This labneh cheesecake reminds me of my mom’s German style cheesecake she used to make with Quark (a European cousin of Labneh). It’s a lighter, slightly tangier version compared to the rich, dense North American style cream cheese cheesecake. Trust me, you will love it and have no problem finishing a whole piece!
This is a baked cheesecake using labneh – a thick, creamy strained yogurt in place of cream cheese. That means you get a great tasting cheesecake with a quarter of the calories, less than half the fat and more protein compared to a standard cheesecake. Top that with flavour makers like blueberry sauce and lime zest and you have a winning dessert. The almond flour crust also makes this cake suitable for anyone with a gluten intolerance.
Don’t be fooled by the length of this recipe, it’s actually easy to make, you just need to plan ahead to allow for the different steps. The steps include baking the crust, mixing and baking the filling, making the topping and letting everything cool. With that in mind, here’s the recipe.
Recipe for Blueberry Lime Labneh Cheesecake
Blueberry Lime Labneh Cheesecake
- 1 1/2 cups almond flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 2 Tbsp corn starch
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 500 g labneh (room temp) 1 lb, unsalted
- 1 Tbsp lime zest
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- 3 large eggs (room temp)
- 1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen) (optional)
Blueberry Lime Sauce
- 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1/2 cup water, divided
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1-2 tsp grated lime zest
- 1/2 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Combine the almond flour, brown sugar and butter in a small bowl and stir to combine.
- Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9" or 10" springform pan.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes until starting to brown. Remove from oven and cool completely on wire rack at least one hour or overnight before adding filling.
Filling, Assembly & Baking
- Wrap the springform pan with the pre-baked crust tightly in two layers of foil to prevent any water leaking in. Prepare a large roasting pan that can hold the springform pan. Fill roasting pan with 1 inch of water. Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C).
- In large bowl, mix sugar and cornstarch until totally mixed. Add labneh and mix on medium speed until well combined.
- Mix in lime zest and lime juice.
- Add one egg at a time, mixing briefly on medium speed after each addition. Scrape sides of bowl as needed. Do not over mix.
- If using, scatter 1/2 cup of blueberries on bottom of crust.
- Pour filling onto crust and on top of blueberries. Pace the foil wrapped springform pan into roasting pan with water and place entire pan in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes until edges are set, center is jiggly and top is starting to brown. The internal temperature of the cake should be about 150°F (65°C). Do not overbake.
- Remove entire roasting pan out of oven and let rest as is for 10 minutes. Remove springform pan from roasting pan and take off foil. Run knife around the edge of springform pan and cake. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours and then in fridge for another 2 hours or overnight. This will allow the cake to set properly and make cutting much easier.
- Enjoy plain, or top with blueberry sauce and whipped cream.
Blueberry Lime Sauce
- Add blueberries, 1/4 cup water, sugar, citrus zest and juice to pot and bring to a low boil while stirring occasionally being careful not to smash berries, about 8-10 minutes.
- In separate bowl, dissolve cornstarch in remaining 1/4 cup water. Add to blueberries, stirring continually. Return mixture to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer 2-3 minutes until sauce is glossy and has thickened.
- Remove from heat and let cool, it will thicken more as it cools. Let cool for 1 hour before drizzling on cheesecake.
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
What is Labneh?
Labneh is a soft cheese traditionally made by pressing or straining thick yogurt to remove as much of the liquid (whey) as possible. The result is a spreadable yogurt cheese with all the nutritional benefits of yogurt in a condensed form, so you get higher levels of protein, fat and probiotics than in yogurt.
It is a little softer and tangier than cream cheese, perfect for spreading on crackers or using in creamy dips. It’s a Middle Eastern staple, often eaten for breakfast, as a dip with flat breads or as a topping to cool spicy dishes.
It is growing in popularity in North America where you might find it sold as lebneh, lebnah, labne, labni, yogurt cheese or kefir cheese. Check the ingredient list because it can be made with or without salt. I highly recommend un-salted labneh for this cheesecake recipe!
In this recipe, I used Chaeban Artisan Traditional Mediterania Labneh. It’s made one kilometer from my house using milk from a farm less than 50 km away. Now that’s local!! Chaeban’s labneh is unsalted, making it perfect for savoury spreads and dips and for sweet recipes like this cheesecake.
If you’re in Winnipeg, you can buy Chaeban Labneh as well as their firm and soft Feta cheese at various retailers throughout the city or via the Chaeban Ice Cream Subscription Club (best monthly delivery ever!). But it’s early days – soon Chaeban Artisan products will be available across the province.
If you can’t find it, you can try making your own by straining full fat, Greek yogurt for 2-3 days in your fridge. Line a sieve with cheesecloth or paper towel and let the yogurt release as much liquid as possible. Adding a little salt or squeezing now and then can help the process along. Note: I have not tried homemade yogurt cheese in this recipe, but as long as you use full fat Greek yogurt, it should work just fine. Extra liquid will create a looser texture and low fat yogurt will curdle as it bakes.
What is the Difference Between Labneh and Cream Cheese?
Since getting to know and work with Joseph and Zainab Chaeban at Chaeban Ice Cream I’ve learned so much about dairy products. Now that they’re making artisan cheese I’m also learning tons about cheese. Joseph is a master cheese maker who learned from his father, also a cheese maker, and from his studies at the University of Vermont. Joseph loves talking about cheese and was happy to explain the difference between labneh and cream cheese.
- Labneh is made from yogurt while cream cheese is made from cream. That’s why labneh is much lower in fat than cream cheese.
- Labneh (per 1/4 cup) has 90 calories, 6 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of carbohydrates. Because of the active bacteria culture, labneh also has the benefits of probiotics. In comparison, regular cream cheese (per 1/4 cup) has 190 calories, 19 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of carbohydrates. In Canada, anything called cream cheese must contain at least 30% milk fat (33% in US). In comparison labneh is has 10% MF.
- Labneh is a probiotic but cream cheese is not. This is due to the active bacteria culture used in labneh which is different than what’s used in cream cheese.
It’s easy to swap labneh for cream cheese in most dips and spreads. When replacing cream cheese with labneh in baked dishes like this cheesecake – be sure to use a tested recipe that uses eggs and cornstarch or flour to ensure a nice smooth texture.
How to Prevent Cracks in Baked Cheesecake
Cracks in cheesecake aren’t the worst thing in the world and they can happen whether you use cream cheese or labneh. Honestly, your guests won’t mind and by the time they get their slice topped with your favourite toppings, they likely won’t even notice. But I get it, you want your cheesecake to look as AMAZING as it tastes! Try these tips to reduce the chance of cracks in your cheesecake.
- Use room temperature ingredients so they’re easier to mix.
- Mix the labneh, cornstarch and sugar well to eliminate lumps.
- Don’t overmix when adding the eggs, the less air you incorporate, the better.
- Keep the oven door closed to prevent drafts or temperature changes.
- Don’t overbake. The edges will be puffy but the center should still be a little jiggly.
- When done, avoid drastic temperature changes. If baking in a water bath, remove the roasting pan from oven and just let the cake rest in there for 10 minutes. Or, turn the temperature off, open the oven door and leave the cheesecake inside to cool slowly for an hour. Sudden temperature changes can cause cracking.
- After 10 minutes, run a knife around the edge of the springform pan and let cool completely on wire rack on counter.
- Baking in a water bath as listed in the instructions helps prevent cracks.
Variations to Blueberry Lime Labneh Cheesecake
The great thing about this recipe is that there are endless variations.
For starters, think of all the different fruit toppings you could try. At Christmas, I swapped the lime for oranges and the blueberries for mandarins and made Mandarin Orange & Pomegranate Cheesecake.
This strawberry rhubarb sauce is on plain labneh cheesecake without any citrus.
But that’s just the start – you can also experiment with fresh fruit, caramel or chocolate!
What do you think, will you give labneh cheesecake a try? What topping will you choose?
This recipe was written in paid partnership with Chaeban Artisan. As always, opinions are my own and a sincere reflection of life in my home.