Perfectly tender breaded chicken, covered in a crispy crust with za'atar and toasted sesame seeds. Comes together in less than 30 minutes. Be sure to see the suggestions for sides and salads.
In the first few pages of Michael Solmonov's book, Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking, he describes his father's chicken schnitzel as a thing of beauty. "...Schnitzal took me to a happy place where everything is beige and crunchy," he says. A feeling we can relate to, can't we?
I've adapted Michael's recipe to make this za'atar breaded chicken. Admittedly, this is one for the days we crave comfort. Still, this is anything but your average limp, greasy breaded chicken.
Why this recipe for breaded chicken works
As you would expect of a breaded chicken recipe, this is very simple to make. We start by slicing two chicken breast halves into thinner cutlets, and then we pound them to tender perfection.
As the name implies, za'atar--a mixture of Mediterranean wild thyme and sesame seed--takes center-stage in flavoring the crust for this breaded chicken.
And no deep-frying required, these tender breaded chicken will cook in four minutes or so in a little bit of excellent extra virgin olive oil and ghee. And in those short minutes, we achieve a nice golden, extra crispy outer crust, while the chicken turns melt-in-your-mouth tender on the inside. Perfection!
What to Serve with this Za'atar Breaded Chicken
To serve with this breaded chicken, I like a generous drizzle of tahini sauce and a side of balela salad or this 3-ingredient Mediterranean salad.Print
Za'atar Breaded Chicken Recipe
- Total Time: 29 minutes
- Yield: serves 4 to 6 1x
Best breaded chicken! Chicken cutlets are prepared to tender perfection and given a golden, perfectly crispy breading with za'atar and toasted sesame seed. Serve with tahini sauce and one of our simple Mediterranean salad.
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 lb to 1.25 lb in total)
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 3 to 4 tablespoon Private Reserve extra virgin olive oil
- ½ to ¾ cup whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour, if you prefer)
- 2 eggs whisked with 2 tablespoon water (egg wash)
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoon plain bread crumbs
- ¼ cup toasted sesame seeds
- 3 tbsp heaping za'atar spice
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Prepare the tahini sauce according to this recipe and the salad of your choice and set aside for now.
- Place chicken breast on a cutting board. Hold it flat with the palm of your left hand (non dominant hand), and using a sharp chef's knife, carefully slice in half horizontally into two pieces. Do the same with the second chicken breast. You should end up with 4 cutlets at this point. (note, you can leave the chicken cutlets this size, or portion them to make 6 or 8 pieces in total. When pounded, they will expand.)
- Using a meat tenderizer (a kitchen hammer like this one), pound the chicken cutlets until thin.
- Pat chicken cutlets dry, and season well with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Prepare a dredging station. Place the flour and egg wash each in a shallow bowl. And in a third shallow bowl, placed on the other side of the egg wash, mix together the bread crumbs, sesame seeds, za'atar and garlic powder.
- Dredge each chicken cutlet first in the flour, then the egg wash, and finally in the bread crumb and za'atar mixture. Place prepared cutlets on a large tray for now.
- In a large 12-inch cast iron skillet, over medium heat, heat the ghee and olive oil (you want about ¼ inch of the ghee and oil mixture in the skillet). When ghee/olive oil mixture is shimmering, add the breaded . Cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. If needed, do this in batches, do not crowd the skillet. Place cooked cutlets on a large tray lined with paper towel very briefly to drain any excess oil.
- Serve hot with tahini sauce and your choice of Mediterranean salad or balela salad.
- Recipe adapted from Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking.
- Recommended for this recipe! All-Natural Za'atar Spice Blend and our Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil (from organically grown and processed Koroneiki olives).
- SAVE! Try our Greek Olive Oil Bundle! Our Ultimate Mediterranean Spice Bundle; or Create your own 6-pack or 3-pack from our all-natural or organic spice collections.
- Prep Time: 25 mins
- Cook Time: 4 mins
- Category: Entree
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keywords: Za'atar, Chicken, Za'atar Chicken, Breaded Chicken
More Recipes to Try:
Sheet Pan Paprika Chicken and Veggies
Mediterranean Vegan Wraps with Cauliflower and Tahini
Mediterranean Grilled Zucchini Salad
Would love to know what time and temp for the air fryer as opposed to frying in oil and ghee.
Hi, Eileen. Unfortunately, we don't have air-fryer instructions for this one. It's just not an appliance we have a lot of experience with. The best this to do is use the instruction manual/recipe book that came with your air-fryer for guidance as to how to convert this recipe.
I just made this last night along with the 3 Ingredient Mediterranean salad. It was wonderful. I loved the Za'atar seasoning along with the sesame seeds in the breading. So often chicken can be so bland, but this certainly wasn't.
Wonderful! Thanks for leaving a review, Anna.
I'd love to try this, but was wondering which kind of Za'atar you use? I get my spices from a large spice market in Seattle, and they sell several varieties of this spice, including Syrian and Israeli versions--which I understand are quite different. Or does it matter?
Hi Wayne. Sorry for the delayed response to your good question; I've been traveling. The particular Za'atar I use is available for purchase right here on our site: https://shop.themediterraneandish.com/product/zaatar-spice-blend/ It is an all-natural blend of wild thyme, sumac, and toasted sesame. Now, as far as how it compares in taste to what you might find at the market you described, it will likely be closest to a Holy Land variety (Palestine/Israel).
Looking so colorful. Thanks for sharing this recipe.
This was a massive hit for Sunday dinner. The combination of the chicken with the freshness of the salad and the zip of the tahini sauce, just perfect. Definitely going in the monthly rotation!
Yay! So glad to hear it!
Delicious!!! Za'atar is the best and these are so great!
Yum!! Za'atar is so good, great recipe!
These look so flavorful! I love that you don't have to deep fry them. Delicious and healthy!
I had to laugh at the description you quoted of "everything beige and crunchy" - I'm pretty sure that is my almost-three-year-old's dream, food-wise! Ha! Fortunately recipes like this mean we can both be happy, most likely - he gets his crunchy beige food, and I get delicious Mediterranean flavors! 🙂
Lol! It's a win for sure!
YES! THIS is my kinda breaded chicken!
Yay! Glad you like it!
This sounds intriguing. I'll have to play with the flour to find a gluten free blend that works. This sounds too delicious to pass up!
Awesome, Leslie! Can't wait for you to try it!
These chicken cutlets with the wonderful Za’atar Spice is perfect is just what my bland chicken breasts dinners have been looking for! Can't wait to make these.
Alright! I can't wait for you to try it!
This chicken looks so darn delicious and perfect with some diced cucumbers and fresh tomatoes. I bet it would be amazing drizzled with a ranch or that Greek dressing they give you at our local Greek restaurant!
It's really good, Jessica! Yes, Greek Tzatziki sauce would be another great dip/dressing to add! Great idea!
I've never had za’atar before but sounds like very interesting flavor profile. Looking forward to trying this!
Oh Za'atar makes everything better in my book! Hope you have a chance to try it sometime.
That breading looks incredible!
Oh it really is! Thank you, Jen!
Wow, what a gorgeous looking chicken dish! So creative, too. Love it!
And really simple, Kristy! Thank you!