Manakish - or "Manakeesh" - is a traditional Lebanese flatbread. Also seen as a Middle Eastern pizza, it's usually topped with Za-atar & cheese.
Of course, that easy access makes things difficult when you’re gluten-free and low carb, like I am.
Weirdly enough, MY dietary restrictions are what led to developing THIS - full gluten, definitely not low carb - manakish recipe!
I’ll get to that in a second...
What is Manakish?
Manakish - also known as manakish zaatar, manakeesh zaatar, and Lebanese zaatar bread is a delicious Middle Eastern Flatbread.
What makes these Lebanese flatbreads unique is the fact that they’re usually topped with a mixture of za’atar spice blend and olive oil before being baked - SUPER tasty!
There are different toppings you can order - ground lamb is one of the classic toppings - sometimes just the zaatar spice mix, sometimes just cheese - but it’s always delicious.
One of the most popular types of this bread involve both the mixture of za atar and olive oil, PLUS a cheese topping - this is our personal favorite.
This Zaatar Bread Recipe
Anyway, my husband has no dietary restrictions whatsoever, so get gets to enjoy as much manakish as he wants, fresh from any number of local restaurants.
So, I developed a Keto Manakish recipe, which was fantastic.
One day, I got lazy and made some “cheater manakish” for breakfast - spreading some low carb bread slices with the spice/oil mixture, topping with some cheese, and broiling it.
Trashy? Probably... but it made a fantastic, quick breakfast!
The Spoiled One™ soon got jealous of my breakfasts, so I offered to make some actual manakish for him.
I briefly considered making a “cheater manakish” for him out of premade pita bread, but decided to whip up some homemade dough and a proper cheese manakeesh recipe.
I’d say “so much for being lazy”, but the dough only takes a few minutes of effort, so.. Whatever!
“These SMELL amazing in the oven, and the flavour lives up to it. SO good!
They reheat really well, so it’s awesome to have these in the fridge as a quick meal. LOTS of flavour, but not spicy or overwhelming - and great texture, also!”
Za’atar Manakish Ingredients
While you can start our with any premade bread dough or pizza dough - if you have some on hand - making your own dough isn’t difficult at all.
This manakish dough recipe was actually adapted from one of my bagel recipes!
Anyway, this is a really basic dough recipe, requiring just a few simple ingredients:
Za’atar Blend Topping
Za'atar spice is a middle eastern spice blend, involving thyme, sumac, sesame seeds, and sometimes some other herbs and/or spices, depending on the blend.
If you don’t have any Lebanese grocery stores nearby, you may be able to find it in larger chain grocery stores. Otherwise, it’s easy enough to find online.
In addition to the zaatar, you’ll need some olive oil.
In this recipe, I go with a mixture of Shredded Mozzarella Cheese and either Akawi Cheese or Feta cheese... depending on what I have on hand.
You can definitely vary the percentages, or even swap out some of that for pieces of halloumi cheese, if you like.
I like to sprinkle black sesame seeds over top of the cheese, just before baking, mostly for looks and a bit of extra crunch.
Nigella seeds are traditional, we don’t always have them on hand!
How to Make Zaatar Manakeesh
The full recipe - with measurements - is in the recipe card at the end of this post. Here’s a pictorial walk through:
Make the Dough
Measure warm water into a glass measuring cup or bowl.
Stir in yeast and sugar, allow yeast mixture to stand for 10 minutes – it should get very bubbly.
Dump dough out onto a floured surface, knead until soft and elastic, 5-10 minutes.
Alternatively, use a stand mixer with a dough hook for about 7 minutes, or until a soft dough comes together. (It should be smooth and elastic.)
Once dough is fully kneaded, grease a large bowl (can be the one you were using) with a bit of pan spray.
Assemble & Bake
Preheat oven to 400 F, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
One at a time, flatten dough out into rounds that are about 6” in diameter, place each on a parchment lined baking sheet as you go.
You can use a rolling pin or your hands, I usually just use my hands.
I also use a silicone mat - if you don’t have one, you’ll want to do this on a floured surface.
In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil and zataar.
Spread za'atar mixture evenly over the top of the dough rounds, leaving a bit of a border around the edge.
Combine the two cheeses, sprinkle over the zaatar covered rounds of dough.
Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly before eating. Best served hot - fresh out of the oven or reheated.
Allow any extra manakish to cool to room temperature before wrapping in plastic wrap or transferring to an airtight container.
Store in the fridge for up to 5 days or so.
Generally speaking, manakeesh is a popular breakfast food / brunch food, but we’ll also serve it as a snack or “lazy meal” if we have some in the fridge.
It’s best served warm, so we’ll usually heat a stored manakish up in the microwave and/or air fryer, depending on our mood.
(The air fryer makes it taste / feel like it’s fresh from the oven, rather than reheated leftovers!)
If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll add some pickles and/or olives to the plate, maybe a bit of labneh (A thick Middle Eastern yogurt) when I have it on hand.
When my husband is using these for lunches, I’ll cook up some well seasoned ground meat - usually ground chicken - so he can get a bit more protein with it.
I just store the seasoned meat separately, and he adds what he wants when he reheats it.
More “Capital B” Baking Recipes
Did the photo of the yeast growing in the measuring cup get to you? Oh, I love the smell of it - and of the freshly baked bread that results! Anyway, if you’re looking for more excuses to bake something that involves waiting for rise times, here are a few more recipes!
Apple Cinnamon Buns
Basil, Roasted Red Pepper, & Asiago Bread Braid
Beer Pretzels & Jalapeno Jack Dip
Buffalo Chicken Buns
Chai Cinnamon Rolls
Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Pretzel Bites
Marble Rye Bagels
Maple Walnut Spiced Pumpkin Buns
Paska - Ukrainian Easter Bread
Rye Bagels with Caraway Seeds
Sauerkraut Balls - Pyrizhky
Spinach Hand Pies
Seeded Whole Wheat Flax Bagels
Smoky Cheese Bagels
Strawberry Orange Rolls
You can also see our Homemade Breads recipe category for more!
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- 1 cup Warm - not hot - water
- 1 tablespoon Active Dry Yeast
- 1 teaspoon Granulated Sugar
- 2 ¾ cups All Purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ¼ cup Olive oil
- ½ cup Olive oil
- ½ cup Zaatar
- 1 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- 1 cup Akawi or Feta cheese
- Measure warm water into a glass measuring cup or bowl. Stir in yeast and sugar, allow to stand for 10 minutes – it should get very bubbly.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. Pour in yeast mixture and olive oil, stir well to combine.
- Dump dough out onto a floured surface, knead until soft and elastic, 5-10 minutes. Alternatively, use a stand mixer with a dough hook for about 7 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic.
- Once dough is fully kneaded, place in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for one hour, or until doubled in size.
- Once dough has doubled, punch it down, and divide it out into 8 equal sized pieces.
- Preheat oven to 400 F, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- One at a time, flatten dough out into rounds that are about 6” in diameter, place on parchment lined baking sheets.
- Mix together the olive oil and zataar, divide among prepared dough rounds. Spread evenly over each, leaving a bit of a border around the edge.
- Combine the two cheeses, sprinkle over the zaatar covered rounds of dough.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly golden.
- Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly before eating. Best served hot - fresh out of the oven or reheated.