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A jar of Harissa on a wooden surafce with some chili peppers on the side and bread on the back.
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5 from 8 votes


Super easy and quick harissa recipe with fresh peppers and lightly seasoned.
Prep Time9 mins
Cook Time6 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Condiment, sauce
Cuisine: Middle East, North African
Diet: Halal, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 32 Tablespoons
Calories: 23kcal
Author: Amira


  • 1 pound (450g) red bell pepper
  • 1/2 pound (225g) red chili pepper, Note1
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice juice of one lime.
  • 1/4 cup olive oil more for drizzling.


  • Clean the bell peppers, core and seed then remove the white ribs. Cut in half.
  • Clean the hot pepper and remove the green part.
  • Place the peppers and garlic in a microwave safe dish, cover with plastic wrap. Make some holes in the wrap and microwave on high for 6-8 minutes until tender and soft. Note2
  • Let them stand a minute strain well then dice the peppers into smaller chunks.
  • In your food processor, place peppers, garlic, and all other ingredients.
  • Process until you reach the consistency you like. Note3
  • Pour into clean jars, drizzle thin layer of olive oil on top and seal the jars.
  • Refrigerate overnight before using.


Note1: I’ve used Fresno peppers, see post above for other peppers to be used. The ratio of bell pepper to hot pepper in harissa is up to you. Many Tunisian recipes use 1:1, few uses 1 :1/2 which is actually the ratio I used. A Tunisian woman noted that you can even make it all with just bell pepper if you cannot handle the heat. So it is actually all about you and what you like.
Note2: Do not add water, vegetables release their water and it will be enough for steaming.You can also place the peppers along with the garlic cloves in a steamer. Steam for 15-20 minutes.
Note3:If your sauce came out watery to your liking try running some through a sieve to take away some of the moistness. I've also seen some people cook it for like 5 minutes to thicken it.
Note4: It is better to use gloves when making the harissa to avoid what is known as "jalapeño hands".
Note5: This recipe makes 2 cups of harissa sauce to keep in your fridge for around a month. Make sure to seal it with a think layer of olive oil each time you take from it. Do not stir the olive oil in.
Note6: I've noticed that the heat was intense right out of the food processor but as the harissa stayed in the fridge the heat subsided. You can kick it back up if you with a pinch of cayenne pepper or to your liking.
  • You can actually make green harissa using green bell pepper and any green hot pepper like jalapeno.
  • I've noticed that many Moroccan cooks also add preserved lemons without the skin in making harissa. Some also uses vinegar.
  • Coriander. caraway. fresh cilantro. fresh or dried mint are among the warm spices you can add to the harissa.
How to use and serve harissa:
Harissa makes a great marinade for lamb or any meat, but you can also use it as a condiment. Try a dollop over your morning eggs or to give your hummus a bight color and a kick. I also add a bit to my tahini and baba ganoush. Use as a spread to your sandwiches or with couscous and Greek yogurt. Add it to your roasted veggies, it is an amazing addition to have in any meal throughout the day.
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Calories: 23kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 38mg | Potassium: 54mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 527IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg