Za’atar is a heady mix of spices: sumac and sesame seeds; cumin and coriander; the bright taste of anise from fennel seeds; and thyme. The mix does the work for you, and it’s the za’atar which makes this chicken dish at once both exotic and easy.

This dish goes well with fennel, parsley and feta salad, or spinach with ricotta. Or alternatively, you could slice a courgette into thick chunks and put in with the chicken to roast.

There’s lots of juice – serve with tagliatelle, or noodles of some kind.

za'atar chicken recipe

The prepared chicken joints on their way into the oven.

Recipe for Exotic and Easy Za’atar Chicken

Serves 3


• 6 chicken thighs, skin on
• 4 tbsps runny honey (don’t be too anal about this!)
• 2 tbsps za’atar
• 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed with 1 tsp salt
• Pinch of Urfa pepper or some freshly ground black pepper
• 60 ml/¼ cup/4 tbps dry vermouth
• The odd snip of parsley or chives if you have any to hand


1. Preheat the oven to 210ºC.
2. Lightly oil an ovenproof dish.
3. Season the non-skin side of the thighs and place non-skin side down in the dish.
4. Mix the za’atar, garlic, and honey together and coat the skin of the thighs.
5. Put in the oven and roast for half an hour – until the chicken is cooked through and the skin golden and turning slightly charred.
6. Serve with a few fresh herbs snipped over.