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Easy Harissa Butter

This delicious easy spicy harissa butter uses just four ingredients and comes together in minutes for a tasty treat to really elevate your meals.

An orange log of butter with herbs on brown paper.

Why you’ll love it

  • It tastes delicious.
  • It’s so easy to make even my kids make it.
  • It’s perfect for topping corn on the cob, roasted steamed or grilled veggies, baked potatoes, toast, or baguettes (try using it instead of garlic butter for “harissa bread”).
  • Or stir it into hot pasta or steamed warm rice for an even richer taste.
  • Swap out the butter for a high-quality vegan butter (like Earth Balance) for a vegan version!

And if you love harissa like me, you might also want to try my spicy yogurt dressing with harissa, these delicious roasted harissa potatoes, or this easy harissa pasta.

Ingredients and substitutions

This is such an easy recipe that it only requires four ingredients, take a look at the photo below to see what you need to get, and scroll down below it to see if you can make any substitutions or omissions if you’re missing any ingredients.

Labelled ingredients including butter, harissa paste, garlic and cilantro.

Harissa paste: Use a good-quality authentic harissa paste that is nice and strong and that you like the taste of. I highly recommend the Le Phare Du Cap Bon brand if you can get it, or Dea harissa paste is also quite good but is not as spicy as Le Phare. You can also make your own!

Garlic: Use a very small garlic clove or half of a regular-size one. I only used half of the garlic clove that’s in the photo. You want a bit of extra garlic flavor to complement the harissa, not overpower it or you might as well be making garlic butter. If you don’t like garlic you can just omit it.

Cilantro: Fresh cilantro adds a lovely pop of bright flavor to your harissa butter but if you don’t like it or don’t have any to hand you can use parsley instead.

Butter: I used salted butter but you can use unsalted, taste for salt after mixing and you may need to add a quarter teaspoon or so of salt. You can use regular ordinary own-brand butter for this recipe as the harissa and garlic are really where the taste comes from, no need to break out the top-shelf expensive hand-fed stuff!

How to make it

Slices of a herbed reddish-orange log of butter on brown paper on top of a white background.

This is a super easy recipe to make but I’ve included detailed instructions and process photos below in case you need to check anything.

Make sure your butter is at room temperature before starting, meaning it should have been out of the fridge for at least two hours.

  1. Finely chop the cilantro, press the garlic, measure the harissa, and add to a bowl with the softened butter.
  2. Start to mash the other ingredients into the butter with a fork. You can whip the ingredients together using a stand mixer if you prefer but I find that it wastes a lot of butter as it coats the large whisk, goes all over the bowl, etc.
Left side shows butter, harissa paste, green chopped herbs and garlic in a glass bowl, right side shows a fork mashing it all together.
  1. Whip the fork until the butter is smooth and creamy and all the ingredients are well-incorporated. You can serve it as is or continue to step four and chill it, which gives the flavors more time to develop.
  2. Scrape the butter out of the bowl and into the middle of a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap (plastic wrap will give much smoother more compact results while parchment paper gives a more rustic rough look). Fold one side of the wrap or paper over the butter and use the side of your hand or another flat straight object like the side of a baking tray to push all the butter into one log. Twist the ends to close and pack the butter together more, and refrigerate until firm.
Split image with creamy orange butter in a glass bowl on the left, and rolled up in brown paper on the right.

Done!

Equipment notes

What you’ll need:

  • A sharp knife.
  • A garlic press.
  • A chopping board.
  • Measuring spoons.
  • A small or medium-sized bowl.
  • A fork.

Expert tips

  • Forgot to take your butter out of the fridge? No problem, you can quickly soften butter by pouring a cup of water into a ceramic or glass bowl and microwaving it for two-three minutes until boiling. Then pour it out, roughly chop the butter, and invert the bowl over the butter to cover it (but do not touch the butter with the bowl or it will melt it). Leave it for ten minutes. Your butter should then be softened.
  • If you don’t have a garlic press, mince the garlic as small as you can. You can then use a mortar and pestle to make it into a paste, or press on it with the back of a spoon and wiggle it while pressing.

Storage

Store your harissa butter in a tightly sealed container or tightly wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge for up to six days. You can also freeze it for up to three months once it has been shaped and chilled, remove the parchment or wrap, add it to a freezer bag or freezer-safe container, and freeze. To use, defrost overnight in the fridge.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is this harissa butter very spicy?

Not hugely, it’s a very mild-medium spice level due to the fat from the butter cutting the heat from the harissa spice. If you’re wary of spiciness I suggest you add the harissa bit by bit and test after adding.

Did you make this dish? Let me know how much you loved it with a star rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐, review, and/or comment below.

Yield: 12 servings

Easy Harissa Butter

An orange log of butter with herbs on brown paper.

Delicious creamy spiced harissa butter will really elevate any meals you choose to add it to!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 stick salted butter (113g), softened
  • 3 Tablespoons harissa paste
  • 1 Tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed

Instructions

  1. Add the butter, cilantro, harissa paste, and crushed garlic to a bowl.
  2. Use a fork to mash the ingredients into each other.
  3. Then use the fork to whip the butter until it's light and smooth and uniform in color.
  4. Use your harissa butter straight away or roll it up in plastic film or parchment paper to form a log and refrigerate until solidified.

Notes

This butter will keep in the fridge tightly covered for up to six days or frozen for up to three months.

Make sure to use a very small clove of garlic or half a normal clove, you only need about ⅛ teaspoon of crushed garlic or it will overpower the harissa paste.

Nutrition Information

Yield

12

Serving Size

1 Tablespoon

Amount Per Serving Calories 79Total Fat 9gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 20mgSodium 118mgCarbohydrates 1gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 0g

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