What is Za’atar?
Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend made from a herb mixture usually containing thyme, sumac, cumin, salt and other spices. It’s used extensively throughout the Levant countries as a topping for Arabic pita bread, meat, yogurt, hummus, and salads.
Za’atar spice is an incredibly versatile spice mixture with a nutty, herbal flavor. It’s often tangy (from the sumac) and sometimes tastes lemony, depending on the ingredients used.
Below are some great recipes using za’atar as well as a recipe for za’atar seasoning that you can make at home.
Recipes with Za’atar Spice
Za’atar is used in many Middle Eastern dishes, but it makes for a great topping on lots of different types of food – meat, vegetables, yogurt, and bread. It packs a zesty punch and is highly adaptable. Here’s a bunch of delicious recipes that use Za’atar.
- Homemade Hummus with Za’atar and Sweet Paprika from Killing Thyme
- Lebanese Zaatar Bread (Manakish) from Masala Herb
- Olives and Tomatoes on Toast with Za’atar Buttermilk Dressing from The Cook Report
- One Pan Za’atar Pork Tenderloin, Sweet Potato, and Cauliflower from My Kitchen Love
- Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini and Za’atar from Ottolenghi
- Roasted Eggplant with Zaatar from Feasting at Home
- Savory Yogurt with Harissa and Za’atar from This Healthy Table
- Spicy Rainbow Roasted Potatoes with Za’atar from Panning the Globe
- Vegan Za’atar Crackers from Elephantastic Vegan
- Vegan Za’atar Tofu with Herb Yogurt Sauce from Rabbit and Wolves
- Za’atar and Labneh Panzanella from My Name is Yeh
- Za’atar Roasted Carrots with Labne from Sidewalk Shoes
Here’s how you can make your own za’atar spice blend at home. It’s easy to make and keeps for several months if you store it in an airtight container.
- 2 tablespoons dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 2 tablespoons coriander
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons sumac
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1. Heat a small frying pan over medium heat. Toast the thyme, cumin, coriander, and sesame seeds for 2 minutes - stirring every 30 seconds.
2. Combine the toasted seeds, sumac, and salt in mortar and pestle or spice mill and grind them till combined. A rough consistency is okay.
3. Save for up to 3 weeks in an airtight container.
Where to Buy Za’atar
Za’atar is can be found in most Middle Eastern grocery stores and specialty groceries. It can also be purchased online – I recommend the Spice House’s za’atar seasoning, but if you want to buy it on Amazon, get the Sheffa Za’atar Spice Blend.
More Middle Eastern Spice Blends
Check out our other Arabic spice blends and spices.