatooma: Stands to show that inventions are born out of necessity! I love labneh and was also relieved to find it works fine in cheesecake (plus it is healthier and not as fatty! ). Welcome back to Lebanon 🙂

  18. joseph says:

    Absolutely delicious, but took my convection gas oven 40 minutes to set up.

  19. Lorena Cabrera says:

    Can I substitute the all purpose flour for a healthier flour? (Oats or coconut flour maybe?) thank u!!!!

  20. Gita says:

    Hey Ms Joumana, you are lazier than I am and your cheesecake looks delicious! I microwaved a few butter cookies in a kitchen towel, gave them a bash with my fist and voila there I had ‘cookie crumbs’ which I spread on a disposable aluminium foil dish – I will use your method the next time of just lining the pan with unbroken biscuits, less work :-))) I beat 2 eggs with a fork, added my fork whipped unsalted labneh – lemon juice – rind – jaggery powder mixture; no flour as I have none. No measurements – just what I felt was about right; plonked the mix onto the cookie crumbs and popped the foil into a 350-400 pre heated oven for approximately 40 min, turning the pan every now and then. The cake rose evenly, I then chilled it for a few hours and my hubby and I enjoyed it with raspberry sorbet though it is scrumptious even just chilled on its own. Thank you for your idea. So much easier with labneh than waiting for hung yoghurt to be ready to use. And most definitely easier to use whole biscuits !!!

  21. Tania says:

    Such a lovely substitute for a cheesecake. I really love the idea of spreading a layer of very simple tea biscuits on the bottom of the baking mould as it creates a tasty cake base. My cake took approximately an hour to set in the oven. After only 20 minutes ot was way too early to take it out. I was very worried about the sour taste of the Labneh, but surprisingly the cake ended up being delicious. Because it’s cheap and easy to make, I’ll keep that desert as my favorites.
    Thank you

Add a Comment