Harissa sauce – warm up your winter cooking!

The timing is right for a repost of this recipe, with a lot of cold weather ahead. There’s nothing like a solid dose of internal heat to get the blood moving.


Hot and heavenly harissa sauce – lasts many moons without canning.

Harissa sauce – a tongue-taunting blend of dried cayenne peppers, garlic, olive oil and spices – is a staple in Mediterranean cooking and a constant little jar of joy in our fridge. Enjoy new taste sensations with a small amount of harissa in pasta sauce or chili, on burgers, in a steak marinade, with scrambled eggs… the list is endless if you like some fireworks shooting off in your mouth.

This was our main reservoir for harissa sauce – a cayenne-loaded ristra from Hatch, New Mexico. It’s since long gone.

It’s relatively easy to make, doesn’t need to be canned, and keeps well in the fridge for six months or more.

(my photo)

You’ll need:

To make about 20 ounces – or 1 1/4 pints:

  • small jars with tight lids for storage
  • 4 oz. dried cayenne peppers (or peppers of similar heat on the Scoville scale) I think it’s worth it buy a chile ristra from New Mexico… you’ll have plenty of peppers to cook with.
  • 10 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. dried mint
  • 1 tbsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
Do these things:

First, sterilize the jars in boiling water. If they’re not sterile, the sauce could spoil.

Wearing gloves (you don’t want anything from the cayenne pepper anywhere near your skin or eyes), chop the peppers, put in a bowl, cover with boiling water, and let soak for 1 hour. Now drain them and put in a blender/processor with all other ingredients, except start with only 1 tbsp. of oil. Process for about 20 seconds, scrape down the sides of the pitcher, and process again for about 30 seconds. Add 2 more tbsp. oil, process again, and repeat until all the oil is in and you have a thick gooey paste.

Spoon into clean jars, seal, and store in the fridge for up to six months.


There you have it.

Ned White

About Ned White

Ned White is a writer, novelist, crossword puzzle constructor, traveler through 49 states, and at times a danger in the kitchen. He lives with his wife in South Thomaston.