Fiery and Flavorful Moroccan Harissa Recipe

Welcome to my Moroccan Harissa recipe! This delicious and spicy sauce is a staple in Moroccan cuisine, adding bold and bright flavors to any dish. Whether you’re making harissa chicken, roasted vegetables, or even enjoying it plain, this hot sauce is sure to leave your tastebuds tingling with delight.

As an Israeli chef with a deep appreciation for North African and Middle Eastern flavors, I am thrilled to share this recipe with you. My homemade harissa sauce uses the traditional combination of red chilies, garlic cloves, coriander seeds, and caraway seeds, along with preserved lemon paste and olive oil to create a tangy yet savory taste.

From homemade harissa chicken to chickpea stew, my recipe is versatile enough to pair perfectly with any dish. Not only is it delicious and easy to make, but it is also a healthy addition to your meals as it contains none of those processed additives that exist in store-bought sauces.

So jump into the exotic world of Moroccan flavors with me and let’s start cooking!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Moroccan Harissa
Moroccan Harissa

Ladies and gentlemen, are you tired of the same old bland dishes that you find yourself making day after day? Are you feeling adventurous and longing for a recipe that is both authentic and packed with flavor? Then look no further because this Moroccan Harissa recipe is the answer to your cravings!

Not just any hot sauce, Moroccan Harissa is a cooking staple in North African kitchens. This spicy paste consists of a blend of chile peppers, garlic, olive oil, and various spices. What sets it apart from other hot sauces is its complex flavor profile. It is not just merely hot; it has depth and warmth from the cumin, coriander seeds, and caraway seeds.

Another reason why this Harissa recipe deserves a spot in your spice cabinet is its versatility. It can be used as a marinade for chicken or lamb, added to soups or stews like chickpea stew, meatballs, or even tossed with roasted vegetables. The possibilities are endless!

Moreover, the recipe is straightforward to make because all you need to do is combine all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. You don’t even have to worry about finding exotic ingredients because most can be found at your local grocery store or online.

In conclusion, it’s quite clear why you’ll fall in love with this Moroccan Harissa recipe. Its rich flavor profile will undoubtedly elevate your dish to new heights while being versatile enough to use in many different dishes. Trust me when I say that once you try it out, there’s no going back!

Ingredient List

 Bursting with bold spices and fiery flavors
Bursting with bold spices and fiery flavors

Here are the ingredients required to make this harissa recipe from scratch

The Basics

  • 2 large red capsicums
  • 2 dried chiles de arbol
  • 2 dried new mexico chiles
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon of caraway seeds
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • juice from lemon (preserved lemon paste can be used as a substitute)
  • ½ teaspoon of salt

The Heat

  • 2 red chilies (seeds removed)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 tsp dried red chili flakes

The Blend

All of the above ingredients are blended into a food processor until it becomes a thick and smooth paste.

Making this from scratch allows you to adjust the heat level and flavor to your liking. All the ingredients can be easily found at your local grocery store, or you could spice up your dish with some Tunisian harissa or Mina harissa for a quick shortcut.

The Recipe How-To

 One spoonful of this alluring Harissa will transform your dish.
One spoonful of this alluring Harissa will transform your dish.

Now it’s time to get down to business and create our Moroccan Harissa! This recipe is a staple in Moroccan cuisine and can be used in many different ways, such as adding it to soups, stews, salads, marinades, and even as a condiment. Let’s get started!


  • 4 large red bell peppers
  • 2 red chili peppers
  • 3 dried chiles de arbol
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice or preserved lemon paste

Step 1: Roast your peppers

Preheat your oven to a high temperature (around 375F). Prepare your peppers by washing them and cutting them into large chunks. Remove the seeds and the stalks. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and pop them into the oven. Roast for about 20 minutes or until the skin is slightly charred.

Step 2: Soak your dried chiles

While your peppers are roasting away, place your 3 dried chiles de arbol into a bowl of warm water. Let them soak for about 15 minutes until they are soft.

Step 3: Grind your spices

In a skillet over medium heat, toast your coriander seeds and caraway seeds until fragrant (about 1 minute). Transfer them to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and grind until fine.

Step 4: Blend everything together

Once your roasted peppers are ready, remove them from the oven and let them cool slightly. Place them into a food processor along with your soaked chiles de arbol (remove the stems), garlic cloves, ground spices, lemon juice (or preserved lemon paste), and more olive oil. Blitz everything together on high speed until you have a smooth consistency.

Step 5: Taste and season

Taste your harissa paste and adjust the seasoning according to your preference. If you’d like it spicier, add more chili peppers or chili paste. If you’d like it tangier, add more lemon juice or preserved lemon paste.

Voilà! Your homemade harissa is now ready to be used in whatever recipes you desire!

Substitutions and Variations

 Add a Moroccan twist to your meal with this flavorful condiment
Add a Moroccan twist to your meal with this flavorful condiment

If you’re looking to switch things up with this harissa recipe, don’t worry – I’ve got you covered. Feel free to add or substitute the following ingredients to make a version that is uniquely yours.

– Peppers: Instead of using red bell peppers, try experimenting with different colored bell peppers or even spicier peppers like Anaheim, jalapeño, or habanero for an extra kick.

– Lemon: If you can’t find preserved lemon, fresh lemon juice can be used instead. Simply squeeze 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice into the food processor along with the other ingredients.

– Olive Oil: While extra-virgin olive oil is preferred for its rich flavor, you can use any type of olive oil that you have on hand.

– Chilies: If you don’t have access to dried chiles de arbol, you can substitute them with any other dried chili pepper variety, such as New Mexico chiles.

– Heat Level: Adjust the heat level to your liking by adding or subtracting chilies from the recipe. Remember that the heat will increase as the harissa sits, so it’s best to start with less and add more if needed.

– Spices: For a unique twist on traditional harissa, try adding other spices like cinnamon or nutmeg. You could also experiment with different herb combinations such as mint or parsley.

Substituting these ingredients will result in a slightly different flavor profile but still definitely worth giving a try. Try adding your own spin on this classic North African recipe and I’m sure that it will be just as delicious!

Serving and Pairing

 A true taste of Moroccan cuisine in every bite
A true taste of Moroccan cuisine in every bite

After making this flavorful Moroccan Harissa recipe, it’s time to think about how to serve and pair it! This harissa sauce is perfect for adding a spicy kick to a variety of dishes, from meat dishes to salads and even dips.

One popular way of using harissa sauce is as a marinade for chicken. Marinate your chicken in this homemade harissa sauce overnight and then grill it to perfection. The result is a mouth-watering dish that’s bursting with flavor!

You can also use this delicious hot paste in creating meatballs or be added to chickpea stew as you cook it. A great suggestion would also be adding it to rose harissa chicken and paired along with Mediterranean salad.

If you love Middle Eastern cuisine, try pairing this spicy sauce with Tunisian harissa, another spicy condiment that has similar ingredients but different ratios. You may find these two paste gorgeous if combined on a single dish.

To complete your Moroccan meal experience, serve your dishes with traditional North African bread like Khobz, Moroccan flatbread or even couscous. They add flavor and texture that complement the intense flavor profile of the harissa.

Whether you’re looking for a hot condiment to spice up your dishes or want to add another layer of flavor to your favorite meals, homemade harissa is worth trying. Garnish with extra coriander seeds or enhance the flavors by drizzling extra virgin olive oil on top of it. Your food will transform by simply adding this unique cooking staple!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Beautiful red hue, bursting with spicy goodness
Beautiful red hue, bursting with spicy goodness

Moroccan Harissa can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to two months, so it’s a great idea to make a big batch. To store it, simply transfer the harissa to an airtight jar, cover the top with a thin layer of oil, and keep it in the fridge. Don’t forget to label your jar with the date you made it.

When reheating harissa, you can do it quickly in a small saucepan over medium heat, but be careful not to burn it. You can also reheat it in the microwave, stirring occasionally until it’s heated through.

If you’re using this spicy sauce as an accompaniment to a meal, don’t forget to take it out of the refrigerator at least half an hour before serving. This will allow it to come to room temperature and its flavors to develop fully.

Pro tip: Harissa is a versatile cooking staple that can elevate any dish, from meatballs to salads or even chickpea stew. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll rely on this delicious condiment once you get started!

Tips for Perfect Results

 This versatile paste is perfect for marinating, grilling, or dipping
This versatile paste is perfect for marinating, grilling, or dipping

Now that you have all the ingredients ready, it’s time to put everything together and create your own Moroccan Harissa! While the recipe itself is quite simple, there are a few tips and tricks to ensure that you get a perfect result every time. Here are my tips for making the best homemade Harissa:

1. Toasting the Spices Right

Toasting the spices will enhance their flavor and fragrance. In order to do it right, be sure to use a dry skillet or pot, and toast the spices over medium heat until they start releasing oils and become fragrant.

2. Don’t Forget The Preserved Lemon

The preserved lemon adds an incredible depth of flavor to the Harissa sauce, so make sure not to skip this ingredient. You can easily make your own preserved lemon at home or buy them in specialty stores.

3. Adjust The Heat Level

If you’re not a fan of spicy food, then make sure to adjust the amount of chili paste or chile peppers. Keep in mind that different types of chilies vary in heat levels, so always err on the side of caution when adding them to your Harissa sauce.

4. Store in Airtight Container

Storing your finished Harissa jar in an airtight container is key for keeping it fresh for longer periods of time. I recommend using mason jars with tight-fitting lids.

5. Use as a Condiment and Ingredient for Various Dishes

Harissa sauce can be used as an ingredient in various dishes such as chickpea stew, rose harissa chicken, meatballs, salad dressing and many others. It also makes an excellent condiment for roasted veggies, grilled meats and sandwiches.

By following these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to create your own perfect homemade Harissa recipe!


As we come to the end of our recipe article for Moroccan Harissa, let’s discuss some common questions and doubts that may arise while making this glorious hot sauce. In this section, I will address some frequently asked questions (FAQs) and help clear any confusion you may have regarding the ingredients or method. Read on to make sure that you have all the knowledge you need to create the best version of this cocktail sauce!

How do you use Moroccan harissa?

Harissa is a versatile condiment that can be used in a variety of dishes. It can be applied on top of a burger or mixed with aioli to add a spicy kick. Harissa can also be mixed into shakshuka, packed into a falafel sandwich or even used as a dip for fried foods or crudités. One of my favorite ways to consume this condiment is by blending it with tahini and yogurt to create a delicious dip for fresh peas.

What is harissa from Morocco?

Harissa is a spicy chili paste that has its origins in the Maghreb region. It’s made using roasted red peppers, Baklouti peppers, and various spices and herbs such as garlic paste, coriander seeds, and cumin. To enhance the flavors of the paste, it’s mixed with olive oil, which helps to carry the oil-soluble components in the paste.

What is harissa seasoning made of?

Hailing from Tunisia, harissa is a fiery paste or sauce that often features an array of spices such as cumin, coriander, and caraway seeds. This mixture also usually includes dry red chiles, garlic, citrus and high-quality extra virgin olive oil.

Is harissa same as Moroccan?

Get ready to discover the ultimate Moroccan cooking essential that will surely become your go-to ingredient – Harissa. This fiery condiment, hailing from Tunisia, is widely used in North African cuisine and features a tantalizing blend of dried chili peppers, preserved lemons, and aromatic spices.

Bottom Line


Now that you have read through the recipe and all of my tips and recommendations, I hope you will give this Moroccan Harissa recipe a try. It is a delicious and versatile hot sauce that can be used in so many different ways. Whether you’re making chicken, meatballs, chickpea stew, salad, or anything else, adding some homemade harissa will make your dish taste even better.

One of the best things about making your own harissa is that you can adjust the spiciness level to your liking. You can also experiment with different types of chili peppers and spices until you find the perfect combination for your taste buds. Plus, since this sauce keeps well in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, you can easily make a big batch and have it on hand whenever you need it.

Finally, don’t forget to watch our recipe video if you need any help visualizing the process. I hope that this recipe has inspired you to become a master of Moroccan cuisine by learning how to make your very own harissa from scratch. Give it a try today and experience the amazing flavors of North African cooking staple!

Moroccan Harissa

Moroccan Harissa Recipe

Another find from Food Safari. Great marinade for meat or fish.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Course Condiment
Cuisine North African
Servings 4 cups
Calories 90 kcal


  • 500 g small hot red chilies, stalks & seeds removed
  • 2 large red capsicums, roasted, peeled & seeds removed (bell peppers)
  • 1 preserved lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 bunch coriander, chopped (cilantro)
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • olive oil, to cover


  • Mince the chillies, roast capsicums, preserved lemon and garlic by hand or in a food processor.
  • Mix with the coriander (cilantro), cumin and salt until well combined.
  • Let the mixture stand for 1 hour, then transfer to a preserving jar and cover with oil. Store indefinitely in the refrigerator.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 855gCalories: 90kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 3.8gFat: 1.5gSaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 601.3mgFiber: 4gSugar: 10.2g
Keyword < 15 Mins, African, Easy, Moroccan
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