Rose Harissa

I am pretty sure you all know about harissa. Harissa is the next sriracha sauce. By that, I mean the chili sauce you’re going to want to splatter on all your foods.

Harissa is a hot paste/sauce that contains mainly chili peppers, red peppers, garlic, salt and olive oil.  Across North Africa, you will find many variations of the harissa depending on the region (or the family) since some recipes include herbs and spices.

In Morocco we like our harissa pretty basic, we usually don’t include too much herbs and spices in the sauce so we can add it to any meal without having a conflict of taste.

That said, I read about rose harissa the other day and I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to give it a try? The truth is, I love to make uncommon combinations of ingredients taste yummy and the second the truth is, I got very excited about having a pink ingredient on the blog!

So, the result. Surprisingly (or not!), it tastes fabulous!

The aroma of the rose petals brings a sweet and subtle perfume to the bright and spicy taste of the chili and red bell peppers. I had some for lunch today with my burger. I added a spoonful of harissa to my yoghurt/mayo sauce. It was amazing, planning on having it again for dinner! Not a second burger, of course… Who eats two burgers a day?!

Last thing, the recipe is stress free and it will make your home smell like sweet roses!

Rose Harissa


Makes about 400 gr rose harissa

  • 500 gr red bell peppers
  • 1 to 4 chili peppers (any type), depending on how spicy you want the harissa 
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil and more for preservation 
  • 4 tablespoons dried or fresh (edible) rose petals, ground
  • 1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon rose water


• Preheat oven to 120 C (250 F)

• Deseed and devein the bell and the chili peppers (use rubber gloves for the chili peppers as they might irritate your skin). Quarter the bell peppers and half the chili peppers lengthwise.

•  In a roasting tray place the red bell peppers, chili peppers and garlic. Make sure the skin side of the peppers is facing upwards because you don’t want their flesh to over-dry in the oven. Drizzle with olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) and place the tray in the warm oven for 1 hour. After one hour, your peppers should look a bit wrinkled. Remove the tray from the oven and leave to cool. 

• Once the peppers and the garlic are cool enough to handle, chop them very finely or run them through a food processor. Heat a large deep pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat and place the chopped/processed bell peppers, chili peppers and garlic in the pan. Leave and stir occasionally until there is no more liquid in the pan. We want the mixture to dry and all the water from the peppers to evaporate. It will take about 45 minutes. Don’t cover the pan, otherwise the liquids won’t evaporate. Once there is no more liquid in the pan (except oil), add the rose petals and the rose water and leave for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

•Transfer your harissa in a sterilised jar and leave a bit of room in the jar to top the harissa with olive oil. Olive oil will act as a natural preservative. Close the jar, place the jar in the fridge and keep for up to a month. 

• Enjoy with everything!


• I like my harissa quite chunky but if you prefer a more paste like consistency, transfer your harissa in a food processor to make it very thin.

•  I added 4 chili peppers to my harissa and it was very very spicy. Some chili peppers are spicier than others, to be safe I advise to chop them separately and to add them progressively in the pan.