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Za’atar Chicken

It's hard to find a dinner that both my husband and kids will enjoy—and even harder to find one that's fast and easy. This is it! No matter how much I make of this dish, it's gone to the last bite. —Esther Erani, Brooklyn, New York
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Cook: 5 hours
  • Makes
    6 servings


  • 1/4 cup za'atar seasoning
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3 pounds bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 cup pimiento-stuffed olives
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup pitted dried plums (prunes)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Hot cooked basmati rice, optional


  • In a large bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients. Add chicken; toss to coat.
  • Arrange olives, apricots and plums on the bottom of a 4- or 5-quart slow cooker. Add 1/4 cup water; top with chicken. Cook, covered, on low until chicken is tender, 5-6 hours. If desired, serve with rice.

Test Kitchen tips
  • If you have a few minutes to spare, try browning the chicken in a little oil before placing it in the slow cooker.
  • Make your own za'atar spice by mixing 1 Tbsp. each fresh chopped oregano, ground sumac, ground cumin and sesame seeds; and 1 tsp. each kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Za’atar seasoning may become your new favorite spice. Add it to melted butter and toss with popcorn, mix it with olive oil for a dipping sauce or toss it with potatoes before roasting.
  • Nutrition Facts
    1 serving: 484 calories, 32g fat (7g saturated fat), 107mg cholesterol, 1367mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate (10g sugars, 2g fiber), 30g protein.

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    Average Rating:
    • Helen
      Oct 31, 2020

      It was okay. Wasn’t crazy about the apricots, as the texture didn’t change much. The plums cooked wonderfully and were a nice texture change. Kind of bland, needs something to lick it up a notch. I won’t make again, but at least it introduced me to Za’atar seasoning!

    • Mary
      Oct 24, 2020

      As I assembled the recipe, the flavors were magnificent. I was disappointed the flavors were not as pungent after cooking. Since I used boneless skinless thighs (no other ones available) I cut back on the cooking time. I think perhaps pan frying this might preserve the wonderful flavors. We also added a bit more salt. Thank you for introducing me to Za’atar seasoning!

    • Mark
      Oct 20, 2020

      So this was a pleasant surprise, not being familiar with the Za'atar seasoning! Anyway, in spite of the fact that I normally follow a new recipe to the "T", Here was my reality in putting together this dish. 1. I used about 2.39 pounds of chicken thighs with skin and bone. Four nice big pieces. 2. I increased the amounts for the rub, not a lot but just a little, as I was looking forward to a rich taste, even though I had no idea what that taste would be!! I let it sit in the fridge for a few hours until the time came to combine everything in the slow cooker. 3. I put in a bit less of the olives, apricots and prunes. It turned out to be the right amount for the amount of chicken. The Crock Pot of course made the chicken super tender and juicy, and my hubby and I decided that it was very tasty! A different and unique type of tasty but it will be going into the "Winner" folder of my digital recipe collection. It made two meals and as usual, the leftovers were even more rich and delicious! The prunes and apricots are best for adding a touch of sweet. I found, as another reviewer discovered, that the best combo with a bite of chicken was an olive or two, and as she recommended, I added some sliced lemon on top of the chicken pieces for that extra bit of acid. Hint #2: I served this with TzaTziki sauce and found it to be a wonderful accompaniment!

    • Janine
      Oct 19, 2020

      I made this on the stove top and cooked it low and slow for three hours. It was delicious- definitely keeping this one in the rotation

    • Sligomaid
      Oct 18, 2020

      No comment left

    • Heidi
      Jul 10, 2020

      This dish was ok, but it was missing something. The chicken itself needed a bit of acid on it. It was fine as long as each bite had an olive, but bland if no olive was present. I may try it again with some of the olive brine mixed into the chicken seasoning, or maybe a bit of lime/lemon juice. We also thought a bit of mustard (powdered) may help. The apricots didn't really add much to the recipe, but that could have just been the store brand vs a better dried apricot. After cooking for over five hours on low, my bone-in chicken thighs were only at 120 degrees F, so I turned it up to high for the last 45 minutes.

    • Roberta
      Jan 18, 2020

      I use Za'atar a lot. It can be bought at Meijer in the Mediterranean section and comes in a plastic bag. It's very cheap so don't spend a small fortune on it in the spice section of the grocery store.

    • lshaw
      Dec 26, 2019

      The men in my family said they liked this and could eat it again. I must say, this is certainly not typical American fare--rather exotic, in my opinion. It's a recipe I would make once in awhile but not often. I had to make my own za'atar seasoning from a recipe off the internet. I may just purchase some pre-made Za'atar in a jar from Amazon for the next batch. It was colorful and the addition of dried fruits countered with briny olives provided good contrast with the chicken. I put our dish over cauliflower rice. I can't think of any changes I'd make to this recipe.

    • Gordon
      Aug 27, 2019

      Delicious! Make sure to get the seasoning under the skin and let it sit covered in the fridge overnight.

    • Hal
      Jan 30, 2019

      No comment left