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Tasty Tweaks: 5 BEST Substitutes for Harissa Powder

Harissa powder adds a kick, to your dishes. It can be quite challenging to find a suitable replacement.. Fret not.

There are alternatives that will ensure your meals remain flavorful and satisfyingly spicy.

Don’t believe you’ll have to go without your spice mix? Think again.

Our selection of the 5 substitutes, for powder will elevate your culinary skills and keep your taste buds tingling with heat.

Prepare to maintain that flavor profile in the absence of your usual go to spice.

What’s Harissa Powder?

As mentioned above, harissa powder is a North African spice blend made from a variety of chili peppers, garlic, cumin, and other spices.

It is traditionally used as a condiment or rub for meats, but it can also be used to add flavor to soups, stews, and vegetables.

The powder has a fiery hot flavor with hints of smokiness and sweetness.

The exact composition of the spice blend varies depending on the region, but most blends contain at least some combination of chili peppers, garlic, cumin, coriander, caraway, and paprika.

While it is typically used as a seasoning for savory dishes, it can also be used to add a touch of heat to sweet desserts.

Harissa powder is readily available in many supermarkets and online retailers.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Harissa Powder

If you don’t have harissa powder on hand, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the same flavor in your favorite recipes.

Here are five of the best substitutes for harissa powder to help you add some spicy kick to your meal:

1 – Harissa Paste

Harissa paste is a Tunisian chili pepper paste that is traditionally used as a condiment.

It is made from a blend of chili peppers, garlic, olive oil, and spices such as cumin and caraway.

The paste can vary in heat, depending on the type of chili peppers used.

It has a fiery red color and a thick, almost paste-like consistency.

Harissa paste can be found in Middle Eastern grocery stores or online.

When used as a condiment, harissa paste adds a fiery kick to dishes.

It can be used to add flavor to stews, curries, grilled meats, or vegetables.

Harissa paste can also be used as a substitute for harissa powder.

To use it as a substitute, simply dilute the paste with water until it reaches the desired consistency.

2 – Chili Powder

Chili powder is a spice made from ground chili peppers.

It has a hot, spicy flavor and a slightly rough texture.

Chili powder is commonly used as a seasoning for food, but it can also be used as a substitute for harissa powder.

When substituting chili powder for harissa powder, it is important to start with a small amount and add more to taste.

This will help ensure that the dish does not become too spicy.

Chili powder can be added to food before or after cooking.

It can also be used as a topping for food, such as on tacos or nachos.

3 – Berbere Spice

Berbere spice is a key ingredient in many Ethiopian dishes.

It has a complex flavor that is both fiery and earthy, with notes of chili pepper, ginger, garlic, and cumin.

The spice is used to both flavor and color food, and it can be added to stews, sauces, soups, and marinades.

It is also commonly used as a dry rub for meats.

Berbere spice can be bought pre-made, or it can be made at home using a blend of spices.

When substituting berbere spice for other chili powders, it is important to keep the ratio of other spices the same.

Otherwise, the dish will not have the same flavor profile.

For example, if a recipe calls for one teaspoon of chili powder, then one should use one teaspoon of berbere spice.

With its unique flavor and versatility, berbere spice is a valuable addition to any cook’s pantry.

4 – Ras el Hanout

Ras el Hanout is a fragrant and flavorful spice blend that is popular in North African cuisine.

It typically contains a combination of spices such as ginger, cumin, cloves, and cinnamon.

The exact mix of spices can vary depending on the region and the cook’s preference, but the end result is always a delicious and aromatic blend.

Ras el Hanout has a warm and earthy flavor that pairs well with meats, vegetables, and couscous.

It can also be used to add depth of flavor to soups and stews.

If you are looking for a substitute for harissa powder, Ras el Hanout makes an excellent alternative.

Just add a teaspoon or two to your favorite recipe to enjoy the flavor of North Africa in your own home.

5 – Sambal Oelek

Sambal oelek is a type of chili paste that originates from Indonesia.

It is made from ground chili peppers, vinegar, and salt.

The taste of sambal oelek is very spicy and sharp.

The texture is smooth and slightly watery.

Sambal oelek can be used as a substitute for harissa powder in recipes.

To substitute, simply add 1-2 tablespoons of sambal oelek to the recipe in place of the harissa powder.

This will give the dish a more spicy flavor.

If you do not want the dish to be too spicy, you can always add less sambal oelek to the recipe.


In summary, there are several substitutes for harissa powder that can be used in recipes.

These include chili powder, berbere spice, ras el hanout, and sambal oelek.

Each of these has its own unique flavor and can add a delicious twist to your favorite dishes.

So the next time you find yourself out of harissa powder, don’t worry — one of these substitutes is sure to deliver the flavor and spice you are looking for.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Harissa Powder

Harissa powder can add a fiery North African flair to your dishes, but if you're out, fear not! We've gathered the 5 best substitutes that will infuse your recipes with similar depth and heat.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


  • Harissa Paste
  • Chili Powder
  • Berbere Spice
  • Ras el Hanout
  • Sambal Oelek


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword Substitutes for Harissa Powder
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