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How to Make Strained Yoghurt Cream Cheese PLUS Labneh, Shrikhand and 5 Other Ways to Use It

Strained or Hung Yoghurt Cream Cheese is made using natural Greek yoghurt, a muslin cloth and a little waiting time. It can be served as a savoury spiced Labneh, Shrikhand with sweet toppings, used in baking, cooking or eaten fresh. Since most of the whey is strained away, it can be enjoyed by people who are mildly lactose intolerant.

Strained Yoghurt Cream Cheese-2

What is Strained Yoghurt Cream Cheese?

Strained or hung yoghurt is a popular style of cheese used in Southern European, Middle Eastern, Central and Southern Asian cooking.  

Unlike cream cheese, yoghurt cheese is high in gut beneficial bacteria, is creamy without the excess fat and since most of the whey is strained away, it can be enjoyed by people who are mildly lactose intolerant.

Strained Yoghurt Labne Cheese Balls

I first discovered Labneh – balls of strained yoghurt preserved in herb-infused oil about 3 years ago. It became an instant infatuation.

I quickly decided to make my own because, firstly, it was cheaper and because I could preserve mine in pure olive oil instead of “vegetable” oil blends that the more expensive stuff from the deli came swimming in.

So, how do you make it?

It’s simple really. See step by step instructions below or see my full printable recipe for making strained yoghurt / hung yoghurt cream cheese.

How to make Strained Yoghurt steps

The secret of this recipe lies in the quality of the yoghurt used.

I absolutely adore Farmer’s Union Greek-style yoghurt. It’s thick and creamy already without any thickeners (gelatine, gums) or additives frequently used in  a few of the other brands, plus it is beautifully tart. 

Strained Yoghurt Cream Cheese-3

After making strained yoghurt cream cheese a handful of times, I realised just how very versatile the cheese was and how easily it could form a base for many dishes, both sweet and savoury. Nowadays I keep a serving on hand most of the time.

7 of my favourite ways to use Hung Yoghurt Cheese

1. Make Middle Eastern Labneh and preserve it in quality olive oil and your favourite blend of spices and herbs. It will last for months, but I bet it will be all gone not before long. Spread it on bread, use to top salads, add some to mash.

2. Because of the lower water content than yoghurt itself, it can be used as an addition to sauces without splitting, so it is a fantastic for soups and curries.

3. It makes for a creamier, richer base for dips such as the Greek tzatziki, Lebanese garlic sauce or Turkish haydari which is similar to tzatziki but does not include cucumber. My most recent favourite is salmon and yoghurt cream cheese dip – you can use this yoghurt dip version as a base. I’m also thinking of making a smoked mackerel version!

4. Use it in frostings and icings instead of cream cheese – less fat and a great dose of healthy cultures in each cupcake serve.

5. Bake it in things like this Lime Yoghurt Cheesecake, set it in this No-bake Yoghurt Cheesecake or anywhere else where cream cheese is required.

6. We use it as topping for nachos and tacos instead of sour cream, crumble it into for salads and or enjoy spread fresh on Ryvita crispbread topped with smoked salmon, tomato or tuna.

7. Make Indian Shrikhand (recipe below), which is a sweet strained yoghurt dish that incorporates sugar – I prefer to use honey or rice syrup, nuts and fruit. It’s refreshing and often enjoyed instead of ice cream. You can obviously go all out in terms of the seeds, nuts and spices.

Strained Yoghurt Shrikhand

Follow this recipe to make the Strained (Hung) Yoghurt Cream Cheese, without the garlic and herbs, then use it to make this delicious dessert.

Strained Yoghurt cream Cheese Shrikhand
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5 from 1 vote

Strained (Hung) Yoghurt Shrikhand

Shrikhand is a popular Indian dessert made from yoghurt, sugar and nuts. It can be enjoyed during warmer weather in place of ice cream. Make it your own by adding your favourite nuts and seeds, dried fruit if you wish, and a drizzle of honey or rice syrup.
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Servings: 2 people


  • 1 cup strained yoghurt cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup mixed nuts and seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves or cardamom
  • 2 tbsp honey or rice syrup


  • Spread strained yoghurt in a bowl or on a side plate.
  • Sprinkle over with your favourite nuts, seeds and spices.
  • Drizzle with rice syrup or honey and serve as a dessert, with savoury crackers or side to a cheeseboard.
Tried this recipe?Mention @wholesomecook or tag #wholesomecook


Sharon Stevens February 24, 2014 at 11:25 pm

Just saw this on Pinterest and had to read. Love yogurt and cream cheese but knowing that the latter can be made more healthy is great. *drool* just looking at the dessert to. Pinning and trying today!

Lizzy February 25, 2014 at 9:13 am

Wow! So easy and I’ve been enjoying that yogurt from your recommendation in the cheesecake post. Now this? Amazing! Thank you!

sophie February 25, 2014 at 9:50 am

Where do you get cheesecloth from?

Martyna @ Wholesome Cook February 25, 2014 at 9:54 am

You can get it from many large kitchenware stores, but to be honest I often just pop down to the local pharmacy and buy large sheets of gauze bandage (rectangular, square or even traingles). They come in sterile packets so are safe to use with food. Easy and convenient, and to be honest, much cheaper too! I wash mine out in warm soapy water after use too and let it dry for re-using.

Bam's Kitchen February 27, 2014 at 1:31 am

Great Post Martyna! I want to try this as well and thanks loads for all the diverse ways that it can be used. Have a super week. Take care, BAM

[email protected] March 6, 2014 at 8:54 am

Ah, you and your cheese making! You always make me so jealous that I don’t do it more often. This looks wonderful.

Martyna @ Wholesome Cook March 7, 2014 at 1:45 pm

Thanks Amanda. I live with a cheese connoisseur so cheeses are ALWAYS on the agenda at our place.

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Joe March 17, 2014 at 3:56 pm

What a simple recipe but has so many uses. Thanks for the yogurt recommendation too. Do you know if it is free range / organic?

Martyna @ Wholesome Cook March 19, 2014 at 3:14 pm

Hi Joe, I have spoken to Farmers Union representative and they have confirmed that the yoghurt uses milk from pasture-raised cows (free-range). Feed is mostly fresh grass, but is adjusted seasonally and supplemented with hay and some grains.The farmers who produce the milk for the yoghurt are also required to follow the dairy industry’s regulations on best practice. It is produced in Morwell, Victoria and has been crowned the Champion Natural Yoghurt of 2014.

Anne March 18, 2014 at 3:32 pm

Dear Martyna, I made this cheese on the weekend to use in your smoked salmon dip. It was fabulous. SO light and and tangy. Everyone loved it and wanted the recipe. Best of all one of my lactose intolerant friends tried it and she was fine. Thank you for sharing this. I won;t be buying cream cheese again.

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Carol March 29, 2014 at 9:04 pm

Might seem like a stupid question but can I use readymade Shrikhand as a substitute of cream cheese to make a cheesecake?

Thank you for your time!

Martyna @ Wholesome Cook March 29, 2014 at 9:16 pm

Hi Carol, I cannot see why not. As long as it’s not too intensely spiced or sweetened, it should be fine. Let me know how it goes?

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Bianca July 2, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Oh no- I just tried this, and the result looked amazing but tasted like mould! There was mildew forming on the cloth when I retrieved the cheese after 24 hrs. I live in a warm climate (Barcelona) where it’s 24 c + right now- could that be the issue? Have you heard of this happening before?

Martyna @ Wholesome Cook July 3, 2014 at 11:07 pm

Hi Bianca, did you keep the yoghurt in the fridge while hanging in a cheesecloth? It must be refrigerated otherwise bacteria and mould can form. It’s also important to make sure the cloth you used is sterile (that’s why I like gauze dressing sheets from the pharmacy). And the use by date of yoghurt is one to watch too.

Pip November 24, 2014 at 11:11 am

Hi, I currently make my own yoghurt using a Luvelo yoghurt maker. I am interested in making cheese from this yoghurt but see that you use a very think textured yoghurt. Have you tried making the cheese with a less firm yoghurt? I am just curious as to whether it would work.

Martyna @ Wholesome Cook November 24, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Hi Pip,
I used Greek-style yoghurt which indeed is a little thicker because it’s partially strained, but I am sure the same method would work with your yoghurt – you might just have to leave it to strain a little longer. Make sure you do that in the fridge (not on the bench top). Let me know how you go!

Jhanny December 10, 2014 at 10:02 pm

Hello Martyna
I’m very pleased to discover your website. I’m looking to make a cream cheese for a cheesecake receipe and this looks great.
When the Yogurt is straining – where is the best place to keep it?
Does it need to be in the fridge while its straining so it doesn’t go off?
Many thanks

Jhanny December 10, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Lol no bother, just seen the reply above. Question answered! I really do need reading glasses!

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MerryChristmas Claus April 23, 2017 at 7:05 am

Hi, I make yogurt from regular milk in my GoWise 8 qt pressure cooker. I had no idea that after I have drained the yogurt the way I already do that it works as cream cheese! I will have to try it as a substitute. Thanks!


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