Skip to main content
Alex Lau

This irresistibly smoky-spicy condiment lasts for a month and perks up everything from scrambled eggs to lamb chops.


Makes about 1½ cups


dried chiles de árbol


dried guajillo chiles


dried ancho chile


tablespoon cumin seeds

teaspoons coriander seeds


garlic cloves, smashed


tablespoons fresh lemon juice


tablespoon white wine vinegar


tablespoon tomato paste

teaspoons hot smoked Spanish paprika


teaspoon kosher salt


cup olive oil, divided


Step 1

Place árbol, guajillo, and ancho chiles in a large heatproof measuring glass. Pour boiling water over to submerge, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit until chiles are very pliable and cool enough to handle, 15–20 minutes. Drain; remove stems and seeds and discard (wear gloves for this part if you have them).

Step 2

Toast cumin and coriander in a dry small skillet over medium-low heat, tossing constantly, until very fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a food processor, add garlic, and pulse until spices are broken up and garlic forms a paste. Add chiles and pulse until chiles form a coarse paste. Add lemon juice, vinegar, tomato paste, paprika, and salt and process until mostly smooth but mixture still has a little texture. With the motor running, stream in ½ cup oil. Process until oil is incorporated.

Step 3

Transfer harissa to a bowl. Pour remaining ¼ cup oil over top.

Step 4

Do Ahead: Harissa can be made 1 month ahead. Cover and chill.

How would you rate Homemade Harissa?

  • Really tasty! I also deseed before soaking, and then after its well blended I push the harissa through a strainer to get rid of the bits of chile skin. It turns out velvety and smooth. Yum!

    • Cathy G.

    • San Antonio

    • 11/23/2021

  • I love this harissa recipe. I did have to do a little subbing because I couldn’t locate all of my dried peppers. I did toast a little caraway seed along with the cumin and coriander. My favorite harissa chicken recipe calls for a big scoop of the harissa, a big scoop of whole milk plain Greek yogurt, some crushed garlic and green onion chopped and a big ole’ glunk of olive oil and honey. Marinate overnight and then grill. I can’t wait! Bought the chicken thighs last night! Four star recipe for the harissa!

    • Retta Johnson

    • Birmingham AL

    • 9/4/2021

  • Delicious! Followed this recipe exactly as written except could not find hot smoked Spanish paprika so subbed a mix smoked paprikca with a 1/4 tspn of cayenne, and only 1/2 cup of oil instead of full 3/4 cup (just because!) My north African/middle-eastern husband was raving about it and we are putting it on everything! Great idea below to de-seed the peppers ahead of soaking as this was probably most time conuming part of the recipe.

    • Anonymous

    • Fort Lauderdale, FL

    • 8/30/2020

  • Lovely! I kept the amounts of everything the same, but I toasted my dry chile peppers (after seeding them) before soaking, and I used a bit of the EVOO to cook my tomato paste for a few minutes (I find that adds a nice dimension, and gets rid of any “raw” flavor that might come through).

    • Anonymous

    • North Carolina

    • 8/29/2020

  • I never would have considered making my own harissa pre-quarantine but here we are! I really wanted to make Harissa Chick Thighs but didn't have harrisa like I thought I did. This recipe was easy and the result was so delicious! I didn't have gualijos so used pasillas and didn't have anchos so used 2-3 chipotles from a can. Tastes amazing, can't wait to make my chicken!

    • Anonymous

    • Florida, USA

    • 4/5/2020

  • I love this! I’ve made it several times with a variety of peppers and it’s always delicious. Adjust the garlic/amount of spices to your taste, but it’s very good as is. The only change in directions I make, I seed the dried peppers before soaking them. It’s easier and you can save the seeds to plant in your own garden.

    • padams8

    • North Carolina

    • 1/12/2020