This DIY recipe for Ras El Hanout, which translates to ‘top shelf’, is so good! The classic Moroccan spice blend comes together in just 5 minutes and makes a flavorful & versatile addition to many recipes. It’s a warm, pungent mix, pulling flavors of sweeter spices cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, while also incorporating savory spices like paprika, coriander, and cumin.

a spoonful of ras el hanout spice blend

Ras el Hanout is a popular spice blend used across North Africa and in many authentic Moroccan recipes.

It’s known for it’s warming, earthy flavors and aromas. The blend combines subtle spice and sweetness along with complex earthy notes that adds a unique flavor profile wherever it’s used.

You will notice variations in this spice mix depending on the source, as every family, restaurant and spice merchant has their own blend. The best part about making it from scratch is that you get to control the prominent flavors according to your personal taste.

My dad and his friends used to joke about who’s family had the best blend, and we would often have multiple different combinations of the spice mix in our own pantry.

Regardless of the combination of spices used, the name ras el hanout (which roughly translates to ‘top shelf’ or ‘head of the shop’) represents a premium seasoning blend.

It’s a great mix to have on hand to use in tagines (like this vegetable tagine or beef tagine), on lamb chops, steak, chicken, roasted vegetables, or in tomato-based dishes (like this shakshuka or these stewed chickpeas).

It makes a wonderful addition to your spice cabinet and will make cooking with Moroccan inspiration feel like a breeze.

Ingredients

Many of the spices I use for my family’s recipe were already in my spice cabinet, making this a super easy recipe that comes together in a matter of minutes.

Here are the spices I used:

  • cinnamon
  • coriander
  • cumin
  • paprika
  • allspice
  • turmeric
  • ginger
  • nutmeg
  • clove
  • cayenne
  • black pepper

See recipe card for exact quantities.

ingredients to make ras el hanout

Making Your Own Spice Blend

In general, using whole spices will result in a fresher, more flavorful end result. Because of this I encourage you to use as many whole spices as you can/have on hand.

Where to Use The Spice Blend

As mentioned above, there are a variety of different uses for this Moroccan spice blend. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Tagines – most Moroccan tagines will have their own specific spice blend depending on who you ask, but in general, this blend is the perfect catch all seasoning for tagines.
  • Meat – this blend is to die for on red meat (especially lamb), chicken and even goes well with fish
  • Veggies – this stuff has a way of bringing new depth to veggies and is really fun to sprinkle over some peppers, onions, and potatoes with olive oil before roasting

Here are some popular family recipes where we use ras el hanout:

Variations

I can’t stress enough the fact that the spices in Ras el Hanout will vary depending on who you ask. Because of the fluidity in this spice blend, there are surely hundreds of different variations of the recipe.

Here are some ways you might see them vary:

  • Cardamom – some Moroccans will swear it’s not Ras el Hanout if you didn’t use cardamom… my family disagrees. If you love cardamom, feel free to add it in!
  • Play around with quantities – if you want one specific spice to reign supreme over the others, you can always increase the quantity. The same goes for any spices you want to tone down! Just add less quantity.
  • Spicy vs. mild – if you’re into the spice (like my family), feel free to amp up the cayenne or leave it out entirely if you prefer a milder blend.
a spoonful of ras el hanout spice blend

Equipment

As mentioned above, my favorite way to grind whole spices is using a mortar and pestle. Not only is it super fun to feel the spices breaking down and smell that fresh spice smell, the texture is pretty tough to beat.

That said, a coffee grinder or whatever grinder you have on hand at home will work great too! Just make sure you clean it out before and after using so your steak doesn’t taste like coffee (and your coffee doesn’t end up tasting spicy!)

a spoonful of ras el hanout spice blend

Storage

Store your ras el hanout blend in an air tight jar in your spice cabinet. It should keep for up to 6 months if your spices are fresh.

Bismillah,

Salima written in cursive
Print
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a spoonful of ras el hanout spice blend

5-Minute Ras El Hanout Spice Blend Recipe

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  • Author: Salima Benkhalti
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 23 servings 1x
  • Category: Spice Blend
  • Method: Raw
  • Cuisine: Moroccan, North African, Mediterannean, African
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This DIY recipe for Ras El Hanout, which translates to ‘top shelf’, is so good! The classic Moroccan spice blend comes together in just 5 minutes and makes a flavorful & versatile addition to many recipes. It’s a warm, pungent mix, pulling flavors of sweeter spices cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, while also incorporating savory spices like paprika, coriander, and cumin. 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp clove
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp black pepper


Instructions

  1. In an air tight container, combine all spices. Seal the container and shake to combine spices evenly. This spice blend will last for up to 6 months (depending on how fresh your spices are).