Lemon Chicken Za’atar

Lemon Chicken Za’atar

Za’atar is a spice blend that’s used all over the Middle East and Mediterranean, and it has many regional variations. Along with the herbs and spices, lemon adds a tangy edge. It’s an easy way to add a lively finish to chicken, yet fancy enough for company.
Course Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine Middle Eastern


  • 4 chicken breasts boneless & skinless
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste


  • 2 lemons zest & juice
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon ground
  • 1 teaspoon paprika ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 cloves garlic crushed
  • 3 shallots chopped

Za'atar Spice

  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sumac
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon aleppo chili flakes

Garnish (optional)

  • 1 pink lemon
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup green onions chopped


At least 4 hours before

  • Add all the ingredients for the marinade into a large baking dish.
  • Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper, and add to the marinade dish. Spoon the marinade over the chicken. Prick the meat a little with a fork, and turn the chicken over a few times to work it into the meat.
  • Cover the dish, and marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours, and overnight if you like.

When you're ready

  • Preheat the oven to 400 °F.
  • Transfer the chicken to a clean baking dish.
  • Sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons of the Za’atar spice, and use a spoon or fork to press it into the meat on both sides.
  • Place the dish in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until cooked thoroughly.
  • Turn the oven setting to broil, and broil for 2-3 minutes for a spicy finish.
  • Remove from the oven when done, and sprinkle with a little more Za’atar spice.


  • Zest the pink lemon, and with a very sharp kitchen knife, cut away any remaining peel or white pitch.
  • Cut into the membranes to release the flesh only into a small bowl.
  • Squeeze any remaining juice over the flesh (supremes) and zest.
  • Add the maple syrup, and stir. Let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
  • Add salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Divide between the chicken breasts, and then sprinkle the chopped green onion on top.


  • The recipe for the spice makes more than you’ll need, so you can use it to add delicious flavor to any dish. Just keep it in a covered container away from direct sunlight.
  • Image by SK (CC BY-ND 2.0 license) – (cropped & rotated to focus on the chicken)
Keyword Lemons, Pink Lemons
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