Homemade Harissa

A whole lot of spice…

Tunisian harissa paste can be very unassuming. It may look mild mannered for a chili paste, but inside is a world of exotic flavors, from coriander and caraway to cumin and mint. It’s a chili paste that’s wide open for experimentation, too, and you’ll see that played out in stores and restaurants. Harissa recipes will differ based on the ingredients chosen and the chilies used.

Of course, experimenting with chilies is what gets us the most excited, and we leave the door wide open in this homemade harissa recipe. You can opt for mild and smoky and choose ancho peppers as a chili base or go for hot, hot, hot and pick up dried Thai chilies. In-between are so many options, but we provide you with our four favorites below.

Homemade harissa is a keeper, but it’s only just the tip of the iceberg in our spicy recipe index. We have many other tasty homemade chili paste recipes – all perfect starting points for culinary experimentation. Try this easy version of homemade gochujang, the ever-popular Korean chili paste. Or our Thai red curry and simple smoky chipotle pastes both deliver bold bites in very different ways.

homemade harissa

Homemade Harissa

4.67 from 3 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Condiment, Paste
Cuisine Tunesian
Servings 10 servings
Calories 65 kcal


  • 4 ounces dried chilies
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled
  • 1 teaspoon ground caraway
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  • Rehydrate your dried chilies (see instructions here), then remove stems and seeds.
  • Place the chilies garlic, caraway, coriander, cumin, mint, cilantro, and salt in a food processor.
  • Pulse blend the mix while slowly adding olive oil to reach your preferred consistency. Add additional ingredients as needed to taste.
  • Serve immediately with a drizzle of olive oil on top or, for the best flavor chill the harissa overnight. Place the harissa in a sealable jar topped with a light coating (1/2 teaspoon) of olive oil.


Experiment with the dried chilies used in this homemade harissa paste to change the overall flavor. Here are our favorites, based on heat and flavor profile:
Ancho chilies: Mild and slightly smoky
Guajillo chilies: Mild and sweet
Chipotle chilies: Medium and smoky
Thai chilies: Hot and earthy


Calories: 65kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 1gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 244mgPotassium: 220mgFiber: 3gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 3010IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 12mgIron: 1mg


Keyword Ancho Pepper, Chipotle Pepper, Guajillo Pepper, Thai Pepper
Did you make this?Mention @PepperScale or tag #PepperScale so we can see what you made!

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on August 17, 2019 to include new content. It was originally published on February 1, 2016.