May 24, 2024


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Za’atar Seasoning | The Recipe Critic

5 min read
Za'atar Seasoning | The Recipe Critic

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

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

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

What is Za’atar Seasoning?

Za’atar seasoning is a spice blend that comes from the Middle East. Lots of people make it in slightly different ways, but it usually has an herb blend of sumac, sesame, oregano, thyme, and marjoram. There are lots of variations, and mine has a few other things in it. I love this seasoning! It is so flavorful, and you can use it in so many different ways. The best way to desribe it would probably be nutty, herby, and savory!

If you are trying to picture what it could be good with, then start with meat. It works great as a dry rub. I love dry rubs (like this steak seasoning) because they add so much flavor so quickly. You could use this on steak, chicken, turkey, or lamb. It would be awesome in a hummus (try adding it to this recipe!) or on top of avocados or tomatoes. I have tried it in this spinach artichoke pasta and it was delicious! It is also amazing 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. Just like curry, the blends and flavors will 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 no way is right or wrong! It just depends on what you prefer and where you are.

  • Sumac: Sumac does the same thing that lemon juice does to a dish. It adds a tangy brightness that you will love! You should be able to find this at your local grocery store, if not then it is available on Amazon.
  • Dried Thyme: Thyme is earthy and a little 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 will toast it for this blend which brings out so much flavor.
  • Dried Oregano: Oregano is a little spicy and is similar to marjoram. The two spices add a lot of flavor and warmth to this spice blend.
  • Coriander: This spice has a light and nutty flavor.
  • Marjoram: Marjoram has an earthy and spicy flavor, and adds a lot of depth to this blend. If you like oregano, then you will love marjoram.
  • Kosher Salt: A high quality salt will always taste better, I prefer to use Kosher. If you don’t have Kosher, then you could use sea salt.
Process photos showing sesame being toasted in a pan, the seasonings in a bowl before being mixed, and the final mix with a whisk in the bowl.

How to Make Za’atar Seasoning

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

  1. Toast Sesame Seeds: In a small sauce pan, toast the sesame seeds for 1 to 2 minutes over medium heat. Toast until slightly golden, then cool the sesame seeds before mixing with the other spices.
  2. Whisk: Then add all of the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until combined .
  3. Store: Lastly, store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Za'atar seasoning in a white bowl with a wooden spoon resting in it.

What to Eat with Za’atar Seasoning

Don’t overthink it! Za’atar seasoning is great in savory dishes of all kinds. If you are wondering what to do with it, then 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 it into a lovely sauce! Super simple, easy, and full of flavor! It would be great for dipping bread in or drizzling on top of roasted meats.
  • Make a Soup: Za’atar seasoning is perfect for a roasted vegetable soup! Just roast some veggies and puree them, and add the seasoning and some olive oil on top. It’s so easy and delicious!

Chicken with grill marks sliced into strips with a fork holding up a piece of chicken.

Storing Homemade Za’atar

Za’atar has sesame seeds in it, which can spoil more quickly than most spices. It doesnt have a 2 year shelf life like a lot of seasoning blends you will buy at the store. Follow this tip to keep your Za’atar seasoning fresh!

On the Counter: Store your seasoning in an airtight container on the counter for up to two weeks. It should still be kept in a cool dark place, or the seasoning can spoil.

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

  • In a small sauce pan, toast the sesame seeds for 1 to 2 minutes over medium heat. Toast until slightly golden, then cool the sesame seeds before mixing with the other spices.

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

  • Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Serves: 4

Serving2tablespoonsCalories39kcal (2%)Carbohydrates5g (2%)Protein1g (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 only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Seasoning

Cuisine Middle East

Keyword za’atar, za’atar seasoning

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