Homemade lemon harissa powder is wonderfully spicy with a hint of citrus flavor! This dynamic seasoning blend will add so much to your favorite savory recipes. Plus, when you make spice blends yourself, you know exactly what’s in them!
In recent years I’ve gotten really into concocting my own spice and seasoning blends. It all started when I began to realize that I didn’t actually know what was in the store-bought versions. Weird ingredient lists, including words that are over 20 letters long, just really started to rub me the wrong way. So, what’s a chef to do when they don’t like what they’re seeing in the store? Make it themselves, of course!
I’ve already experimented with a Turkish spice blend, this Lebanese zaatar spice blend, and Indian chana masala powder. And, today’s recipe isn’t my first harissa rodeo — I’ve even made a traditional Moroccan harissa chili paste.
I like this citrus harissa powder for its fiery and bold flavor. It goes so well with a myriad of things, such as chicken (try out this recipe), and is a wonderful add-on to Moroccan shakshuka. Its complex flavors bring out the best of the ingredients that you pair it with. It’s a chef’s dream, especially if you like making Middle Eastern and Mediterranean-inspired dishes!
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Guajillo Chiles - As a rule, you’re going to need to use all dried chiles for this recipe. Guajillo chiles are spicy, smokey, and feature a slight berry flavor.
- Chiles de Arbol - These chiles are hotter than jalapeños but milder than cayenne peppers. They also have an interesting nutty side to them — toasting them really brings that side of them out!
- Red Chiles - You can feel free to use your preference here. I usually use dried red jalapeños, Fresno, or Thai Bird's Eye chiles.
- Coriander Seeds - Just like you need to use all dried chiles, you also need to use seeds instead of ground spices for this blend! Coriander seeds are earthy and sweet. Hints of floral get released when toasted!
- Caraway Seeds - This ingredient boasts a very complex and dynamic flavor. It’s nutty, citrusy, and peppery, and also has a bit of anise flavor to it. It’s one of my favorites.
- Cumin Seeds - I’m a huge fan of ground cumin and I also love it in seed form! It is warm, earthy, and rich.
- Dried Lemon Peel - Here’s where the citrus flavor in this lemon harissa powder comes from! I typically use Penzy’s dried lemon peel, but you can also make it at home. See the recipe card below to learn how!
- Garlic Powder - My favorite savory seasoning of course makes an appearance here! It’s slightly sweeter than fresh garlic.
- Salt - To round out the rest of the spices.
HOW TO MAKE LEMON HARISSA POWDER
1. Toast The Ingredients. Toasting dried chiles and seeds work wonders. This quick toasting method brings out the best of their flavors and aromas! Place a skillet over medium heat and dry toast the chiles for 3 minutes. Then, add the coriander, caraway, and cumin seeds and toast for 2 more minutes. Let everything cool before moving on to the next step.
2. Grind The Spices. Add the toasted chiles and seeds, dried lemon peel, garlic powder, and salt to a spice grinder. You can also use a food processor or a coffee bean grinder if you don’t have one. Pulse until the mixture is finely ground. You may have to do this step in batches — that’s perfectly fine!
3. Store For Later. Once you’ve got your harissa powder at the consistency you’re after, you can place it in an airtight container. This recipe will get you a little over ¾ of a cup in total. It will keep for up to 6 months!
What Is Harissa Powder Used For?
You can use my lemon harissa powder for a variety of recipes! It pairs wonderfully with poultry, seafood, lamb, soups, stews, and couscous. I also love the idea of using it as a dry rub for steak or beef. I’ve already linked a few recipes above, and I encourage you to check out these as well.
What Does Harissa Seasoning Taste Like?
Harissa powder is spicy, peppery, and smokey. My take on it also includes a touch of citrus, thanks to the addition of dried lemon peel to the mix. You can play around with how hot it is depending on what types of chiles you use as well as the quantity. You can really tailor this recipe to your own personal preferences!
How Do You Use Harissa Spice Mix?
Again, this spice mix would work perfectly as a dry rub for roasting or grilling meats and seafood. You can also add a bit of olive oil or water to it to create a paste that you can use as a condiment. Don’t underestimate the power of a few sprinkles over eggs, in soups and salads too. Get creative!
Lemon Harissa Powder
- 8 dried guajillo chiles
- 8 dried chiles de arbol
- 4 dried red chiles (See Note 1)
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 tablespoon dried lemon peel (See Note 2)
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt
- I a skillet over medium heat, dry toast the chiles for 3 minutes. Add the coriander, caraway and cumin seeds and toast another 2 minutes. Let cool.
- To a spice grinder (or coffee bean grinder, food processor) add the toasted chiles and seeds, lemon peel, garlic powder and salt. Blitz until ground, doing this in batches if necessary.
- Store in airtight container, this makes a little over ¾ cup total.
- Dried Red jalapeno, Fresno or Thai Birds Eye chile.
- I typically use Penzy's Dried Lemon Peel, but if you want you can zest 2 whole lemons, place the zest on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and dry in 200°F oven for 10-15 minutes, checking often as not to burn, but dry out (shake pan to move lemon zest around).
*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.