Zaatar Manakeesh

5 from 291 votes

Zaatar Manakeesh is a Mediterranean flatbread that's made with dough and zaatar spice. It's an easy recipe to make from scratch using very few ingredients!

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Zaatar Manakeesh is a Mediterranean flatbread that is made with a simple dough recipe and topped with an olive-oil based zaatar spread. You’ve probably tried this at Lebanese restaurants, Mediterranean bakeries or if you’re lucky, from a relative’s kitchen! This zaatar bread is truly delicious!

Zaatar Manakish flatbread on a wooden serving board
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While it’s often as cheap at $1 to buy one pie, I love the smell of freshly baked manakeesh from my own oven in the mornings. And I don’t live by any bakeries that make it unfortunately. So, if you’ve ever thought it was difficult to make, I’m about to show you how easy it is!

What is zaatar

Zaatar is a middle eastern spice blend that’s primarily made with sumac, thyme and sesame seeds. This is essentially what Lebanese zaatar is composed of, which is what I’m mostly familiar with.

In other regions in the Middle East, zaatar spice blends also include cumin, oregano and marjoram. While you can make zaatar on your own, I’ve actually never made it because it’s easy to find it in Middle Eastern stores or health stores like Whole Foods or Sprouts. And I’m lucky to get it from my family in Lebanon.

What is manakeesh

Manakeesh (also known as manakish, manaeesh and manaqish; or manousheh in singular) is a Middle Eastern flatbread that is often served for breakfast or lunch. There are three popular types of manakish: this zaatar manakeesh that I’m sharing below, cheese manakeesh and lamb manakeesh. They’re are all essentially the same base flatbread recipe but with different toppings.

To make manakeesh, you’ll make dough similar to flatbread or pizza dough. Then you’ll make smaller round pieces of bread that you’ll press with your fingertips to make small dips in the dough for the topping of choice. The most popular of these Lebanese flatbreads is the zaatar bread. Just like pizza, you can slice or fold them when you eat.

Ingredients

  • Yeast: Use instant yeast to start to create the dough for a light and spongy texture. We activate it in warm water and add a little salt and sugar. You can use a temperature controlled kettle to get you the right temp, or warm in the microwave for just a few seconds.
  • Flour: Use all-purpose flour for the best results. If you have a gluten intolerance, you can use a 1:1 GF flour.
  • Oil: Oil helps to add moisture to the dough as well as being used in the zaatar spread. Olive oil is first choice, but a vegetable oil will work well.
  • Zaatar: The bread dough is spread with a mix of zaatar and olive oil for one delicious bite.

How to make zaatar manakeesh

Making the dough

Start by activating the yeast with warm water. Give it about 10 minutes and you’ll notice the yeast slowly dissolving into the warm water to become integrated. Then add salt and sugar, mix and wait a few minutes.

Process shots of adding olive oil, flour and then kneading into a ball

Next you’ll add olive oil and mix to combine. You’ll notice some beads of olive oil, but that’s completely normal. Now you’re ready to add the flour. Mix it in the bowl until it becomes shaggy and you can’t mix with a wooden spoon anymore.

Then transfer to a flat floured surface and knead with your hands. This step will take a few minutes, but it’s honestly so therapeutic that I don’t mind it one bit. You’re looking for a smooth surface dough ball with as little bumps as possible.

Finally, return the dough to the same bowl you used to mix the ingredients and add a little olive oil. Now’s the waiting part. Cover the dough with a plastic wrap or towel to allow it to rise.

Process shots of adding olive oil, flour and then kneading into a ball

It will triple in size after 45-60 minutes. And that’s when you’re officially ready to make zaatar manakeesh.

Manakish dough after resting and rising for 45 minutes

Making the zaatar spread

This is the easiest step of making zaatar manakeesh and only requires two ingredients: zaatar spice and extra virgin olive oil. You want to mix the two ingredients in a bowl until they form a spread similar to the consistency of pesto.

You don’t want too much olive oil because then the spread will leak while baking. And you don’t want too much zaatar where it looks like a paste because the taste becomes overpowering for the amount of flatbread it’s spread on. A good ratio I found for a pound of dough is about ⅓ cup of zaatar to ¼ cup olive oil. You can also start pouring olive oil slowly over the zaatar, and find the consistency that works for you.

Process shots of mixing the zaatar with olive oil

Assembling and baking the manakeesh

When the dough rises, you will to divide it into 6-8 equal parts. This makes large single serve portions that you can eat as a whole meal for breakfast or lunch. If you prefer to make smaller manakish to serve as an appetizer, you can even cut the dough into 12 equal parts. I think it’s much faster to make larger ones, and you can always use a pizza cutter to cut each one into triangle slices.

Then you’ll spread the zaatar mix on the round small flatbread. Spread in a circular motion evenly throughout the center of the dough, leaving the edges dry.

Process shots showing zaatar spread going on the dough and then spread around

Bake them in a preheated oven until they’re lightly golden on the edges and underneath. They will puff up and spread slightly while baking in the oven. The result is a chewy and crisp zaatar bread that is full of warm spices and amazing flavor.

Tray with 6 manakish out of the oven

Tips To Make This Recipe

  1. Use an instant yeast to make this zaatar bread quickly. Active yeast can also be used but it will take a little bit longer to activate.
  2. Don’t skip the rising time. The beauty of these flat breads is their light and fluffy texture. If you make them to soon, they will be tougher and chewier in texture.
  3. Bake in a preheated oven. This allows them to cook evenly through. If you put them in a cold oven, the outsides will be cooked before the middles.
  4. Enjoy them plain. These zaatar manakeesh are so delicious with the spread, but you can easily enjoy them plain if you prefer.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do they keep?

Once cooled, place your zaatar manakeesh in an airtight contianer or wrap. They will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days, or up to a week in the fridge.

Can you freeze them?

You can freeze these once they are baked and cooled and will keep well for up to 3 months. You can thaw them in the fridge to reheat, or reheat in the oven from frozen at 350F til warmed through.

What do you serve it with?

Now that you have these delicious golden crusted zaatar bread, how should you serve them? Typically, you’ll want to eat them for breakfast or brunch along with cheese like halloumi, akawi and especially labneh. We enjoy it as part of a savory warm breakfast with lots of fresh vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions and olives, along with cheese and arabic tea.

Serving baord with zaatar manakeesh, labneh, olive and vegetables

There really is nothing like some freshly baked manakeesh, and the zaatar spread really does wonders. Simple to make and so yummy!

For more mediterranean brunch recipes:

I love the simplicity, authenticity and deliciousness of this zaatar manakeesh recipe. If you’re not fortunate to live next to Middle Eastern bakeries that churn out hundreds of these a day, you can still enjoy them with my homemade zaatar bread recipe. It’s so easy to make the dough from scratch and the reward of having warm savory manakeesh for breakfast is so worth it!

If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Zaatar Manakeesh recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!

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Zaatar Manakeesh

Zaatar Manakeesh is a Mediterranean flatbread that’s made with dough and zaatar spice. It’s an easy recipe to make from scratch using very few ingredients!
5 from 291 votes
Servings 6 servings
Course Breakfast
Calories 353
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Resting Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 22 minutes
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Video

Ingredients
  

Dough

Zaatar Spread

Instructions

Make the Dough

  • In a large bowl, activate the yeast in warm water; allow 10 minutes for it to proof.
  • Add the salt, sugar and olive oil to bowl and use a wooden spoon to mix until combined. Wait a few minutes, then add the flour into the wet ingredients and mix with a spoon until the dough becomes shaggy and you’re no longer able to mix.
  • Transfer to a floured surface and knead the dough by hand to form a tight ball.
  • Place the dough back into the same oil-coated bowl. Cover with a plastic wrap or towel and set aside at room temperature to rise for 45-60 minutes.

Make the Zaatar Spread

  • Mix the zaatar with olive oil in small bowl until it forms a consistent and spreadable mixture.

Assemble and Bake

  • Preheat the oven to 450° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Divide the dough into 6-8 equal parts, depending on how large you’d like them. Use your fingers to spread each piece into a round flat disc, about ¼ inch thickness.
  • Place 1-2 tablespoons of zaatar spread on each dough and use the back of the spoon to spread evenly. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, until the dough becomes light golden in color and puffs slightly.
  • Enjoy warm with cheese and vegetables, if desired.

Notes

Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 7-10 days in the fridge.
Freezing Instructions: You can also freeze the zaatar manakeesh after they’re baked. To re-heat, thaw in the fridge overnight and then warm or toast when ready to eat. Or you can also bake them while frozen at 350°F until heated through, about 5-10 minutes.
Sourcing: You can find the zaatar spice at Middle Eastern markets, natural-foods stores or even in large supermarkets, often located with other Middle Eastern ingredients.
Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. If you have any questions about substitutes, please feel free to ask in the comments below.
* Please note the nutrition label does not include any toppings.

Nutrition

Calories: 353kcal, Carbohydrates: 48g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 389mg, Potassium: 73mg, Fiber: 1g, Calcium: 9mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Course: Breakfast
5 from 291 votes (279 ratings without comment)

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Comments

  1. Bailey says:

    Recipe does not take overall time of 22 min. It’s AN HOUR and 22 at least because the dough has to rise. Please read before trying to make for eager breakfast eaters.

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Thanks so much for pointing this out, Bailey! The recipe card didn’t have the accurate total time listed—it should say 1 hour and 22 minutes now. So sorry if the error held up breakfast at your house!!

  2. Olivia says:

    Hello! I was just wondering if I’m able to use self rising flour in place of the all purpose. Will the extra ingredients in self rising flour hurt the recipe?

    1. Yumna says:

      Yes, I’m afraid it may be overleavened.

  3. Kelli says:

    Followed the recipe to a T and it turned out perfect! My partner loves having it every morning during suhour. Thank you, Yumna!

    1. Yumna says:

      Thanks so much!

  4. Bob says:

    Is there a commercial dough that can be used? I have used Pillsbury French loaf but it is no longer available.

    1. Yumna says:

      You could try using a store bought pizza dough, but for best results I would suggest making the dough from scratch. It comes together quite quickly!

  5. Divya says:

    Hello! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I’m really excited to try it this weekend! I usually use a microwave in convection mode for baking. Would this recipe work as is or is there something I should alter? Any advice would be gladly appreciated. Thank you!!

    1. Yumna says:

      That should work out well, just be sure to reduce the oven temperture by 25˚F to account for the convection.

      1. Divya says:

        Thanks so much! Can’t wait to try this!!

  6. Mariam says:

    would love to make these! i’m wondering if you can tell me the weight of the flour in grams? i don’t use cups to measure anymore because i never get an accurate measurement.

    1. Yumna says:

      Unfortunately, I don’t test my recipes in weighted measurements, I totally understand your preference, but this is how I call for ingredients here. I’m sorry for the inconvenience

  7. Roula says:

    Love your recipes ! I am wondering if I can use the mixer to make this dough ?

    1. Yumna says:

      Yes, that shouldn’t be a problem! I’d mix the dough initially with the paddle, then once you have a shaggy dough, switch to the dough hook and knead with that until smooth.

      1. Roula says:

        Thank you !

  8. Eddy says:

    Hi Yumna, I just want to double check , you mentioned having the dough disk half inch in thickness ? Is this correct or is it half centimeter that you meant ? I just imagine half inch is too thick ..please correct me if I’m wrong.

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Hi Eddy, that is a typo, it should be 1/4 inch thick! Thank you for pointing that out, I fixed it in the recipe!

      1. Gabrielle says:

        Hi Yumma, thank you for your recipe, it reminds me of my country. I have not tried it yet as I need to gather the ingredients as I live in England and cannot get a decent Mankoushy.
        I value our kind of food more than ever as we took it for granted back home. I shall visit your recipes and see what I can cook as our recipes are all so healthy and made out of scratch, I am glad I found your site.
        Can I use wolemeal flour? how much can I use for the three cups stated in your recipe?

        1. Yumna J. says:

          Hi Gabrielle! So nice to have you on my site! Yes, you can use wholemeal flour at a 1:1 ratio from what Google says. I’ve never made this recipe with wholemeal flour so I am nots sure how it will turn out exactly, so you might need to experiment with it a little. Hope you enjoy!

  9. Kitana Maha Kattan says:

    I love so many of your recipes! You are an amazing cook. My family and I are gluten free. Do you have any recommendations for making Za’tar Manakeesh with GF flour?

    In general, I wish you would add comments about GF alternatives. Thanks

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Hi Kitana, thank you so much! It’s hard for me to comment on the use of GF flour without testing the recipe with it, and I don’t want to lead anyone down the wrong path or waste ingredients. I have not made this recipe with GF flour – so I am not sure how it will turn out. You can test it, though. If you do, make sure you come back and let me know!

  10. Corinne says:

    I’m definitely going to try this recipe! What kind of cheese and dip do you serve it with? The picture shows a type of cheese and dip. Looks delicious!

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Hi Corinne! It’s Labneh, and you can find the recipe here: https://feelgoodfoodie.net/recipe/labneh/. You’ll have to let me know what you think after you make it! Hope you enjoy!

  11. Loretta says:

    Where do you purchase zaatar? I live in Ontario, Canada

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Hi Loretta! If you have a Middle Eastern market near you, that is the best place to look. If not, you can get some off of Amazon. This is the one I’d recommend: https://amzn.to/3JUlwDG

  12. Sher says:

    What am I missing from reading this recipe…I can’t see where it says the about of flour and yesterday….

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      The full recipe is at the bottom of the page! Let me know if you can’t locate it.

  13. Alex says:

    Just made this and it is absolutely amazing! What a great recipe. Any tips for reheating if I store the leftovers in the fridge?

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Yay!! I love that. Store any leftovers in an airtight container, and it will last about 7-10 days in the fridge.

      1. Alex says:

        Thanks! So you eat it cold rather than reheating?

        1. Yumna Jawad says:

          I would reheat it in the oven at 350°F for 3-6 minutes – just be sure to keep your eye on it!

  14. Safia says:

    Just made these, I think they were a little bit too “doughy” for me with the stated bake, perhaps will try reducing the flour next time.
    Otherwise, it’s a great quick recipe! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      You can definitely adjust to your liking! Thank you!!

  15. DyyzS says:

    This recipe is delicious, versatile, and easy to make (I made it 3/4″ thick and it turned out well).

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Thank you! That’s great to hear!

  16. Dana says:

    Hiya! I just made this recipe after my neighbor gave me zatar from her country. They came out delicious but the biggest problem is your recipe says to spread to inch and half thickness but that would be very thick and the video you spread it thin. Next time I will make thinner.

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Zaatar is the best! I’m so glad you enjoyed them. Definitely play around with the thickness to fit your liking!

  17. Sierra says:

    I made this recipe and it was so delicious!!

    Do you have any tips if I wanted to make this recipe with akawi cheese (Cheese Manakeesh)?

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Thank you so much! I have yet to make it at home!

  18. Saba says:

    Can I make this in whole wheat flour please

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Yup that works!

  19. Helai Alikouzeh says:

    Hello!

    I would like to make a gluten-free version with Bob Mill’s 1 to 1 Baking Flour – what would be the measurement replacement for this? Thank you!

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Hi! I haven’t tried it with a gluten-free flour, but if the package says that it can be used in place of all-purpose flour in a 1:1 ratio, you can stick to the recipe!

  20. Alexandra says:

    Hello! Here in Australia they serve the manakeesh very thin – could I use the same recipe but roll them out larger to achieve the thinness? In which case, how would the cooking time change?

    1. Yumna J. says:

      You most definitely could! I haven’t tried it, so I’m not exactly sure what the cooking time will be, but I’m guessing it’ll be around 8-10 minutes depending on the thinness.

  21. Moira Webster says:

    Made this ,as my husband worked in the Middle East and we lived in Kuwait for a few years. He loves Zaatar and I made hummus too, was gorgeous.

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      So glad you loved it! Thank you!

  22. Moska says:

    Hi,
    It’s always a challenge finding a good zaatar mix – where do you recommend to buy some online if I’m not close to a Middle Eastern store?

    Thanks!

      1. Moska says:

        Awesome, thank you!

  23. Yasmeen Khan says:

    I live very close to Mediterranean store and they do sell Zaatar bread but sometimes I end up having bunch of left over thick pita bread. Can I use ready to eat pita bread and add Zaatar and olive oil and bake it for few minutes to make Zaatar bread?

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Oh yes, that will definitely work!

  24. Meharar Hind says:

    Bonjour, je voulais juste te dire que t’es recettes sont vraiment sympa et simple à faire !! Hâte de réaliser cette recette !! Boussa kabira min Franca !! ?

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Merci!

    2. Yallah! says:

      So you didn’t knead it after it finished rising?

      1. Yumna Jawad says:

        No, there’s no need to knead after it finishes rising.

        1. Yolz says:

          Only asking as a chef on YouTube did to remove any bubbles caused by the yeast

          1. Yumna Jawad says:

            Ohhh interesting! It might be helpful then, but I’ve never done it.

  25. najwa says:

    What kind of cheese is the sliced white cheese on the tray?

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      That’s halloumi 🙂

  26. najwa says:

    If I don’t have time or energy to make the dough from scratch, do you have any shortcuts for a busy mom of three little ones that you recommend? My Lebanese mom uses Greek pita bread for these, but I don’t love that option. Would store-bought pizza dough work?

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Sure thing, you can use store-bought pizza dough or the thick naan bread works great for this recipe too!

  27. Farah says:

    My dough turned hard… And it didnt rise

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that. Did you change any ingredients or change any steps?

  28. Fatima says:

    Such a great recipe, thank you so much
    I used self raising flower instead of all purpose and it worked just as well

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Oh that’s great to hear. Thank you!!

  29. NAS says:

    Is the white cheese in the bowl labneh with olive oil? Thanks!

    1. NAS says:

      And is there zaatar sprinkled on top of that bowl too? I would just like to re-create this lovely picture ☺️

      1. Yumna Jawad says:

        Yes there is! 🙂

    2. Yumna Jawad says:

      Yup! That’s labneh with olive oil!

  30. Katie says:

    I’m doing a school project and I’m looking for why this recipe pertains the lebanon like what makes it from there. I need evidence. Recipe looks great btw.

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Thanks Katie. I think you might need to research more about the origins of the recipe. My site is more about how to make the recipe, so I can’t really help with the history behind the recipe.

  31. Rhona Rozen says:

    Second time making these and they are amazing however 2 1/2 cups of flour works better

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      That’s great to hear! I will try out reducing the flour and see how it turns out. Thanks so much for sharing!

  32. Tanya says:

    Made it a couple times already and they’re always a hit! Great recipe!

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Thanks so much for sharing!! So glad you like it!:)

  33. Sarah jawad says:

    Pretty good

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Thanks Sarah!

  34. A. Alwan says:

    I would really feelgood if you would have explained that zaatar is arabic for thyme and manakeesh is arabic for decorated by hand.
    Thank you

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Hello, actually zaatar is a blend of dried thyme, sumac and sesame seeds. I don’t believe it’s just thyme. And what Arabic dialect do you speak? For us in Lebanon mzayan means decorated by hand. Manakeesh means baked flour dough. There maybe be a regional difference though in some of these words.

  35. Jeremy Stavenhagen says:

    This recipe reminds me of filming in Beirut during the 80’s and 90’s. They are so good but needs good za’atar

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Hahaha I know what you mean!!

  36. Vivian Vance says:

    Homemade zatar bread sounds amazing! Do you think it would work with a gluten free flour? I have a flour made from chickpeas and other assorted sources.

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Hi Vivian – Unfortunately I haven’t tried it with gluten free flour since I don’t usually bake with it. But let me know if you try it and how it turns out! I think the measurements would need to be adjusted for sure.