Garlic Knots with Za’atar
Oct 27, 2023
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Homemade garlic knots are simple to shape and bake, and taste so good with garlicky za’atar on top. My easy recipe with just a few simple ingredients makes very soft rolls that pull apart just the way we want them to.
I look for any and every way to get the mouth watering combo of za’atar + bread onto our tables. Our world of Lebanese flatbreads is a giant soft pillow of chewy nostalgic goodness that finds me searching for adorable, neat individual servings of that experience, ala dinner rolls. Enter garlic knots, those herby, airy rolls that are simply gorgeous–and I do mean simple. Tying the dough knots is sooo satisfying and not at all hard. The payoff in garlic bread flavor with cuteness and single-servings is high, habibi!
Table of Contents
Why I love this Easy Garlic Knots recipe
So many reasons:
The dough is homemade. The results are a beauty of a dough, a pleasure to shape and bakes up like a dream.
The roll is beautiful. Yes, I’m someone who longs to decorate wedding cakes. But for the more reasonable among us, we can achieve a level of impressive dinner roll beauty even as beginners here.
Za’atar + garlic. Need I say more?
Pantry staples. Standard all-purpose flour makes the dough. No special flour (bread flour) is necessary, and in fact I prefer all-purpose here for the light texture it imparts.
Golden brown, soft, tear-apart delicious results. They’ll be asking you for the recipe.
Garlic Knots Recipe Ingredients
All-purpose flour. I like unbleached because, well, no bleach.
Rapid Rise Yeast. I employ this rather than basic yeast when I want soft loft, quickly.
Granulated sugar, just a touch encourages the yeast. Honey or maple syrup also work.
Yogurt. Baking with yogurt is a thing! That’s because yogurt tenderizes dough and yields soft rolls.
Olive oil finishes the golden exterior and is the conduit, the glue, for za’atar and garlic flavor.
Garlic. Lots. Freshly minced or grated garlic is the most flavorful. Alternatively, use paste from a tube or Lebanese garlic sauce, toum.
Fresh herbs for finishing, such as chopped fresh parsley or chives (optional).
How to make Garlic Knots
Make the dough.
Proof and activate the yeast by mixing it with ¼ cup warm water and the sugar. The yeast is ready when it becomes creamy and a little bubbly.
Mix the dough by hand in a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook or paddle attachment. Combine the flour with the salt, then slowly add the yeast mixture, yogurt, and olive oil. Mix by hand with a wooden spoon or spatula or on low speed until the dough comes together, then turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead until a smooth ball forms.
Allow the dough to rise in a warm place. Coat the mixing bowl or another clean bowl with a thin layer of oil. Add the dough and turn the ball to coat it completely with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel over that. Place in a warm spot to rise until double in size, 1-2 hours.
Make the Garlic Herb Topping while the dough rises. In a small bowl, combine the garlic paste (or toum), za’atar, salt, and oil.
Shape the knots. It’s as simple as forming a rope and tying that into a simple knot. See details below regarding how to do this.
Allow the knots to rest for a second rise. Cover the knots on the prepared baking sheet lightly with plastic wrap or a towel while they rise again for about 30 minutes. This produces an even lighter, airy roll.
Bake! Heat the oven to 400°F. Line two sheet pans with parchment or silicone baking mats. Arrange the formed knots on each sheet pan, 8 per pan. Brush the tops of the knots lightly with some of the topping. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown on top. After removing from the oven, brush again lightly with the garlic za’atar oil.
Serve, as is with a meal as a side dish or with a dipping sauce such as pizza sauce, tsatziki, labneh, or spicy Lebanese salsa.
How to Shape Garlic Knots
When the dough is double in size, press the dough down with your hands and transfer it from the bowl to a lightly floured work surface to shape dough. Stretch and pat the dough into a log about 16 inches long (it will be about 5 inches wide). Use a sharp knife, metal bench scraper, or pizza cutter to mark 16 1-inch strips, then cut the strips into equal pieces.
To shape a simple knot, roll one piece of dough into an 8 inch long rope. Shape into a circle with the ends crossed below. Gently tie a simple knot in the middle of the rope, then even the knot out by pushing the dough in place. Repeat this, making knots with the rest of the strips.
Brush the knots with the topping just before baking, after they rise for about 30 minutes.
Substitutions and Tips
To use pre-made pizza dough instead of homemade dough, find the store-bought dough in grocery stores either in the refrigerator or freezer sections. Simply start by getting the dough to room temperature, and shape and bake from there as directed in the recipe.
For buttery garlic knots, melted salted or unsalted butter makes a delicious garlic butter for this recipe and can replace the olive oil for the topping mixture.
Other types of yeast will work fine in this recipe. For instant yeast, skip the proofing step and add it, dry, to the flour with everything else. For active dry yeast, follow the recipe the same as written for rapid rise yeast.
Spice it up! Add red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to the topping for a kick of heat.
Finish the knots with other salty flavors, such as parmesan cheese or garlic salt.
Make Ahead and Storage
To make these ahead of time, cool to room temperature after baking. Store them in an airtight container at room temp for up to 3 days. To freeze, bake the knots, cool, then freeze in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 4 months. To reheat, thaw to room temperature and reheat in a low oven of about 170°F until warmed through.
The dough is fine to make ahead. Immediately after kneading it and placing in an oiled bowl, cover and refrigerate. The next day, bring the dough to room temperature until it doubles in size (about 2 hours), and proceed.
Frequently Asked Questions
They are made of a soft dough shaped into individual knot rolls, along with a garlic butter mixture or oil mixture as a topping.
Bake garlic knots in a hot (400°F) oven.
They keep in the refrigerator after baking for about a week.
They keep in the refrigerator after baking for about a week.
Garlic knots are not fatty. Some recipes call for butter, but my recipe calls for olive oil and yogurt, both healthy fats.
Like any bread, they hold well at room temperature for a couple of days, in the refrigerator for about a week, and frozen for up to 3 months.
More Bread Recipes to Try
Easy Garlic Knots with Za’atar
For the dough:
- 1 cup warm water (between 100–105°F)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons rapid rise yeast (1 packet)
- tablespoon granulated sugar
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt, Greek yogurt, or labneh
- In a small bowl, proof and activate the yeast by mixing it with ¼ cup of the warm water and the sugar. The yeast is ready when it becomes creamy and a little bubbly, about 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook or paddle attachment, combine the flour, salt garlic powder. Add the yeast mixture, yogurt, and the rest of the water, mixing with a wooden spoon if making by hand, or on low speed until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface. Knead until a smooth ball forms, adding more flour as needed to knead the dough.
- Coat a clean bowl with a thin layer of oil. Add the dough and turn the ball to coat it completely with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap (not directly on the dough) and lay a kitchen towel over that. Place in a warm spot to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Make the garlic za’atar topping while the dough rises. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, za’atar, and salt. Set aside.
- Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment or silicone mats. When the dough is double in size, press the dough down with your hands and transfer it from the bowl to a lightly floured work surface to shape dough. Stretch the dough into a log about 16 inches long (it will be about 5 inches wide). Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to mark 16 1-inch strips, then cut the strips into equal pieces.
- To shape a simple knot, roll one piece of dough into an 8 inch long rope. Tie a knot in the middle of the rope, then tuck the ends under the knot to form a knotted ball. Carefully transfer the knot to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat this, making knots with the rest of the strips. Place 8 knots per sheet pan, set 2-3 inches apart.
- Cover the knots on the prepared baking sheet lightly with plastic wrap or a towel. Let them rise again for about 30 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 400°F. Brush the tops of the knots with the za’atar oil. Some of the oil will run off, which is fine. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown on top. Remove from the oven, cool for 5 minutes, and serve warm or at room temperature.
- Store leftover knots covered for up to2 days at room temperature or in the refrigerator for about 1 week. Freeze the baked knots in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw and then reheat in a low oven or a few seconds in the microwave.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.