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Homemade Harissa Seasoning: Easy and Delicious

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harissa seasoning recipe

Are you growing hot peppers? Here is a recipe that will make the most out of any hot peppers in your garden. Harissa seasoning is a versatile African recipe that will add some zip to your chicken!

Like most seasonings, there are several renditions on the theme, depending on the country or area of the globe the recipe is popular. Harissa seasoning originates from North Africa, particularly Tunisia, where it is a staple in Tunisian cuisine. It’s believed to have been introduced by the Berbers, an indigenous ethnic group in North Africa, and has since become popular across the region, including countries like Algeria, Libya, and Morocco.

Harissa typically consists of dried chili peppers, garlic, olive oil, and spices like cumin, coriander, and caraway seeds. It’s used as a condiment, marinade, or seasoning to add heat and flavor to various dishes, such as couscous, tagines, stews, and grilled meats. Try this: Harissa Honey Chicken Thighs recipe. Over time, variations of Harissa seasoning have emerged, incorporating different ingredients and spice blends, but its roots remain firmly in North African cuisine.

Let’s start with the classic Harissa Seasoning:

Classic Harissa Seasoning:

Ingredients:

  • 6 dried red chili peppers (such as Guajillo or New Mexico)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions:

Remove stems and seeds from dried chili peppers and soak them in hot water for 30 minutes. Drain the peppers and blend them with garlic, spices, and olive oil until smooth. Adjust salt to taste. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Mild Harissa Seasoning:

Ingredients:

  • 4 dried ancho chili peppers
  • 2 roasted red bell peppers, peeled and seeded
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions: Same as above.

Spicy Harissa Seasoning:

Ingredients:

  • 8 dried arbol chili peppers
  • 2 dried chipotle peppers, guajillo peppers, or other favorites.
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions: Same as above

Herby Harissa Seasoning:

Ingredients:

  • 4 dried guajillo chili peppers
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions: Same as above.

Dried Harissa Seasoning Powder:

This is my favorite version of this recipe. It has a longer time on the shelf and it is great to sprinkle over meats and chicken before grilling.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup dried red chili flakes, or
  • 10 dried peppers of your choosing
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 1 tablespoon dried cilantro leaves
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, for extra heat)
  • Salt to taste

Instructions:

Remove stems, seeds and veins from the dried peppers. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the peppers and/or dried red chili flakes for 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Be careful not to burn them. Let them cool to room temperature. Transfer the toasted chili flakes to a spice grinder or food processor.

Add ground cumin, ground coriander, smoked paprika, garlic powder, dried mint leaves, caraway seeds, dried cilantro leaves, and cayenne pepper (if using) to the grinder. Pulse the mixture until you achieve a fine powder consistency. Season with salt to taste and pulse again to combine.

Allow the mixture to cool before transferring it to an airtight container for storage.

Store the dried Harissa seasoning powder in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Use within a few months for the best flavor.

This dried Harissa seasoning powder can be used to add a burst of flavor to various dishes, including meats, vegetables, soups, stews, and marinades.

harissa seasoning recipe

Find more pepper seasoning recipes on our website.

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