Ras Al Hanout, Savory

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  8 servings (1 cup total)
Prep Time:  5 minutes Cook Time:  0 minutes

Ras Al Hanout, Savory

Ras Al Hanout (Arabic for “head of the shop,” meaning the best spices a shop has to offer) is a North African, typically Moroccan, spice blend. There is no one recipe for ras al hanout; recipes vary from cook to cook. This basic blend is versatile and flavorful.


3 tablespoons whole dried allspice berries

1 tablespoon whole white peppercorns

1 tablespoon whole black cardamom seeds (see Kitchen Tips)

1 teaspoon whole green cardamoms seeds (see Kitchen Tips)

1 teaspoon whole cloves

½ teaspoon whole coriander seeds

½ teaspoon whole anise seeds

5 tablespoons ground roasted cinnamon

2 tablespoons ground dried ginger

1 teaspoon ground dried galangal

1 teaspoon ground dried mace

10 to 12 scrapes fresh nutmeg (see Kitchen Tips)

Pinch of dried lavender

Pinch of ground turmeric


  1. Heat a heavy duty saute pan or cast-iron skillet over medium heat until it is very hot. Add the allspice, peppercorns, cardamom seeds, cloves, coriander seeds, and anise seeds and toast, stirring, for 20 to 25 seconds, until fragrant, watching carefully so they don’t burn. Transfer to a heat-proof bowl and let cool. Carefully transfer to a  spice grinder or a  coffee grinder dedicated to spices and grind in pulses until pulverized and powdery.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine all of the freshly ground toasted spices with the cinnamon, ginger, galangal, mace, nutmeg, lavender, and turmeric and stir until well combined. Pour into an airtight container with a lid and cover tightly. This spice mixture will keep for up to 3 months, but it will gradually lose strength.

Kitchen Tips

  1. You can buy cardamom seeds, but the flavor will be stronger if you buy whole pods and remove the seeds yourself. To remove the seeds from the pods, place the pods on a cutting board. Using the flat side of a large chef’s knife (being careful not to have the blade face you), gently press on the pods. The seeds will start popping out. Gather up the tiny seeds to use in your recipe. If your like, you can reserve the husks for infusing liquids such as teas and sauces.
  2. Nutmeg is available ground, but if you buy the whole nutmeg and grate it or scrape it with a sharp knife yourself, the flavor and fragrance will be much stronger. Look for it in specialty spice stores, well-stocked supermarket spice sections, or online.

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