Za’atar: A Homemade Blend of Middle Eastern Flavors


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Za’atar is my all-time favorite traditional spice that has been a staple in my kitchen since I remember. Growing up on this Middle Eastern blend of herbs, I can’t imagine a day without its unique, earthy, and tangy flavor. Whether used as a topping for pita bread, a seasoning for meats, or a veggie dip, za’atar always adds that special touch to any dish.

Experience the delicious and authentic taste of Middle Eastern flavors with homemade za’atar. This classic blend of herbal spices, such as Syrian oregano, toasted sesame seeds, and sumac, creates a unique and earthy tang that will leave your taste buds craving more.

Growing up in Jordan, I regularly ate this spice mix for breakfast or as a snack. I loved eating warm, freshly baked pita bread rolled in olive oil with a delicately made za’atar sprinkled. Ever since then, za’atar has been my favorite spice blend. This homemade za’atar recipe is a classic recipe from my sister, who still lives in Jordan. 

What is Za’atar? 

People in The Middle East refer to Za’atar in two ways. The first is the dried herb called Syrian oregano used to make the mix. Syrian oregano has many different purposes besides being used as za’atar. For example, it is often boiled like tea to help prevent coughing or ease stomach pains. This plant is native to Middle Eastern countries such as Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine. It is very similar to oregano and marjoram since it belongs to the same plant family called Genera Origanum. 

The term Za’atar also refers to the ground-up mix of spices. These spices include the Za’atar herb, Syrian oregano, and various Middle Eastern spices. Each Middle Eastern country makes its own blend with different spices, so they all taste slightly different. 

Ways to Use Za’atar: From Dressings to Traditional Dips and Street Foods

Za’atar is a magical spice blend that can be used in many ways to add flavor to any dish! Its versatility allows you to experiment with it and find new and exciting ways to enjoy it. One of my favorite uses for za’atar is as a marinade for meats, infusing them with a savory and slightly tangy flavor.

If you’re looking for a quick and easy snack, sprinkle za’atar over boiled eggs, plain yogurt, or feta cheese for a delicious and healthy treat. Another traditional way to enjoy this flavorful herb is to sprinkle some on freshly made homemade taboon bread or herb pita chips. You can also try the famous street food – za’atar manakeesh – a soft and flavorful flatbread.

For a hearty and flavorful meal, try my roasted chicken with Za’atar and sumac or toasted nuts with Za’atar for a delicious and healthy snack. And for a unique twist on a classic potato dish, try my Hasselback potatoes with creamy yogurt and Za’atar. The possibilities are truly endless with this amazing spice blend!

Health Benefits of Za’atar 

Za’atar, also known as Syrian oregano, has been used for centuries for its health benefits. It’s rich in vitamin C, which boosts the immune system, and has antibacterial properties that may help coughs. It’s also good manganese, vitamin K, and E source. Some people believe it helps with mental alertness. It can be dried and brewed as tea or used in cooking.

Where Can I Get Za’atar? 

More grocery stores began to carry za’atar mixes after famous chefs and high-end restaurants began to use za’atar in their recipes. You can also find authentic za’atar blends on Amazon, but some commercial brands use fillers like wheat so they can cut costs. 

You can find recipes online for different versions of Za’atar. Each country has a slightly different mix, and they all take great pride in their combination of herbs. Some countries add coriander, cumin, or citric acid for a tangier blend. 

What Can You Use Instead? 

It can be hard to find Syrian oregano in your local grocery stores. If you cannot find these leaves, you can use a mix of dried oregano and thyme. They have a similar flavor profile in the same plant family. 

How to Prepare the Herbs

  1. To dry the za’atar (or any fresh herbs you use), soak the herb in cold water and rinse them.
  2. Pat the herbs dry with a clean kitchen towel.
  3. Lay the herbs flat on a tray layered with clean towels.
  4. I like to place the tray near a window that is not in direct sunlight so that they do not turn brown.
  5. You should remove the towels the next day and flip the herbs over. It should take about a week to dry.

Note: For this recipe, you must grind your herbs finely to mix better with the other ingredients. It is best to use a spice grinder, but you can also use your hands if you don’t have one, then sift through a sifter that will give you a semi-soft fine grind at the end. 

Ingredient List


Mix the olive oil with the dry herbs until they are thoroughly mixed.
Mark as complete
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix it all together.
Mark as complete
Once your za'atar is finished, store it in a clean glass jar until you are ready to use it. Enjoy
Mark as complete


Adjust Servings
1⁄2 cup dry zaatar (if you don't have zaatar use a mixture of dry thyme and dry oregano)
1 12 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sumac
1 12 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds


Mix the olive oil with the dry herbs until they are thoroughly mixed.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix it all together.
Once your za'atar is finished, store it in a clean glass jar until you are ready to use it. Enjoy

Rana’s Notes!

To store homemade or store-bought za'atar, it's important to keep it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. This will help to preserve the flavor and aroma of the herbs and spices. You can store it in a spice jar with a tight-fitting lid or a resealable plastic bag. If you have a large amount of za'atar, you can freeze it to extend its shelf life. Simply place the za'atar in a freezer-safe container or bag and freeze for up to 6 months. When you're ready to use it, simply thaw it at room temperature and use as desired. However, it's best to only freeze za'atar that hasn't been mixed with oil or other liquids as this can affect the texture and quality of the spices.

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