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Manakish (Lebanese za’atar flatbread) – Caroline’s Cooking

    stack of Manakish Lebanese za

    Manakish za’atar are delicious flatbread from the Levantine region topped with olive oil and za’atar. The oil and herbs add lots of aromatic flavor, making this bread perfect to snack on either as-is or with simple toppings.

    stack of Manakish Lebanese za'atar flatbread with tomatoes and cucumber to side of plate

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    I’ve long enjoyed za’atar, both the herb and the more common blend which includes sumac and sesame. Both are wonderfully aromatic, and the blend, for example, is a great simple way to add flavor to dishes like my za’atar chicken.

    One of the most popular traditional uses for za’atar spice blend is on top of a simple flatbread. It’s a simple combination, but with delicious results.

    two manakish on plate

    Manakish origins

    The origins of manakish (also called manakeesh, manaeesh or manaquish, singular man’ousheh or manoushe, depending where you are) are a little vague. Some say it’s a modern invention, but more likely, they have been around for many centuries. The ingredients are certainly not new in the region.

    They are most popular these days in Lebanon, and firmly considered a core part of Lebanese cooking. It’s a popular choice for breakfast, for example. You will also find the bread in other countries in the Levant region, such as Syria and Palestine, where some say it originates.

    za'atar and oil mixed together in small dish

    Za’atar is the most popular topping for this bread, but it’s not the only one. Some use the oil and za’atar as a base or simply add other toppings instead. Common additions/ alternatives are cheese, minced lamb, spinach or chili. The lamb version is very similar to lahmacun (and in fact that name is often used).

    Here I’ve kept with the classic za’atar – a favorite for good reason.

    flatbread topped with za'atar mix ready to bake

    Stages to make this flatbread

    This is a yeasted bread, and follows the relatively typical process of mixing and kneading the dough, giving it a first rise, dividing into smaller pieces then allowing to rise again. Then to make as flatbread, you roll out, top with the oil-za-atar mix and leave a little more before baking.

    See how it all comes together in the short video!

    You have a little bit of flexibility on whether you let it rise more in the smaller balls or more after you roll it out flat. With the former, you typically get a more even shape and a bit more chew, while with the latter the breads are typically a little more irregular but with more air in the end texture.

    Manakish Lebanese za'atar flatbread on baking sheet out oven

    It’s going to taste good either way, but all the more excuse to experiment and see what you prefer.

    When and how to serve these flatbreads

    These are common as a breakfast or lunch item in Lebanon and often eaten just as they are. You may also, particularly with the za’atar version, add some simple toppings like cucumber, tomato and parsley. It makes a really tasty sandwich-like snack or light meal.

    folded manoushe with tomato cucumber and parsley inside

    As well as the different toppings, you’ll find these breads made in different sizes as well. Sometimes they are pretty small, just a bit bigger than a large pitta bread as I have made here, while other times it will be nearer a small pizza size. This is really more personal choice, so feel free to divide the dough differently as suits.

    Manakish might start with a simple bread base but the tasty oil on and za’atar topping adds so much tasty flavor. They’re perfect for a snack or with simple salad-y additions for a light lunch. They are popular with everyone on our household, so give them a try and hopefully you’ll enjoy them just as much.

    stack of Manakish Lebanese za'atar flatbread with tomatoes on edge of plate

    Try these other tasty breads:

    Manakish on plate with tomatoes and cucumber to side

    Print Recipe

    Manakish (Lebanese za’atar flatbread)

    These simple flatbreads are topped with a mix of za-atar and olive oil which adds a lovely aromatic flavor. Deliciously good.

    Prep Time20 mins


    Cook Time10 mins

    rest time (approx)2 hours 10 mins

    Total Time30 mins

    Race: Lunch, Snack

    Kitchen: Lebanese, Middle Eastern

    Services: 6 (unless made larger)

    calories: 288calories

    Author: Caroline’s Cooking



    For the bread

    • 1 teaspoon active dried yeast or instant – see notes
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 185 ml water ¾ cup plus 1 tsp, or a little more/less as needed
    • 315 g all purpose flour 2 ¼ cups
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil or 2tbsp, if you prefer

    To top

    • 3 tablespoon olive oil
    • 3 tablespoon za’atar (the blend rather than herb, see notes)


    • Mix together the yeast, sugar and water in a small bowl and set aside for a few minutes to foam up while you measure and mix other ingredients.

    • In a larger bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Add the yeast mixture and oil then mix everything together and bring the dough together in a ball. If it’s not all coming together, add a little more water.

    • Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for around 3-5 minutes just to get the gluten going. Bring the dough into a ball. (Alternatively, you can mix and knead the dough with a stand mixer). Lightly oil a bowl and place the dough in the bowl, rolling in the oil, then cover with cling wrap/film and leave to double in size, around 90 minutes.

    • Once the dough has risen, knock it back gently and divide into 6 pieces (or 4 if you want larger-sized bread). Roll each into a ball and then cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise again, around 20-30 minutes. If you prefer, you can just leave them 10min or so to relax, then roll and leave to rise more later (see post above). As the dough is rising, mix together the oil and za-atar for the topping in a small bowl.

    • Roll each of the balls of dough into a flat, relatively thin circle (if you make six, they should be around 6in/15cm in diameter). Transfer them to parchment-lined baking sheets.

    • Spread the oil-za’atar mixture over the middle of each round of dough, leaving a rim around the edge of each without any of the mixture (around ⅔in/2cm). Leave the breads to rise slightly more, around 10 minutes or so as you pre-heat the oven to 430F/220C.

    • Once the oven has come to temperature, bake the breads for around 10 minutes until they are starting to turn golden brown around the edges and have a hollow sound when tapped. Allow to cool a few minutes before serving.


    You can use active dried or instant (rapid rise) yeast for this, as you have/prefer. If you use instant, there is no need to add to water first, you can just mix everything but it’s worth mixing all dry ingredients first to ensure they are more evenly distributed.
    I use homemade za’atar spice blend for this which is really easy to make. You can also buy the blend, if you prefer, but do check ingredients to avoid versions without ‘filler’ ingredients.


    calories: 288calories | Carbohydrates: 43g | protein: 6g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 392mg | Potassium: 92mg | fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 76UI | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 5mg

    I’ve drawn on a few recipes for this including this Simply Lebanese one and this from Zaatar and Zaytoun.

    See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline’s Cooking Amazon store.

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    Manakish za'atar are delicious flatbread from the Levantine region topped with olive oil and za'atar.  The oil and herbs add lots of aromatic flavor, making this bread perfect to snack on.  #flatbread #zaatar #middleeasternbread #lebanesefood