Harissa powder

Harissa powder, the heart and soul of North African foods, is your gateway to culinary adventures brimming with spice and flavor. It’s known for its bold, spicy, and aromatic flavor profile, making it a versatile ingredient in various dishes.

In this guidance, we’ll delve into the world of harissa seasoning, exploring its origins, ingredients, and how to create your own harissa powder. Prepare to embark on a gastronomic adventure that encompasses everything from homemade harissa powder recipes to ingenious ways of using this versatile spice blend to transform your dishes.

What is Harissa Powder?

Harissa powder is a quintessential spice blend originating from Tunisia. It’s celebrated for its fiery and complex flavor profile, resulting from carefully selected ingredients.

The core components of harissa seasoning typically include dried red chilies, garlic, cumin, coriander, caraway seeds, olive oil, and sometimes a hint of lemon juice. However, it’s crucial to recognize that variations in the recipe exist, making each blend unique.

Make Your Own Harissa Powder 

Making homemade harissa powder allows you to tailor the blend to your preferences. Here’s a simple harissa powder recipe to get you started:


  • 12 dried red chilies (adjust to your preferred spice level)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt to taste


  • Begin by soaking the dried chilies in hot water for approximately 30 minutes until they soften.
  • Drain the chilies and remove the stems and seeds if you prefer a milder blend.
  • In a spice grinder or food processor, combine the soaked chilies, garlic, cumin, coriander, caraway seeds, and a pinch of salt.
  • Transfer the powdered blend to a bowl and incorporate olive oil and lemon juice. Adjust the salt to taste.

Use Harissa Powder in Your Kitchen

Now that you’ve crafted your homemade harissa powder, let’s see innovative ways to use this delicious spice blend in your cooking:

Flavorful Marinades:

Elevate your proteins, be it chicken, lamb, or tofu, by marinating them in a blend of harissa powder, yogurt, buttermilk, and a touch of lemon juice. Allow the flavors to meld for a few hours or overnight for a succulent, tastebud-tingling experience.

Roasted Veggie Delight:

Imbue roasted vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, or cauliflower with a smoky and spicy essence by tossing them in harissa powder before placing them in the oven. The fiery heat of harissa powder complements the caramelized goodness of roasted veggies delightfully.

Harissa-Infused Dips:

Add a teaspoon of harissa powder to transform your hummus or yogurt-based dips into a spicy revelation. The result is an enticing dip that pairs harmoniously with pita bread or fresh veggies.

Spice up Grilled Delicacies:

For a swift and flavoursome seafood dish, marinate shrimp in harissa powder, olive oil, and a splash of lemon juice before grilling them to perfection. The marriage of spiciness and seafood sweetness is a culinary delight.

Delectable Harissa Couscous:

Combine cooked couscous with harissa powder, toasted pine nuts, and a medley of freshly chopped herbs for a side dish bursting with flavor and texture. It’s quick to prepare and even quicker to disappear from your plate.

Dressings with Zest:

Whisk together harissa powder, olive oil, lemon juice, and a hint of honey to craft a refreshing salad dressing. Drizzle it over your favourite greens or use it as a marinade for grilled vegetables.

Elevate Soups with Harissa:

Add depth and heat to soups such as tomato, lentil, or chicken by incorporating a teaspoon or two of harissa powder. This spicy addition transforms your comforting bowls into memorable culinary experiences.

Spicy Harissa Aioli:

Mix harissa powder with mayonnaise or Greek yogurt to create a fiery aioli. This versatile condiment is perfect for dipping fries or spreading on sandwiches and burgers for an extra kick.

Harissa-Flavoured Pizza:

Give your homemade pizza a unique twist by using harissa powder as a pizza sauce or drizzling it over the top after baking. The combination of spiciness and savory is a game-changer for your pizza nights.

Harissa-Rubbed Roasts:

Transform your roast meats, whether lamb or chicken, into culinary masterpieces by rubbing them with a blend of harissa powder, garlic, and olive oil before roasting. The result is succulent, flavourful, and sure to impress your guests.

Variations in Harissa Spice Blends 

Harissa spice blends are not one-size-fits-all; they can vary in spiciness and flavor profiles. For a unique twist, some versions may incorporate additional ingredients like smoked paprika, sun-dried tomatoes, or even rose petals.

When using store-bought harissa spice blends, be sure to check the label for information regarding spice levels and additional ingredients.

Traditional Tunisian Harissa: The Fiery Classic:

The classic Tunisian harissa spice blend is a fiery and bold mixture centered around dried red chilies. It often includes garlic, coriander, and cumin, creating a smoky and intensely spicy flavor.

Olive oil is used as a binder to lend a silky texture to the blend. This traditional version forms the foundation for many other Harissa variations.

Moroccan Harissa: A Hint of Sweetness:

Moroccan harissa spice takes a slightly different route by incorporating additional elements like paprika and a touch of sweetness from ingredients like honey or sugar.

This version offers a more balanced profile, with the spiciness of chilies complemented by the smokiness of paprika and the subtle sweetness.

Tunisian Rose Harissa: Floral Complexity:

Rose harissa, a variation of the classic, incorporates rose petals, which introduce a unique floral dimension to the spice blend. The rose petals impart a delicate and aromatic quality, balancing the heat of the chilies and creating a more complex flavor profile.

Smoked Harissa: The Essence of Fire:

Smoked harissa is known for its deep, smoky flavor, achieved by using smoked dried chilies or adding smoked paprika to the blend. This version appeals to those who enjoy a rich, smouldering undertone alongside the spice.

Harissa Paste: A Versatile Condiment:

While not a dry spice blend, harissa paste is a popular variation that combines harissa spice with additional ingredients like tomato paste and roasted red peppers. It creates a thicker, spoon able condiment that’s easy to spread on sandwiches, use as a dip, or mix into stews and sauces.

Harissa with Spices: Complexity Galore:

Incorporating additional spices like cinnamon, cloves, or cardamom into harissa spice offers a complexity that pairs wonderfully with various dishes, from meats to vegetables.


Q: What is harissa powder?

Harissa powder is a blend of spices commonly used in North African foods. It adds a spicy and flavourful taste to dishes like stews, marinades, and sauces.

Q: What is in harissa powder?

A: Harissa powder contains red chili peppers, garlic, and other spices, giving it a delicious and fiery taste.

Q: Is harissa spicy?

A: Yes, harissa is indeed spicy! 

Q: What is harissa seasoning?

A: Harissa seasoning typically contains a mixture of dried spices and herbs that capture the essence of harissa paste in a convenient dry form.

Q: What is harissa spice?

A: Harissa spice typically contains a blend of dried chili peppers, garlic, cumin, coriander, caraway seeds, and other aromatic spices.

Q: How to use harissa?

A: You can use harissa to add a spicy kick to your dishes. Try mixing it with olive oil and using it as a marinade for meats or as a sauce for roasted vegetables.

Q: What is in harissa spice?

A: Harissa spice is a blend of chili peppers, garlic, cumin, coriander, caraway, and other spices. It’s a flavorful and spicy seasoning!


In conclusion, harissa powder is your passport to a world of intense flavors and culinary creativity. This fiery and aromatic spice blend, rooted in North African cuisine, can transform ordinary dishes into extraordinary culinary experiences.

Whether you craft your own harissa powder or a store-bought blend, the versatility and boldness of harissa spice are undeniable.

So, embrace this flavor-packed journey, experiment with unique recipes, and let the spicy allure of harissa powder infuse your kitchen with excitement.

These tips and recipes inspire you to explore the delicious world of harissa spice! Enjoy experimenting with this fiery and flavorful ingredient in your cooking adventures.

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