Homemade Za'atar Blend Recipe

Thanks to Middle Eastern cuisine, we have some fabulous foods like hummus, falafel, and tabouleh. We also have a savory spice blend called za'atar that is packed with flavor, and once you've tried it, you may wonder how you've lived without it. Wellness coach and recipe developer Miriam Hahn brings us this recipe and says, "I do a ton of cooking, and use a wide variety of spices. I cook mostly with plants, and using spices not only enhances the flavor, but also provides many health benefits. I love making my own spice blends because it's so much more cost effective, and I go through them quickly so I like having larger quantities on hand. Za'atar is a delicious blend that has a hint of citrus flavor from the sumac, combined with earthy flavors from the oregano and thyme. I love to use it on roasted vegetables, in Mediterranean salads, and on garlic bread."

Gather the ingredients for homemade za'atar blend

To make this recipe, you'll need some raw sesame seeds, sumac, marjoram, dried oregano, dried thyme, and coarse salt. "You can find raw sesame seeds in the bulk bins at some health food stores, which is a great way to buy just what you need. I keep a large mason jar full of them in my fridge because they are full of nutrients," Hahn shares. "Sumac ... can sometimes be found in the bulk spice section, or it can be ordered online. I use pink Himalayan salt for this recipe, but a coarse Celtic salt works well also."

Toast the sesame seeds

Although you can make this recipe without toasting the seeds, toasting them gives the spice blend a nutty flavor and a crunchy texture. Add the sesame seeds to a small pan over medium heat, and shake the pan back and forth so they don't burn. Cook for about 5 minutes, until browned. "They will be very fragrant as they cook, and make the whole house smell delicious," Hahn remarks.

Grind the seeds

The easiest way to do grind the toasted sesame seeds is to use a spice grinder or a coffee grinder that hasn't been used for coffee. "I have a small coffee grinder that I use daily for grinding flax seeds, so it's perfect for sesame seeds too. A blender will work, but only if you plan to grind a larger volume. You can also grind them with a mortar and pestle. [Alternatively,] you can put them into a plastic Ziploc bag and pound them with a wooden mallet, or firmly [roll] over them with a rolling pin," Hahn shares.

Combine the spices, and store

The final step in this simple recipe is to mix the ground sesame seeds with the sumac, marjoram, oregano, thyme, and salt. Then, you're ready to use or store it in a small jar with a lid for up to 12 months. You won't believe the flavor this spice blend will add to your food. The next time you roast up some vegetables, toss them with your fresh za'atar spice blend. 

Homemade Za'atar Blend Recipe
5 from 31 ratings
Add some spice to your roasted vegetables or proteins with this easy, homemade za'atar spice blend recipe.
Prep Time
Cook Time
spice blend in wooden spoon
Total time: 10 minutes
  • 1 ½ tablespoons raw sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoons sumac
  • 2 tablespoons dried marjoram
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  1. Pour the sesame seeds into a small frying pan over medium heat. Shake the pan back and forth as the seeds are toasting. After about 5 minutes, they should be lightly browned.
  2. Place the toasted seeds into a small spice or coffee grinder, and grind them into a powder.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the ground sesame seeds with the sumac, marjoram, oregano, thyme, and salt. Store in a small jar with a lid for up to 1 year.
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