Musakhan (Sumac Chicken With Caramelized Onions Flatbread)

This warm and savory dish, Musakhan composed with lemony sumac and chicken, served with caramelized onion on a Taboon bread (flatbread). Garnished with roasted pine nuts or silvered almonds.

Musakhan is a popular national dish of Palestine. Growing up my mom, (rest her soul) would always make this dish for us and we would never get sick of it. This dish is so easy to make, yet lots of flavors that will have you and your family wanting more. Making this dish will have your whole house smelling amazing! I love pulling the piece of chicken and sandwiching it between a flatbread.

Key Ingredients for Musakhan Sumac Chicken and Caramelized Onion Flatbread

Musakhan or Imsakhan, so many different ways of spelling it! With a few important key steps, you will have the most tender chicken and bread. This dish is all about simple ingredients and prepared well. Here are the main components for this recipe:

  • Chicken – Season your chicken pieces and roasted to tender perfection. For best results, I suggest using bone-in, skin-on chicken. Boiled to infuse a fragrant Chicken Broth. Saving the chicken broth is crucial in this step as you will reserve some to pour over the flatbread to tenderize the bread in the oven.
  • Onions – This is a key ingredient to making Musakhan. Lots of Onions thinly chopped and caramelized over olive oil, fresh squeezed lemon juice, and sumac. They are caramelized further in the oven later. I used about 6 onions in this recipe.
  • Sumac – A pleasant tangy taste with a hint of citrus. This is an essential ingredient in the Middle Eastern Cuisine. Spices are used for the chicken and the caramelized onions.
  • Flatbread – Traditionally, you would use Taboon bread. Sometimes that is not readily available here in the states, you can use other flatbread options like, Indian Naan Bread. You want a thicker kind of flatbread as it will be layered with another piece of flatbread and onions, topped with the roasted chicken.
  • Pine nuts – Garnished with lots of roasted pine nuts. These tiny seeds are packed with lots of nutrients , including vitamins and minerals. This gives the dish a sweet, buttery taste, that will compliment the Muskhan.

How to Make Musakhan Sumac and Caramelized Onions on Flatbread

  1. Begin by washing your chicken, pat dry chicken and season with, Salt, Pepper and Allspice
  2. On a large pot over Medium heat, pour olive oil and begin cooking the chicken on each side. Doing so, will release the chicken flavor on the pot making a delicious fragrant chicken broth.
  3. Pour hot water, just enough to cover the top of the chicken.
  4. Skim any fat coming from the chicken.
  5. Add your bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and cardamom spice in the pot. Cover with a lid, and cook chicken until tender.
  6. Begin by chopping your onions. To caramelize the Onions, on a large skillet of medium heat, add your olive oil and cook onions until translucent. Next, pour lemon juice over the onions. This will give the onions that extra tangy taste. Sprinkle sumac generously over the onions. Give it a good mix and set aside.
  7. Layer the flatbread on a large baking pan with chicken broth and onions. Spread evenly, and repeat until your desired amount of bread you want to have.
  8. Once chicken is done cooking. Using a pair of tongs, take chicken out, and place on a baking rack.
  9. Preheat oven at 375
  10. Season the chicken with sumac. I like to really give the chicken that deep red color. If you’d like, brush vegetable oil on top of the chicken before seasoning it with sumac. Broil until the top skin of the chicken is roasted and brown.
  11. Next, place the layered flatbread in the oven. Cook for 10 minutes or until the bread is tender and crisp around the edges. Doing so, will make the bread not dry as it is cooked with the chicken broth.
  12. To platter, begin by placing the layered flatbread on a round flat serving dish. Place roasted chicken on top.
  13. Garnish with pine nuts and chopped parsley. Enjoy!

Musakhan (Palestinian Sumac chicken with carmalized onions)

Coursedinner, Main Course
CuisineMiddle Eastern
This warm and savory dish, Musakhan composed with lemony sumac and chicken, served with caramelized onion on flatbread called taboon. Garnished with roasted pine nuts.


  • 1 Whole Chicken ((legs, thighs, and breast; about 3 ½ lb total))
  • 8 tbsp Sumac
  • 1/2 cup Lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp All spice
  • 1/2 tsp Cardamom
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or silvered almonds
  • 6 chopped yellow onions (You can use red onions if you don't have yellow onions. )
  • Taboon bread or Indian flatbread


Cooking Whole Chicken

  • Begin by washing the chicken with lemon and vinegar. Rinse well and pat dry.
  • Next season chicken with salt, pepper, and all spice.
  • In a large pot over medium heat, pour a tablespoon of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, place the chicken, and let each side cook for about 2 minutes. This will release flavor for the broth before adding the water.
  • Pour hot water over the chicken. Skim any fat from the top of the water.
  • Add your cinnamon stick, bay leaf, and cardamom.
  • Cook chicken until tender.
  • In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup of olive oil. Cook onions until translucent. Pour lemon juice over the onions. Give it a good mix. Season generously with sumac. Once onions have cooked, set aside.
  • Arrange warm bread on a large oven safety flat baking pan. Begin by layering the bread by spreading about 3-4 tablespoon of caramelized onion and 1/2 cup of the chicken broth from the chicken that is cooked for the Musakhan. Spread evenly around the flatbread. Repeat process until you use desired amount of flat bread.
  • Preheat oven to 375°
  • Take chicken out of the pot, and place on a baking rack to begin broiling the top layer of the chicken.
  • Sprinkle sumac on the chicken and broil chicken for about 5 minutes until golden and crisp.
  • Next, bake the flatbread for about 10 minutes until bread is tender and crisp around the edges.
  • Take the flatbread and transfer on a platter. Place chicken on top of the flatbread, garnish with roasted pine nuts or silvered almonds. Enjoy!

One Comment

  1. Wow!! I can’t recommend this recipe enough! The juicy and tangy flavors are out of this world and the bread makes this such a perfect staple for comfort food! My family was so obsessed and keep asking me to remake this! Thank you so much for such a well written recipe and fabulous taste!