Homemade Harissa Recipe

Harissa in jar

The Spruce

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
111 Calories
4g Fat
18g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 111
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 288mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 7%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Protein 4g
Calcium 75mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Like spicy food? Do you crave foods with a kick? If so, add harissa to any meal.

Harissa is a hot chili paste that is commonly found in North African cooking, mainly Moroccan, Algerian, and Tunisian cuisine. It is added to couscous, soups, pasta, and other recipes and can also be purchased in Middle Eastern stores in a can.
For a very spicy harissa: use a blend of cayenne, chile de arbol, or cayenne with a milder chile like ancho chilies. For medium spiciness: use a blend of New Mexico chilies with guajillo chilies.


  • 10 to 12 dried red chili peppers
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather your ingredients

    Ingredients for harissa
    The Spruce
  2. Soak the dried chilies in hot water for 30 minutes.

    Soak the dried chilies in hot water
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  3. Drain and remove stems and seeds.

    Drain and remove stems and seeds from chilies
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  4. In a food processor, combine chili peppers, garlic, salt, and olive oil. Blend.

    Blending chilies in food processor
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  5. Add remaining spices, and blend to form a smooth paste.

    Blending chilies and spices in food processor
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  6. Store in airtight container. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on top to keep fresh.

    Harissa in jar
    The Spruce
  7. Will keep for a month in the refrigerator.

Recipes Vary

  • Harissa recipes vary among different countries but most versions of this spicy paste include a blend of hot chili peppers, garlic, olive oil, and spices, including caraway, cumin, coriander, and mint. Other common ingredients include tomatoes and rose petals.

Which Meats Taste Best With Harissa?

  • Harissa really adds spice and flavor to any cut of red meat, especially flank steak. Flank steak is thin enough that it really absorbs the harissa. Grilled or oven cooked, it is sure to be a crowd favorite.
  • You can also use your homemade harissa to spice up a beef or lamb stew, soup, or appetizers and main dishes. Some Middle Eastern countries use it as a marinade for meat, like lamb or fish.

Spice Up Your Favorite Hummus Recipe

  • Harissa can also add a kick to your favorite hummus recipe.
  • Hummus is a dip/spread that is made from chickpeas. In fact, hummus is the Arabic word for chickpea.