This Baharat بهارات, is about to take your Middle Eastern dishes to the next level and liberate you forever from stale store-bought blends. The famous Lebanese 7 spice mixture requires a careful balance of fresh spices, and this recipe has been meticulously refined to nail the perfect balance of flavors that make everything from roasted pita bread to mushroom shawarma pop! If you have these seven spices on hand, whipping this up takes hardly any time at all.
Ready to master the art of Arabic cooking? Grab your spice jars, embrace the aroma, and let freshly ground Baharat (بهارات) level up your dishes. Let’s dive in!
🥰Why you are going to adore the ever-loving heck outta this recipe
💸Cheaper and Better Quality: Why spend extra on store-bought blends that have been sitting in warehouses and on store shelves for who knows how long? Crafting your own Baharat blend guarantees freshness, makes it possible for you to customize the flavor, and saves you loot.
😉Fail-Proof Method: This method ensures you nail the perfect blend on your first attempt.
😸Quick as a Cat: With straightforward instructions, minimal prep, and cleanup, you’ll have this blend crafted effortlessly.
✅Tested and Approved Worldwide: Just like all of my other recipes, this Baharat has undergone rigorous testing by a global team of dedicated recipe testers. No matter where you are in the world or the brands you use, this recipe works reliably, and people love the results.
🌶️ Notable ingredients and substitutions
Cinnamon, known as Qerfa in Lebanese, isn’t just awesome on desserts like apple cider donuts and Vietnamese banh flan. Cinnamon’s slightly spicy essence enhances Baharat with a subtle sweetness and a hint of warmth, and is loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
You have a lot to choose from when selecting a paprika for this recipe. I personally really like baharat made with smoked paprika, sometimes called Filfil Makhbous in Lebanese. Paprika is high in Vitamin C and antioxidants. Swap it with sweet paprika if you’re seeking a milder taste, or get spicy paprika made from a different variety of pepper altogether if you want to add some heat to your baharat. For a more vibrant color, you can even swap it for Kashmiri red chili powder.
Called “الكمون” (alkamun) in Arabic, cumin seeds infuse Baharat with an earthy pungent elegance. The warmth of cumin adds a comforting richness to your Baharat. If you don’t have cumin seeds on hand, substitute ground cumin. Hey - it’s all getting ground up together anyway!
Cloves, or qaranful as it’s called in Lebanon, are as much of a must in Baharat as they are in biryani. They contribute a warm, slightly peppery note, and infuse your blend with a super-seductive fragrance. Cloves boast antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which also helps the spice blend stay fresh. This is the reason why cloves were used to preserve food, and were part of the antibacterial Thieve’s Oil blend used by raiders in ancient Egypt to keep them safe around dead bodies in the tombs.
Cardamom seeds, or Hal in Lebanese, are the exotic little gems that you’ve got to take out of the greenish or greyish cardamom pods. Cardamom brings digestive benefits and acts as a natural breath freshener. If you can’t get cardamom pods to remove the whole seeds, you can substitute for ground cardamom.
Known as “الحبّهان” alhabbahān in Arabic, coriander seeds offer an almost-brothy backbone flavor to Baharat. These seeds are rich in antioxidants and aid in digestion. If you don’t have the whole seeds, you can use ground coriander instead in this recipe.
In Arabic, they’re called الفلفل الأسود alfilfil al-aswad. Black peppercorns bring controlled heat and bold pungency to Baharat. They hold antimicrobial properties, and you can totally use ground black pepper, or white or red peppercorns if you don’t have any whole black ones.
*See the recipe card at the bottom of the page for exact quantities, nutritional info, and detailed cooking directions.
🌿 Some Optional Additions:
Some people use a small amount of dried mint in their baharat. I do this especially if I am going to sprinkle it onto some grilled breads, which I serve with a mint-infused Turkish dish like yalya corbasi or lahana sarma.
With its warm and slightly sweet aroma, nutmeg originally hails from the heart of the Indonesian archipelago, where dishes like Sambal Goreng and martabak became famous. Nutmeg is anti-inflammatory and aids in digestion. If you don’t have nutmeg on hand, consider swapping out mace, nutmeg’s sister spice from the same nut.
Some folks put salt in their baharat, but I advise against it. I think it’s always more versatile for spice blends to be unsalted, so you can use them in varying amounts in different dishes without worrying about making a dish too salty.
📖 How to make perfect baharat seasoning.
Nail this traditional Middle Eastern spice blend on your first shot by following these step-by-step instructions with important tips. Or you can follow along with the easy-to-print recipe card towards the bottom of this page.
Dry Roasting (Optional): For a deeper aroma and flavor, consider dry roasting the whole spices before grinding. Place cumin seeds, coriander seeds, whole cloves, and cardamom seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat. Gently toast the spices, stirring frequently, until they release a fragrant aroma. This step usually takes around 2-3 minutes. Allow the spices to cool completely before grinding with the powdered spice ingredients.
The perfect grind: Grind the spices in a spice grinder or high-speed blender for 90-120 seconds until you achieve a fine, uniform powder.
Store with Care: If you aren't gonna use this spice immediately to perk up some ezme or mercimek köfte, transfer the freshly ground Baharat blend to an airtight container. Keep it away from light, heat, and moisture to preserve its vibrant flavors. Remember, using it within a few months ensures optimal taste.
Baharat isn’t just amazing in Middle Eastern food!
Infuse your steamed rice with some Arabic vibes. Simply sprinkle a pinch of Baharat spice blend over your cooked rice, or lightly fry it in oil to pour into the rice as a tempering. Fluff the baharat into the rice with a fork to distribute the flavors evenly. You can do this to everything from coconut rice to turmeric rice, or fragrant aged basmati pilau.
Unleash the magic of Baharat spice blend to marinate seitan and craft vegan fried chicken that dances with Lebanese flavors. Mix a generous amount of Baharat into the batter to coat your seitan. Serve it on freshly grilled pita bread with tahini sauce and shatta paste.
Take your vegetarian kofta to the next level by adding a pinch of Baharat spice blend to the mix. Shape the seasoned kofta into patties, grill ’em, or roast them and serve with pickled green chilies over bulgur pilaf with some plant-based labneh.
Measure each ingredient accurately. Since this recipe yields a small amount of Baharat, even a small mis-measuring will change the flavor profile.
If you aren’t in a hurry, opt for dry roasting the whole spices before grinding. A quick toast in a dry skillet enhances the spices’ aromatic qualities, elevating the overall taste of your blend.
How long does baharat stay good for and what is the best way to store it?
When stored properly, the baharat spice blend stays good for about 6 to 12 months. To ensure its optimal flavor and freshness:
Airtight Container: Transfer the Baharat blend to an airtight container immediately after preparing it. This prevents moisture, light, and air from degrading the flavors.
Cool, Dark Place: Store the container in a cool, dark pantry or cupboard. Avoid placing it near heat sources or in direct sunlight, which can cause the spices to deteriorate.
Avoid Condensation: Keep the container away from areas with high humidity to prevent moisture from affecting the blend’s texture and potency.
Yes, you can use ground versions for convenience, but whole spices offer a more robust flavour, especially when dry roasted and ground fresh.
Baharat typically isn’t very spicy. Most of the heat comes from the peppercorns and warming spices. The only chili in it is paprika, which is more flavorful than hot.
🌶️ Great dishes to add a pinch of baharat to:
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Baharat بهارات (Lebanese 7-spice blend)
- Optional Dry Roasting: Toast cumin, coriander, cloves, and cardamom seeds in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant, around 2-3 minutes; cool before grinding.
- Grind the spices to a fine powder for even flavor distribution in your Baharat blend.
- Store your Baharat blend in an airtight container, protecting it from light, heat, and moisture to maintain its vibrancy for a few months.