Heard of harissa? This spicy condiment isn't just for North African or Middle Eastern cuisine—it adds flavorful heat to all of your favorite meals.

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harissa paste and sauce

Harissa is a spicy pepper-based condiment and seasoning made with both hot chile peppers and sweet red peppers, along with garlic and other spices like cumin, coriander and caraway seeds.

It's a signature ingredient in North African and Middle Eastern cuisines, frequently seen in Tunisian, Moroccan and Algerian recipes.

But its complex blend of flavors makes harissa a versatile addition to almost any dish regardless of provenance, as you'll see below.

Where to Buy Harissa

These days, harissa is easy to find at most grocery stores (including Trader Joe's!) as well as online. It comes either in a tube or in a jar.

The tube version of harissa is similar in texture to tomato paste. It's typically more intense and spicy than the kind in a jar, since its flavor is concentrated.

This is a fantastic option when you're adding harissa to spice rubs or adding it in place of dried spices. A little goes a long way, so taste as you go.

Jarred harissa has a looser consistency, similar to salsa or marinara sauce. And like those ingredients, it can be used as a finishing touch to a meal, or spooned into dishes like stews or grain dishes to add flavor.

Ways to Use Harissa in Recipes

Hot sauce is always a must-have on the brunch table for shaking over eggs and home fries, so why not do the same with harissa?

harissa eggs on toast

Spoon it onto scrambled egg or avocado toast, add a few dollops to a breakfast burrito, or blend some into a batch of egg cups before baking.

Give the usual salad lunch a kick with a dab of harissa. Just whisk it together with oil and vinegar or citrus juice for a quick homemade vinaigrette, or add to your favorite bottled dressing.

Try it in this vegetarian Buddha bowl.

Blend harissa with olive oil as a simple way to season proteins, such as chicken breasts or thighs, pork or lamb chops, or even sliced tofu, before roasting. Add fresh or dried herbs to change up the flavor profile. Try it in the Sheet-Pan Harissa Chicken & Vegetables recipe pictured below.

harissa chicken sheet pan

Swirl harissa into plain Greek yogurt or your favorite creamy ranch dip, and you're ready to start dipping. Serve with crisp vegetables for a new take on a party classic.

harissa yogurt dip

Instead of shaking in regular dried chili powder, add a few teaspoons of harissa to your favorite chili and stew recipes as they simmer.

Try it in this lamb and chickpea chili.