Where To Find Harissa Paste?

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.

In place of harissa paste, what else is there?

“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.

What is the English name for harissa?

Harissa is a fiery chili pepper paste that is indigenous to the Maghreb (Arabic: harsa, from Maghrebi Arabic). Roasted red peppers, Baklouti peppers, garlic paste, caraway seeds, coriander seeds, cumin, and olive oil to convey the flavors that are oil-soluble are the main ingredients.

Are harissa paste and harissa sauce interchangeable?

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.

Where can I buy harissa and what is it?

The most typical pre-made packaging for harissa includes jars, tubes, and cans. There is also a variant made with spice powder. Middle Eastern markets, specialized shops, and the ethnic area of most supermarkets are your best bets for locating harissa.

Is harissa actually hot?

A few basic ingredients, such as chiles, garlic, olive oil, citrus, and a few hot spices, are used to make the North African red chile paste or sauce known as harissa.

This adaptable harissa recipe has a mildly sweet, smokey, tangy, and just the right amount of spice without being overpowering. Plan ahead and utilize it in many ways! Please view the video below.

However, today we’re going to talk about harissa sauce instead of the harissa spice blend, which you’ve seen me utilize in several recipes. This and my earlier toum garlic sauce both fall under the category of adaptable Mediterranean dips and sauces that you’ll use frequently.


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.

Chili Powder

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.

Tomato Paste

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.

Curry Powder

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 can begin to highlight the spiciness and freshness of Thai curries by serving them with citrus and dried red chiles. 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.

Sriracha and harissa are they similar?

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.

How wholesome is a harissa?

Did you know that consuming spices can increase your metabolism? Everything we consume has a big impact on our digestive systems. Your digestion will improve, you’ll feel satisfied, and you’ll be pleased all at once if you add harissa cooked with hot peppers to your meals.

Studies have shown that harissa has several health advantages, and this is because it contains antioxidants. Capsaicin, an antioxidant found in chilli chemicals, is used to make harissa. The fiery flavor and health benefits of the chillies are due to this chemical. When compared to other hot sauces, harissa has a lower salt content, making it ideal for persons with high blood pressure.

What flavor does harissa have?

You’ve almost probably seen us mention harissa if you’ve read Basically or Bon Apptit for even a little period of time. It’s a spicy condiment that we, to put it mildly, quite enjoy. Any one of our employees’ refrigerators would have a jar or two hanging out on the door if you were to sneak a peak inside. But what exactly is this condiment we use so frequently and gratefully called harissa? Great inquiry.

Harissa is a Tunisian-born spice that has since spread to Israel, Morocco, Libya, Algeria, and many other cuisines. A variety of dried chili peppers, ranging in heat from extremely hot to mild, are rehydrated and then combined with olive oil, spices (often toasted for a more powerful taste), and occasionally, garlic to create this chile paste. Harissa is very diverse: It can be smokey from the inclusion of fresh roasted chiles, sharp and tangy from citrus juice and/or vinegar, loose saucy, or thick and pasty at other times.

Harissa is frequently sold at grocery stores, though you may prepare it at home too. But there are a few things to consider before you choose a jar off the shelf. First off, there are hot and mild harissas available from many different brands. You are already aware of the significance of these distinctions: Choose the hot if you desire additional spiciness. Choose the mild if you want peppers with a sweeter, more flowery flavor and less heat.

However, the levels of spice in the hot and mild varieties will vary according on the brand. Harissa’s level of spiciness isn’t measured in a standard way by the food industry. Finding a brand you like and sticking with it only is the greatest strategy for reducing the amount of spice (within reason, of course). To avoid creating a dish that is unacceptably hot (or more mild-mannered than you’d like), taste any unfamiliar brands before adding them to your recipe.

Second, look for products whose first ingredient is peppers. Sometimes, tomato products can be used to cut harissa, which is not what you want. (When in doubt, we use the NY Shuk brand.)

You now have harissa, okay? How in the world do you use it? Short answer: You can use it just like you would fresh chilies, chile paste, or hot sauce.

Longer and more comprehensive response: Add it to scrambled eggs. To marinades, add it. Add sauces with a whisk. For a hot, peppery dip, mix it with yogurt. Add harissa to grilled and roasted veggies, or spread some over hummus. It is then mixed with softened butter and spread over cooked corn. It can be put on sandwiches. Replace it with ketchup!

The possibilities are as endless as our adoration for that lovely, spicy flavor.