How to make Harissa paste

Making your own Harissa paste is incredibly easy and once you taste it, you won’t be able to stop using it. Perfect as a marinade for meat or a fiery dressing for roasted vegetables.

How to make Harissa paste

What is Harissa?

Harissa is a North-African chilli paste/sauce that consists of peppers, garlic, spices like coriander seeds, paprika, cumin, caraway seeds and olive oil. It is used as a condiment and is incredibly flavorful. It adds incredible depth and heat to any dish you add it to.

How to make Harissa paste

Ingredients

Full recipe with amounts can be found in the recipe card below.

  • Red bell peppers. 
  • Garlic cloves. 
  • Tomato paste.
  • Chilli peppers. I used a combination of Fresno peppers and bird’s eye chillies. Any red chillies will work.
  • Olive oil. 
  • Cumin seeds.
  • Coriander seeds.
  • Caraway seeds. I am not a fan of the flavor of caraway so I don’t include it in my recipe but feel free to add half a teaspoon to your harissa.
  • Fennel seeds. 
  • Chilli flakes. 
  • Lemon juice.
  • Salt and pepper.How to make Harissa paste

How to make Harissa

  1. Make the spice mix: Combine the spices in a small frying pan set over medium heat. Allow the spices to toast for a few minutes, giving the pan a shake regularly to prevent the spices from burning. The spices will become aromatic and start to pop. Remove from the heat. Grind with a pestle and mortar until fine.
  2. Char the peppers: The easiest way to char peppers is over an open flame, like a gas hob. You can also do it under a hot broiler. Char the peppers until blackened all around then transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to steam for 20 minutes then peel off the charred skin. De-seed the peppers and set aside.
  3. Make the Harissa: Combine the peppers, chillies, peeled garlic cloves, tomato paste, spices, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor and blend. Adjust seasoning if necessary then transfer to a sealable jar or container.
How to make Harissa paste

How long does harissa last?

A jar of harissa paste will keep in the fridge for at least a month but I doubt you’ll have it for that long. Once you get into using this stuff, you won’t be able to stop!

How to use Harissa paste

  1. Use on chicken before grilling.
  2. Stir a spoonful into vegetable soup.
  3. Toss with vegetables before roasting.
How to make Harissa paste

Easy sauce recipes

  1. Home-made Peri-Peri sauce
  2. Marinara sauce
  3. The best easy burger sauce
Harissa

Easy Harissa

Making your own Harissa paste is incredibly easy and once you taste it, you won’t be able to stop using it. Perfect as a marinade for meat or a fiery dressing for roasted vegetables.
4.19 from 69 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiment, Gluten free, Harissa, Sauce, Vegan, Vegetarian
Cuisine: Moroccan
Keyword: Harissa, Harissa paste, home-made harissa paste
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Calories: 26kcal
Author: Alida Ryder
Servings: 300 ml

Ingredients

  • 2 red bell peppers charred and skins removed
  • 5 peeled garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 fresh red chillies I used Serenade peppers but jalapenos will also work
  • 1 fresh red bird's eye chilli
  • 5-6 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

for the spice mix

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dried chilli flakes

Instructions

  • Combine the spices in a small frying pan set over medium heat.
  • Allow the spices to toast for a few minutes, giving the pan a shake regularly to prevent the spices from burning.
  • The spices will become aromatic and start to pop. Remove from the heat. Grind with a pestle and mortar until fine. 
  • The easiest way to char peppers is over an open flame, like a gas hob. You can also do it under a hot broiler. Char the peppers until blackened all around then transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
  • Allow to steam for 20 minutes then peel off the charred skin. De-seed the peppers and set aside. 
  • Combine the peppers, chillies, peeled garlic cloves, tomato paste, spices, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor and blend.
  • Adjust seasoning if necessary then transfer to a sealable jar or container.

Video

Notes

  • Nutritional information is worked out per tablespoon of Harissa paste. The full recipe makes 300ml (just over 1 cup) of Harissa paste. 

Nutrition

Calories: 26kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Fat: 2g | Sodium: 20mg | Potassium: 59mg | Vitamin A: 405IU | Vitamin C: 14.4mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 0.3mg

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

46 Comments

  1. Hi in the recipe ingredients it says 2 tbs of tomato paste but in the recipe its a tin of chopped tomatoes, which one is it please

  2. This looks wonderful. I have never had Harissa sauce but it looks delicious. Question. Can I use dried chillies?

  3. I love spicy foods, tomatoes, sauces and marinades. For some reason I don’t really enjoy herbs but loves spices. Unfortunately, I pretty much HATE red bell peppers! Green bell peppers are ok depending on what recipe they are in. But are there any options here for someone that doesn’t enjoy bell peppers????

  4. Thanks for this guide! Definitely want to learn how to make my own harissa at home. Definitely one of my favorite condiments / ingredients to add into dinner!

  5. Thanks for the lovely recipe! Sometimes I change it up and use sundried tomatoes instead of a can, and it make a deliciously rich and thick paste.

      1. Good Day Alida
        I do make a Peri Peri sauce & I cannot buy these chillies anywhere.
        I live iN.P.E & normally buy from Sana-ns in East London but they have none after trying to purchase them on JHB market.
        Are you able to help.
        Tony de Andrade

  6. Quick, easy, very yummy – what else can I say! If I make it again I think that I will crush the garlic and finely chop the birds-eye chili, as this way I can stop blending before it becomes too smooth, as I prefer a slightly textured sauce but I’m not keen on chunks garlic etc. Will be perfect served with slow barbecued lamb shoulder and flatbreads etc,

  7. What a great recipe. I’ve made it many times and just had to come tell you how much I love using it. My favorite way is to do as you said and slather it over chicken before grilling and it is by far our family’s favorite way of cooking chicken. Your recipes are always trustworthy and delicious.

  8. My family was from French Algeria, and to this day continues to make the traditional dishes of North Africa. Just a side note to this wonderful twist on Harissa…If you allow the peppers to thoroughly drain all of their liquid, you can actually store it in a cupboard. Just make sure about one half inch of olive oil covers the mixture. My Aunties would make enough at a time for 6 months. I leave my peppers in a colander, with a plate on top, and when there is no more liquid in the bowl underneath, its ready to be blended with the spices of choice. No refrigeration needed. Great recipe, trying it today!

  9. I just love your recipes and as you do, I just love spicy foods. However I suffer from irritable bowel and the doc suggested I stop eating foods that contain chillis. Im so upset, how can you make curry without chillis?? Please give us one of your fab curry recipes without chilli especially for those of us who dont tolerate them. Please Please….

    1. You could definitely leave out any of the hot chillies in my curry recipes. I’m not sure which spices are allowed with IBS but I would go with adding all the regular mild spices (coriander, cumin, turmeric, paprika) and just leave out the chilli.

      1. Hello, I was just about to ask if it was ok to leave the chilies out of this recipe when I read the question from the lady with IBS. I have a bit of an allergy to spicy chillies so often exclude them from recipes. However, I did worry about losing the authenticity of this recipe. So glad you said it could be made without the chillies. I love all the other spices mentioned in the recipe so will definitely be giving it a go ?

    2. If these are an option for you the older India cuisine used black pepper or mustard for heat before they had chilis. It wasn’t until chilis arrived from the Americas via Europe that they added them to their dishes.

  10. The Harissa paste from my local supermarket is really not nice at all so I will definitely
    be making this. Many Thanks for the recipe.

  11. I always love your gorgeous photos and awesome recipe, and this post is no different. I have longed to make this Harissa paste, so you can be sure I will make this very soon. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us.

    <3 <3 <3