Palestinian Style Roasted Chicken Thighs with Red Onion and Sumac

First and foremost, this isn’t an authentic recipe.  It’s inspired by a traditional Palestinian recipe, but it’s not authentic.  This – like many of the things I cook – evolved from something I tried somewhere or heard about and tried to reproduce on my own.  In this case, with help from google and a few other sources over the years. That’s mostly because the key ingredient in this dish – well, if you don’t count the chicken – is something that I’d never used at all until about a decade ago: sumac.  No, not the stuff you’re warned about as a kid in the southern US – or the weird part of Ohio and Pennsylvania where Poison Sumac grows despite not being the south.  That’s a different plant.

Sumac is the dried and ground berries of a similar plant and has a bright, slightly bitter, slightly sour flavor sort of like a more floral citrus note.  I’ve come to love it – and a chicken dish where it’s the main flavor? Yes please.

This is iteration … I don’t even know … of this dish for me.  I’ve tried simple and more complex versions – but slowly, inexorably, settled on something in between.  It’s slightly sweet – from the onions and honey, slightly sour from the sumac and lemon, spicy and rich from the cumin and allspice, and best of all – when you layer it over flatbread (either the big one in the picture above, or just a pile of normal sized bread) the bread soaks up all the delicious juices.

Palestinian Style Roasted Chicken Thighs with Red Onion and Sumac

Recipe by DrewDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time





An easy and flavorful middle eastern style roasted chicken dish – flavored with red onions and sumac.


  • 4 large bone-in skin on chicken thighs

  • 1 large red onion

  • 6 cloves garlic

  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tbsp dried sumac

  • 2 tsp honey

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • 1 tsp ground cumin

  • ½ tsp ground allspice

  • Garnish
  • Large Flatbread

  • Minced flat leaf parsley

  • Sumac

  • Crushed pistachios or Pine nuts


  • Generously season the chicken thighs with salt.
  • Peel, trim, and coarsely crush the garlic.
  • Peel, trim, and slice the onion from end to end.
  • Wisk the sumac, cumin, allspice, honey, lemon juice, and olive oil together to form a uniform marinade.
  • Add the chicken and onions to the marinade, and rest, refrigerated, for at least two, and up to 4 hours.
  • Preheat your oven to 400°F.
  • Arrange the chicken and onions on a sheet pan.
  • Roast until the chicken is well browned (and has reached an internal temperature of 170°F), and the onions are slightly charred – about 25 minutes.
  • To serve, arrange the chicken and onions (and any delicious pan juices) on the large flatbread, and scatter with pistachios or pine nuts, additional sumac, and fresh torn or minced parsley.

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