Easy Homemade Harissa

Harissa is a fantastic North African condiment that brings the heat. It is perfect for fish, seafood, chicken and soup. Place it on top of eggs for a nice kick.

Harissa is one of the sauces that if you like spicy food you need this in your fridge. This is one of my go to toppings. Almost anything you want to put hot sauce or sriracha on you will want to spoon on a bit of harissa. It is made with roasted and dried peppers and wonderful fragrant spices. Add it to your marinades, mix it with honey and toss your fried chicken in it, or even mix it in with your hummus and you can never go wrong.

In this recipe

There are really two main parts to this recipe the first is the peppers and the second is the spices. The rest are just there to make the other shine.

Chile peppers: this recipe calls for Guajillo, Chiles de Arbol and possibly Japones depending on the heat level but feel free to switch up the chiles based on taste and heat preferences.

Spices: cumin, caraway, coriander and ancho chile powder are the backbone of the sauce and compliment all of the wonderful peppers.

Garlic: I prefer to add roasted garlic for an extra dimension of flavor

Ingredients for harissa on a wooden cutting board
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Let the peppers soak

One of the first things you want to do is make sure your dried peppers have plenty of time to soak. This will help soften them up which will also help you when go to blend them. I have found that I do not need to remove the stems at this point, however you will need to remove them before blending. They will need a good 30 minutes in a bowl with boiling water poured on top. Once you are done with the water you can use it as a base for stock and you will get a nicely flavored and slightly spicy stock.

Peppers soaking in a mixing bowl
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Bloomed spices in a pan
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Ingredients for harissa in a food processor
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Blended harissa in a food processor
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Blooming the spices

When it comes to making a flavorful harissa one of the things that you want to do is bloom the spices. This is when you heat spices in hot oil. The heat draws out the natural oils in the spices and infuses them into the oil. By doing this you will get a richer flavored harissa right after blending but as the flavor develops over the next couple of days it will get even better.

A bowl of harissa with dried peppers surrounding it
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Blending the harissa

Once you are ready to go you will want to add everything but the oil into the food processor and start blending. It will look a little chunky and that is ok. You might need to scrape the sides down a little at the beginning. Once it starts to create a paste, that is when you are going to slowly pour the oil and spices into the food processor. This will help get that nice smooth sauce. Finally pour it into a mason jar or another non-reactive airtight container.

Harissa in a white bowl on a black background
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Looking for other sauce recipes?

A white bowl of harissa on a black background
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Easy Homemade Harissa

A North African condiment that is perfect for meat, fish, chicken and soups. Packed with spices this sauce is a perfect topping for your eggs or hummus.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Soaking time 30 minutes
Total Time 37 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine African
Servings 24 servings
Calories 18 kcal


  • Food processor
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Sauté pan


  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 6 Guajillo chiles
  • 4 Chiles de Arbol
  • 5 Japones chile optional
  • 2 roasted bell peppers whole or 6 oz canned/jarred
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • tablespoon garlic about 4-6 cloves
  • tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • ½ tablespoon coriander ground
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds ground
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  • In a mixing bowl add all of the dried peppers and cover with boiling water. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.
  • In a sauté pan heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the cumin, chile powder, caraway seeds, and coriander. Cook until all of the spices are fragrant. Remove from the heat.
  • In a food processor add the chiles with the stems removed, bell pepper, tomato paste, lemon juice, salt, and garlic cloves. Blend the harissa while slowly pouring in the oil and spices. Keep blending until smooth.
  • Pour into a mason jar.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 18kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 0.3gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 83mgPotassium: 50mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 370IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 7mgIron: 0.3mg
Nutrition Disclaimer*
Keyword Harissa, Pepper, Spicy
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Harissa pinterest pin
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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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