Probably the international aisle will be the best place to find harissa paste. Look for products from the Mediterranean, Middle East, or North Africa on the shelves.
Look in the spicy sauce aisle if you can’t locate it there.
Typically, this is the aisle for condiments.
Just be sure to get harissa paste (or “hot sauce”) and not another type of sauce that has been blended with harissa.
What can be used in place of harissa paste?
“I’m having difficulties locating harissa, which is called for in a recipe. Any recommendations for a harissa replacement?”
The heat in this red chile paste from North Africa is intense. You can swap one tablespoon of berbere, chile paste, or tabil for every tablespoon of this hot taste (Tunisian spice paste). Of course, you may always use spicy sauce for a bit less spiciness.
The recipe for Harissa Shrimp Fra Diavolo shown on the left shows how this chile paste may lend spiciness to a seafood dish.
Check out our collection of African recipes or enter “harissa” in the recipe search box on the homepage if you’re looking for more dishes that incorporate harissa.
Are harissa paste and harissa sauce the same thing?
Although it can sometimes be produced as a powdered spice blend, harissa is most frequently seen in a paste or sauce form. Ground spicy peppers, cayenne pepper, paprika, caraway seeds, coriander, and cumin are used to make the seasoning mixture.
Although it is a dry seasoning blend, it has the same flavor profile as the paste or sauce. The flavor works well as a dry rub on steak or chicken wings. While the paste is ideal for use in marinades for meats like chicken breasts or pork chops.
Simply put, harissa sauce is just harissa paste with more olive oil added to make it thinner than the paste.
Is harissa required to be kept chilled?
Add to soups, pasta sauces, or couscous; combine a teaspoon with some olive oil and use to flavor roasted root vegetables. Add to a marinade or use as a rub.
In Diana Henry’s grilled harissa sardines with fennel and potato salad, use as a fish marinade. Harissa can be added to couscous for a simple side dish, used to flavor aubergine kebabs for a vegetarian main dish on the grill, or used in a 5-ingredient chicken traybake with harissa for a quick midweek supper. For a halloumi and broccoli tabbouleh, a spicy sweet dressing made with harissa and honey works nicely.
Just how hot is harissa?
Harissa recipes change depending on the household and region. The addition of fermented onions or lemon juice is one variation. In jars, cans, bottles, and tubes, prepared harissa is offered for sale. Harissa is frequently referred to as “Tunisia’s principal seasoning,” even “the national seasoning of Tunisia,” or at the very least as “the signature of Tunisia’s fish and meat meals.”  In Tunisia, harissa is used as a seasoning for couscous as well as an ingredient in a meat (poultry, cattle, goat, or lamb) or fish stew with vegetables. Fricasse and lablabi, a chickpea soup, are other dishes that employ it.
The majority of prepared harissa is exported from Tunisia.
 In 2006, Tunisia produced 22,000 tonnes of harissa, which included roughly 40,000 tonnes of peppers.  Harissa is frequently produced in Tunisia using mild, 4,000–5,000 Scoville-score chilis from the Nabeul and Gabs region. 
Can paprika be used in place of harissa?
Despite having a completely different consistency from harissa, Sriracha is a great alternative, especially if you already enjoy spicy meals and already have a bottle of Rooster Sauce in your cabinet. Sriracha’s undertone of garlic blends well with traditional harissa; if you want to add more flavor, you may also add cumin, coriander, and caraway.
The additional spices also thicken the somewhat thin Sriracha sauce, which is a bonus. The technique causes it to become more paste-like, giving it a consistency that is somewhat closer to harissa, albeit not quite paste-like. Use hot paprika if you wish to thicken it even more without adding more of the three spices mentioned above (to avoid overspicing). Sriracha will thicken without losing any of its flavor.
Can I substitute sriracha for harissa?
In terms of the heat they add to foods, harissa and sriracha are comparable, but their other flavors are very different. When using harissa blends in place of sriracha, some may be more potent than others.
Although sriracha and harissa are frequently (but not always) used as dipping sauces, harissa lacks the sriracha’s pungent acidity. As a result, when utilized in some particular applications, you could find it wanting. Similar to how some of the items that harissa is typically served with could be overpowered by sriracha’s acidity.
The nicest thing about harissa, though, is its flavor. Its color and texture are akin to Thai red curry paste. It is somewhat similar to its Southeast Asian equivalent because it also contains dry chiles, citrus, garlic, and a number of warm spices. Instead of using one tablespoon of red curry paste, try using two.
Shrimp paste, which gives red curry a richer umami taste and a little bit of sweetness, is one of the key components that harissa does not have. To help balance the flavor, consider adding fish sauce if you have any.
Also, keep in mind that harissa is a little bit hotter than red curry paste. Add just a spoonful at a time, testing after each addition if you’re concerned about adding too much heat.
It’s advisable to concentrate on the element that counts the most if you don’t have access to all of the unique ingredients that go into red curry paste. Chili powder can be enhanced with a variety of other ingredients and will provide the same level of heat as curry paste. For every tablespoon of red curry paste, add one teaspoon of chili powder.
The best approach to benefit from the flavor of chili powder is to combine it with other components of red curry paste. For instance, you may create a flavor comparable to this using just a few garlic, shallot, pepper, cumin, and citrus ingredients.
In addition, you have the option of using raw chilies, chili flakes, or hot sauce that features chilies. If you use coconut milk to spread the flavor of the chilies, even dry chiles will function.
Panang Curry Paste
Panang is a fantastic place to start if you’re seeking for another type of Thai curry that is comparable to red curry paste. The dried red chiles that give red curry its spiciness are less prominent and have a softer flavor. Please feel free to utilize it in a similar manner.
The addition of coriander seed, kaffir lime peel, and peanuts distinguishes Panang curry paste from Thai red curry. Because of this, it has a more earthy flavor, which appeals to people who prefer a milder curry.
Green Curry Paste
Although green curry paste may not seem like red curry paste, it contains many of the same ingredients. Although you can use it in the same amounts as the red type, be aware that it is much hotter. Use a little less of it or combine it with another ingredient to lessen the heat.
Green curry paste is hotter and has a more vegetable- and acidic-forward flavor. Its characteristic elements, the kaffir lime peel and fresh green chiles, are where this derives from. However, how you use it and how you like its flavor depends entirely on personal preference.
Although Sriracha is a lot simpler sauce than red curry paste, it makes a fantastic foundation to build upon because of its harmony of heat, zest, sweetness, and acidity. Use a little less than you would with curry paste because it can be rather hot when used in large amounts.
The use of fresh chiles rather than dried is one of the main distinctions between Sriracha and red curry paste. It tastes brighter and fruitier as a result.
For ideas on how to make your Sriracha taste more like it, refer to the list of components for red curry paste in the Related Questions section below. However, if you’re looking for a quick technique that only requires standard components, consider adding some freshly grated ginger, black pepper, and lime juice. A little fish sauce also helps a lot.
At first glance, tomato paste might not seem like the most likely red curry paste replacement, but it really has more in common with the original ingredient. It turns out that the ideal place to introduce more flavors is at a moment where sweetness and acidity are balanced. Additionally, it is the same vivid crimson color.
Naturally, one of the key elements that is absent is heat. Fortunately, there are several ways to add your own, including fresh peppers, hot sauce with little vinegar, and chili flakes. Naturally, a little shallot and garlic also go a long way.
Yellow Curry Paste
Yellow curry has a peculiar flavor that makes it especially appealing to American customers. This results from the addition of curry powder and turmeric, which give the curry a rich but not overly fiery flavor. Despite not tasting anything like red curry paste, you may use it to make a fantastic meal.
All you need is a generous amount of chile powder to try to alter it so that it tastes more like red curry paste. Add a few tablespoons, and the flavor will be similar but much hotter.
Contrary to popular assumption, Indian cuisine doesn’t actually utilize curry powder all that frequently. It was initially developed by the British to give their home-cooked meals recognizable Indian flavour. But if you mix some into your coconut milk, particularly when combined with chile pepper, you can create a dish that resembles Thai curry.
Curry powder mixtures can vary, but often they contain black pepper, cumin, ginger, and turmeric. Cinnamon and garlic are also occasionally utilized. The spices work nicely together to create a pleasant, well-balanced flavor that goes well with both meat and vegetables.
Galangal is one of the essential components of all Thai curries. However, it’s difficult to locate in the US. Fresh ginger is one of the greatest methods to do it if you want to prepare your own curry or just add a little zing to your recipes. To begin enhancing the taste of the coconut milk, stir in a tablespoon of finely sliced ginger.
You may begin to highlight the spiciness and freshness of Thai curries by serving them with lemon and dried red chillies. Just be careful not to substitute dried ginger, since this product has a very different flavor that is more suitable for baking.
Chili Crisp with Garlic
Similar to sriracha, garlic chili crisp makes a terrific foundation upon which to layer the more subdued tastes of red Thai curry. To give a little heat to any dish, it can also be added as a garnish after cooking. Since it can be fairly spicy, try substituting it with one teaspoon at a time.
Chili crisp has an advantage over sriracha in that it may be added to drier dishes without upsetting the balance of moisture. The flavor will be even closer because red curry paste’s recipe calls for dried chiles.
Massaman Curry Paste
Massaman curry is a fantastic choice if you’re seeking for an Indian and Thai curry hybrid. When combined with the warm spices of cardamom, clove, and cinnamon, it has the same freshness as Thai curry. Its flavor is significantly different from red curry paste as a result, yet it will never result in a monotonous dinner.
Similar to some of the other curry pastes on this list, dried red chiles are the key component that is absent but present in red curry paste. You can therefore construct a dish resembling the traditional red curry recipe if you happen to have some, or some chile powder or dried chile flakes.
Can I substitute chipotle for the harissa?
Want to use anything else in your recipes besides harissa? Here are some suggestions along with a homemade harissa recipe you might try.
Given that your recipe calls for harissa, you either don’t have any on hand or have unsuccessfully searched for it in the supermarket. What alternatives are there?
What is harissa?
Harissa is a hot, flavorful paste prepared from chilis that has its origins in Tunisia in North Africa. But this potent paste contains more than just chilies; it also frequently contains garlic, lemon, cumin, coriander, caraway seeds, and even some quite uncommon components like mint or rose petals.
It often comes in one of two forms: a paste that is packaged in jars, tubes, or tins, or a powder. The powder can be used as a spice or you can make a paste out of it by combining it with oil and garlic.
What to use as a harissa substitute?
It’s actually very simple to substitute any hot sauce derived from chilis for harissa in your recipes because harissa is essentially a chili paste. Another choice is chile oil or a paste made of chilies like sambal oelek, but they tend to miss some of the characteristic flavor of harissa, so be sure to also add cumin, coriander, and caraway seeds.
You might also give sriracha a try; it has a flavor that is somewhat comparable to harissa, but, like sambal oelek, it functions better as a stand-in if you add a few extra seasonings.
How to make your own harissa paste
Why not try your hand at making your own paste if you really want the full, authentic flavour of harissa in your recipe? Actually, it’s extremely simple to put together, and if you know how to do it, you won’t ever be short on supplies again!
Additionally, you may alter the recipe so that it has the ideal amount of heat, smokiness, and sweetness for you and your family.
You’ll need about 4 oz of dried chilies to start. Use ancho chilis for a mild, smoky taste if you want; use chipotle if you prefer a smoky flavor with a little more heat. Try guajillo chilies for a sweeter flavor; if you prefer your harissa to be quite hot, use Thai chillies.
Whichever chillies you use, rehydrate them by soaking them for at least 30 minutes in hot water.
Then, add a few peeled garlic cloves, along with a teaspoon of each cumin, powdered caraway seeds, salt, dried mint, and coriander. 2 tablespoons of olive oil should be slowly drizzled in while the mixture is being gently pulsed until it resembles paste. When required, taste and adjust the seasonings.
Even while you can use your homemade harissa right away, it tastes best if you let the flavors meld in the refrigerator for an entire night.
How to use harissa
This meal is a great way to enjoy the flavor of this powerful paste and is perfect to offer at a dinner party. It is baked goat cheese with harissa.
Try this recipe for Green Bean Salad to learn how adding harissa may flavor foods like chicken breast or fish, or how you can use it as a dressing.
Why not try it with eggs instead? These goat cheese deviled eggs with harissa are simultaneously hot and creamy.