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Cheese manakish served on a tray

Manakish (Cheese and Za'atar)

A Middle Eastern flatbread made with a soft dough and topped with either a mix of cheese and nigella seeds or a Za'atar and olive oil blend. A delicious way to start your day - always with a cup of tea.
Course Appetizer, Breakfast
Cuisine Mediterranean, middle eastern
Keyword Manakish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Resting Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Calories 370kcal


For the dough:

  • 2 ½ cups flour plus 2 more tablespoons
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Cheese Topping:

  • 340 grams fresh mozzarella or replace with Akawi cheese
  • 200 grams feta cheese or replace with Akawi cheese
  • 1.5 tablespoons nigella seeds (also known as Kolonji)

For the Za'atar Topping:

  • ¼ cup olive oil extra virgin
  • 7 tablespoons Za'atar (found at middle eastern stores)


To make the dough:

  • Start by mixing the yeast in the 1 cup of warm water. Make sure it's not hot water or the yeast will not activate. Set aside for 3 minutes.
  • In a bowl, add 1 cup of the flour along with the sugar and the yeast and water mixture. Mix well with a spoon, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, add the rest of the flour (1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons), ¼ cup olive oil and the salt and mix well until a shaggy dough forms.
  • Using your hands, knead the dough for 3-4 minutes, then smooth it out and set aside to rise for about 30 minutes, covered.
  • Preheat your oven to 375F while the dough rises

For the toppings:

  • Mix together the Za'atar and the olive oil in a bowl and set aside.
  • Mix together the mozzarella cheese and feta cheese and set aside.
  • Once the dough is ready, separate into 10 equal-sized balls. Using a floured rolling pin and a floured surface, flatten each dough ball to a very thin medium sized flatbread. The dough will rise slightly in the oven so it's important to make them thin
  • Transfer the dough rounds to a floured baking sheet. You may need to use 2-3 baking sheets to fit them all, or wait for some to bake then add the rest
  • Spread the Za'atar mixture on 5 of the manakish and make sure to cover the entire surface, leaving a ¼ inch border
  • Spread the cheese mixture on the remaining 5 of manakish, leaving a ¼ inch border. Sprinkle with the nigella seeds
  • Place the baking sheets in the oven on the bottom rack and bake for 12-15 minutes until the bottom is lightly golden. You can bake more than one sheet at one time, by placing one on the bottom rack and one on the middle rack. Once the bottom rack manakish are cooked, then switch the middle rack sheet pan to the bottom for a few more minutes until cooked through
  • For the cheese manakish, you can broil the top for just a few minutes to lightly brown the cheese. Keep an eye when you're doing this as it happens quickly
  • Remove baked manakish and place in a platter and cover with a towl or plastic bag to keep them soft until serving
  • Serve them with fresh vegetables like tomato, cucumber, mint, and olives


  • This recipe makes roughly 10 medium sized manakish, and the topping amounts yield 5 of each type. If you want to make only cheese or only za'atar, then double the topping quantities
  • You can also make the manakish a lot smaller to yield a larger number of pieces
  • Traditionally, Akawi cheese is used in place of the mozzarella and feta mixture but I found this mix to be a great substitute and it tastes so good
  • You can also make Manakish which are a mix of cheese and Za'atar. To do that, add Za'atar to the cheese mixture without any olive oil and spread on the dough
  • You can freeze the manakish once they are cooled, by placing them in between parchment paper and in an air tight container or bag


Serving: 1g | Calories: 370kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 670mg | Potassium: 76mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 314IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 275mg | Iron: 2mg