Homemade Harissa Paste

Better than store bought, homemade harissa paste with signature spicy and lemony flavor. Perfect to brighten the taste of any dish from roasted chicken to stewed chickpeas. You will love the flavors.

Homemade Harissa Paste
Diet Info: DF GF F LF Na LS VG V Fa

Sharing today, the best homemade Harissa Paste recipe. It is easy to make, and gets delicious depth of flavor from chilies, toasted spices and lemon. Make once and use many ways. Make roasted Harissa Chicken, add to dressings or add magic to stews. You will love how a little harissa can brighten the flavor of a dish. It is a must have condiment in every spice and chili lover's pantry. 

I highly recommend trying Harissa with homemade Harissa Chickpeas. So delicious and a complete vegetarian meal.

Harissa Paste

Harissa is one of the most loved, spicy and lemony chili paste from the middle east. It's known for the heat and vibrant lemony flavor. However, with this homemade recipe, you can adjust heat and lemon as per your taste preference. 

Harissa Paste

Harissa Ingredients

Most of harissa paste ingredients you will find in your pantry. Also check my notes in Recipe Card for substitutes to adjust ingredients as per availability. 

Here is what you need to make harissa at home:

  1. Chilies (dry and fresh)
  2. Garlic
  3. Caraway seeds
  4. Coriander seeds
  5. Roasted bell pepper
  6. Lemon Juice
  7. Olive Oil
  8. Salt and Pepper

More than the ingredients, harissa paste is all about process of making the harissa. It makes all the difference in the quality and taste of the resulting paste.

To make homemade harissa paste, I start by rehydrating chilies and dry roasting spices.

  1. Soaking the dry chilies in hot water soften their skin and makes it easy to extract extra flavor from chilies. 
  2. Dry roasted spices awakens the aroma of spices. This 1 minute step gives harissa amazing depth.
  3. I also add fried garlic instead of raw to the harissa paste. This eliminates raw garlic taste and makes harissa extra delicious.

Homemade Fresh and Best Harissa Paste

To blend the paste, I prefer to use a blender instead of food processor. Blender (I use Vitamix) does very good job in fine pureeing the ingredients. For a smooth consistency harissa paste with all ingredients well blended and harmonious, use blender.  For a quick use as condiment with grilled meat, you can also coarse grind ingredients using mortar-pestle or food processor.

Friends, honestly I have tried many bottled harissa but this recipe (my favorite) makes the best harissa paste. Whenever, I'm in mood to make spicy food, I make sure to blend a batch of harissa over the weekend. I hope you get chance to try it too. I can't wait to hear feedback. Happy Cooking.

Try These With Harissa

Harissa Chickpeas Sweet and Spicy Mango Harissa Chicken Wings Roasted Cauliflower with Couscous Salad

Homemade Harissa Paste

5 (4 reviews)
Homemade Harissa Paste
Total Time: Prep Time: Cook Time: Cuisine: Moroccan () Difficulty: Easy
Yields: 3/4 Cup - Serves: 8



  • 1. Rehydrate Chilies Boil a cup of water. Add to a bowl with dried chilies. Soak until skin is soft and pliable. Once soft, open each chili, remove seeds and stems. Reserve skin. Set aside. Additional Notes: You can leave seeds intact if you prefer heat in paste.
  • 2. Toast and Grind Spices Heat a dry skillet, add coriander and caraway seeds. Toast until seeds are fragrant. (30 sec - 1 min). Keep an eye. Don't let seeds burn. Add seeds to spice grinder and grind. Set aside.
  • 3. Fry Garlic Heat a tbsp of olive oil, add garlic and fry until golden from all sides. Stir often. Don't let garlic burn.
  • 4. Blend Harissa Paste Add chilies - rehydrated and fresh, ground spices, fried garlic with oil, and all remaining ingredients to a blender jar. Pulse until smooth paste forms. See Note 3. Refrigerate harissa in a container with lid.
Savita's Notes:
  1. For sweeter harissa paste, use two roasted bell peppers. For spicier harissa paste, skip adding roasted bell pepper.
  2. For more lemony harissa, add more lemon juice per taste. Can also use red wine vinegar instead of lemon juice.
  3. Refrigerate harissa in a container with lid. It keeps for a week. For longer shelf life, drizzle a thin layer of olive oil to cover the surface.
  4. For stronger spice flavor, add a tsp of cumin seeds when dry roasting spices.

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4 Responses

  1. I had been using shop-bought harissa for years before I found this recipe. So easy to make and has twice as much flavour compared to the ones from shops. Thanks for a great recipe!
  2. Such a handy recipe to have up my sleeve. I never like to be too far from Harissa paste!
  3. I never thought harissa was so simple to make! I just made my own batch and loved it! theres no way back!
  4. I cant believe how easy this harissa paste is to make. Will never buy it again.