With minimal prep, simple ingredients and a hands-off cook time – this Paprika & Za’atar Chicken Thigh recipe makes for a fantastic weeknight dinner that’s as tasty as it is easy!
Inspiration for these Za’atar Chicken Thighs once agains comes from the cookbook Persiana Everyday by Sabrina Ghayour.
Always on the lookout for quality sheet pan chicken dinners, this one caught out eye and we’ve been making it almost weekly for months now!
Paprika & Za’atar Chicken Ingredients
- Za’atar Spice Blend: Za’atar is the star ingredient in this easy, roast chicken! While za’atar seasoning recipes vary depending on who’s making it, the base ingredients remain the same: sumac, sesame seeds, za’atar plant (wild thyme) and salt.
- Paprika: Adds a deep, bold hue and a rich, red peppery flavor.
- Garlic: Fresh cloves will deliver a punchier flavor, but you can use 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder if you don’t want to bother with a garlic press.
- Lemon: Use both zest and juice to really capitalise on that lemon flavor.
- Oil: Any neutral flavored oil will do, but you can’t go wrong with a quality olive oil.
- Chicken: Use bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs or drumsticks. Check the notes for cooking times if you prefer boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts.
- Salt & Pepper: A good pinch of sea salt and grind of black pepper in both the marinade and to season at the end.
This za’atar chicken recipe is super easy to make! The prep takes less than 10 minutes to sort out and the cooking time is almost entirely hands off.
So what’s involved?
The Paprika & Za’atar Marinade
I use marinade loosely here as there really is no need marinate the chicken. Once coated, you’re ready to go.
- Combine the spices, garlic, lemon and oil to create a thick, paste-like mixture.
- Add chicken pieces to a large bowl or shallow baking dish.
- Toss in the spice mixture until totally coated in spice.
Bake, Flip, Bake & Broil
- Line a large baking sheet or dish with foil or baking paper (for easy clean up). Place an oven-safe wire rack over the sheet/dish.
- Place the chicken, skin-side down on the rack and bake for about 25-30 minutes.
- Flip the thighs over so they are now skin-side up and bake another 25-30 minutes until cooked through.
- Optional step: raise the oven temp all the way and broil for 1-2 minutes to give the skin one last chance to crisp up and char.
- Boneless Thighs: Bake at 350°F (180°C) for about 30-35 minutes.
- Chicken Breast: Bake at 350°F (180°C) for about 25-30 minutes.
- Chicken Legs: Bake at 350°F (180°C) for about 50-60 minutes. Time will vary depending on the size of the legs.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Chose the right baking dish.
- I recommend a baking dish but you can also make this on a large baking sheet. Just make sure to use a rimmed baking sheet to collect the juices that will drip off the chicken as it cooks.
- Invest in an instant-read thermometer.
- For an accurate read, use a meat thermometer to check the doneness of your thighs. While 165°F is safe and cooked, 195°F is better for texture and flavor!
- Pat the thighs dry.
- Use a paper towel to lightly blot the chicken pieces dry before adding the spices. This will allow the spice mixture to stick better and make for crispier skin.
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- Sweet Shallot Chickpea Salad
- Shirazi Salad (Salad-E Shirazi)
- Piyaz (Turkish White Bean Salad)
If you do try this chicken, don’t forget to rate and leave a comment below. I always appreciate the feedback and recipe adaptations!
It also helps future readers who are thinking of making the recipe!
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon za'atar spice blend
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 6-8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 lbs | 680g)
- Fresh parley and lemon slices for serving, optional
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a large baking dish with foil or baking paper then place an oven safe wire rack inside the pan. Spray with a bit of oil and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl or dish, mix together the olive oil, garlic, za'atar, paprika, lemon juice, zest, salt and pepper.
- Add the chicken thighs to the bowl and toss in the mixture until all sides of the chicken pieces are well coated in spice. Use your hands to get the spice mixture under the chicken skin if possible.
- Place chicken thighs skin side down on the wire rack. Leave a couple inches in between each thigh. Transfer to the oven on a middle rack and bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the oven temporarily to flip each pieces over so now the chicken is skin-side up. Return to oven and bake another 25-30 minutes or until the thighs reach an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C).
- Optional: Turn the oven heat up all the way to broil a final 1-2 minutes to crisp up the skin.
- Remove chicken from oven. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and additional za'atar is desired and serve immediately.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge up to 4 days.
Serving Size:1 thigh Calories: 300Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 7gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 17g
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