How to Make Za’atar Spice Mix (+10 ways to use it!)

You can find pre-mixed za’atar spice mixes at the store, but it is so much fun to mix up your own at home that’s tailored to your specific tastes. Here’s a basic recipe with ideas for how to adjust it.

I am a long-time fan of za’atar, a flavorful Middle Eastern spice blend. When I was a kid, my family used to go to a restaurant in south Florida where they’d bring you warm, crusty bread with za’atar-spiced olive oil for dipping. That citrusy, earthy, slightly salty spice blend was addictive, and we’d dip slice after slice, dredging up as much of that precious spice mix as we could.

There are many, many ways to make your own za’atar mix, but there are three ingredients that you definitely need:

  • Sumac – This vibrant, red spice has a citrusy flavor that is key to mixing up za’atar spices.
  • Sesame Seeds – Normally, you toast the sesame seeds for a za’atar mix, but you can play around with using them untoasted, too.
  • Thyme – Thyme brings the earthiness to the table.

I also recommend using a bit of salt, but you can leave it out if you’re avoiding salt for health reasons.

bowl of sumac on a white napkin

You can find sumac at some regular grocery stores or at stores specializing in Middle Eastern food.

How to Use Za’atar Spices

Today, I love adding za’atar spices to all kinds of dishes. Here are some delicious ways to use za’atar spices in your day-to-day:

  1. Mix with olive oil for dipping bread.
  2. Add to hummus.
  3. Add to roasted potatoes.
  4. Season roasted chickpeas.
  5. Sprinkle it onto avocado toast.
  6. Toss it into your next batch of popcorn.
  7. Use it to top homemade bread.
  8. Add a healthy dash to rice or lentils (or both!).
  9. Toss it into pesto.
  10. Make a batch of labneh. (Here’s a vegan labneh recipe.)

Once you get a feel for this unique spice blend, I bet you’ll be coming up with new and exciting ways to sneak it onto your plate.

Bowl of unmixed za'atar spices, with optional cumin.

How to Make Za’atar Spice Mix

Until recently, I’d never made my own za’atar spice blend, since the mix is readily available at my regular grocery store. I do love playing around with spices, though, and the recipe below is the blend that I came up with after looking at many, many recipes for za’atar spices.

There are lots of different ways to mix up your own za’atar spice blend. The recipe below is adapted from:

As you can see from the recipes above, you can really get creative with your homemade za’atar blend. So consider the recipe below a jumping-off point in your own za’atar adventures!

Homemade Za'ater Spice Mix on white napkins with a spoon.

Middle Eastern Spice Mix

You can find pre-mixed za'atar spice mixes at the store, but it is so much fun to mix up your own at home that's tailored to your specific tastes.

5 minPrep Time

5 minTotal Time

Save Recipe


  • 2 tablespoons ground sumac
  • 2 tablespoon sesame seeds (toasted or untoasted, depending on the flavor you prefer)
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme (or more, to taste, up to 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon ground cumin (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (or more, to taste)


  1. Combine the ingredients, mixing well, then transfer to an airtight container to store. They will keep for a few months, if stored in a cool, dark place.

Related at Care2

Photos by Becky Striepe.


Marie W
Marie W9 months ago


Jack Y
Jack Y11 months ago


Jack Y
Jack Y11 months ago


John J
John J11 months ago

thanks for sharing

John J
John J11 months ago

thanks for sharing

John B
John Babout a year ago

Thanks for sharing.

Peggy B
Peggy Babout a year ago


natasha p
Past Member about a year ago

spices are so good!

Danuta W
Danuta Watolaabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing

ERIKA SOMLAIabout a year ago

thank you