How-to Make Harissa Paste

by Beth @ Tasty Yummies


Tutorial Tuesdays // Tasty Yummies How-to Make Harissa Paste // @tastyyummies //

I am so excited to share this simple tutorial showing you How-to Make Harissa Paste, because I fully believe everyone should have a jar of this stuff in their fridge at all times. This spicy red pepper paste is so incredibly delicious and so versatile. Think of it as a more refined sriracha. This aromatic and spicy, Tunisian hot chile sauce can be used to liven up dishes as you would any other hot sauce, it can also be used as a dip or a marinade. It brings a great depth of flavor to fish, meat, roasted vegetables, egg dishes, soups, stews, potatoes or rice. Add it to sandwiches, pizza, condiments like hummus or a homemade mayo. The list goes on and on and on some more. OK I’ve got one more, spread some of that harissa paste on some toast, add a lil avocado, maybe a fried egg. You are welcome.

Harissa is made by blending chiles into a thick paste with aromatic spices, a good quality olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and from there, the optional add-ins are endless. You can add roasted red pepper, roasted carrots or sun dried tomatoes, fresh herbs and so on.

Tunisia is the biggest exporter of pre-made harissa. In fact, harissa is often referred to as the National Condiment of Tunisia, so it’s perfect to go with my Terra Delyssa Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. But, no need to fly halfway around the world, for either one, harissa is quite simple to make this at home and customize it to your liking. You can easily adjust the level of heat by increasing or reducing the number of chiles or choosing chiles base on their spice. But do remember, harissa is meant to be hot!

How-to Make Harissa Paste // @tastyyummies //

How-to Make Harissa Paste


  • 1 whole roasted red pepper, seeds removed
  • 4 ounces dried hot red chiles, of your choice (see below)
  • 3-5 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons Terra Delyssa Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more to storing

Optional add-ins: sun dried tomatoes, tomato paste, roasted carrots, fresh mint or cilantro

Notes on Chiles: you can use any dried chiles that you like or have on hand. You can mix and match or just use one single type of chile. Most commonly used (and easy to find) are New Mexico and Guajillo chiles. You can also use Arbol or Cascabel. I always include Chipotles in my blend because I really love the smokey depth of flavor, Ancho chiles would also be great for this.

How-to Make Harissa Paste // @tastyyummies //

Rehydrate/soften the chiles. Pour boiling water over the dried chiles. Allow to soak for 20-30 minutes, until softened.

How-to Make Harissa Paste // @tastyyummies //

Toast the spices. While the chiles are soaking, toast the caraway, cumin and coriander seeds in a dry pan over a medium heat. Move the spices around often so they don’t burn. Toast until lightly browned and aromatic, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the pan.

How-to Make Harissa Paste // @tastyyummies //

Grind the spices. With a mortar and pestle or spice grinder (a coffee grinder will work, too) grind the spices into a powder.

How-to Make Harissa Paste // @tastyyummies //

Drain the chiles and combine them with the spices, garlic, lemon juice, salt and olive oil (and any other ingredients you are adding) in the pitcher of your high speed blender or food processor. ( I used my Vitamix 7500)

How-to Make Harissa Paste // @tastyyummies //

Make the paste. Blend until all of the ingredients come together in a smooth paste. You may have to add a little more oil or you can also add some of the water used to soak the chiles. Make as thin or as thick as you would like. Give it a taste and adjust your seasonings, if necessary.

How-to Make Harissa Paste // @tastyyummies //

Now, proceed to put it on ALL the things! Seriously.

Storage: transfer the paste into an airtight glass jar. Pour a small amount of olive oil over the top to create a thin layer. This paste will keep for up to a month in the refrigerator. You can add an additional layer of oil whenever you use it, this helps to preserve it.

How-to Make Harissa Paste // @tastyyummies //


I have a super delicious recipe featuring this amazing homemade harissa paste, ready for the site next week, so look out for that. In the meantime check out these recipes.


Recipes featuring Harissa Paste: 

Harissa Roasted Carrots with Preserved Lemons and Feta from Tasty Yummies

Harissa Lentils and Cauliflower from Naturally Ella

Carrot Harissa Hummus from Aida Mollenkamp

Moroccan Lentil Soup with Harissa from Healthy Green Kitchen

Spicy Harissa Greens and Roasted Carrot Rice Bowl from Beard and Bonnet

Butternut Squash and Chard in Spicy Harissa Coconut Sauce from Gourmande in the Kitchen

Zucchini Bites with Harissa, Goat Cheese, Lime and Mint from Blogging over Thyme

 Samosa Croquettes with Harissa Yogurt Sauce from The Pig & Quill (sub GF panko)

How-to Make Harissa Paste // @tastyyummies //

Terra Delyssa is a sponsor of Tasty Yummies. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that allow me to create new and special content like this for Tasty Yummies.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sherrie | With Food + Love February 3, 2015 at 7:26 am

This is one of my favorite tutorials so far, I’m loving all the action shots + the breakdown on chili peppers, because that to me seems super intimidating. Beth you are one of the bests, xo.


2 Leah M @ love me, feed me February 7, 2015 at 2:33 pm

Ooooooh!! I have been wanting to make my own harissa for a while now. I bought my first jar of it not long ago and went through it so fast. It’s such a delicious addition to avocado on toast!


3 Kate February 9, 2015 at 12:13 pm

This is so in-depth and helpful! Thanks for another great tutorial.


4 Sailu February 23, 2016 at 6:03 am

Hi, just stumbled upon your beautiful blog. Love your tutorials esp the mayo and harissa paste. Nothing beats the flavor of home blended spice pastes. This African harissa paste is made with regular everyday Indian spices and so close to Indian flavors.


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