Harissa Hummus

By Lee Jackson ↣ Published on: October 19, 2019

Last Updated: November 23rd, 20230 Comments on Harissa Hummus

Few things are as satisfying than a bowl of hummus and lots of bread. This delicious Harissa Hummus has a fiery kick with every creamy, nutty scoop. It’s a wonderful, warming alternative to regular hummus, and it’s really easy to make at home yourself.

A bowl of Harissa Hummus garnished with chillies, chilli oil, zaatar and fresh cilantro.

No North African dinner table is complete without some form of Hummus. There are countless recipes featuring all manner of additions to the staples of chickpeas, tahini and yoghurt - one of my favourite additions is the fiery Tunisian chilli paste Harissa.

It's a ready-made injection of heat and flavour which imparts all its magic into the hummus. The results are every bit as delicious as regular hummus, but with a bit of a kick! I love that with one simple addition we can transform something great into something amazing!

Harissa is a staple ingredient in the Arab world and goes by many names and recipes. Try my Libyan favourite Pilpelchuma Sauce with Sweet Potatoes, a chilli condiment that's very similar to harissa.

A bowl of Harissa Hummus garnished with chillies, chilli oil, zaatar and fresh cilantro.

What is Harissa?

Harissa is a fiery North African and Arab chilli paste made from roasted red peppers, spices like cumin and coriander, garlic, and olive oil. Its bold, smoky flavour adds depth to dishes, often used as a condiment or marinade to spice up couscous, meats, and stews in Tunisian and Moroccan cuisines.

The word Harissa is derived from the Arabic 'harasa': "to pound or break into pieces". The condiment can be found all across the Maghreb region of North Africa.

Why it works?

It's spicy - I love the slow (or fast) burn that harissa brings to this hummus recipe. I dial the amount I add up or down depending on my mood, sometimes It's mild, other times eye-wateringly spicy. This recipe creates a medium spice where you know there's chilli, but without any complaint or pain!

It's easy - There's not pounding to be done in a pestle & mortar - all the work is already done. Just stir it into your homemade hummus and you're good to start addictively scooping.

The ingredients for Harissa Hummus arranged on a table.

Stuff You'll Need

We're going to make a regular hummus from scratch, so you kind of have two recipes in one here. If you want just the hummus, then leave out the harissa.

  • Chickpeas - or garbanzo beans (depending where you live). I use canned for convenience.
  • Greek yoghurt - brings its tangy creaminess
  • Tahini paste - for that delectable nutty aroma that's essential to hummus
  • Harissa paste - bring the heat. Be sure to check the spice level of the harissa you find, they can differ wildly in spice heat. You can substitute harissa with any chilli paste (mix a little ground cumin and coriander into it for that Arabic flair.)
  • Smoked paprika - I like to add a little extra sweet smokiness to the harissa hummus.
  • Lemon & salt & pepper - seasoning is important and I include lemon as a seasoning because it's essential in bringing the hummus to life.
  • Zaatar - I like to scatter over a generous topping of herbaceous zaatar (a spice/herb mix) for an extra arabic flavour note. This is optional.

How to make the harissa hummus

All you need to do is blend all the ingredients together in a blender or using an immersion/stick blender. If the hummus is too thick, use some of the chickpea liquid to thin it out. Blend into a texture you like. I like mine smooth and creamy so I blend it for a while until it's super smooth.

A bowl of Harissa Hummus garnished with chillies, chilli oil, zaatar and fresh cilantro.

Serving & Storage Suggestions

  • Serve - Harissa Hummus pairs with pretty much anything or on its own as a flavourful dip for chips, vegetables and bread. I particularly love harissa hummus with lamb. Try it alongside my juicy Zaatar Lamb recipe.
  • Fridge - hummus will stay fresh for about a week if covered well.
  • Freezer - Hummus freezes quite well (up to 3 months). Just be sure to defrost it thoroughly and give a good stir before using.
A bowl of Harissa Hummus garnished with chillies, chilli oil, zaatar and fresh cilantro.

Ready to get cooking?

So, next time you're planning a dinner that includes hummus, spice it up with some harissa. If you haven't got the time to make your own hummus, then you can even just stir in some harissa to store-bought. But, let me tell you, once you've made your own hummus at home you'll never buy store bought again...

A bowl of Harissa Hummus garnished with chillies, chilli oil, zaatar and fresh cilantro.

Any Questions? (FAQ)

Have a question about Harissa Hummus? Let me know in the comments.

What is the heat level of harissa?

Harissa's heat varies, typically medium to hot. It depends on the chili used and can be adjusted by adding more or less to suit taste.

Can I substitute harissa?

Yes, use a mix of chili paste, spices (cumin, coriander), and a bit of olive oil to replace harissa. Adjust the quantities to match its heat and flavour.

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A bowl of Harissa Hummus garnished with chillies, chilli oil, zaatar and fresh cilantro.

Harissa Hummus

Rate this recipe

5 from 3 votes
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Recipe by Lee
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Prep Time10 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Servings (adjustable) 6
Calories (per serving) | 101


Garnishes (optional)


  • In a food processor, or using a stick blender, blend the chickpeas, yoghurt, olive oil, harissa paste, tahini, lemon juice, salt & pepper and about 1/4 cup water until smooth. I like mine with a little texture - but others like theirs completely smooth. You decide.
  • Spread the hummus in a shallow bowl. Combine the extra virgin olive oil with the harissa and drizzle over, then sprinkle with the chillies, cilantro and zaatar.
    Serve with lots of flatbreads or crusty bread. Or serve alongside raw vegetables like carrot, celery, radishes etc.


Calories: 101kcal (5%) | Carbohydrates: 4g (1%) | Protein: 1g (2%) | Fat: 9g (14%) | Saturated Fat: 1g (6%) | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 70mg (3%) | Potassium: 66mg (2%) | Fiber: 1g (4%) | Sugar: 1g (1%) | Vitamin A: 198IU (4%) | Vitamin C: 10mg (12%) | Calcium: 12mg (1%) | Iron: 1mg (6%)
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