Yogurt Cheese Balls Marinated in Garlic-Dill Oil with Aleppo Pepper

This is one of my favorite appetizer/maza dishes. Guests delight in its exotic yet familiar taste. To make it even prettier, when I have chives in blossom, I sprinkle some of their lavender flowers over the top along with the chives.–Victoria Jenanyan Wise

Yogurt Cheese Balls Marinated in Garlic-Dill Oil with Aleppo Pepper Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 8 H, 30 M
  • Serves 6 to 8


  • For the yogurt cheese
  • 1 1/2 quarts yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • For the marinated cheese balls
  • 2 cups yogurt cheese (above)
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 teaspoons chopped dill leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • Crackers, for serving


  • Make the yogurt cheese
  • 1. Drain the yogurt by lining a colander with a double layer of cheesecloth, making sure to have a generous drape over the sides. Set the colander in a bowl that holds its bottom well above the bottom of the bowl. Place the yogurt in the colander and set aside at room temperature to drain until reduced to 4 cups, 2 to 4 hours, depending on the consistency of the yogurt to begin with. Use right away, or store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  • 2. Stir the salt into the drained yogurt in the colander. Cover and refrigerate to continue draining. Leave for 12 hours (overnight) to achieve a cream cheese texture. Leave for 24 hours to achieve a firmer, chevre-like texture. Be sure to pour off the whey accumulated in the bowl whenever it reaches up to the bottom of the colander.
  • Make the marinate cheese balls
  • 3. Divide the cheese into 13 portions and roll each into a walnut-size ball. Set the balls, without touching, on a plate lined with paper towels. Cover loosely with paper towels and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours, until firm.
  • 4. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, garlic, dill, and Aleppo pepper. Transfer the balls to a deep dish or a high-lipped platter, all in one layer. Pour the oil mixture over the balls, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours, or up to 1 week.
  • 5. To serve, sprinkle the chives over the top and accompany with crackers.
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