Dried Chili Harissa Recipe

Vicky Wasik

Why This Recipe Works

  • A mix of fruity, mild dried chiles along with spicier varieties gives the harissa a balance of heat and flavor.
  • Toasting the chiles and spices releases their aromas.

Harissa is a versatile condiment that can be used to add a punch of spice to anything. This version is made with dried chiles and can be used as a spice rub or hydrated with water for a paste that's ready to stir into dressings, sauces, and more. This is a stripped-down, entry-level harissa that can be jazzed up with other spices or aromatics such as garlic, citrus zest, or even saffron.

Recipe Details

Dried Chili Harissa Recipe

Active 20 mins
Total 20 mins
Serves 16 servings
Makes 1 cup


  • 1 ancho chile (20g) (see note)

  • 4 guajillo chiles (30g)

  • 5 dried Kashmiri red chiles (12g)

  • 4 arbol chiles (3g)

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons (10g) ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon (4g) ground caraway

  • 1/4 cup (45g) extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons (30g) distilled white vinegar

  • 3/4 teaspoon (3g) Diamond crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use about half as much by volume or the same by weight


  1. Set up a rimmed baking sheet with a wire rack. Put on disposable latex gloves before handling the dried chiles. Using kitchen shears and, working over the wire rack, cut off the stems from the chiles and cut them into strips. Shake the sheet tray to separate the seeds from the chiles and discard.

  2. In a spice grinder working in batches, blend the dried chiles to a fine powder. In a dry sauté pan, toast the chile powder, coriander, and caraway over medium heat until fragrant. You can stop here and use the harissa in this dry form as a seasoning blend.

  3. To make the harissa paste, add 1 cup (240ml) water to the sauté pan and simmer until the paste is thick, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Finish the harissa paste by mixing in the olive oil, vinegar, and salt. The harissa is best the next day and keeps in the refrigerator for a month.

Special equipment

Spice grinder, Sheet tray, wire rack, gloves, kitchen shears


Mix and match any variety of dried chilies to make the harissa suit your taste. For a spicier condiment, incorporate smaller varieties; stick with larger chilies if you prefer to keep it mild.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
33 Calories
3g Fat
1g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 33
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 74mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 4mg 20%
Calcium 8mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 53mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)