Za'atar Roasted Chicken Breast Recipe...an easy one-skillet chicken dinner that will have your taste buds going crazy (in a good way!) Za'atar is a flavor-packed spice blend of Mediterranean wild thyme and toasted sesame seed. You can find all-natural za'atar spice right here in our online store. Be sure to check out the step-by-step tutorial for this za'atar chicken!
When I posted my recipe for cilantro-lime chicken thighs (another awesome chicken dinner, by the way), a reader wrote to me about her big dilemma involving her husband eating only chicken breast. Well friend, today is your day! But another dilemma that more of us deal with is that roasted chicken breasts are tricky to cook because they often end up on the dry side.
I've been experimenting with cooking chicken breasts for a little while now, and I can honestly say, this is one of the best roasted chicken breast recipes you will find. This recipe, adapted from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, is a spin off a chicken dinner from my childhood. The citrus-based marinade with all sorts of Eastern Mediterranean spices is the key to this recipe's success. It acts as a tenderizer to the chicken breasts, meanwhile, infusing them with awesome flavor.
You are probably more familiar with allspice, sumac and other spices used here. But don't let za'atar scare you. It is an amazing Middle Eastern spice blend that has both earthy and subtle citrus undertones. It often includes spices like marjoram or thyme, oregano, and sumac. And it always includes sesame seeds, which add a nice nutty and woodsy flavor to the spice mix.
We all love a roast chicken dinner. After all, it's quick prep and you can let the oven do the hard work! You will not regret spicing up your roasted chicken breasts this way, though. What to serve it with? Try Israeli couscous salad, or roasted Greek potatoes.
Step-by-step instructions for this Za'atar Chicken:
In a mixing bowl, combine the marinade ingredients. Place the chicken in a deep dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cover with the marinade. To ensure good flavor, work some of the marinade underneath the skin of the chicken breasts. Cover and place the chicken in the fridge for at least four hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Transfer the chicken breasts and the marinade to a baking dish or a cast iron skillet. Sprinkle with a little more sumac and paprika. Now sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the za'atar, and take another tablespoon of za'atar to work underneath the skin of chicken breasts. You should have 1 tablespoon za'atar left for later.
Roast the chicken in the heated oven for 35 minutes or so. Remove from heat and allow the chicken 5 minutes to rest. The chicken is ready to serve when its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
Sprinkle with a little more sumac and the remaining za'atar. Garnish with the toasted nuts and fresh parsley. Enjoy!
More chicken recipes to try:
Za'atar Roasted Chicken Breast Recipe
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: serves 4 to 6 1x
- 4 chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
- Salt and pepper
- 3 tbsp Za'atar, divided
- 2 tbsp toasted shaved almonds
- 1 tbsp toasted pine nuts
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
For the Marinade
- 2 lemons, juice of
- ⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp Sumac, more for later
- 1 tbsp allspice
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp paprika, more for later
- 7 large garlic cloves, lightly crushed
- 1 medium red onion, sliced or roughly chopped
- ½ large lemon, sliced
- In a mixing bowl, combine the marinade ingredients.
- Place the chicken in a deep pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cover with the marinade, making sure to work some of the marinade underneath the skin (this is important for flavor). Cover and place the chicken in the fridge for four hours.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Transfer the chicken and marinade to a baking dish or a cast iron skillet. Sprinkle with a little more sumac and paprika. Now, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the za'atar, and take another tablespoon to work underneath the skin of chicken breasts. (You should have 1 tablespoon of za'atar left for later use).
- Place the chicken in the heated oven and roast for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes (once the chicken's internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F, it is ready).
- Sprinkle with a little more sumac and the remaining za'atar. Garnish with the toasted nuts and fresh parsley. Enjoy!
- Browse our Online Shop for quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oil and spices used in this recipe.
- This recipe is adapted from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook and it is a spin off a chicken dinner from my childhood.
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 35 mins
- Category: Entree
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keywords: za'atar chicken
Oh. My. God. I am in no way a good cook, but this chicken turned out DELICIOUS! Thank you for an amazing recipe that will become a staple in our house!
The recipe calls for 3 TBS, yet I see only 2 TBS is mentioned. Am I missing something?
Hi, April. If you are referring to the za'atar, the first 2 tablespoons are added before cooking, and the last tablespoon is sprinkled on top with the sumac at the end, after cooking.
A friend just gave me a small.jar of za atar and I had no idea how to use it. Will begin with eggs and avocado then advance to chicken recipes. Thank you for the ideas and how to implement them. 🙂
So glad to be helpful, Pam! Za'atar is a huge favorite around here. If you haven't already check out our post "What is Za'atar and How to Use it" for more ideas!
Second time making this - great dish. The first time I made it I wasn’t sure about the marinade but it was so delicious. Added chickpeas as suggested in the comments by a fellow reviewer.
Great idea! So glad you enjoyed the recipe!
This chicken recipe was so flavorful ! My husband and I decided to try a Mediterranean diet style approach to get healthier. My 5 year old and 2 year old enjoy many of the recipes too! We discovered so much more than we could imagine. Kinda sad we never discovered All the great herbs and seasoning that can and should be used earlier . We have been making several of your recipes weekly for a few months now. Your instructions are easy to follow and has taught me how to cook healthier and tastier . Thank you from Ohio !
DO you roast it uncovered in the oven or does it need to be covered with foil? Thank you.
Hi, Ellie. I leave this recipe uncovered in the oven. Enjoy!
Love this recipe!. Za'taar and sumac are two of my favorite spices. Great flavor.
Thanks, Anne! I agree, Za'atar and Sumac are two of the BEST!
Is the skin crispy in this recipe. I notice searing is not involved. Thanks
Hi, Delaney. No, I haven't found it to get particularly crispy in this recipe.
Can I use boneless skinless chicken thighs. I'm thinking about making this tonight but don't have breast.
Hi, Anya. You can definitely use chicken thighs here. You just may need to adjust the cooking time a little.
My family loved this, in spite of my forgetting to add the garlic--oops! I served it with a Zatar green salad from Trader Joe's.
I will definitely make this again!
I made this and it was super, tasty. I think it might have been just a little dry as I used boneless, skinless chicken breast.
Anyway, I'm going to make it again and double the recipe. My question is, when I made the marinade it seemed a little thick. Is that normal?
Hi, Fernando! So glad you enjoyed it. Yes.... the marinade might be a little thick.
Great, I'm jumping into the deep end by hosting 3 other couples and I'm using the bone in skin on chicken breast just in case.