Get to Know Harissa

What’s hot right now? Harissa! This spicy and aromatic chile paste is widely used in North African and Middle Eastern cooking. Here’s how to use it.

These days everyone is searching for more flavor and spice in their foods. Looking to other cultures is a great way to find new-to-you ingredients, especially if you like it hot. And not much is hotter than the fiery sauce called harissa.

Harissa is a condiment made of spicy chiles, somewhat similar to gochujang. It’s used often in North African and Middle Eastern cooking, adding a kick to dishes like tagines. Ingredients vary, but harissa commonly contains smoked chiles, garlic, olive oil, cumin and caraway.

Six-Ingredient Harissa-Turkey Chili

Six-Ingredient Harissa-Turkey Chili Recipe

Look for harissa in jars, cans or tubes in the international foods section. You can also sometimes find it as a spice powder instead of a paste, which we really love, too. Bonus, harissa is easy to make yourself using our simple harissa recipe. The paste will last for about a month, once opened. Store it in the refrigerator with a light layer of olive oil on top to help keep it fresh. Alternatively, you can freeze small amounts in ice cube trays and defrost cubes as needed.

Be careful when harissa adding to recipes — a little goes a long way!

Here are some great ways to use harissa:

  • Blend into hummus for a spicy dip.

  • Fold into scrambled eggs.

  • Swap harissa powder for your standard chili powder in your favorite chili recipe.

  • Mix with olive oil and brush over seafood before grilling, like these Grilled Scallop Kabobs with Harissa-Herb Sauce.

  • Stir into grain dishes like couscous or pilaf.

  • Use the powdered version to toss with popcorn.

  • Add to salad dressings for grilled vegetables like in our North African-Style Grilled Vegetable Salad.

Watch our video on harissa:

Do you use harissa? Share your favorite recipes!

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