Muhamara is a roasted red pepper spread with elevated savory, sweet, smoky, and spicy flavors. Making the Syrian dip recipe takes just 15 minutes!
Sweet bell peppers are the base of some incredibly delicious dishes. Red or green stuffed peppers are fantastic, but my favorite way to enjoy bell peppers is roast them for a sensational spread or dip.
Cuisine: Syrian / Middle Eastern
Originally from Aleppo, Syria, this spicy dip is popular in other Middle Eastern countries as well.
Alternate Names/Spellings: Muhammara dip, Syrian red pepper spread
Course: Appetizer / Snack / Mezze
Recipe Difficulty: Easy 🥄
Spicy spread or dip made from roasted red peppers blended with olive oil and spices.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Red bell peppers - Roast the peppers yourself, or use jarred roasted red peppers to save time. Just be sure to drain the jarred variety well so the liquid doesn't make the dip watery.
- Walnuts - For a nut-free muhamara dip, substitute hemp seeds or sunflower seeds instead.
- Pomegranate molasses - A staple in Middle Eastern cuisine, this condiment is simply a pomegranate juice reduction. You'll find it at specialty shops like Trader Joes and Whole Foods, online at places like Amazon, or at Middle Eastern markets. There are substitutes listed in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Aleppo chile flakes - These have a subtle heat as well as a slightly fruity flavor that’s similar to raisins and sun-dried tomatoes. If you can’t find this particular spice, replace it with half the amount of crushed red pepper flakes instead.
- Panko breadcrumbs - Made from crustless white bread, these are lighter and crunchier than typical breadcrumbs. Substitute with an equal amount of ground almonds if you prefer.
If you enjoy this Syrian red pepper spread, I think you'd enjoy my recipe for mutabal. It’s a Middle Eastern dip made with charred eggplant and tahini, with a topping of fresh pomegranate arils.
Video: Making Muhammara Dip
Want to see the process of making the spread, from start to finish? Just watch the video located in the recipe card at the bottom of this post!
Once everything is roasted, toasted, and browned, blend it all together into a delicious dip and top with a drizzle of olive oil. If you like it extra spicy, add more Aleppo chile flakes and a dash of cayenne.
If you’ll be roasting the red bell peppers yourself, start with those, since they take about 40 minutes in the oven.
- Toast the walnuts: Add the nuts to a dry skillet and cook until toasted and fragrant, stirring occasionally. Remove and set aside.
- Make the base: In the same pan, saute the onion in oil until browned. Then stir in the garlic, tomato paste, cumin, and chile flakes.
- Blend the dip: Transfer the ingredients from the pan to a food processor with the roasted peppers and remaining ingredients. Blend until combined, then add the toasted walnuts and blend again.
- Garnish and serve: Spoon the muhamara into a shallow dish and top with olive oil, fresh parsley, and extra walnuts.
- Storage - Keep the muhammara dip in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week, if it even lasts that long!
- Texture - I like to leave the spread a bit chunky for a more rustic texture, but you can easily blend it until smooth if you prefer.
- Chill - While it’s delicious fresh, the flavors intensify once it has been chilled. So whip up a big batch to enjoy throughout the week, or make it ahead of time for a social gathering.
More Uses for Muhamara
Typically, the dip comes with a side of warm khubz (pita) or fresh vegetables. However, there are many other ways to enjoy it! Try it in any of the following ways:
- Spread on toast and sandwiches
- As a dipping sauce for grilled meats like lamb koobideh and ground beef kefta, or fish meatballs
- Spooned over a Lebanese salad
- In a mezze with other dips like skordalia, homemade tahini dip, or Mediterranean hummus
Muhamara (Red Pepper Spread) + Video
- 2 lbs red bell peppers (See Note 1)
- 1 cup walnuts
- ⅓ cup olive oil divided
- 1 cup red onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp Aleppo chile flakes (See Note 2)
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs (See Note 3)
- 1 ½ tbsp pomegranate molasses (See Note 4)
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- olive oil
- 2 tbsp walnuts chopped
- 1 tbsp parsley chopped
- Toast the 1 cup + 2 tablespoons for walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes. Separate and set aside.
- Roasted Peppers: If using jarred, roasted red bell peppers go to Step 3 below, if making from scratch preheat oven to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and oil the peppers. Place on baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes, or until softened and charred. Turn once during roasting. Remove from oven, place in a bowl and cover with towel and cool for 15 minutes. When cooled, remove and discard the skin, seed and stems. You should have 14 ounces total weight.
- In a skillet over medium heat add 2 tablespoons oil and saute the onion until browned, about 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato paste, cumin and chile flakes. Cook another minute. Spoon into a food processor along with the roasted peppers, 1 tablespoon of oil, breadcrumbs, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Process for 30 seconds and then add 1 cup toasted walnuts. Process again for another 30 seconds to keep chunky.
- Transfer to a shallow serving dish, top with a drizzle of olive oil, reserved 2 tablespoons of toasted walnuts (crush with hands) and parsley. Great with warm pita to scoop or vegetables.
- Feel free to use jarred, drained roasted red bell peppers. I find them in 12 ounce jars at Trader Joes, Whole Foods, your local market or online. This recipe calls for 14 ounces, so buy 2 jars.
- If you can 't find Aleppo chile flakes, substitute 1 teaspoon of red chile pepper flakes.
- You can substitute an equal amount of ground almonds.
- Pomegranate molasses can be found in most Whole Food Stores or Persian and Middle Eastern food markets and online for ordering. You can also substitute with any of the following: Fresh pomegranate seeds, pomegranate juice + sugar (or honey) with lemon or lime juice.
*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.