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Zaatar Chicken Legs with Pomegranate Molasses

Zaatar chicken legs, roasted or cooked in the air fryer with a crust made from the classic Lebanese spice mix, pomegranate molasses & chilli.

The crust takes just 5 minutes to prepare, then you just need to coat the chicken and throw it in the oven for around 30 minutes or into the air fryer for 20 minutes.

Overhead close up baked zaatar chicken legs served with spicy Lebanese potatoes.

Roasted Chicken Legs with a Middle Eastern Crust

These za’atar crusted roast chicken legs are a real treat, that are stupidly simple to cook and taste wonderful.

Their are two ingredients that really steal the show and that is the za’atar and pomegranate molasses that form the bulk of the crust.

Pomegranate molasses is a wonderful sticky sweet and sour reduction of pomegranate juice. It appears in dishes like Iranian fesenjan, which if you have never heard of you must try, and my halloumi salad recipe.

In this recipe it both adds flavour and creates a chewy stick edge to the herby crumb.

The second major ingredient is zaatar or za’atar, which is a middel eastern spice mix.

It varies from blend to blend but usually contains toasted sesame seeds and sumac along with salt, thyme, savory and oregano or marjoram.

It is used from everything to seasoning for grilled meats through to a dip for flatbreads and olive oil.

The crust is rounded out with dried mint and a little chilli, before being spread on the chicken and roasted.

Baked zaatar chicken legs served with spicy Lebanese potatoes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use regular molasses?

No, pomegranate molasses is very, very different. You can get it in well appointed stores or online.

If you are really struggling then it is also really easy to make homemade pomegranate molasses.

Can I make zaatar at home?

Yes absolutely, it is a spice blend containg a host of things that are commonly found in the spice aisle of many supermarkets. As a result, homemade za’atar is super easy to make at home.

Can use this crust on other meats?

Yes and not just meat either!

You could spread this on chicken breasts, lamb shoulder steaks, or even pork chops and bake them in the oven.

It is equally good on fish, spread it on a whole mackerel or something like coley, cod loin or even salmon and again roast it all in the oven.

Don’t forget the veggies, spread it on a thickly cut slice cauliflower or even cabbage and bake it in the oven!

What’s the best way to cook zaatar chicken legs, in the air fryer or in the oven?

I have taken to cooking this in an air fryer of late as it is both quicker and cheaper than firing up the oven.

However, cleaning up the air fryer is much more of a headache than a baking tin in my opinion.

Pomegranate molasses being poured over zaatar crusted chicken legs.

Serving Suggestions

These roasted zaatar chicken legs are pictured here served with some Lebanese spicy potatoes or batata harra, but they pair equally well with a host of different dishes.

Couscous is an obvious side. You could toss some simply cooked herby buttered couscous through the roasting tin after the chicken has been cooked.

This maximises the flavour in the dish, you can do the same thing with simply cooked bulgur wheat too!

Sticking with the couscous vibe you could also add an Israeli or giant couscous salad or my roasted vegetable couscous.

A classic tabbouleh salad would work really well too!

Close up baked zaatar chicken legs served with spicy Lebanese potatoes.

Equipment Used

I only recommend specific brands of equipment if I think that it makes a material difference to a recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Oven or airfryer.
  • Baking tray if you are cooking in an oven.
  • Mixing bowl.
  • Meat thermometer.
Roasted zaatar crusted chicken legs served with batata harra.
Yield: 2 Servings

Zaatar Chicken Legs Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

The coating on this Zaatar Chicken leg recipe is the real star of the show the flavours of pomegranate molasses, mint and chili are the perfect blend!


  • 2 Chicken Legs
  • 2 Tbsp Zaatar
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Mint
  • 1 Tsp Dried Chili Flakes
  • ½ Tsp Coarse Sea Salt
  • 3 Tbsp Pomegranate Molasses
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil


  1. Mix together the ingredients for the chicken to form a thick paste and then slather over the chicken and set aside.
  2. Spread the chicken legs with a thick layer of the zaatar crust.
  3. Place the chicken on a baking tray and cook for 30-35 minutes at 180°C or 350°F.
  4. Check that the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 68-69°C or 158-160°F, before removing and resting for 5 minutes. After the resting period, the chicken should have reached 73°C or 165°C.

Air Fryer Cooking Instructions:

  1. Place the crusted chicken legs into the air fryer basket and cook for 20-23 minutes at 180°c or 350°.
  2. Check that the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 68-69°C or 158-160°F, before removing and resting for 5 minutes. After the resting period, the chicken should have reached 73°C or 165°C.

    Nutrition Information:



    Serving Size:


    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 626Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 328mgSodium: 846mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 1gSugar: 21gProtein: 62g

    Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

    Did you make this recipe?

    If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!


    Monday 17th of April 2023

    Can I marinate overnight with that mixture?

    Brian Jones

    Saturday 22nd of April 2023

    Hi, I would not do that with this recipe, it is designed to be a thick crust and but if you leave it overnight it will separate out and slip off the chicken.


    Tuesday 2nd of May 2017

    What a beautiful plate of food. I've never tried giant couscous but what a great recipe to start with!

    Brian Jones

    Thursday 4th of May 2017

    Try and dig some out, it id very different to regular cous cous, not better or worse just different and add much more substance to a side dish for me.

    Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche

    Tuesday 2nd of May 2017

    I made giant couscous the other day for the first time in ages and remembered how much I loved it! The flavours in your couscous sound fab - love pomegranate.

    Brian Jones

    Thursday 4th of May 2017

    Thanks Becca, I was horrified to discover my 'dealer' in giant cous cous is all out and has no plans to get more... Time to move on me thinks :D

    Michelle | The Last Food Blog

    Tuesday 2nd of May 2017

    Great recipe. I love the idea of adding the couscous to the pan to soak up the spices!

    Brian Jones

    Thursday 4th of May 2017

    Thanks Michelle, I definitely don't like to leave anything behind in the pan ;)

    Platter Talk

    Tuesday 2nd of May 2017

    Those are beautiful, mouth watering photos to go along with this stunning recipe!

    Brian Jones

    Thursday 4th of May 2017

    Cheers Dan

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