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Harissa Paste in a bowl with dried chillis and salt

Harissa Paste

  • Author: caroline
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Hot, earthy and delicious. This Harissa Paste is super easy to make at home and is great as a dip, for rubbing over meat or even spooning onto pizza.

The default recipe makes 4 portions (of 2 tbsp each)


  • 515 dried chillis (see note 1 & 2)
  • 4 large garlic cloves, crushed or grated
  • 60ml / 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon – juice only (around 2 tbsp)
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree (see note 3)
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika (see note 4)


    1. Use scissors to snip off the top of the chillis and tip out the seeds. (see note 5)
    2. Place the chillis in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for 30 minutes.
    3. Drain the chillis and transfer around a third of them to a food processor/blender. 
    4. Add the remaining ingredients and season well with salt and pepper. Blitz until you have a smooth paste. Taste and add more chillis until you reach the heat you want. 
    5. Transfer to a sterilised jar with a lid (see note 6). Cover with a thin layer of olive oil between uses to prevent air from getting to the paste. Keep in the fridge for up to 1 month.


    1. Type of chillis – If you don’t have a wide selection available you can buy some generic dried chilli from Amazon. However, if you want to go the authentic route, and you can manage to get your hands on dried Baklouti peppers then this is the traditional pepper used in the dish. They are also quite large and fairly mild. An alternative to Baklouti is Mexican dried Guajillo chillis (available on Amazon) as they are also large and again, fairly mild.
    2. The reason for such a wide number of chillis stated in the recipe is because there is such a broad spectrum of heat depending on which chillis you use. Around 10 works for me (using generic, small red chillis)
    3. In the UK you’ll need to look for tomato puree and in the US look for tomato paste – it’s the very thick tomato paste that you can buy in tubes or small pots that you need! 
    4. You can use smoked paprika instead – I just like the extra sweet notes that sweet paprika brings.
    5. If you like things very hot then you can skip the step of tipping out the seeds (and I’m sure this suggestion will make many chefs shudder). However, the seeds hold most of the heat in chillis so this will make it a little more palatable for many. 
    6. To sterilise a jar first wash it really well with soapy water, including the lid. Then transfer the jar and lid to a warm oven to dry. 
    7. You can also freeze the harissa for up to 3 months. Stir well to mix if it has separated when defrosted.
    • Prep Time: 40 minutes
    • Category: Sauce
    • Method: Blend
    • Cuisine: Tunisian


    • Serving Size: 1
    • Calories: 155
    • Fat: 14g
    • Carbohydrates: 7g
    • Protein: 1g

    Keywords: sauce, seasoning, dip, paste, tunisian, north african, spicy, hot, tomatoes