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Harissa Baked Wings for Game Day

Harissa Baked Wings for Game Day
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Harissa is one of my favorite spice blends and this recipe uses both a harissa spice rub and a harissa paste on wings.

We tested these harissa baked wings against our go-to smoked wings. It was a toss up at our Superbowl part for which had the best flavor, but the baked wings were definitely easier.

Either or both are excellent options for game day get-togethers!

Plate of harissa baked wings and smoked wings with parmesan topping
Plate of harissa baked wings and smoked wings with parmesan topping

Jump to: RECIPE | Harissa Rub vs Harissa Paste | DIY Harissa Spice Blend | Baked vs Smoked Wings

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Harissa Spice Rub vs Harissa Paste

Harissa is a North African blend of spices that typically includes smoked chile peppers, cumin, coriander, caraway, cinnamon and salt & pepper.

Frequently you will find it for purchase as a paste rather than a dry spice blend.

Just know that the heat level of the harissa pastes vary quite a bit. Some are scorching hot.

I prefer more complexity rather than just overpowering heat, so the harissa paste that I make at home involves 7 different chile peppers, ranging from mild to very hot.

Harissa can be purchased online as a dry spice blend, or you can make your own DIY harissa spice blend (see recipe below).

The dry spice blend is great as a rub on proteins and vegetables. It is a go-to blend for me for sheet pan dinners.

The harissa paste is preferable if you are making a finishing sauce or if you want to use it as a side condiment for dipping vegetables in. It’s also great as a topping for quinoa and various grains!

Harissa spice blend in a plastic bag with cumin, chile powder, coriander, and caraway seeds in white spoons.
Ingredients of a harissa spice blend

DIY Harissa Spice Blend

It’s easy to make a homemade harissa spice blend. The peppers may vary but harissa always includes cumin, coriander and caraway.

Here is my favorite homemade harissa blend:

  • 2 Tbsp ground cumin, 
  • 2 Tbsp ground caraway, 
  • 2 Tbsp ground coriander, 
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon, 
  • 1 cup Powdered chile peppers (mixed)
  • salt (to taste)

Baked Wings vs Smoked Wings

Wings are incredibly popular, especially during football season. It doesn’t seem to matter how you make them as long as you provide a big plate of them!

My husband and I did a little contest to see who could make the tastiest wings. I chose baking the wings, simply because it was the easiest. I used the harissa spice blend as a rub and baked them on a sheet pan for 25 minutes. Easy!

I did make an additional harissa sauce to drizzle over the top after they were done. Using a prepared harissa paste made that process very easy also, but be warned that it also makes for messy eating.

My husband smoked his wings with a garlic rub and then dusted them with parmesan while they were still warm.

Smoked wings with parmesan rub and a small dish of sour cream dip in the middle of the plate.
Smoked wings with parmesan and garlic

Both were awesome. Since I was the single judge the taste test went to the harissa baked wings of course. I will say however, that if you prefer non-spicy food then go for the parmesan-garlic dusted wings.

The best way to please your guests of course is to provide both!

You can make your own homemade harissa paste or purchase it. Harissa also comes in a powdered form that you can use as a rub. Just whisk together all the ingredients for the powdered harissa spice blend (see recipe below)

There are a number of recipes on this site that use harissa rubs or harissa pastes. One of my favorites is this Mexican casserole recipe (one of the husband’s concoctions).

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Harissa Baked Wings

Plate of harissa baked wings and smoked wings with parmesan topping
Easy baked wings with a harissa spice blend as a rub
4.50 from 4 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 731


The Wings

  • 22 chicken wings
  • 5 Tbsp harissa spice see below for DIY spice blend
  • 4-5 Tbsp harissa paste
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup honey (optional)


  • 2 Tbsp ground cumin toasted if possible
  • 2 Tbsp ground caraway toasted if possible
  • 2 Tbsp ground coriander toasted if possible
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup Powdered chile peppers I used chipotle, but use your favorite
  • salt (to taste)


The Spice Blend

  • Mix all spice blend ingredients together thoroughly in a bowl.
    2 Tbsp ground cumin, 2 Tbsp ground caraway, 2 Tbsp ground coriander, 2 Tbsp cinnamon, 1 cup Powdered chile peppers, salt (to taste)

The Wings

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Place some parchment paper over a sheet pan
  • In a large bowl, combine chicken wings with harissa spice blend and rub together thoroughly with your hands. Spread wings on the parchment papered sheet pan, leaving a bit of room between each one. Bake for about 20 minutes
    22 chicken wings, 5 Tbsp harissa spice
  • Remove the wings from the oven after 20 minutes and turn them over. Bake for another 10 minutes.
  • While wings are finishing baking, make a harissa sauce by adding the harissa paste and the butter together over medium heat. Add honey if desired to make it more sticky. I didn’t think it needed the honey, but if you prefer a sweeter, stickier sauce, add a bit of honey.
    4-5 Tbsp harissa paste, 4 Tbsp butter, 1/4 cup honey (optional)
  • Remove wings from the oven and drizzle the harissa sauce over the wings. Serve with a tzatziki or dipping sauce of your choice.


Low Carb Harissa Baked Wings vs Smoked Wings - a Taste Test
Watch this video on YouTube.
Watch the Step by Step Video for More Details


Calories: 731kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 50gFat: 55gSaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 234mgSodium: 500mgPotassium: 570mgFiber: 4gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 879IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 124mgIron: 5mg
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