Shanklish Cheese


Shanklish is a type of cow's or sheep's milk cheese made in Syria and Lebanon. It is typically formed into small balls, which are often covered in zaatar and Aleppo pepper, then aged and dried. The most common spice is thyme. Shanklish varies greatly in its texture and flavor. Fresh cheeses have a soft texture and mild flavor, while those dried and aged for longer periods become harder and more pungent in both odor and flavor. Spices such as aniseed and chili can be mixed in before the cheese is formed into balls. Shanklish is generally eaten with finely-chopped tomato, onion, and olive oil; and often accompanied by araq. It is a common mezze dish. Shanklish is also mashed up with eggs or crushed in a pita with cucumbers, mint, and olive oil for breakfast.


Other names: Shankleesh, Shinklish, Goat cheese, Sorke, gibna arish, Surke
Translations: Shanklish Siers, Shanklish Sūriai, Shanklish Brânză, Shanklish sira, Shanklish Kaas, Shanklish पनीर, Chancliche Queijo, Shanklish сыра, Shanklish Τυρί, شنكليش الجبن, Shanklish 치즈, Shanklish Sýry, Shanklish Keju, Shanklish奶酪, Shanklish Formatge, Shanklish Sir, Shanklish Syry, Shanklish Formaggio, Shanklish גבינה, Shanklish Ost, Сханклисх сир, Shanklishチーズ, Chenklich fromage, Shanklish Queso, Shanklish сиру, Shanklish Juusto, Shanklish сирене

Physical Description

Shanklish is typically made into balls which are approximately 6 inches in diametre. Sometimes it is also sold in smaller sizes. These balls of cheese are often rolled in zaatar and Aleppo pepper. This mixture gives the cheese a very unique flavor. Aleppo pepper is a typically Syrian pepper which is moderately spicy, and has a mild, cumin-like flavor. The cheese, after being rolled in these spices is then aged and dried. The spices are what give the cheese its tennis ball-like appearance.

Colors: dark brown, beige,

Tasting Notes

Flavors: Spicy, mild,
Mouthfeel: Cheesy, Soft
Food complements: Salad, Tomatoes, Chicken, Onions
Wine complements: All wines
Beverage complements: Imported beer, Arak
Substitutes: Mix feta and chevre

Selecting and Buying

Seasonality: january, february, march, april, may, june, july, august, september, opctober, november, december
Buying: You can purchase at your local wholefoods center or order online.
Procuring: The first step is to make fresh yogurt. This is done by taking fresh cow’s milk, boiling it, cooling it and then fermenting it by adding a batch of previously made yogurt. Once the yogurt is made, it is poured into an elongated container and the churned. As this process is happening, the butter that is formed is skimmed off and when the yogurt is partially skimmed and low fat, it is heated until it breaks down. It turns into bluish water with a residual white substance at the bottom. Once it cools, the mixture is hung through a cotton cloth to drain. The cheese is then taken, salt is added and it is rolled into balls. These are dried in the sun. Then they are scraped clean and immersed in thyme. Once this is done, the shanklish is taken, wrapped in cloth and left to ferment further in the dark.

Preparation and Use

Shanklish is usually eaten with finely chopped tomatoes, onions and olive oil.

Cleaning: No cleaning is required.

Conserving and Storing

Store in air tight container in refrigerator for 5-7 days.



History: Shanklish is an ancient cheese which used to be made and then buried in the hot desert sand for a year to mature and age.



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steve williams's picture

very interesting.

Jordis's picture

I was born and raised in New Castle, Pennsylvania, where there is a serious Syrian and Lebanese population. I remember as a child visiting an old woman on Long Avenue with my mother. There, they would converse in Arabic for a short while, then come home with several balls of Shanklish. I couldn't wait to get home to have scrambled eggs, Syrian bread (made by my mother) and Shanklish sprinkled liberally over the eggs. I have to try this!