This recipe for baharat spice is an intoxicatingly aromatic blend of sweet, smoky, and earthy spices. This sumptuous spice blend features an all star cast of spices including cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, sumac, cumin and more.
I always get so excited when I get to share recipes like today’s Arabic recipe for baharat spice. When you master the art of making your own Spice Blends, it opens up a whole other world of culinary possibilities! This baharat spice blend comes to us from the rich culinary tradition of the Middle East.
A mainstay in Middle Eastern spice cabinets, this warming, enticing spice blend is surprisingly versatile. Baharat spice is used to season all varieties of meats, rice dishes, vegetables, and other foods. I’ve included a helpful list of more detailed suggestions later in the post.
Feeling inspired? For more easy yet exotic spice blends, check out my posts for Persian Advieh, Garam Masala, Chinese Five Spice, and Vindaloo Curry Powder.
What is baharat spice?
This all purpose seasoning mix is a combination of warm and earthy spices that add sweet and smoky flavors, with just a bit of heat.
Baharat is the Arabic word for “spice”, so it goes without saying that the blend can vary quite a bit from region to region.
Just as garam masala is a staple in Indian cuisine, baharat is used in many Middle Eastern dishes. The ingredients can vary, but nearly every version include black peppercorns.
Another common blend of spices, ras el hanout has several additional ingredients that make it more fragrant and slightly sweeter in flavor.
And although Lebanese zaatar comes from the same general region, it has a completely different base of ingredients. The flavors are nuttier and tangy, and it is most often found in dips or breads.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Cinnamon – Adds sweet, warming, and woodsy elements to mix. I prefer sticks, but ground cinnamon will work. Refer to the recipe card below for conversions.
- Black Pepper – Peppercorns bring a sharp, hot flavor blended with hints of citrus and pine. Ground black pepper is a fine substitute for whole peppercorns.
- Cumin – This superstar spice offers savory, earthy, and aromatic tones with just the right amount of smoky warmth. Cumin seeds or ground will work.
- Coriander – Coriander is light, sweet, citrusy, and floral. Once toasted, the flavor takes on a nutty element as well. You can use coriander seeds or the ground version.
- Sumac – This unique spice is tart, tangy, fruity and floral. Check the international aisle at the supermarket, a Middle Eastern market, or shop online. A tiny bit of lemon zest can work in its place, although it won’t be quite the same.
- Sweet Paprika – Made from ripe, sweet red peppers, sweet paprika is slightly fruity and sweet with just the right touch of peppery heat.
- Allspice – This dynamic, multidimensional spice gives us hints of fennel, star anise, nutmeg, cloves, black pepper, and cinnamon all from one amazing plant.
- Cardamom – Another complex flavor profile featuring piney, fruity, and minty elements.
- Cloves – Supremely aromatic and warming spice with hints of sweetness, astringency and bitterness.
- Nutmeg – Warm, earthy, and slightly sweet with the slightest whisper of citrus and cloves.
It’s simple to make homemade spice blends, and this baharat recipe is no different. Just toast the whole spices, then grind them and combine them together!
Video: How to Make Baharat
Watch the video located in the recipe card below to see just how easy this recipe is to make!
HOW TO MAKE BAHARAT SPICE
- Toast Seeds & Sticks. Use a saute pan to gently toast the cinnamon sticks, black peppercorns, cumin seeds, and coriander seeds. Remove from heat. Process into a fine powder using a blender or coffee grinder. Set the mixture aside to cool.
- Combine Ground Spices. Whisk the sweet paprika, sumac, allspice, cardamom, clove, and nutmeg together in a small bowl. Add the freshly ground, toasted spices and mix blend thoroughly.
- Transfer & Store. Transfer your spice mixture to a clean glass jar equipped with a tight fitting lid, then store in your spice cabinet. For maximum flavor, freshness, and potency, use your baharat spice blend within 3 months.
What is Baharat Spice Used For?
Baharat spice blend is deliciously versatile. Here are a few simple ideas to get you started:
- Use it as a dry rub for grilled chicken or steak.
- Add a dash to your favorite rice or couscous dishes like Moroccan Couscous with Pomegranate.
- Spice up your next soup, stew or try some in this Lamb Tagine.
- Sprinkle some on top of salads or enjoy with veggie sticks and hard-boiled eggs.
- Serve it with oil, flatbread, and White Bean Hummus.
- Season fish or poultry like this Baharat Spiced Chicken Kofta.
- Incorporate it into ground beef or use it with Beef and Lamb Koobideh Kabob.
- Enjoy it with dishes like this Turkish Chicken and Roasted Vegetables.
- Storage – Store the blend in a sealed jar in the pantry for up to 3 months. It’s still safe to use beyond that, but it won’t be as potent.
- Making larger batches – This baharat recipe makes enough to use it occasionally before the flavor starts to diminish. If you’ll be using it frequently, you can easily double or triple the amounts to make a larger amount.
- Variations – In Turkey, dried mint is often added to the blend, while dried rosebuds are a popular addition in North African countries.
- Health benefits – Surprisingly, most of the ingredients in this middle eastern spice blend contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Cinnamon and paprika are also high in Vitamin A, which supports bone health and a healthy immune system.
What is the Difference Between Za’atar and Baharat?
While za’atar and baharat spice blends are both common in Middle Eastern cuisine, they are quite different.
Made from spices like cinnamon, black pepper, cumin, and cloves, baharat is a warm, earthy mix with smoky, sweet, and slightly spicy tones.
Zaatar, on the other hand, is an herbaceous, aromatic, and nutty blend made by combining toasted sesame seeds with sumac, salt, and herbs like basil, hyssop, oregano, or thyme.
What is Baharat Spice Made Of?
Also commonly known as the “Lebanese Seven Spice Blend, ” baharat spice almost always includes these seven crucial spices:
- Black Pepper
These spices form the backbone of the baharat spice blend and, like all great spice blends, there are countless regional variations.
For example, in this version, we have also included sumac, sweet paprika, and allspice.
In North Africa, you might find rosebuds thrown in the mix, whereas the baharat blend in Turkey will likely contain dried mint. In the Persian Gulf, enterprising cooks have included dried lime powder and saffron in their blends.
The variety of spice blends is just as rich and varied as the cultures they have come from. What a gift!
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- 4 cinnamon (3-inch sticks) (or 8 tsp ground cinnamon)
- 2 tbsp black peppercorns (or 9 tsp ground black pepper)
- 2 tbsp cumin seeds (or 7 ½ tsp ground cumin)
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds (or 7 ½ tsp ground coriander)
- 2 tbsp sumac
- 2 tbsp ground sweet paprika
- 1 tbsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- Toast the cinnamon sticks, black peppercorns, cumin and coriander seeds in a sauté pan. Remove from the heat and add to a spice or coffee grinder to create a powder. Set aside and allow to cool.
- In a small bowl, add the sumac, paprika, allspice, cardamom, clove, and nutmeg. Whisk in the ground, toasted spices and transfer to a glass container with a tight fitting lid.
- Store in your spice cabinet and it will last about 3 months, after that the potency diminishes. Makes about 3/4 cup.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
this was great – only thing I did was to mix up the seasonings based upon your proportions for the one dish. I think I got it right, but will know more with the second and third making. 😀
Even my couscous hating Spousal Unit liked it. The rest of us loved it.
Fantastic! So happy both of you enjoyed this one Jannid. 🙂
Another killer spice blend you’ve opened my taste buds to, thanks! Especially for the whole to ground ratio measurements!
So glad you are following along and enjoying these Nat!