Zaatar

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Zaatar is a popular Middle Eastern spice blend made with just 4 ingredients (salt, sesame seeds, sumac, and thyme). Try it on meats, vegetables, salads, pita chips, and dips like hummus. It’s easy to make and packed with flavor and crunch.

Za'atar seasoning in a clear glass bowl.


 

Zaatar Spice is like chili powder or chai: The name itself is generic and there are as many blends as there are cooks.

My blend consists of dried thyme, sesame seeds, sumac, and salt. That’s it! It’s an easy way to spice up recipes already in your repertoire, especially if you are considering a Middle Eastern or Mediterranean menu.

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for Za'atar seasoning in four small bowls.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Sumac: This popular Middle Eastern spice is bright red in color and made from dried sumac berries that have been ground into a powder. It has a tart, citrusy flavor that tastes a lot like lemon (and if you can’t find sumac, lemon zest is a good substitute). Buy sumac on Amazon.
  • Salt: Control the salt in your recipes by omitting it from the blend. When you cook with the Zaatar seasoning, you can salt your meat, vegetables, or anything else at that time and use just what you need.

Instructions

  • In a small bowl or jar with a tight-fitting lid, add sesame seeds, sumac, dried thyme, and salt to taste (I like 1 teaspoon). Store covered in the pantry for up to 6 months. 
Za'atar seasoning in a clear glass bowl.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes about 3 tablespoons Zaatar seasoning (or more depending on how much salt you add).
  • Storage: Store Zaatar covered in a spice jar or other airtight container in a dark place for up to 6 months.
  • Zaatar powder: I leave my spices whole here, but you can add everything to a spice grinder (or mortar and pestle) and blend it until finely ground.
  • More herbs and spices: Try adding dried oregano, dried marjoram, or minced fresh hyssop to your Zaatar.
Homemade hummus with zaatar butter in a bowl with pita chips.
Homemade Hummus topped with Clarified Butter and Zaatar.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does Zaatar consist of?

Zaatar is a Middle Eastern spice blend made with salt, sesame seeds, sumac, and thyme.

What is a substitute for Zaatar?

If you don’t have any Zaatar on hand, use a mixture of sesame seeds, thyme, and lemon zest.

What is sumac in Zaatar?

Sumac is a popular Middle Eastern spice that is bright red in color and made from dried sumac berries that have been ground into a powder. It has a tart, citrusy flavor that tastes a lot like lemon.

Put your Zaatar to work

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Za'atar seasoning in a clear glass bowl.

Zaatar

Zaatar is a popular Middle Eastern spice blend made with just 4 ingredients. Try it on meats, vegetables, salads, pita chips, and dips like hummus.
Cook Time 1 minute
Total Time 1 minute
Servings 10 servings (1 teaspoon each)
Course Pantry
Cuisine Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Calories 5
5 from 5 votes

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • In a small bowl or jar with a tight fitting lid, add sesame seeds, sumac, dried thyme, and salt to taste (I like 1 teaspoon). Store covered in the pantry for up to 6 months. 

Notes

  1. Sumac: This popular Middle Eastern spice is bright red in color and made from dried sumac berries that have been ground into a powder. It has a tart, citrusy flavor that tastes a lot like lemon (and if you can’t find sumac, lemon zest is a good substitute). Buy sumac on Amazon.
  2. Salt: Control the salt in your recipes by omitting it from the blend. When you cook with the Zaatar seasoning, you can salt your meat, vegetables, or anything else at that time and use just what you need.
  3. Yield: This recipe makes about 3 tablespoons Zaatar seasoning (or more depending on how much salt you add).
  4. Storage: Store Zaatar covered in an airtight container in a dark place for up to 6 months.

Nutrition

Serving: 1tspCalories: 5kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 194mgPotassium: 6mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 13IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 13mgIron: 1mg
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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Comments

  1. This is WOW site. I needed to know how to make za’atar and your site came through. Many thanks!!5 stars

  2. I agree that zaatar should contain no more than four ingredients. May I suggest a website that sell the best zaatar so far. http://www.eatzaatar.com they offer a real zaatar herb (hyssop) which I found is different than the regular thyme.5 stars

    1. Hey there, I’d love to! Could you please give me some exact names of recipes so I can work on them for you? I am not super familiar with the snacks you are talking about and don’t want to make the wrong thing. Any details would be appreciated! I would be so excited to do this. Thank you!