Baharat‎ (Middle Eastern Spice Mix)

by Jackie Miao

I love Middle Eastern food! From kebabs to shawarma, fasulye to kofte, the cuisines of the Middle East is something I am curious and am passionate in learning to cook more of.
It’s hearty, aromatic, and so delicious! Most dishes form the Arab world and Levant uses a base spice mix called Bahārāt (Arabic: بهارات‎‎ | Romanized: Boharat/Bokharat).

It works somewhat like Indian Garam Masala. Where Garam Masala is added to Indian dishes that give them an Indian-character, Baharat is added to Middle Eastern dishes to give them a distinct Arabic flavor. Also know as the Arabic 7-Spice Mix, without it, you simply wouldn’t get that Arabic character to your dishes.

There are many versions of this spice mix. However, the modal flavors always include the ingredients listed here. Like curry powder, people have their own spin to it. The difference between one spice mix and another is mostly in the different concentration of the spices used. For example, some people prefer more black pepper in their spice mix, while others prefer more cumin.

Also, some people prefer to use allspice instead of nutmeg for religious reasons, because nutmeg is viewed as an intoxicant and therefore haram. Some spice mixes have ground rose petals, ginger, turmeric, and even chili powder. Here is the recipe I use. It is easy to throw together with spices I already have in my pantry. Put it in meatballs, shawarmas, stews, and you’ll instantly transform your dishes from blah to mmm.


Original recipe from


  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg or allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cardamom


Use ground spices or toast and grind spices separately, then mix everything evenly together. Store in an airtight glass jar in a cool, dark place. The spices should remain fresh for up a year if stored well.

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