Za'atar Spice Recipe

Author: Marthinus Strydom
Category: Sauces & Spices
Serves/Qty: 60.00
Heidi Strydom

This authentic Za'atar Spice recipe comes from an Egyptian Dad and is perfect for adding a Middle Eastern flavor to any meal. It can be used to season hummus, baba ganoush, vegetables, and meats. Enjoy!

Marthinus Strydom

The Story

Za'atar, a quintessential spice blend from the Middle East, has a history as rich and varied as its flavors. The name 'za'atar' originally referred to a type of wild thyme native to the region. Over time, it evolved to denote a spice mixture whose composition varies across cultures but typically includes sesame seeds, sumac, and an assortment of herbs such as thyme, oregano, or marjoram. These ingredients are grounded in the agricultural practices and culinary traditions of the Levant, an area encompassing modern-day Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Palestine. Traditionally, families would prepare their unique za'atar blends, passing recipes down through generations, which contributed to the diversity of the mixtures found today. This blend is more than just a culinary staple; it's a cultural symbol, often associated with hospitality and communal eating, particularly in the practice of dipping bread in olive oil and then za'atar.

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Adjust Quanities

1 tbsp (3 Teaspoons) dried thyme- crushed (or sub oregano)
1 tbsp (3 Teaspoons) cumin (see instructions about whole or ground)
1 tbsp (3 Teaspoons) coriander
1 tbsp (3 Teaspoons) toasted  sesame seeds
1 tbsp (3 Teaspoons) sumac
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp or more aleppo chili flakes- optional


  • Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container.
  • For the most flavor, toast whole seeds (cumin seeds and coriander seeds, 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) each) until fragrant, then grind. This will make the most flavorful zaatar. If you don’t have whole seeds, feel free to use ground spices.

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