How To Make Harissa Paste

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Harissa paste is one of the many low-carb basics I make at home. This popular North African spice blend adds fantastic flavour to vegetables and meats. I like using it for marinating chicken, spicing up cauli-rice, or even mixing it with olive oil or full-fat yogurt and use as keto friendly salad dressing.

There is no one way to make Harissa and you can control the heat by using different chilies and spices. I make mine with mild, smoky chilies, toasted spices, garlic, lemon, olive oil, roasted bell peppers and a few sun-dried tomatoes that will add sweetness.

If you're using our KetoDiet App, you can find our Homemade Harissa Paste under the Ingredients section and when creating Custom Meals. This means that you can use any of the condiments we share on our blog to create your own meals!

Hands-on Overall

Nutritional values (per serving/ 1 tbsp/ 15 g/ 0.5 oz)

Net carbs1.8 grams
Protein0.6 grams
Fat1.9 grams
Calories29 kcal

Calories from carbs 27%, protein 9%, fat 64%

Total carbs2.9 gramsFiber1.1 gramsSugars0.3 gramsSaturated fat0.3 gramsSodium128 mg(6% RDA)Magnesium7 mg(2% RDA)Potassium136 mg(7% EMR)

Ingredients (makes 2 medium jars/ ~ 2 1/2 cups)

Spices for toasting:
  • 1 tsp whole caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds


  1. Use a combination of your favourite chilies. I used dried Guajillo, Ancho and Chipotle chilies and fresh sweet bell peppers. This combination results in moderately-mild spicy harissa. If you prefer more heat, add some Arbol chilies or skip the bell peppers. How To Make Harissa Paste
  2. Start by roasting the bell peppers in an oven preheated to 175 °C/ 350 °F. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the skin is charred and the peppers are soft. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool down. Put a piece of baking foil over the peppers and set aside until they are easy to handle. Then, peel the skin and remove the seeds. How To Make Harissa Paste
  3. While the peppers are baking, soften the dried chilies. Place the chilies in a pot and cover with boiling water. Place a lid on top and let them sit for 20-30 minutes. How To Make Harissa Paste
  4. Meanwhile, toast the spices. Place the coriander, cumin and caraway seeds in a hot pan and dry-roast briefly for just a minute or two. Grind the spices in a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder. How To Make Harissa Paste
  5. Drain the chilies, remove the stems and seeds. How To Make Harissa Paste
  6. Place everything in a food processor or blender: chilies, roasted and peeled bell peppers, toasted and ground spices, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, turmeric powder, salt, olive oil and lemon juice. How To Make Harissa Paste
  7. Process until smooth. How To Make Harissa Paste
  8. Place the paste in a jar and store in the fridge for up to a week. How To Make Harissa Paste Place any remaining harissa paste in an ice-cube tray and freeze for up to 3 months. How To Make Harissa Paste

Ingredient nutritional breakdown (per serving/ 1 tbsp/ 15 g/ 0.5 oz)

Net carbsProteinFatCalories
Peppers, ancho chile (chili), dried
1.1 g0.5 g0.3 g11 kcal
Caraway seeds, spices
0 g0 g0 g0 kcal
Spices, coriander seed
0 g0 g0 g0 kcal
Cumin, spices
0 g0 g0 g0 kcal
Peppers, red bell, fresh
0.3 g0.1 g0 g2 kcal
Sun-dried tomatoes (in oil, drained)
0.1 g0 g0.1 g2 kcal
Garlic, fresh
0.2 g0 g0 g1 kcal
Turmeric, spices (dried, ground)
0 g0 g0 g0 kcal
Salt, pink Himalayan rock salt
0 g0 g0 g0 kcal
Olive oil, extra virgin
0 g0 g1.5 g13 kcal
Lemon juice, fresh
0.1 g0 g0 g0 kcal
Total per serving/ 1 tbsp/ 15 g/ 0.5 oz
1.8 g0.6 g1.9 g29 kcal
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Martina Slajerova
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Martina Slajerova

I changed the way I ate in 2011, when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. I had no energy, and I found it more and more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.

That’s when I decided to quit sugar, grains, and processed foods, and to start following a whole-foods-based ketogenic approach to food.

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Comments (4)

Hi Martina,
Love, love , love all your recipes and wealth of information. Thanks so much for sharing !
For this recipe I do not have whole spices , can I use pre ground spices and roast them or do they need to be whole to be roasted ?  Thank you !!


Thank you for your kind words, Stephanie! Yes, you can use ground spices and add them directly to the blender. Toasting the whole spices adds flavour but it's not essential.


If I leave out a couple of the dried chilies will that make it more of a mild flavour? Just thinking might be too spicy for my kids.


I think it's best to only use Ancho and Guajillo chilies - these are mild-spicy. I hope this helps!