I love spicy food and and there are always at least two hot sauces in my pantry. And I’d rather make these sauces myself as I can customize them however I want. That’s why this homemade harissa beats any store bought hot sauce. It’s an easy and quick recipe and you can adjust the spiciness level according to your preferences.

It is said that harissa recipe was first developed by Tunisians, but later it became very common in Morocco and Algeria too. Basically, harissa is a mix of red chilis, garlic, spices and olive oil. And you can find it both as a paste preserved in a jar and also as a blend of dry spices.

Homemade harissa ingredients

In this paragraph you’ll find general information about necessary ingredients, their role and possible substitutes. Details about needed quantities and step-by-step preparation can be found in the recipe card at the end of the article.

Harissa ingredients: red chilies (fresh and dried), roasted red peppers, tomato paste, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, caraway, cumin, coriander, salt

Besides it’s quick and easy to prepare, harissa also requires just a few basic ingredients that usually don’t miss from anyone’s pantry:

  • red chilis – I used both fresh and dry chilis; if you wand a very smooth texture, better use only dry chilis (obviously, the smooth texture also depends on how good is your food processor πŸ˜‰); you decide whether you want to keep the seeds or remove them;
  • roasted red peppers – they give a nice smoky flavor and create a fine texture; feel free to add smoked paprika instead;
  • garlic – just a few cloves as the flavor should be very subtle;
  • spices – I used a mix of caraway, cumin and coriander; for a better flavor, you can use caraway and cumin seeds instead of powder; roast the seeds, then grind them and you’ll love it;
  • lemon juice – you can replace it with apple cider vinegar;
  • tomato paste
  • olive oil

On a scale from 1 to 10, where 10 is very hot, my harissa is like 13 😁 Crazy hot!! Feel free to adjust the chili quantity. And of course, it also depends on what type of chilies you’re using. They’re not all that hot.

Ways to use harissa

If it’s not too hot, you can use harissa as a dip for:

You can also add it to other sauces and marinates for a richer flavor and a bit of spiciness.

Harissa can be used as a spice in other recipes like homemade hummus, salads, stews or soups.

Spicy homemade harissa

If you like thisΒ simple homemade harissa recipe, please rate it or leave a comment below. And, if you prepare a hot chili paste using my recipe, you can share a photo and tag Choose Tasty either onΒ InstagramΒ (#choose_tasty) or onΒ FacebookΒ (#choosetasty). I’d love to see your creations.

Homemade harissa with spices

Homemade Harissa Recipe | North African Chili Paste

This spicy chili paste specific to North Africa is so full of flavors and enriches any dish you add it to. And it's so quick and easy to make at home. Plus, you customize it according to your heat index level.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine African
Servings 250 g


  • 6 fresh red chilis or less
  • 5 dry red chilis or less
  • 2 roasted red peppers
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Β½ tsp cumin powder
  • Β½ tsp coriander powder
  • Β½ tsp caraway powder
  • β…” tsp salt


  • Put the dry chilis in a small bowl with hot water; allow them to hydrate for 20 minutes;
  • (Optional) Remove chilis seeds;
  • Put all ingredients into a food processor and process until you get the desired texture;
  • Transfer harissa to a jar and put 1 tbsp of olive oil on top to store better (2-3 weeks in the fridge).


  1. It’s not mandatory to use both fresh and dry chilis; if using dry chilis, the texture won’t be very smooth (it also depends on the food processor you’re using).
  2. For a better flavor, I used caraway seeds which I roasted before processing into a grinder. Feel free to do the same using cumin seeds.
  3. If the paste is too thick, add more tomato paste or olive oil.
Keyword chili paste recipe, harissa recipe, homemade harissa

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