How to make Ethiopian Berbere Spice Blend with common spices you may already have in your pantry.  Filled with complex toasty flavor.  Easy to make in about 15 minutes!

Berbere spice in a glass jar

Authentic Berbere is central to Ethiopian cooking.  It is known to be fiery hot and full of complex flavor.  Perfect for adding a rich spark to veggies, meats, grains, and legumes.  Use this Ethiopian Spice Blend as a rub for roasted vegetables, seafood and meat, add a little to enhance soups and stews, and maybe even experiment on Ethiopian food, or dive head first into Ethiopian cuisine! Making your own berbere spice blend keeps the flavors fresh and vibrant allowing you to customize the heat to your liking.

Berbere is not aways readily available at conventional grocery stores so having this recipe can be a godsend!

 Berbere Spice recipe ingredients

What Spices are in Berbere?

Some traditional blends also include nigella, ajwain seeds,  korarima,  long pepper, rue.  There are as many variations of blends of berbere as there are households.

For the sake of ease and accessibility, we are keeping it to more common spices without sacrificing flavor.

toasting the whole spices in the skillet

Using whole spices gives the Berbere a fresher more intense flavor profile.  Whole spices do not age as quickly as ground.

That said,  Yes!  You can totally make the spice blend with ground spices!

Toast the ground spices too!

Toast the whole spices for a few minutes in a dry skillet and then add ground spices heating just two minutes more to enliven flavor.

A flavorful Ethiopian Berbere spice recipe, made with common spices you may already have in your pantry.  Filled with complex toasty flavor.  Easy to make in about 15 minutes!

In just minutes you’ll have a delicious berbere spice blend!  We are loving this on roasted veggies, chicken, also delicious sprinkled on hummus!  Mix Berbere with olive oil and use it as a flavorful paste for grilled meats! Gives a savory kick to salad dressings and sauces, making even the simplest of dishes rich and full of depth.

Give it a try and let us know what you create!


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Berbere Spice Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 4 reviews
  • Author: Tonia Schemmel | Feasting at Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: ½ cup 1x
  • Category: spices, condiments, diy
  • Method: toasted, blendend
  • Cuisine: Ethiopian


How to make Ethiopian Berbere Spice Blend with common spices you may already have in your pantry.  Filled with complex bright spicy flavor.  Easy to make in about 15 minutes!




  1. In a dry skillet, toast whole spices 3-5 minutes over medium heat until fragrant, stirring all the while so as not to scorch.
  2. Add ground spices and toast 2 minutes more.
  3. If using whole spices, grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle until finely ground.
  4. Store in a sealed container.


Berbere will keep up to 6 months.


  • Serving Size: 1 teaspoon
  • Calories: 8
  • Sugar: 0.1 g
  • Sodium: 99.4 mg
  • Fat: 0.3 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 1.6 g
  • Fiber: 0.8 g
  • Protein: 0.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

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  1. For a first time I thought I’d try a small batch, and set the recipe to “1/2” and printed it. When it came time to make this the amount shown for the chili flakes had not been halved – still called for 1 tablespoon. I thought that seemed too much for the volume so I used a teaspoon instead and that seemed ok. I have not yet tried it on food but looking forward to berbere grill tofu!

  2. LOVE LOVE LOVE this spice blend! We use it on chicken all the time and it’s fab!
    Thank you for ALL your recipes…they never disappoint!

  3. WOW THIS SPICE BLEND IS AMAZING !!! How come Ive never heard of it before?
    I was preparing this berbere for an Ethiopian dish I will be making tonight. After I finished it I needed to have a quick lunch so I made myself a sandwich with just cheap store-bought hummus and some cucumber and tomato slices. With the berbere still on my kitchen table I decided why not sprinkle some on top of my hummus. Best decision I’ve made in a long time, it truly elevated my simple hummus sandwich to an unprecedented level. I think I will officially try sprinkling this stuff on to anything, i’m hooked! Its so nice and spicy and tangy 🙂 Thank you for the recipe!

    One small reccomendation for people that don’t like spicy: get rid of the seeds in the chilies before roasting them.

  4. Excited to try this! I happen to have some nigella and ajwain seeds that I picked up thinking they looked interesting. Haven’t really found a good use for them though. If I did put them in the recipe, what sort of proportion would you recommend? Would they take the place of any of the spices you have? Thanks!

    1. Ajwain is very similar to cumin and would work well here. The nigela (taste it!) has a really unique flavor and if using I would go very light. I love using nigella in sweet things- granola, fruit crisps, or it is also in the Celery Soup on the blog.

  5. I am at the part in Marcus Samuelsson’s memoir where he is in Ethiopia so the timing of this recipe is excellent! I have everything to make this except for fenugreek. Do you have a recommendation for a substitution? I’ve read that mustard seed could be good (or fennel or curry).

    1. love that synchronicity! You could just leave the fenugreek out. or try a little of both mustard seeds and fennel?

      1. Ok, so I took your advice and used mustard seeds and fennel. I put it both in a lentil dish and a carrot dish. The flavor was incredible and even though I use all of these seasonings, it tasted unique together. There is a lot of heat so I had to serve it with some plain yogurt or else it would be too spicy for my kids.

        1. Thank you for posting your results for your substitution.I too was missing fenugreek. It was helpful to know how yours turned out.

        2. Talk about synchronicity!
          I’m just making a lentil Shepherds Pie – lentils and carrot but the recipe did not include those spices. I will now add them for extra interest. Thanks!


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