Harissa Seasoning

If you want that delicious harissa heat mixed with exotic spices without the paste form, then a harissa seasoning is where to turn. It’s perfect as a dry rub, but don’t overlook it as a general seasoning for many dishes.

Making this spice mix is very simple, too, as long as you have the dried chilies handy. You can always turn to our Spicery to get powdered forms of many the chili peppers we recommend here. We link below to our Holy Trinity pack that contains both ancho and guajillo powders. Yes, they are Mexican chilies, but they work very well in this harissa seasoning. The rest of the ingredients are common in well-stocked spice racks, like cumin seeds, smoked paprika, and garlic powder.

We love this harissa seasoning as a rub for steaks, chicken, or even a meaty fish. Or use it simply as additional spice for soups, spreads, and dips – like you would with harissa paste. Similarly to the paste, too, you can control the heat and flavor nuance by the choices you make in the dried chili used. We provide recommendations below on four chilies that will add varying levels of heat, sweetness, and smokiness to the seasoning. 

Like DIY seasoning blends? Take a look at these too:

  • Chili Lime Seasoning: This version is more complex that the popular Tajin, but still has that delicious spicy tang you want (and more!)
  • Homemade Piri Piri Seasoning: This one calls for piri-piri peppers, but cayenne can do in a pinch. It’s a bold spice, great as a steak or chicken dry rub.
  • Homemade Old Bay: Fan of the crab seasoning? Making it at home is a fun use of the spice rack. A lot of spices in play here.
Harissa seasoning recipe

Harissa Seasoning

3.97 from 55 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 1/2 cup dried chiles minced
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds


  • Toast the cumin, coriander, and caraway seeds on a dry pan over low-medium heat. Toast only until they are fragrant.
  • Remove the seeds from the heat and, using a mortar and pestle, grind them into a powder.
  • Transfer the powdered seeds into a bowl, then add remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly.
  • Serve immediately or store in an air tight container.


Like with harissa paste, choose your chili pepper wisely to add nuance to the harissa spice mix. Here are four excellent alternatives:
Ancho chilies: Mild and slightly smoky
Guajillo chilies: Mild and sweet
Chipotle chilies: Medium and smoky
Thai chilies: Hot and earthy
Leave the seeds and any pith in when dicing for a hotter harissa. Remove the seeds for a milder version.
Did you make this?Mention @PepperScale or tag #PepperScale so we can see what you made!

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on April 1, 2022 to include new content.
3.97 from 55 votes (54 ratings without comment)
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2 stars
Needs more chilies….