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What is it?

Za’atar is both a Middle Eastern herb and a spice blend. The herb za’atar is so treasured for its savory-thyme-oregano flavor that it’s called the “king of herbs.” Za’atar, the spice blend, is a combination of dried za’atar, sesame seeds, ground sumac, and other herbs and spices. The blends vary from region to region, but, generally, the flavor is herbal and nutty.

How to choose:

The za’atar herb is rarely exported, so it’s safe to assume that recipes calling for za’atar refer to the spice blend.

How to prep:

To get to know za’atar, we suggest you order a few different varieties and try them. One teaspoon of za’atar is a good starting point.

Read a post from our Test Kitchen for ideas for incorporating za’atar into recipes.

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  • Recipe

    Chickpea-Zucchini Pancakes with Yogurt, Za’atar, and Sea Salt

    These warmly spiced pancakes are studded with zucchini and brightened by scallions and a hit of lemon.

  • Recipe

    Pomegranate-Glazed Chicken Thighs

    A drizzle of pomegranate molasses adds tangy-sweet flavor to garlicky pan-fried chicken.

  • Recipe

    Fava-Za'atar Hummus

    This fluffy dip has a creamy, nutty flavor unlike anything you’ll find in a grocery store. Serve with pita, cucumbers, peppers, or carrots.

  • Recipe

    Lebanese Grilled Eggplant Dip

    Serve this rich, smoky dip with pita chips, crackers, or crudités. If you don’t have any za’atar (a Middle Eastern spice blend), you can substitute 1/4 tsp. dried thyme.

  • Recipe


    This daily bread of the Eastern Mediterranean is an olive oil­-rich flatbread, most often topped with za’atar, a mixture of dried thyme, sesame seeds, and sumac. Fermenting the dough overnight…

  • Recipe

    Tomato, Chickpea, and Feta Salad

    Za’atar—a Middle Eastern spice blend treasured for its savory thyme-oregano flavor—adds a lovely herbal quality to this easy side salad.

  • Recipe

    Roasted Chicken with Za'atar Stuffing

    A good roast chicken is one of my favorite things to cook and eat. Every cook should know how to roast a chicken properly. The stuffing in this recipe contains…

  • Recipe

    Sautéed Zucchini with Za’atar and Crispy Chickpeas

    Couscous makes a nice bed for this simple side dish flavored with za’atar, a zesty Middle Eastern blend of spices and sesame seeds.


Leave a Comment


  • 1cook | 04/01/2011

    I make za'atar as follows:
    2 Tbs sesame seeds, dry roasted, 1-1/2 Tbs dried thyme, crumbled, 1 Tbs dried marjoram or oregano, crumbled, 1 Tbs ground sumac.

    This stores well and is excellent on cream cheese and toast.

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