Harissa (Moroccan Red Chili Paste)

Harissa is a chili paste used in a lot of North African foods. It is usually added to couscous, soups, and meat dishes. You can use any kind of chili depending on how spicy you would like the paste to be. I used Arbol chilis which are on the spicy side but you can use serrano, ancho, or guajillo chilies for a milder flavor. I don’t have a food processor so I ground up the garlic and chilies very finely in order to form a paste–and it still turned out pretty chunky. I am excited to try this out on the Moroccan tagine I will be making soon!

(Makes 2-3 Tablespoons)
Printable Version


  • 12 Arbol Chilies
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin


  1. Soak the dried chilies in hot water for 30 minutes. Drain and remove the stems and seeds.
  2. Mince the peppers by hand or grind in a food processor until smooth.
  3. In a bowl combine the chili pepper paste, garlic, salt, and olive oil.
  4. Add the remaining spices and blend to form a smooth paste.

3 Thoughts on “Harissa (Moroccan Red Chili Paste)

  1. Pingback: Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemon and Olives | The Partial Ingredients

  2. Pingback: Things I like Thursday! « Crazy Jamie's Blog

  3. Pingback: Harissa | The Restaurant at the End of My Universe

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