Homegrown Za’atar Recipe

The recipes for za’atar vary from nation to nation, but this is the basic blend.

March / April 2018

  • Scholars and cooks alike agree that "Origanum syriacum" is the za'atar herb that best fits all ancient descriptions.
    Photo by Getty Images/Quanthem
  • While poisonous sumac is identified by its hanging white berries, tart, edible sumac berries grow in upright red clusters.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/spline_x

Yield: about 1/2 cup

This spice blend usually consists of 3 parts crushed or powdered dried za’atar leaves; 1 part crushed, roasted sesame seeds; 1 part ground sumac berries (Rhus coriaria); and salt and pepper to taste. If you don’t have the za’atar herb Origanum syriacum, substitute thyme with an equal part marjoram, oregano, or both, as below.


• 2 tablespoons dried thyme leaves
• 1 tablespoon dried marjoram leaves
• 1 tablespoon oregano leaves
• 1 tablespoon ground sumac berries
• 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
• Kosher or coarse sea salt, to taste


1. Simply mix all the ingredients together, and your za’atar is ready to use.

For more about growing and blending your own herbs and spices, see: Homemade Spice Blends.

Adapted from a recipe by Susan Belsinger.