Za'atar-Spiced Roast Chicken

Roast chicken is truly magical. It's easy, relatively quick (making it a weeknight favorite), and perhaps the perfect vehicle for showcasing pretty much any spice blend. That means that no matter what type of international cuisine you're craving, you can basically rub down a whole chicken with a spice blend from that region, throw together a couple of complimentary side dishes, and - whoosh! - you've been transported to another land. We can also use a little magic pretend travel right now, am I right??

The land we'll "travel" to in this case is the area loosely described as the Middle East, where Za'atar, the blend of toasted sesame seeds, sumac, thyme, oregano, marjoram, and salt, has been a staple of the cuisines of Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria since Biblical times. My husband made this recipe (adapted from one we found in America's Test Kitchen's "Sunday Suppers" book) recently for Sunday dinner, accompanied by some shallow-fried fingerling potatoes (also dusted with Za'atar) and some roasted eggplant with a savory anchovy-herb dressing. Yummmm.

Za'atar-Spiced Roast Chicken

Serves 4


  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

  • 3 tablespoons A Bite of Good Za'atar Spice Blend (get yours here)

  • 1 (3 1/2 to 4-lb) whole chicken, giblets discarded

  • Salt and pepper