This Moroccan spice blend combines warm and smoky flavors, with a bit of spice. Make this Ras el Hanout recipe to use in any Moroccan or Middle Eastern recipe.
Like curry powders, there is no one Ras el Hanout recipe. It's an outrageously aromatic North African spice blend with its roots coming from the Maghreb, and influences from India. Perfect for tagines and a standard in Moroccan cooking.
Excluding Egypt, the Maghreb is basically an area that encompasses the western North African countries and those bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Those countries include Mauritania, Western Sahara, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya.
This pungent blend has a lot of Indian spices as well, namely coming from the ginger, cloves and cinnamon.
"Literally translated as “head of shop,” the Arabic phrase ras el hanout really means “top shelf.” Legend has it this Moroccan spice blend was created by North African spice dealers who would mix together the best of what they had on offer, thus creating a heady, aromatic signature blend—sometimes 50 individual spices deep." ~ Epicurious
Ingredients for Moroccan spice blend
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 bark - There are different varieties of cinnamon. If you're able to find Ceylon cinnamon bark, it is one of the best. The plant is native to Sri Lanka.
- Chiles- Dry red chili peppers come in several spice levels. The smaller peppers pack a mightier punch than the larger ones. Epicurious has a great article on how to buy and store dried chiles.
- Rose Petals- Don't use the petals from standard garden roses, as they will be filled with toxic chemicals (pesticides and fungicides). You'll need food grade rose petals, which you can typically find at tea stores, or online at places like Amazon.
- Lavender- The same rules apply for dried lavender as for rose petals. Only use food grade plant sources.
- Mint- Keep in mind that the flavor of dry mint is very potent. Use it sparingly, so as not to overwhelm the flavor of your Moroccan spice blend.
- Cardamom pods- If you're unable to find pods, you can substitute ground cardamom. Just know that the flavor will be milder.
The aroma of this homemade spice mix is amazing! It's almost like a potpourri, but definitely for cooking use only.
Uses for this Ras el Hanout recipe
Try it in this lamb tagine recipe, add it to roasted red pepper dip, or with grilled meats. I sprinkle it on top of hummus as well, and while I enjoy it, I find its use to be better suited in warm dishes.
I hope you give this recipe a try. You can find most of the ingredients at Whole Foods, Sprouts, or your neighborhood international market.
Here are two more ways to use the Moroccan spice blend.
Ras el Hanout Recipe (Moroccan Spice Blend)
- 8 cardamom pods (or heaping ½ tsp ground cardamom)
- 6 allspice berries (or 6 tsp ground allspice)
- 2 sticks cinnamon (3-inch sticks) (or 4 tsp ground cinnamon)
- 2 dried red chiles (or 1 tsp red pepper flakes)
- 2 tsp black peppercorns (or 3 tsp ground black pepper)
- 2 tsp coriander seeds (or 2 ½ tsp ground coriander)
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tsp dried mint leaves
- 1 tsp ground mace
- 1 tsp whole cloves
- 1 tsp anise seeds
- 1 tsp nigella seeds
- 1 tsp dried lavender
- 6 dried rosebuds
- In an electric coffee or spice grinder, blitz all of the ingredients to a powder.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
- This batch makes about ⅓ cup total of the spice blend.
*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.