Za’atar Spices | The recipe critic

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A traditional Middle Eastern seasoning, this Za’atar seasoning is spicy, nutty and savory. The sesame seeds give a bit of texture and make this seasoning perfect for rubs, marinades or as a topping on your hummus!

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of homemade spice blends. I love knowing exactly what’s in it, and the spices always taste better in my opinion. If you’re excited about a pantry full of glass jars with your own spice blends, you’ll love these Homemade Fajita Seasoning, these warm and inviting Shwarma Seasoning, and this must have Taco Seasoning!

Seasoning in a bowl with a wooden spoon taking out a scoop.

What is Za’atar Seasoning?

Za’atar seasoning is a spice blend that originates from the Middle East. Many people make it in slightly different ways, but it usually has a spice blend of sumac, sesame, oregano, thyme, and marjoram. There are many variations, and mine has a few other things. I love this seasoning! It is so delicious and you can use it in so many different ways. The best way to describe it is probably nutty, spicy and savory!

If you’re trying to imagine what it could be good with, start with meat. It works great as a dry rub. I love dry rubs (like these steak seasonings) because they add so much flavor so quickly. You could use this on steak, chicken, turkey or lamb. It would be great in a hummus (try adding it to this recipe!) or on top of avocados or tomatoes. I tried it in this spinach artichoke pasta and it was delicious! It’s also great added to this baba ganoush, which is similar to hummus.


The ingredients in this Za’atar seasoning are so unique and full of bold flavors. Like curry, the blends and flavors vary depending on where you are and who is preparing it. This is my favorite recipe! I know there are different versions, and the best part is that no way is right or wrong! It just depends on what you prefer and where you are.

  • sumac: Sumac does the same thing as lemon juice with a dish. It adds a punchy brightness that you will love! You should be able to find this at your local grocery store, if not, it’s available on Amazon.
  • Dried thyme: Thyme is earthy and slightly minty. I love the flavor it adds!
  • Sesame seeds: You probably know sesame seeds best from the top of a hamburger bun or in Asian recipes. It’s a really nutty flavor and you’ll be roasting it for this blend that brings out so much flavor.
  • Dried oregano: Oregano is a bit spicy and resembles marjoram. The two spices add a lot of flavor and warmth to this spice mix.
  • Coriander: This spice has a light and nutty taste.
  • Marjoram: Marjoram has an earthy and spicy taste and adds a lot of depth to this blend. If you like oregano, you will also love marjoram.
  • Kosher salt: A high quality salt will always taste better, I prefer Kosher. If you don’t have kosher, you can use sea salt.
Process shots of sesame being toasted in a pan, the seasonings in a bowl before mixing and the final mix in the bowl with a whisk.

How To Make Za’atar Seasoning

Homemade spices are so easy to make, so there’s no reason not to whip up these Za’atar spices! It is so full of flavor and takes literally 5 minutes to prepare. You’ll be so glad you tried it!

  1. To roast sesame seeds: Toast the sesame seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Toast until lightly golden and let the sesame seeds cool before mixing with the other spices.
  2. whisk: Then add all ingredients to a small bowl and whisk until combined.
  3. Store: Finally, store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Za'atar seasoning in a white bowl with a wooden spoon in it.

What to eat with Za’atar spices

Don’t think too much about it! Za’atar spices are great in all kinds of savory dishes. If you’re wondering what to do with it, here are a few suggestions!

  • Use as a dry rub: It’s perfect with meat! You could season chicken, beef, turkey or lamb with this as a dry rub and it would taste fantastic.
  • Make a sauce: You could add some olive oil to this blend and make a delicious sauce! Super simple, easy and full of flavor! It would be great for dipping bread or sprinkling over roasted meats.
  • Make a soup: Za’atar seasoning is perfect for a roasted vegetable soup! Just roast and mash some vegetables, then add the spices and some olive oil. It’s so easy and delicious!

Grill striped chicken cut into strips with a fork holding up a piece of chicken.

Homemade Za’atar. keep

Za’atar contains sesame seeds, which can spoil faster than most spices. It doesn’t have a 2-year shelf life like many store-bought herbal blends. Follow this tip to keep your Za’atar herbs fresh!

On the counter: Store your herbs in a airtight container up to two weeks on the counter. It should still be kept in a cool dark place, otherwise the seasoning may spoil.

In the fridge: You can extend the shelf life of your Za’atar seasoning by storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should last up to 3 months if stored properly.

  • Toast the sesame seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Toast until lightly golden and let the sesame seeds cool before mixing with the other spices.

  • Add all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until combined.

  • Store up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.

Serves: 4

Portion2tablespoonscalories39kcal (2%)Carbohydrates5g (2%)Egg white1g (2%)Fat2g (3%)Saturated fat0.4g (2%)Polyunsaturated Fat1gmonounsaturated fat1gSodium585mg (24%)potassium97mg (3%)Fiber3g (12%)Sugar0.2gVitamin A188IU (4%)Vitamin C4mg (5%)Calcium143mg (14%)Iron5mg (28%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is an estimate only. Every recipe and nutritional value will depend on the brands you use, measurement methods and portion sizes per household.

Class spices

kitchen Middle East

keyword zaatar, zaatar herbs

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