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Zaatar: Lebanese Thyme Mix

What has now become an easy to make staple in the Lebanese kitchen and has spread worldwide was quite different before. The store bought spices that make up this essential mixture previously needed a significant amount of effort from our grandparents to prepare. Are you ready to unravel how Zaatar has come to be the deliciously versatile spice or spread we all love?
Zaatar: Lebanese Thyme Mix

As Summer comes to end and Autumn starts to mark territory, the fields of our mountains become filled with elders looking for wild thyme. This herb that grows among the hills and mountains of Lebanon are collected to be dried and ground into a powder to store for winter.

A bit earlier during the Summer’s heat the tangy Sumac had been taken care of. The sticky berries growing on small trees in the mountain are carefully collected as they turn into a bright red color to be treated similarly to thyme as it dries in the sun, for the branches to be shaken, letting the berries fall off and then pounded into a powder.

Not much more is needed to create the famous Zaatar mix now used in as many westernrecipes as middle eastern and can also be enjoyed with just some bread at any time of the day. If you’re trying to finally balance the different flavors brought together by the spices, this is the recipe you need.

Preparation Time: 15min

Serves : 270 g

Ingredients you will need

  • 60g thyme, dried and ground 
  • 60g wild thyme or oregano, dried and ground 
  • 120g sesame seeds 
  • 30g sumac 
  • Pinch of salt


  • Pan
  • Bowl




  1. If using untoasted sesame, add the seeds to a pan on medium to low heat and stir until lightly golden 
  2. Mix together until well incorporated and the Zaatar will be ready to use!
  3. For Zaatar spread, all you need to do is add some extra virgin olive oil. Spread on bread and enjoy. 

Tips and Questions

  1. Store bought sumac might be less tangy and acidic in flavor which is why the recipe could call for more of the spice if the required flavor is not attained. 
  2. A full amount of thyme could substitute the mix of regular and wild thyme however the diversity of herbs and spices is what brings the unique authentic taste to the mixture. 
  3. Using Olive Oil gives the Zaatar adds the popular earthiness to the spread.
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