I have a recipe that calls for za'atar, but I can't find any in time. What's a good substitute?

  • Posted by: Bascula
  • August 24, 2017


Elizabeth M. August 31, 2017
Amazon sells it. There are lots of options, some with fast shipping.
creamtea August 25, 2017
Wild thyme is the predominant note; if it's not possible to locate the other ingredients, I would simply go with dried thyme, adding ground sesame seeds if you have them available.
Windischgirl August 25, 2017
Authentic za'atar is its own herb, but the za'atar blend that is available in the states is a combo of thyme, sesame seeds, salt, and sumac. The thyme is the top note. You could sub lemon juice or lemon zest for the sumac, but its flavor seems closer to sour dried cherry or unsweetened cranberry.
FWIW, I got my sumac at Marshall's or Home Goods.
caninechef August 25, 2017
I also found sumac at Marshall's.
Valhalla August 24, 2017
Do you have a Whole Foods or Williams Sonoma? I have gotten sumac at both places, which I mix with sesame seeds, thyme, and oregano.
MMH August 24, 2017
We purchase it in a Middle Eastern Market. There are many kinds of za'atar and if you do a recipe search it will list the contents. That way you can decide which flavors you would like to incorporate as a substitute.
Nancy August 25, 2017
yes...in addition to the thyme & oregano I mentioned first, I've also seen (and made) recipes with dried hyssop, Mediterranean or summer savory.
The hyssop is as or more difficult to find than the sumac and (to my taste) added little flavor.

Voted the Best Reply!

Nancy August 24, 2017
A bit of dried thyme or oregano, some sesame (seeds, tahini or oil)and a bit of something sour (lemon juice, vinegar, dried mango powder) will give you key (thought not exact) flavor notes of za'atari.
702551 August 24, 2017
Here's one article that popped up from an Internet search for "za'atar substitute":

Bascula August 24, 2017
Thank you, but if I could find the sumac I could probably find the zaatar itself....
702551 August 24, 2017
Sorry, I don't know what's available at your nearby spice shops and grocery stores. I've purchased sumac before myself, don't recall where.

In any case, the article I linked to also provides a substitution for the sumac.
Bascula August 24, 2017
Yes, I'm sorry I just saw that it suggested dried lemon peel.
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