Baharat spice is a traditional seasoning used in Middle Eastern cuisine. Make it at home to add its bold flavor to your favorite recipes.
What is baharat spice blend?
This blend is a combination of warm and earthy spices that add a sweet, smoky flavor with just a bit of heat.
Just as garam masala is a staple in Indian cuisine, baharat is used in many Middle Eastern dishes. The ingredients can vary depending on the region, but every blend has the same basic ingredients.
Another common blend of spices, ras el hanout has several additional ingredients that make it more fragrant and slightly sweeter in flavor.
And although za’atar 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
Note: This is just a partial list of ingredients. For the full ingredient list, see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Cinnamon sticks - I like to use whole sticks rather than ground cinnamon. Toasting the sticks first brings out more of the warm spicy flavor.
- Sumac - Made from ground sumac berries, this spice has a tangy lemon flavor, but without the full tartness of actual lemon juice. It’s slowly becoming more common in the United States, but you may need to visit a Middle Eastern market to find it.
- Ground sweet paprika - While all paprika is made from dried red peppers, the different varieties available can create sweet, hot, or smoked paprika. Regular paprika is the sweet variety, so you should already have some on hand.
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!
- Toast whole spices: Place the cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, cumin, and coriander seeds in a dry skillet and heat until fragrant. Stir or shake the pan occasionally to prevent them from burning.
- Grind and cool: Allow the spices to cool slightly before grinding into a powder, then set aside to cool completely.
- Mix and store: Next, combine the remaining spices in a bowl. Once cooled, mix in the toasted spices until well incorporated. Spoon into a glass jar with a lid.
Uses for the spice blend
You can often find a bowl of this on Middle Eastern tables, just as we keep salt and pepper on ours here in the U.S.
I like to use it as a dry rub for grilled chicken or steak, or to add flavor to hard boiled eggs. There are plenty of other ways to incorporate it into your cooking, too.
- Marinades and sauces
- In Couscous dishes
- In soups and tagines
- Rubbed on fish or vegetables
- Sprinkled over rice dishes
- Use it for ground beef or lamb kabobs
- On flatbread with oil
- 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 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.
Baharat Spice Blend
- 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
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ 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 ¾ cup.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.