Homemade Ras El Hanout

Homemade Ras El Hanout Spice Blend

I’ve been working on a few recipes, one being Chicken Shawarma, trying to find a version that can be made at home. without a spit or a rotisserie. So I’ve been eating a lot of Chicken Shawarma. Luckily, there’s a spice blend that can be mixed up that has most of the spices needed. Ras El Hanout. In my case, a Homemade Ras El Hanout.

Homemade Ras El Hanout

Homemade Ras El Hanout


Since I’m frugal, of course, I didn’t want to buy Ras El Hanout from a spice shop or on Amazon and I don’t know of any markets near me that carry it, which didn’t matter, anyway, because I didn’t want to blow a couple hours driving to one. So after a little research, I came up with a blend of spices I’m happy with for my Homemade Ras El Hanout.

About Homemade Ras El Hanout:

Ras El Hanout is a spice blend from northern Africa and means “head of the shop” in the same way we say “top shelf” here in the states. It’s said to be the very best a spice seller has to offer & it is a very special blend of spices. An authentic one can be made up of 30 or more spices, many of them hard to get where I live or quite spendy. From my reading, I found out that many families make up their own homemade Ras El Hanout, and the secrets of those family blends are passed down the generations.

I practically scoured the internet looking at ingredients in Ras El Hanout spice blends, looking at the ones published in magazines like Bon Appetit and Saveur, or those published in newspapers like the New York Times. And I took a peek at any blogs I could find, too, that already had Homemade Ras El Hanout, paying special attention to any bloggers from Africa or the Middle East. Then I came up with a list of what I thought were the “essential” flavors for Ras El Hanout using what I was able to get easily or already kept in my spice cupboard.

I ended up with 13 spices, not including a little salt, which I realized too late isn’t generally in Ras El Hanout. I know that number will deter some of you guys right away. But some of you might want to mix some up and sprinkle it on your Chicken Shawarma and/or have it on hand for Tagines, Pumpkin or Peanut Soups, and side dishes like couscous or rice. So many of those recipes are perfect in the fall, so this might be just the time for Homemade Ras El Hanout.

Homemade Ras El Hanout

Homemade Ras El Hanout

Making Ras El Hanout:

There really isn’t much to making Homemade Ras El Hanout. You’ll practically have to empty out your spice cupboard, though, and if you’re like me and keep the spices that aren’t used as much in their whole form, you’ll need to grind them. See below for more information on that.

I do have a method when I’m working with a lot of spices in any dish. I keep ones I haven’t measured yet to my left and after I’ve measured them out, move them to my right. That saves me from looking at a pile of spices and trying to determine if I’ve already added a particular one. Oh, the joys of getting old and not being able to rely as much on short-term memory! It’s good to have a method, though, because even if you’re not old like me, we all get distracted or pulled away during tasks.

If you’d like to see more of my Spice Blends, check out my post on Spice, Herb or Flavor Packet Substitutions.

Homemade Ras El Hanout

Homemade Ras El Hanout

Saving Money Homemade Ras El Hanout:

As you can see from the list in the recipe, many of the spices are ones that most people who cook and/or bake a lot have on hand. Many can be purchased in whole form or already ground.

I like to purchase spices that I don’t use very often in the whole form and then use my coffee grinder (generally cheaper than a spice grinder) to pulverize them. I’ve also used a blender for years to break down whole spices and a mortar and pestle and a lot of muscle will work, too, and so will two pans. Put the spices in one pan and grind them down with a smaller one. I have a photo at the bottom of the page of ground black pepper made using four different methods and as you can see, the final product doesn’t differ all that much from method to method.

Whole spices can keep literally for years in a dark cupboard. I have whole Allspice for my Jamaican Jerk Chicken and several desserts. I have cumin in both the seed form and powdered for my favorite Mexican dishes. Cardamom I do have, although I don’t remember why; I had it in its whole form because it falls into that seldom-used category. Nutmeg, Cloves, and Coriander I actually had in both powder or whole. I use coriander in Mexican or Indian dishes and when I make some of my homemade pickles. Nutmeg and Cloves I use for both savory dishes and in baking.

If you are cook and/or baker and normally keep all or most of these spices on hand, it’s simple and inexpensive to make a Homemade Ras El Hanout. If you have to go to the store and buy a whole bunch of spices you might never use again, you’ll probably want to just buy a package of Ras El Hanout and be done with it.

Homemade Ras El Hanout

Homemade Ras El Hanout

Homemade Ras El Hanout Spice Blend

  • Servings: 3 tablespoons
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Mix together. Store in a tightly covered jar.

From upper left, clockwise, crushed with Blender, Mortar, Spice Grinder & Pan

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I’ll be sharing my Homemade Ras El Hanout Spice Blend at Fiesta Friday #240. The co-hosts this week are Deb @ The Pantry Portfolio and Laurena @ Life Diet Health. Stop by and check out Fiesta Friday – it’s where so many great bloggers share their recipes weekly and you’re bound to find a lot of inspiration and something to cook! So funny, Deb’s latest post is for a Garlicky Hummus and Laurena’s for a Warming Spicy Lentil Dal. No, it’s not a conspiracy! We just all picked Middle Eastern Recipes this week! Perfect for fall days!

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Homemade Ras El Hanout is THE spice blend to up your game in Morrocan or North African recipes. Many of these spices you'll already have at home. Chicken Shawarma, Tagines, Pumpkin Soup, anyone? #RasElHanout #HomemadeRasElHanout

22 thoughts on “Homemade Ras El Hanout Spice Blend

  1. I’ve come to explore your recent middle eastern vibes….starting with this one! Nice! I much prefer making my own spices mixes, and your ras el hanout looks good…i did wonder if you’d go the full 30 spices!!! 😆😆😆😆

  2. Perfect Mollie! 🙂 I have bought Ras el Hanout in the past but have used it all and guess what… I have ALL the spices needed in your recipe whoop whoop! 🙂 I think I might stop what I’m doing right now and make some (so I can make your shawarma later)! Thanks for coming up with a great spice blend and sharing it with us at Fiesta Friday 🙂

  3. I couldn’t find ras el hanout anywhere near me – it is so nice that you made your own, Mollie. Now, I just have to find all of these powders. 😀

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Or grind them up!! 🙂 I think some people just use garam masala, too, but I like my Shawarma w/o so much curry taste.

  4. “I do have a method when I’m working with a lot of spices in any dish. I keep ones I haven’t measured yet to my left and after I’ve measured them out, move them to my right.” <<– This is genius. I know it sounds simple, but simple things are life-changing. Like when someone told me once to label my freezer bags *before* I put food in them… Or to put knives, forks and spoons together in the dishwasher for easier sorting afterward. I feel so silly sometimes when I need tips like these, but they make a difference if they just hadn't occurred to you! Thank you for this post. I've always been curious about Ras El Hanout and these are spices readily available in my cabinet!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Thanks much for saying so! I was actually feeling a little silly when I mentioned that simple little trick! And I do always try to remember to label first but sometimes forget!! Then my sharpie gets all wet from the condensation sometimes!

  5. Ron

    We cook Moroccan often, so ras el hanout sets proudly in our cupboard right next to the za’atar. It’s lovely in a tagine, with lamb and rubbed on chicken prior to grilling. Must confess, we buy ours from the Moroccan market here in town. Never made it but might give it a try and save some money.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      How fun! A Moroccan market! I would love to go through one (especially with someone who knew what they were doing!) I have not cooked enough dishes that I felt I needed the Ras El Hanout before, usually doing a quick substitute. I’m going to have to do more, now that I need to use that bottle up, lol!!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      It’s variable – you can buy cheaper blends (if you can even buy it in your area at all) for four to six dollars, so it’s spendy even for the cheap ones, but those probably aren’t the quality of this one. You can buy very expensive ones too that have all kinds of exotic spices and if $ were no issue, I’d buy those, $8 to $20 dollars, in a heartbeat if it didn’t blow my food budget and if I thought I would use it all and make it worthwhile.

      Since I had everything on hand, making my own also lets me use up the spices I have so they don’t get too old and go to waste. I kind of consider spices to be an investment that pay off with being able to make great food at home. Then I’m not tempted to go out as much.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Anne, many recipes I looked at did not have rose petals. I actually only saw those in just a few. I thought this added just the right flavor to my Chicken Shawarma (along with a little sumac, to,) It tasted like it came from a restaurant!

  6. I love your stripped down version and will record it for the future (I actually have all the spices and herbs already, though I AM missing the dried rose petals found in some versions) just because I love the name and ‘cachet’ it implies. I’m a food snob, I know! 🙂

    PS: I have to replace my spice grinder after breaking the blades on mine a few weeks ago.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      I actually DO have dried rose petals because I have several old fashioned rose bushes. I would love to try this blend with grains of paradise. Oh well! What on earth were you grinding in that spice grinder?

      • Frozen Parmesan cheese rinds … it was a BAD move. Snapped one of the blades and then the other. Oh well, I have a mortar and pestle in the meantime so I can go old school on spice grinding. 🙂

        • FrugalHausfrau

          Oh my gosh, I completely ruined my old food processor doing the exact same thing! I thought it was thawed enough – it’s hard to grind even when it’s not frozen.

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