How To Make Za'atar Seasoning
Make your own Za’atar seasoning to bring more zest to your palate and plate. This zippy, crunchy, and aromatic dried seasoning blend is a pantry staple that you can whip up at home.
Za’atar packs a ton of flavor with a few key ingredients. If you can find them, use this recipe to make a delicious dried herb blend for seasoning your favorite meals.
What is Za’atar spice made of?
Za’atar spice can actually be a blend of several different dried ingredients. Our blend gets its pop and zest from:
- Dried Mediterranean thyme. This is an herb that grows wild throughout the Middle East and Mediterranean region. It’s also sometimes called Za’atar on its own. This is the green herby element that makes up the bulk of your Za’atar blend.
- Sesame seeds. These small white seeds are also native to the Mediterranean. They’re harvested from sesame plants and dried in the sun to preserve them. You can find both white and black sesame seeds, but the most common variety used to make Za’atar seasoning is white. They add crunch and nutty flavor to your seasoning blend.
- Dried oregano. This is a dried herb that has a floral, almost grassy flavor. It’s common in Italian, Greek, and Israeli cuisine. While not every Za’atar seasoning recipe includes oregano, we like to add it for a bit of balance with the more earthy flavors of Mediterranean thyme.
- Sumac. This deep crimson spice is a must-have addition to Za’atar seasoning. It’s incredibly bright, zippy, and lemony. Sumac is made by dehydrating the leaves of the sumac plant. You’ll want to add it to your homemade Za’atar to help cut through some of the richness of sesame seeds.
Should I Toast Sesame Seeds for Homemade Za’atar?
Yes, for the best flavor and texture, you’ll want to toast your sesame seeds first. You can find toasted sesame seeds at the grocery store, but when you do it yourself, you can ensure freshness. Plus, it’s easy to do. Simply heat a large, dry skillet over medium heat with the sesame seeds. Toss the seeds constantly and toast them until they start to take on color. As soon as you see browning, remove the seeds from the skillet to cool. They’ll continue to cook for several minutes from the residual heat out of the skillet. The key is to make sure to keep the seeds moving during toasting to prevent scorching or burning.
How do you make Za’atar from scratch?
Once you’ve assembled the ingredients to make this Middle Eastern spice mixture from scratch, it’s easy to put together at home.
You can make your homemade Za’atar spice right in the container you plan to store it in. Choose something clear with a tight-fitting lid, like a glass jar. This will help keep the spice fresh and potent for as long as possible. And when you choose a clear storage container, you’ll see the spice in your pantry and be more likely to reach for it.
Making the spice blend is a simple matter of tossing everything into the jar and giving it a good shake. When you make your own Za’atar, you can control the flavor by using any ratio of ingredients you like.
If you love a more lemony flavor, add more sumac. Or for more crunch, go for more toasted sesame seeds. The most prominent ingredient, however, should be the dried Za’atar itself. This gives true Za’atar its savory and herbaceous flavor, so you don’t want to drown it out.
Za'atar spice recipe
Use this recipe to make your own Za’atar spice blend at home:
● 2 tablespoons dried Mediterranean thyme or Za’atar
● 1 tablespoon dried oregano
● 1 tablespoon sumac
● 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
How Long Can I Store Homemade Za’atar?
You can store your spice blend in an airtight container for up to three months. Spices tend to lose flavor over time, so it’s best to prepare your Za’atar in smaller batches and use them regularly.
How to Use Za’atar
Our recipe archive is full of fun and zesty ways to eat more Za'atar, including these stand-outs:
And if you want to try a premium blend of traditional Za’atar seasoning, our seasoning shaker is a use-on-anything spice that packs an impressive punch of flavor.