healthy eating tips

harissa homemade

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Homemade harissa and Ally’s Kitchen go hand in hand. Because here in my kitchen, I want to take you around the world to taste new flavors without even having to go through TSA security! And, with this simple and easy recipe for harissa, I think you’ll be using it, like I do, on soooooooooo many things!

So what is harissa? Let me introduce you to the chili sauce or ketchup of the Middle East. It originated in Tunisia. Traditionally created to season goat, lamb, or fish stew, harissa’s popularity grew rapidly. It soon spread to other countries like Libya, Algeria, Morocco, France and Germany.

Basics of Homemade Harissa

The main ingredients are usually piri piri, a type of chili pepper, serrano peppers or other hot chili peppers, plus spices and herbs, like garlic, coriander, red chili powder and caray. But depending on which household you live in or what region you’re from, it might include other things like cumin, , red peppers and lemon juice. Harissa mixtures are as unique to households as DNA is to each living individual! There’s not just ‘one’ recipe! Variations galore exist, but they all contain the basic building blocks.

So, here’s my recipe for harissa from my cookbook. I’m sharing it with you because I want you to explore the flavors and enjoy the variety of things you can do with this spice mixture. Here in America, we love our ketchup, and I’m hoping you’ll put harissa on the table next to your salt and pepper, chili flakes, hot chili sauce or other condiment that makes most everything a little better!

The pictures you see below are all from recipes I’ve created using harissa. I have sooooooooo many simple easy ideas for using this spice mixture. Click here!
Homemade Harissa

Homemade Harissa

Yield: Makes about 1/2 cup


  • 4 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 5 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp. caraway seeds
  • 4 tsp. hot smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne


  • Put the coriander, cumin and caraway seeds in a small cast iron skillet over medium heat. Let the seeds toast, mixing them gently so as not to burn. Cook for several minutes or until you get the distinct aroma of the spices.
  • Put the toasted seeds in a small coffee grinder (dedicated to only grinding spices). Pulse into a fine dust mixture.
  • In a small bowl, combine the paprika, salt, garlic powder and cayenne. Add the toasted seed mixture and blend. Store in an air tight glass container.


To keep your harissa super fresh, store in the freezer.

It should last a couple of months in your spice cabinet.

You can make a paste by adding just a little olive oil and blending well.

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  1. Michelle Woolley

    What is that dish in the picture for the harissa recipe. Looks like chickpeas, celery, okra, olives, maybe bacon, ummm…… not sure what else. Though I know some harissa has been sprinkled on it. I’d love to see that recipe too!

  2. Love harissa and everything about this post! Thanks Ally!

    • Mary! Thank you thank you! As much as you love lamb, I know you’re using harissa in some of your amazing recipes! xo ~ally

  3. I need to make this soon

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