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The 5 Best Substitutes for Za’atar Seasoning

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Have you ever tried Za’atar? This unique herbaceous spice is used in various Middle Eastern dishes, from flatbreads to stews.

Za’atar has a complex, earthy, lemony flavor, with a hint of mint.

In terms of cooking, Za’atar can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.

Here are some tips on how to use Za’atar in your cooking:

  • Add Za’atar to olive oil to create a flavorful dipping sauce for bread.
  • Sprinkle Za’atar on grilled meats or vegetables.
  • Mix Za’atar with yogurt to make a flavorful marinade or dip.
  • Stir Za’atar into hummus for a twist on the classic dish.
  • Sprinkle Za’atar on top of baked goods before baking for a subtle flavor.

That being said, Za’atar can be difficult to find outside Middle Eastern grocery stores.

If you can’t find Za’atar, there are several substitutes that will work just as well in your recipes.

In this article, we will discuss the five best substitutes for Za’atar.

What is Za’atar?

what is zaatar

Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend that typically includes thyme, sesame seeds, and sumac.

It is often used to season meat and vegetables or to make Za’atar bread.

The thyme in Za’atar is a source of minerals such as iron and manganese, which are essential for healthy bones and blood.

The sesame seeds add a nutty flavor, while the sumac gives the blend a tangy kick.

Za’atar can be bought pre-mixed at many Middle Eastern grocery stores, or you can make your blend at home.

To use Za’atar, simply sprinkle it on top of food before cooking, or mix it into olive oil to create a flavorful dipping sauce.

For something truly special, try making Za’atar-spiced chicken or lamb.

When cooked with Za’atar, these meats have a wonderfully fragrant and exotic flavor.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Za’atar Seasoning

While you can purchase Za’atar at most Middle Eastern markets, it’s also easy to make at home.

The combination of spices gives Za’atar a unique flavor that is perfect for seasoning meats, vegetables, and even bread.

If you can’t find Za’atar or are looking for a similar flavor profile, try one of these five substitutes.

1 – Harissa Spice Powder

harissa spice powder

Harissa is a North African chili pepper paste commonly used as a condiment.

It is made from a blend of chili peppers, garlic, olive oil, and spices such as cumin and caraway.

The paste can be used to add flavor to a variety of dishes, such as stews, couscous, and grilled meats.

Harissa can also be used as a rub for roast chicken or lamb.

When shopping for harissa, look for a product that is made with fresh ingredients and does not contain any preservatives.

For an extra-spicy kick, try using harissa powder instead of the paste.

The powder can be added to soups and sauces or sprinkled over vegetables before roasting.

When cooking with harissa, start with a small amount and add more to taste.

The spice paste can be quite fiery, so it is best to add it gradually until you reach the desired level of heat.

Thanks to its bold flavor and versatility, harissa has become a popular ingredient in kitchens around the world.

2 – Italian Seasoning

italian seasoning

Italian seasoning is a blend of herbs that are typically used in Italian cuisine.

The most common herbs used in Italian seasoning are oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary.

However, there is no set recipe for Italian seasoning, so the herbs can vary depending on the chef or cook.

While some blends also include sage, parsley, or fennel seeds, these are not considered to be traditional ingredients.

In addition to its use in cooking, Italian seasoning can also be used as a rub for grilled meats or vegetables.

It can also be sprinkled over salads or added to soups or sauces for extra flavor.

Whether you use it in cooking or as a finishing touch, Italian seasoning is a versatile and flavorful addition to any dish.

3 – Shichimi Togarashi

shichimi togarashi

Shichimi Togarashi is a Japanese spice blend that typically includes chili peppers, orange peel, sesame seeds, and seaweed.

It is often used to add a bit of heat and flavor to dishes, and it can be found in many supermarkets.

When cooking with Shichimi Togarashi, it is important to be careful not to add too much, as the spice blend can quickly become overwhelming.

A little goes a long way, so start with a small amount and then add more to taste.

Shichimi Togarashi can be used in a variety of dishes, from soups and stews to noodles and rice.

It is also a popular seasoning for grilled meats and vegetables.

If you are looking for a little something extra in your next meal, give Shichimi Togarashi a try.

4 – Ground Coriander

ground coriander

Ground Coriander is a type of spice that is made from the seeds of the coriander plant.

It has a nutty, earthy flavor and is often used in Indian and Thai cuisine.

Ground Coriander can be used in a number of different dishes, such as curries, soups, and stews.

It can also be used as a rub for meats or added to baked goods.

When cooking with Ground Coriander, it is important to remember that a little goes a long way.

The spice can easily become overpowering, so it is best to start with a small amount and add more if needed.

With its unique flavor, Ground Coriander is a versatile spice that can add depth and dimension to many different dishes.

5 – Herbes de Provence

herbes de provence

Herbes de Provence is a blend of dried herbs that are traditionally used in Provençal cooking.

The most common herbs used in Herbes de Provence are thyme, rosemary, basil, oregano, and sage.

While the exact blend of herbs can vary, these five herbs are typically always included.

Herbes de Provence is commonly used to flavor grilled meats and vegetables, as well as stews and soups.

It can also be used to make a simple herb-infused oil for bread dipping or tossed with roasted potatoes.

If you’re looking for a way to add some extra flavor to your cooking, Herbes de Provence is a great option to try.


In conclusion, Za’atar is a versatile and delicious spice that can be used in many different dishes.

However, if you don’t have Za’atar on hand, there are plenty of other spices that can be used as substitutes.

These are harissa spice powder, Italian seasoning, shichimi togarashi, ground coriander, and herbes de Provence.

Each of the five substitutes listed above will add its own unique flavor to your dish, so experiment to find the perfect combination for your meal.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Za’atar

Recipe by Andrew Gray Course: Substitutes


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  • Harissa Spice Powder

  • Italian Seasoning

  • Shichimi Togarashi

  • Ground Coriander

  • Herbes de Provence


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.

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