Baharat, pronounced ba-Ha-raght, is a Middle Eastern spice blend layered with sweet, earthy, spicy flavors, and a delicate florality. Learn everything you need to know about baharat spice in this essential guide, including: What is baharat? What’s in it? And my favorite ways to use it. 

An overhead photo of baharat spice blend in a bowl with a small wooden spoon. Next to this is a small bowl of the spice.
Photo Credits: Mark Beahm

If you could bottle the quintessential Middle Eastern dance between sweet and savory, warming and spicy, and bold and delicate, it would be baharat spice blend. Just a dash of this Mediterranean pantry staple will bring big boldness to your weeknight baked chicken and date night chocolate pudding alike! You’ll be amazed at how much incredibly fragrant, complex flavor you can get with simple a mix of spices.

Baharat varies depending on the region, family, and, honestly, what grandma is feeling that day. It demonstrates the concept I talk about in my cookbook of letting your “nafas,” or guide your cooking. Nafas means “breath” or “soul” in Arabic. It's a hard concept to translate, but essentially it means to cook from your heart. Let your breath guide you rather than a set recipe. 

Of course, you can grind, toast, and mix paprika, black pepper, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and more to make your own personal Baharat blend. But, if your nafas are still in development, you can find this spice mixture at specially stores and our online shop.

Table of Contents
  1. What is Baharat?
  2. What Does Baharat Taste Like?
  3. Where to Find It
  4. Best Substitute for Baharat
  5. How to Use It
  6. All About the Mediterranean Pantry! 
Baharat spice blend on a small wooden spoon being held over an open jar of the spice. Next to this is another jar and a small bowl of the spice.

What is Baharat?

Baharat is a catch-all term for spice blend, from the Arabic word for “spices.” Like za’atar or ras el hanout, baharat spice is one of the many Eastern Mediterranean blends that has no exact definition or recipe. 

But despite the nuance and variety, baharat’s basic flavor profile remains the same. It's a cozy blend of warming spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Plus layers of savory spices like coriander and cumin, and a slow and gentle heat from ground chili and black pepper. 

Baharat spice blend in a bowl with a small wooden spoon.

What Does Baharat Taste Like?

Baharat is a well-balanced mix of spicy, sweet, savory, and smoky. If you taste a pinch you might first notice the dominant flavors of coriander and cumin–earthy and a little bit floral. Then comes the warming, slightly sweet notes of spices like nutmeg and cinnamon.

You may begin to sense the sneaky heat slowly building from smoky and sweet paprika and spicy black pepper. Finally, you may notice more of a sensation rather than a flavor. That’s allspice’s complex flavor, which tends to linger once the flavors fade. 

Baharat spice blend on a spoon and in a small bowl. Next to this are two jars of the spice from The Mediterranean Dish.

Where to Find It

Baharat is still a lesser-known spice that you can sometimes find in the spice section of your grocery store, either under “B” or with the other blends.

But if your grocery store doesn’t have a wide variety, head over to our shop. We carry a curated selection of hard-to-find Middle Eastern and Mediterranean spices, along with my favorite version of baharat

Baharat spice blend on a small wooden spoon next to more of the spice sprinkled around it.

Best Substitute for Baharat

There’s really no great substitute for baharat, but the next best thing would be to use ras el hanout. 

Generally speaking, the two spice blends share warming, sweet, and aromatic with spices like cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. The main difference comes down to a small nuance in earthy versus peppery spices, with ras el hanout taking on earthy note typical of yellow spices like turmeric and baharat boasting a sweet chili flavor reminiscent of red spices like paprika.

You can swap the two spice blends in savory dishes and both will add a delicious flavor to your dish, just keep in mind the color and flavor profile won’t be quite the same. 

An overhead photo of baharat spice blend in a bowl with a small wooden spoon. Next to this are two jars of the spice from The Mediterranean Dish.

How to Use It

Baharat has a talent for fitting in, with sweets, meats, and more! Here are some ways to incorporate this aromatic spice blend into your everyday cooking: 

All About the Mediterranean Pantry! 

Browse all Mediterranean recipes.

Visit Our Shop.

Baharat Spice Blend

Try our signature Baharat Spice Blend with cardamom, coriander, cinnamon, paprika and more.

baharat spice blend from the mediterranean dish.

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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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  1. I love the sound of the Baharat spice mix, however I am extremely allergic to Chilli and its derivatives - paprika etc.
    Would you be able to provide me with the quantities of the other spices so that I could mix my own.
    Regards Robyn