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Ras El Hanout

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Ras el hanout spice blend is even better when you make it at home. 

Ras el Hanout is a complex and aromatic spice blend originating from North Africa, particularly Morocco. If you have ever had an authentic tagine, chances are this spice blend was added to give it that amazing flavour.

It’s always a good idea to make your own spicy blends. Roasting and then grinding the spices gives the spice blend more depth of flavour than anything you can purchase.

Homemade ras el hanout

What is Ras el Hanout?

In Arabic, ras el hanout translates as “head of the shop” which suggests that it is made from the best spices a spice merchant has to offer.

While the exact composition of ras el Hanout can vary widely depending on the region and the individual spice seller, it typically contains a mixture of various spices, herbs, and sometimes dried flowers. I left the dried rose petals out this time but you can add them to your ras el hanout to give it a more floral aroma. 10 dried rose petals should do nicely.

What spices do you add to ras el hanout?

Again, this can vary but most ras el hanout will include cumin, coriander seeds, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, dried ginger, cardamom, alspice, cloves and black pepper. That is how I make mine.

Other popular spices include star anise, fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds. If you have these spices in, you could add about a teaspoon of each to your ras el hanout too. 

How do you use this slice blend?

The combination of these spices creates a rich and complex flavour that is both aromatic and slightly spicy.

Ras el Hanout is often used to season meat, poultry, and vegetable dishes, as well as in rice and couscous dishes. I use a tablespoon of ras el hanout in my easy couscous recipe.

It can be used as a dry rub or added to stews, soups, tagines, and marinades to enhance their flavour. Try it in my beef tagine recipe and you won’t be disappointed.

Can you purchase ras el hanout?

This popular spice blend is widely available in specialty spice shops, Middle Eastern markets, and online, but you can also make your own blend at home by combining the spices listed in the recipe card below or to your own taste preferences.

You can experiment with different proportions and ingredients  to create a customized ras el Hanout blend that suits your culinary creations. So you should use my recipe as a guide but feel free to experiment too.

How do you store this spice blend?

It is always best for you to make this blend of spices on the day you are cooking with it. By roasting and grinding the spices and then adding them to your dish will really bring out the flavour.

You can, however store the blend in an air-tight container for up to 3 months. 

Can you upscale or downscale this recipe?

Yes. This recipe makes about 5 tbsp which is enough for my beef tagine and easy couscous recipes. If you want to make more or less, just scale it up or down to suit your requirements.

Can you freeze ras el hanout?

Yes. Again, however, it is best to use this spice blend on the day you make it.

You can freeze the ground spices for up to 6 months.

Step by step photographs.

Ingredients for ras el hanout

Get your ingredients measured out and ready before starting.

Toasting the whole spices.

Toast the whole spices over a medium heat until fragrant and warm to the touch but not yet smoking. Transfer to a plate and allow to cool.

Grinding the spices into a powder.

Grind the cooled spices into a fine powder using a spice grinder or pestle and mortar.

String the ground spices into the spice blend.

Stir in the ground turmeric, ginger and chilli powder.

Finished ras el hanout

Use your ras el hanout immediately or store in an air-tight container in a dark location for up to 3 months.

Making homemade spice blends will really take your dishes up a notch or two. You might also like to try some of these.

Garam Masala
Cajun Spice Blend
Sri Lankan Black Curry Powder
Curry Powder
Tandoori Masala
Mixed Powder for Curry House Style Curries
Chaat Masala
Berbere Spice Blend

Have you tried this recipe?

If so, please give it a star rating in the comments below and leave a comment. I love receiving your feedback and I’m sure other readers of my blog do too. Thank you.

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Yield: 5 tbsp

Ras El Hanout

Homemade ras el hanout
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 x 2.5cm (1 inch) cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • Seeds from 8 green cardamom pods
  • 1 blade mace
  • 1/4 nutmeg, smashed
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp cayenne chilli powder, or to taste
  • a good pinch of saffron (optional)


  1. Add the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cinnamon stick, black peppercorns, cardamom seeds, mace and cloves to a pan over a medium heat. Slowly roast the spices, stirring often until they a fragrant, warm to the touch but not smoking. If the spices begin to smoke, get them off the heat.
  2. Transfer the roasted spices to a plate to cool and then grind them to a fine powder in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar. Add the saffron and pound it some to, to release the flavour.
  3. Stir in the ground ginger, nutmeg, turmeric and cayenne chilli powder and stir well to combine.
  4. This ras el hanout will be best used the same day you make it but it will keep in an air-tight container, in a dark location such as a cupboard for up to 6 months.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 26Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 22mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 2gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g

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