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Chef John's Harissa Sauce

Rated as 4.9 out of 5 Stars

"Harissa is probably my all-time favorite hot sauce, and one I'm sure you've seen me use in a bunch of recipes here. A small spoonful of this makes virtually any savory dish better."
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45 m servings 99
Original recipe yields 6 servings


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  1. Preheat oven's broiler and set the oven rack at about 6 inches from the heat source. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place red bell peppers with cut sides down onto the prepared baking sheet. Cook under the preheated broiler until the skin of the peppers has blackened and blistered, 5 to 8 minutes. Place the blackened peppers into a bowl and tightly seal with plastic wrap. Allow the peppers to steam as they cool, about 20 minutes. Remove and discard skins.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add Fresno and habanero chiles and cook uncovered over medium heat until vegetables start to soften, about 3 minutes; drain and set aside to cool. Remove seeds and membranes from chiles (wear gloves); set aside.
  3. Shake coriander and caraway seeds in a skillet over medium heat until you start to smell the spice, about 2 minutes. Use a mortar and pestle to crush toasted seeds; add cumin, mint, and salt, and crush until finely ground. Transfer spices to a blender and add roasted bell peppers, chiles, garlic, lemon juice, and vegetable oil; puree until smooth. Drizzle in extra-virgin olive oil at the end, blending for only a few seconds.


  • Cook's Note:
  • If you have a gas stove, you may use an open flame to roast the red pepper. Turn heat to medium high and roast pepper over the flame, turning occasionally until the skin has blackened and blistered, 8 to 10 minutes. Place peppers in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let steam. When cool, strip and discard skins.
  • Substitute any red chiles for Fresno chiles.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 99 calories; 7.2 9.6 1.7 0 326 Full nutrition

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Read all reviews 21
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I combined this recipe and another one on this site to make my favorite harissa ever. Instead of the fresno and habanero, I used fresh jalapeno peppers (4)and did NOT roast them, and instead of...

This is my third try making harrissa and I'm sticking with this recipe. I also used fresh jalapeno peppers instead of Fresno and it turned out great.

Background: grew up in Texas, travelled the world in the military and after, and grew up to love all things hot. THIS is the best hot sauce I've tasted bar-none. Only had one red bell, no min...

We used Tunisian bak louti peppers from our garden instead of the Fresno chiles, and it was so good. Thanks for all your great recipes and videos, Chef John!

YUM! I had a hard time getting the membranes off the peppers though. I might blanch a little longer next time. I also need the coriander and caraway seeds. I looked up substitutions and was able...

I loved the complexity of the flavours in this condiment. Delicious!

03/09/17 Made it! really good. Used Chipotle peppers instead of Fresno's because they weren't available. Still came out fantastic.

We love this sauce, goes great on eggs or meat. I upped the habanero peppers and substituted olive oil. I also use fresh cilantro instead of the coriander seed because I grow this. Plus I wil...

Thank You Chef John for another wonderful recipe. I usually don't write reviews if I change the recipe but this absolutely was amazing. I didn't have caraway seeds so I used cumin and it worked ...