Harissa Seasoning

Perfect as a rub…

If you want that delicious harissa heat mixed with exotic spices without the paste form, then a harissa seasoning is where to turn. Making this dried spice mix is very simple, too, as long as you have the dried chilies handy. The rest of the ingredients are common in well-stocked spice racks, like cumin seeds, smoked paprika, and garlic powder.

We love this harissa spice mix as a rub for steaks, chicken, or even a meaty fish. Or use it simply as additional spice for soups, spreads, and dips – like you would with harissa paste. Similarly to the paste, too, you can control the heat and flavor nuance by the choices you make in the dried chili used. We provide recommendations below on four chilies that will add varying levels of heat, sweetness, and smokiness to the seasoning. 

Harissa Seasoning

4 from 42 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins



  • Toast the cumin, coriander, and caraway seeds on a dry pan over low-medium heat. Toast only until they are fragrant.
  • Remove the seeds from the heat and, using a mortar and pestle, grind them into a powder.
  • Transfer the powdered seeds into a bowl, then add remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly.
  • Serve immediately or store in an air tight container.


Like with harissa paste, choose your chili pepper wisely to add nuance to the harissa spice mix. Here are four excellent alternatives:
Ancho chilies: Mild and slightly smoky
Guajillo chilies: Mild and sweet
Chipotle chilies: Medium and smoky
Thai chilies: Hot and earthy
Leave the seeds in when dicing for a hotter harissa. Remove the seeds for a milder version.


Did you make this?Mention @PepperScale or tag #PepperScale so we can see what you made!

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on February 21, 2021 to include new content. It was originally published on February 29, 2016.
    • Chilies are certainly the driving component here. If it’s the heat isn’t enough, consider using a hotter chili pepper as the base?

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