Za’atar Spiced Grilled Chicken

4.37 stars average

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Za’atar Spiced Grilled Chicken breasts are tender and juicy thanks to a simple marinade of lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and za’atar.

Za'atar spiced grilled chicken.

Za’atar is one of my favorite spice blends of all time which is why it thrills me beyond belief to see it becoming trendy these days. The truth is, when I open up a bag of fresh za’atar, the earthy, smoky aroma immediately transports me back into my Great Aunt Vieve’s kitchen. I have countless memories of being a little girl watching her as she masterfully sprinkled za’atar over her famous Middle Eastern Salad with Lemon, Mint and Garlic.

If you’re not familiar with za’atar, think of it as an all-in-one Middle Eastern spice blend, similar to my All-Purpose Lebanese Spice Blend. In addition to spicing up any salad, it is an ideal rub for grilled meats and vegetables. When combined with olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh garlic, Za’atar Spiced Grilled Chicken breasts become a tender, juicy, and flavor-packed weeknight dinner the whole family will devour.


  • Chicken breasts: An accessible, affordable source of lean protein that grills to be tender and juicy.
  • Olive oil: Helps to coat the chicken in the spices to soak up the flavor.
  • Lemon juice: The lemon not only adds great flavor, but the acidity also helps to tenderize the chicken.
  • Za’atar: A delicious Middle Eastern blend of spices that usually consist of za’atar itself, along with oregano, thyme, sumac, and sometimes marjoram.
  • Garlic: Nutty, pungent, aromatic flavor that pairs well with the za’atar spice.

How to Make Za’atar Spiced Grilled Chickenss

Adding lemon juice to marinade

Start your za’atar spiced grilled chicken by making the marinade. First juice your lemon into a large bowl.

Adding olive oil to bowl

Then you’ll drizzle in the olive oil.

Grating garlic into bowl 1

Next take a microplane or garlic press and add the garlic cloves.

Adding salt to bowl

Then season with a bit of salt and pepper to taste.

Adding zaatar to bowl

And finish with the za’atar spice.

Whisking zaatar marinade

Whisk it all together until fully combined.

Marinating chicken in zaatar

Then add your chicken to the bowl and mix around to make sure they are fully coated, then let marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Grilling chicken breasts

When ready to cook, preheat your grill to medium-high and grill for about 7 minutes per side.

Forkful of za'atar spiced grilled chicken.

When finished cooking, let rest for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy your Za’atar Spiced Grilled Chicken!

Frequently Asked Questions:

How long to marinate chicken in spices?

As a rule of thumb, I say plan for at least 30 minutes to marinate. But the longer you can let it sit, the better the flavor will be. It’s amazing the extra punch of flavor you’ll get if you let your chicken marinate for 5-6 hours.

How do you keep chicken soft and moist?

Marinating and coating the chicken in olive oil before cooking helps to keep the chicken from drying out on the grill.

What do you do with za’atar spice?

I love to use it on all kinds of meat as well as vegetables! It’s great on both baked and grilled dishes.

Sliced za'atar spiced grilled chicken.

Complimentary Side DIshes

Eat It, Like It, Share It!

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Liz grilling za'atar spiced grilled chicken outside on her grill.

This summer you’ll definitely want to try my za’atar spiced grilled chicken. Be sure to grill a little extra – it’s great the next day in sandwiches, salads, or pitas.

Your fork is waiting.

Zaatar spiced grilled chicken

Za’atar Spiced Grilled Chicken

4.37 stars average
These Za’atar Spiced Grilled Chicken breasts are tender and juicy thanks to a simple marinade of lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and za’atar.
PREP: 30 minutes
COOK: 14 minutes
TOTAL: 44 minutes


  • 4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup za’atar
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper


  • Place chicken breasts in a large glass baking dish or resealable plastic bag.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, za'atar, garlic, salt, and pepper then pour marinade over the chicken. Move chicken breasts around to ensure they are evenly coated in mixture. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to overnight.
  • Grill chicken breasts on medium-high heat for 7-8 minutes per side or until internal temperature reaches 155 degrees or higher. Let rest 5-10 minutes before serving to allow juices to re-distribute.

Last Step:

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Calories: 287kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 34.5gFat: 16.4gSaturated Fat: 1.8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 14.6gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 1530mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 0.4g
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63 responses to “Za’atar Spiced Grilled Chicken”

  1. Bonny Gleason Avatar
    Bonny Gleason

    How can I pin your recipes?

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      You should be able to pin from the recipe card! A big red button should say “pin.”

  2. Lisa Avatar

    I made this recipe with chicken tenders on the grill. It is by far our favorite chicken recipe ever. I served it with a scoop of plain greek yogurt.

  3. Janet Avatar

    I made this last night and it was a big hit! I cut the chicken breasts into chunks, marinated them for a couple of hours then skewered them with red peppers, mushrooms, zucchini and yellow squash (very pretty!) and did them in the air fryer rotisserie for about 25 minutes. I doubled the lemon juice and olive oil and reserved part of the marinade and mixed it with greek yogurt to use as a sauce and a dressing for salad. It was super yummy! Next time I’ll back off on the amount of zahtar and salt, but otherwise, it was amazing!!! Thank you for this recipe!!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      So glad you enjoyed it!!!

  4. Ann Avatar

    I saw a comment that this would be good broiled instead of grilled (I don’t have a bbq). How long would you recommend grilling it and Lo or Hi? Thanks! Can’t wait to try this!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Yes broiling would be great! Probably 4-7 minutes per side depending on thickness.

  5. Erin Avatar

    This was so easy and yummy, I bought a bottle of zaatar at the beginning of quarantine and have been at a loss with what to do with it!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      I’m so glad you found this!! I have TONs of others be sure to search “za’atar” to find them all on the search button!!

  6. Dave Avatar

    I’ve never seen za’atar that doesn’t include salt, so I omit the salt altogether. Salt is easy to add, hard to remove!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Oh interesting!! Mine has no salt!

    2. Graciela Lara-Valverde Avatar
      Graciela Lara-Valverde

      I have used Za’atar for many years and from different countries and none have had salt

      1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
        Liz DellaCroce

        Yes that’s correct – it’s a spice without salt.

  7. Tracey Posner Avatar
    Tracey Posner

    I can already tell that this is going to DELICIOUS! I am marinating my chicken as I’m writing this. Tomorrow, it will go on the grill ????
    I decided to make this recipe instead of another that actually called for chicken thighs. I just went with it since I already had the thighs waiting in the fridge. I see no reason why these won’t be just as awesome as a boneless, skinless breast or thigh would be. In fact, I think the bone and the skin will just add to the deliciousness ????
    I’ll let you know how it comes out!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      How did it turn out Tracey?

      1. Tracey Avatar

        It was AMAZING! everything was spot on and my husband loved It ! In fact, I’m making it again right now!
        Sorry it took me so long to reply. I didn’t know there was a comment ????

        1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
          Liz DellaCroce

          I’m so glad you loved it!

  8. Janet Avatar

    Although this was super easy to throw together, and was quite tasty, I honestly thought that there was WAY too much salt in the marinade. I will definitely make this again, but I will probably cut the salt in 1/2, maybe more. I also think that adding a bit of lemon zest in addition to the lemon juice would give it just a bit more sparkle. Overall, it was okay, but this recipe could use a bit of tweaking…

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Hi Janet,

      Thanks so much for letting me know! In general, I recommend one teaspoon of salt for every one pound of meat. You’re certainly welcome to lower the amount though! Either way I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  9. vivian Avatar

    We had this for dinner tonight, along with fattoush and roasted potatoes, and it was a big hit. Not only that, but it was so simple to make too. Thank you!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Oh I’m so glad you enjoyed it Vivian! Let me know if you try any other recipes!

  10. Kate Avatar

    I’m not going to wait for grilling season to try this! Looks fantastic .

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      haha please don’t!!! Great under the broiler too!