Ras el Hanout

Definition of Ras el Hanout:

Arabic name for a spice mix used in Northern Africa.  In North African cuisine it functions as garam masala does in Indian cuisine and there is no particular recipe.  The name literally means "top shelf" or the best spices in the shop that the seller has to offer.  Each seller or family or company has its own blend.  There are usually at least a dozen spices and some of them are pan toasted prior to mixing.  Once the blend is made it can be used in a wide range of savory dishes.

Unlike the Berbere, Ras el Hanout is not hot and spicy, but it has a warm and deep flavor.  The use of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg adds sweet notes.  It can be used in marinades, rubs, stews and tagines.


1 tablespoon
whole coriander seeds
1 tablespoon
whole cumin seeds
allspice berries
1 teaspoon
chili pepper flakes
1 teaspoon
ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon
sweet paprika
1 teaspoon
ground cardamom
1 teaspoon
ground ginger
1 teaspoon
ground turmeric
1⁄2 teaspoon
ground nutmeg
1⁄4 teaspoon
ground clove
black pepper (several grindings)


Toast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and allspice berries with the chili pepper flakes over medium high heat in a dry pan, stirring, until aromatic but not smoky, 2–4  minutes. Cool. 

Place in a spice mill or high speed blender. Process until finely ground. Mix with the other ingredients.

Store in the fridge and use within a month.  (Recipe #683)