Harissa Paste Recipe

Harissa Paste is a spread made of chiles, spices, and sun-dried tomatoes. It’s not necessarily spicy, although it can be, and it makes a delicious marinade for chicken.

A bowl of harissa paste on a plate with a spoon next to it.

 

Recipe ingredients:

Labeled ingredients for harissa paste.

Ingredient notes:

Use this guide to help you figure out which chiles to use based on how fiery you like your harissa.

  • Mild: New Mexico or Guajillo chiles, roasted bell peppers
  • Medium:  puyo, morita, ancho, pasilla chiles
  • Spicy:  Arbol chiles
  • Smoky (and spicy!): chipotle chiles

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Soak the whole dried chillies in a bowl of boiling water and let them hydrate for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight on the counter.
    Chilies soaking in water in a silver bowl.
  2. While the peppers are soaking, gently roast the cumin, coriander, and caraway seeds in an un-oiled skillet over low heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Keep the pan moving so the seeds don’t scorch. Once they’re toasted, grind them up using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
    Caraway seeds in a sliver pot.
  3. Next, when the peppers are soft, drain them and remove the stems. I use gloves to deseed peppers (contact lens alert!) so I don’t burn my eyes later. Add them to the bowl of a food processor, along with the sun dried tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, ground spices, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, salt, mint, and cilantro.
    Harissa paste ingredients in a blender.
  4. Purée the mixture into a thick paste, scraping down the sides so everything gets mixed together. Dip your pinky in and taste. Does it need more salt? Add a bit and pulse. Missing a little acidity? Squirt a wedge of lemon juice or lemon zest in the bowl and mix again.
    Harissa paste in a blender.
  5. Store the harissa paste in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and use liberally.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • Harissa: Pronounced ha-RISS-uh
  • Dried or fresh chiles: You can use either one or a combination of both. But remember: Adding lots of “fresh” ingredients adds extra water to the paste, so it could turn into more of a sauce.
  • Storage: Store covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  • Freezing: Freeze the paste in small portions for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or add directly to hot soups or sauces.
  • Vinegar: Substitute your favorite vinegar for the lemon juice.
  • Smoky: Use some smoked paprika in place of the cayenne pepper.

Tasty uses for harissa:

  • Mix some into Greek yogurt or mayo and spread on your leftover meatloaf sandwich.
  • Toss chickpeas in harissa before roasting in the oven as part of a sheet pan dinner.
  • Stir into homemade hummus.
  • Roast carrots with harissa for a delicious balance of sweet and spice.
  • Harissa Chicken with roasted chickpeas, white rice, carrots, and a creamy yogurt sauce. Amazing!

Three white plates of Harissa chicken and rice.

A bowl of harissa paste on a plate with a spoon next to it.

Harissa Paste Recipe

Harissa Paste is a spread made of chiles, spices, and sun-dried tomatoes. It's not necessarily spicy, although it can be, and it makes a delicious marinade for chicken.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Pantry
Cuisine: African
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 88kcal
Author: Meggan Hill

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces dried chilies (see notes)
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled
  • 1 tablespoon oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

  • Place chilies in a large heat-proof bowl. Cover with boiled water and let sit for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  • Meanwhile, add caraway seeds, coriander seeds, and cumin seeds to a dry skillet. Toast over the lowest possible heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Shake frequently to prevent scorching. Remove from heat.
  • Transfer toasted spices to a small grinder or mortar and pestle. Process until finely ground.
  • Drain the chillies well. Remove the stem and seeds from each chili (wearing gloves is recommended) and transfer to a food processor.
  • To the food processor, add ground spices, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, mint leaves, cilantro, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and salt. Process until a thick paste forms, scraping down the sides as necessary.
  • With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until combined. Transfer to an air-tight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze up to 2 months (see notes).

Video

Notes

  1. Harissa: Pronounced ha-RISS-uh
  2. Dried or fresh chiles: You can use either one or a combination of both. But remember: Adding lots of "fresh" ingredients adds extra water to the paste, so it could turn into more of a sauce.
  3. Storage: Store covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  4. Freezing: Freeze the paste in small portions for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or add directly to hot soups or sauces.
  5. Vinegar: Substitute your favorite vinegar for the lemon juice.
  6. Smoky: Use some smoked paprika in place of the cayenne pepper.
Use this guide to help you figure out which chiles to use based on how fiery you like your harissa:
  • Mild: New Mexico or Guajillo chiles, roasted bell peppers
  • Medium:  puyo, morita, ancho, pasilla chiles
  • Spicy:  Arbol chiles
  • Smoky (and spicy!): chipotle chiles

Nutrition

Calories: 88kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 165mg | Potassium: 315mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 3969IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg
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  1. Very helpful advice in this particular post! It’s the little changes that make the largest changes. Thanks for sharing!5 stars

  2. Thank your site! information your share is useful to me!5 stars

  3. spanish to english

    Yum yum yum! Cant wait to make it! Thank you for the recipe5 stars

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