Zaatar rolls

July 27, 2013  •  Category:


I made these and promptly ate them in a couple of days; you can use your favorite rolls recipe just add the zaatar paste before baking them. I confess to holding an advantage as zaatar is available in Lebanon from many sources; you get to pick and choose. In the US, zaatar (the mix) is sold in all Middle-Eastern grocers; a brand from Lebanon would be the closest to what is consumed here. 


  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose or bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar or honey
  • 2 1/1 tsp dry instant yeast
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup water

Zaatar paste: 1/2 cup zaatar mix; mixed with 1/3 cup olive oil (or more)

spread zaatar paste

zaatar dough

1. Proof the yeast: Place the yeast, sugar and 1/2 cup warm water in a bowl, stir and let it bubble up about 15 minutes; place the flour, salt, in a mixer bowl and mix to combine. Add the oil and mix; add the proofed yeast mixture and mix; add the water and mix until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl. Add more water if necessary if the dough is too dry or stiff. Transfer to a bowl, cover with oil  and place in a cupboard for a couple of hours for the dough to double in size.

2. Punch the dough, roll it out with a pin and spread the zaatar paste all over; roll and cut into rolls; place side by side on a greased 9″ square pan and let the rolls rise for a couple of hours more. Bake in a 375F oven for 20 minutes until golden and dry. Cool in the pan. Serve.

jelly roll dough with slathered zaatar

zaatar baked



35 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Rosa says:

    Exquisite! Those fluffy and herby/spicy rolls look really good.



  2. Nadege says:

    That would satisfy the carb cravings I am having right now! Zaatar, sumac, harissa… can be found at any William Sonoma stores.

  3. Pari Vasisht says:

    Wow. Lovely. I must try this variation sometime.

  4. Subha says:

    perfect Cake……….love this version……

  5. Lisa the Gourmet Wog says:

    Now I’m not entirely sure why, but your website was taken off my reader! I have lots of catching up to do 🙂
    These look most delicious, perfect with a cup of tea for breakfast . Thanks for sharing

  6. Mariana says:

    <3 Perfect! Joumana, dear, they are wonderful! I love the flavour of zaatar, and these rolls work so great along the tomatoes salad, as I ate my sourdough zaatar rolls :).


  7. deana@lostpast says:

    I just love zatar. I got a plant this year and sprinkle the fresh herb on things and love it. Still, the dried spice mix is my favorite and I use it all the time with oil to dredge bread.
    This skips that step… great idea.

  8. Belinda @zomppa says:

    I’m shocked it lasted a few days. Maybe one day at my house!

  9. twbarritt says:

    Those swirls look fantastic! A nice variation on the typical sweet roll!

  10. Sarah G says:

    What a great idea.

  11. Nuts about food says:

    I love zaatar, these rolls look delicious. This may be my next bread baking adventure.

  12. Mark Wisecarver says:

    Excellent! 🙂
    notes: Being a Lebanese baker in the Tennessee mountains means I get things from Lebanon like Zaatar on Amazon. You can even subscribe for monthly shipments.
    If you make Greek style yogurt save your Whey and substitute the water in this recipe with your collected whey, you will be pleasantly surprised. 😉

    • Joumana says:

      @Mark: You always bring fantastic ideas to the table! I am big advocate of recycling any foods, including labneh water or potato water or rice water especially! 🙂

      @Cosette: Thanks for the praise, I am so glad. Regarding the zaatar and tapénade bread, I had to pull it out of the blog because of a contract I signed with a book publisher not to publicize the recipes that will be included in the book. In essence, it is similar to these rolls, just mix the zaatar paste with a little tapénade (store-bought is fine) and proceed with the recipe.

  13. Cosette says:

    I saw this post and it reminded me of a zaatar and olive tapenade bread you had on your blog a while ago. I can’t seem to locate it on the site, is that a recipe you still have available? Just thinking of making it and saw this!!! Manooshe is our favorite, my father is the king of “pies”!! Wonderful recipes, thank you!

  14. Judy says:

    This looks like a cinnamon roll! I love how unique this recipe is. Hmmm, this is really delicious. Must try it right away!!

  15. Nadji says:

    Ces petits pains doivent être délicieux.
    Je trouverai certainement du zaater dans mes magasins habituels.
    A bientôt

  16. domi says:

    Elles sont drôlement bien roulées ces p’tites gourmandises….

  17. Isabelle says:

    Merci pour cette recette, Joumana. J’ai reçu un sachet de zataar mais ne connaissais pas cette épice, ou mélange d’épices. Je vais me lancer dans une de tes recettes.

  18. Gabi says:

    I bought some mix. Made in Jordan. The other ones were only sold in 3 ltr containers which requires a real big family. Thyme, oregano, toasted wheat, sumac, salt and sunflower oil it says. Didn’t make rolls but flatbread with your zaatar mixture on top. Tasted great.

  19. Gabi says:

    Oh, I forgot to mention sesame which is in the mix, too.

    • Joumana says:

      @Gabi: I like to add a lot more sesame than what is in the bag; I toast the sesame seeds dry in a skillet. This takes about 20 to 30 minutes over low heat and you have to watch the seeds carefully, but it is worth it!
      I agree, this is the fun of it; this year, I am making my own zaatar blend from zaatar I picked from the mountain and sumac growing wild everywhere; there’s got to be at least a ton just around our house, can’t wait!

  20. Gabi says:

    I’ll try that, thanks Joumana. I’ve already added more sumac which made a difference, too. Sumac is one of my favourites. Possibly I end up with making my own blend from scratch.

  21. Monica @ Gastromony says:

    Thank you for visiting my blog. In turn, I’m glad to become acquainted with yours. I’m so new to Middle Eastern cuisine but love the flavours. I remember having a zaatar and date bread at a restaurant (modern Australian) and it was amazing. I will have to experiment. I look forward to checking out your other recipes!

  22. Oui, Chef says:

    I bet I could live on NOTHING but these rolls!

  23. Raro says:

    Joumana, can we use this recipe to make the regular zaatar manakeesh? I have noticed that you use dry yeast in most of the recipes, can that be substitued for the instant one? I have tried the spinach fatayer for half the amount in the recipe and baked on 350 F but they took much longer than 20 minutes and though I rolled them really very thin they still looked thicker than those in your picture. Any suggestions?

  24. Raro says:

    Joumana, could we use this recipe to make the flat manakeesh or do you have another recipe for that? I have noticed that you always use dry yeast, can we use the active/instant one? I have tried the spinach dough recipe and though I rolled it really thin it still looked much thicker than the ones in your picture and they took around 35 min on 350 F. Also, the batch I refrigerated were a bit soggy the next day any suggestions for my next trial?

    • Joumana says:

      @Raro: I would use it to make the flat ones, just use a bit less yeast; I also use the dry instant yeast that you buy in a granular form in the stores.I just let it proof first just to be sure then I mix it with the flour. If you make these rolls you let it rise a long time; for the manaeesh, what is key is the oven and the heat. I would roll it out till they are real thin and let them rest 20 minutes and see if that helps/ another factor is the flour you use. Here in Beirut I use the flour 00 which is sturdy (about 6 grams of protein) so in the US I would use an unbleached bread flour. Just experiment. If they were too thick, roll them even thinner and for fatayer, don’t use any yeast. just flour, a bit of oil and enough water to make a smooth soft dough.
      If the batch was soggy, my guess is the filling was too wet. Make sure you squeeze the water out of it and to make it tasty, add sumac (previously sprinkled on chopped onions, then
      squeeze the juice of the onions out). I would also brush the fatayers with olive oil prior to baking and use 375F instead of 350F for less time.

  25. Raro says:

    where do you train in Texas and where can I find your cooking book?

  26. Raro says:

    Thanks Joumana for your prompt replys! It really encourages me to try out things. I will give it a try for the manakeesh. As for the fatayer, I live in Austin, TX. I usually buy Aurther King all purpose unbleached white flour for all my dough. Though the dinner rolls ready dough are life savers some times but I love the challenge of making my own dough. As for the fatayer I am sure I squeezed both the onions and the spinach pretty well. I will try brushing them with oil and bake on 375 F next time. Please let me know as soon as the book is released and I look forward for DVDs in the near future.

  27. Jessy says:

    I tried this for breakfast once it was perfect, eventhough didn’t wait the 2 extra hours. doing it again next week for a ladies brunch, i love your website and the recipes.

  28. perla says:

    hello !just wanted to say that i’m having some friends over for dinner tonight and i’m going to make some zaatar rolls ( as an appetizer) as well as some other lebanese recipes !
    oh how i miss lebanon and my mom’s cooking….
    have a great day

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