This Ras el Hanout recipe combines warm and smoky flavors, with a bit of spice. Make this homemade spice blend to use in any North African or Middle Eastern recipes.
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 spice 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 Ras el Hanout
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 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 African spice blend
Try it in this lamb tagine recipe, add it to muhammara 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 ras el hanout.
Moroccan Couscous with Pomegranate
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Moroccan Ras el Hanout Recipe
- 8 cardamom pods (or heaping ½ teaspoon ground cardamom)
- 6 allspice berries (or 1 teaspoon ground allspice)
- 2 sticks cinnamon (3-inch sticks) (or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
- 2 dried red chiles (or 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes)
- 2 teaspoon black peppercorns (or 3 teaspoon ground black pepper)
- 2 teaspoon coriander seeds (or 1 ½ teaspoon ground coriander)
- 2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 teaspoon dried mint leaves
- 1 teaspoon ground mace
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon anise seeds
- 1 teaspoon nigella seeds
- 1 teaspoon 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.
Sounds great! Just confirming that it is 6 teaspoons of ground allspice in the recipe?
That would be 6 allspice berries to equal 1 teaspoon ground Jacquie.
The aroma is amazing this is a wonderful spice mix.
Isn't this one fantastic? Try this in the lamb tagine Dave!
Quick question, Kevin. Do you dry roast these before grinding, or that doesn’t make any difference?
You can Cathy. If you like just dry roast for a minute or two the allspice, cinnamon, dried red chiles, black peppercorns and coriander seeds, then add to the mix.