OVerhead view of Garlic-Lemon Chicken Legs on a white oval platter garnished with arugula and lemon with sauce on the side on a white marble countertop

Za’atar Chicken Legs with Garlic Sauce

Anyone who has spent time in Los Angeles is probably familiar with Zankou Chicken, a small family-owned chain of fast-food restaurants that specialized in roasted chicken and their secret garlic sauce. This Za’atar Chicken Legs with Garlic Sauce recipe is reminiscent of their famous chicken.

For this copycat version, we roasted whole chicken legs from Bell & Evans (to simulate the popular quarter dark chicken plate) with za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend that includes savory herbs, toasted sesame seeds, and sumac. You can find za’atar in specialty stores, online, and even well-stocked grocery stores.

The secret garlic sauce that Zankou chicken makes most probably is a version of Toum, a labor-intensive garlic sauce that has a tendency to “break.” We solved that problem by adding in mashed potato, which stabilizes the sauce. This sauce is a combination of the Middle Eastern Toum and the Greek dip Skordalia. It is thick, garlicy, and addictive! If you are brave, use two whole heads of garlic; if tamer, use one. We used two and just as long as everyone has some, you will be fine.

Get more gluten-free main dish recipes.Garlic-Lemon Chicken Legs on a white oval platter garnished with arugula and lemon on a white marble countertop

5 from 1 vote
OVerhead view of Garlic-Lemon Chicken Legs on a white oval platter garnished with arugula and lemon with sauce on the side on a white marble countertop
Print Recipe

Za’atar Chicken Legs with Garlic Sauce Recipe

Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Marinate/fridge time2 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 745kcal
Author: Gluten Free & More


For the Chicken:

  • 4 Bell & Evans Chicken Legs
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Juice and finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons Za’atar seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

For the Garlic Sauce:

  • 1 pound russet potatoes , peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1-2 heads garlic (12-24 garlic cloves)
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
  • ½ cup neutral-flavored oil


  • Place chicken legs in a large food storage bag or covered glass container. Mix the rest of the chicken ingredients and pour over. Make sure the chicken is well coated with the marinade. Marinate for 2 hours or up to overnight.
  • While the chicken marinates, make the garlic sauce.
  • Boil the potatoes until very tender in salted water. Drain the water, put the pan back on the stove, and mash the potatoes over heat until smooth and dry.
  • Put the peeled garlic cloves, lemon juice, and salt in a small food processor. Process until smooth. Add just enough oil to cover and process. Continue to add oil, a little at a time, while the processor is running, until the oil is incorporated. Add about ¼ cup of the potatoes and process. Continue to add potatoes, about ¼ cup at a time, and process until all the potatoes are incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  • Remove the chicken from the fridge and let sit at room temperature while the oven preheats.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place the chicken on the prepared baking sheet, skin-side up. Discard marinade. Roast for 45 minutes or until browned and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Serve with the garlic sauce.


Nutrition Facts
Za’atar Chicken Legs with Garlic Sauce Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 745 Calories from Fat 558
% Daily Value*
Fat 62g95%
Saturated Fat 11g55%
Trans Fat 0.1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 10g
Monounsaturated Fat 38g
Cholesterol 120mg40%
Sodium 1279mg53%
Potassium 798mg23%
Carbohydrates 26g9%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 24g48%
Vitamin A 199IU4%
Vitamin C 16mg19%
Calcium 80mg8%
Iron 5mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


Disclaimer: All nutrition facts on Gluten Free & More are meant only as a guide and may differ depending on product brands used or ingredient substitutions. Some errors may occur, so you are encouraged to confirm the recipe’s ingredient and nutrition suitability for your own diet.
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Tags: Bell & Evans Chicken Garlic Middle Eastern
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