Lebanese 7 Spice Blend (Sabaa Baharat)

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How to make popular Lebanese 7 spice (Sabaa Baharat) using, you guessed it, seven spices (okay, actually 9 for my favorite version – whoops!) in under 10 minutes. This Baharat spice mix recipe is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine and is also 100% tweakable to personal taste!

Ground Middle Eastern spice mix

When it comes to certain spice mixes, there are 1001+ different variations (like garam masala and Mexican seasoning). That is exactly the case for this Lebanese 7 spice (aka Baharat). Using a combination of 7 spices (9 for my favorite version!) and a simple, quick process, you can mix up a large batch of this middle Eastern spice blend so it’s ready to add to soups, stews, grain dishes, and rub or marinate proteins.

To make the most of the whole spices, I’ve also added the quick step of “blooming” them first. Dry-frying the spices until fragrant helps to lock in and enhance the flavor, making for a super aromatic Lebanese 7 spice. Though, if you’re in a rush, you can always grind the raw spices, too – it’s up to you.

Keep reading for some of my top tips and how to use this 7-spice blend, too. For more spice inspiration, check out my recipes for falafel spice, shawarma seasoning, and Italian seasoning.

A spoonful of Middle Eastern spice mix

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What is Baharat?

Baharat (Baharat pronounced bah-ha-raht) is a popular Middle Eastern seasoning, literally translating from Arabic to just “spices”.

Like many other traditional seasonings, there are tons of regional variations of 7 spice (aka Baharat spice blend). Not to mention all the ways individual families tweak the recipe too. For this version of the Lebanese 7 spice recipe, the result is super aromatic with sweet and bitter notes (and no spiciness).

Spices in a bowl

Once prepared, this Lebanese seven-spice blend is perfect for seasoning proteins, adding to soups and stews, and more. Keep reading for my top suggestions. As usual with homemade seasonings, all the ingredients and amounts used within this Lebanese seven spice recipe are adjustable so that you can tweak it to your taste. Get it “just right,” and you’ll be wanting to use this Baharat spice mix over everything.

What is In This Baharat Recipe?

Okay, I know I’ve admitted it up above, but I’ve actually used nine spices in this Lebanese 7 spice blend (whoops). However, the last two ingredients are technically optional, so… that counts, right?! So, let’s jump into the Baharat spices I’ve used!

  • Cumin: open any Lebanese/Middle Eastern cookbook at a random page several times, and you’re sure to spot cumin at some point (like for my Lebanese lentil soup).
  • Cinnamon: like in my Mexican seasoning, this addition may seem a little odd; however, we love using cinnamon in savory Middle Eastern dishes!
  • Nutmeg: you can use whole nutmeg and “grate” it with a micro plane or use nutmeg powder (make sure it’s fresh!).
  • Black Peppercorns: I don’t recommend using pre-ground black pepper, as the flavor of freshly ground is superior.
  • Coriander seed powder: coriander seeds have a warm, aromatic flavor and slight citrus/curry flavor.
  • Cloves: this flavor is robust, so just a little is needed for a ton of impact.
  • Allspice: although this sounds like a spice blend, allspice is actually made up of a single brown berry, named allspice after its similarity to a flavor that combines nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove.
  • Cardamom: (optional) use green cardamom pods. I grind the pods directly into the mix, however, you could also use only the seeds and save the pods to make tea.
  • Ginger: (optional) I love ginger, so it’s a must in my favorite Lebanese Baharat spice mix, though you can omit it if preferred.
Ingredients for Middle Eastern spice mix

Other Optional Add-ins & Variations

As previously mentioned, there are many variations of seven-spice and Baharat spice to choose from, so below are some of the other main ingredients that you can experiment with. Just note that adding or subbing any ingredients will obviously impact the final flavor. However, I wanted to include them for those that want to experiment.

Other optional Baharat spices

  • Turmeric
  • Saffron
  • Chili flakes/powder
  • Paprika
  • Fenugreek

If you want to add any of the above, start with just a pinch and increase from there until you find the correct balance.

How to Make Lebanese 7 Spice

First, bloom the spices in a large, dry (no oil) skillet. To do this, break up the cinnamon into smaller pieces and then add all the spices to a pan over medium heat and stir constantly until the seeds begin to “pop” and smell fragrant (3-5 minutes).

Alternatively, you can spread the spices across a baking tray and bake in a preheated oven for 5-7 minutes at 360ºF/180ºC.

Toasting spices on a pan

Then, transfer them to a bowl to cool down slightly.

Finally, transfer the seven-spice mixture to either an electric coffee/spice grinder OR a high-speed blender (though you will need a larger batch to work in a blender). Grind into a powder.

For a machine-free alternative, you can manually use a mortar and pestle to grind the spices into a powder consistency.

Steps for making Middle Eastern spice mix

Next, sieve the mixture for a fine powder. If you have enough larger pieces remaining, you can re-grind them once more.

Finally, transfer the Lebanese seven spice mix to an airtight glass container. It can help to use a funnel.

How to store

Store the Lebanese 7 spice in a clean airtight glass jar in a cool, dark location (like a kitchen cupboard). Aim to use the seasoning within 3-4 months for the best flavor, though it will last 6+ months. Ensure you shake well before each use, too.

I recommend storing the homemade spice blend in materials like glass, which is less porous than plastic. Otherwise, the flavor can leech into the plastic and work its way into what you next put into the container.

For longer-term storage, you can store the Baharat spices in the freezer for between 6-8 months (for the best flavor). However, make sure the container is airtight, or it could ruin the entire batch.

Holding a jar with Middle Eastern spice mix

How to Use Baharat

Lebanese 7 spice is a must-have for anyone that enjoys Middle Eastern cuisine, and you can use it in tons of ways, including:

  • As a meat rub or marinade (with olive oil and lemon juice) – also with tofu or other plant-based meat alternatives, like jackfruit.
  • To season stews – like this green bean stew, okra stew (bamya), butter bean stew (fasolia), and pea and carrot stew (bazella w riz).
  • Add to soups – like this Lebanese lentil soup or pumpkin soup.
  • Add to (meaty or vegan) meatballs and meatloaf.
  • Use to make roasted Middle Eastern vegetables or individual veggies like roasted cauliflower or fries.
  • Add the Baharat spice mix to grain dishes – i.e., to season quinoa or rice/cauliflower rice.
  • Combine with olive oil and spread over manakish (flatbread) before baking.
  • Add into hummus for a Middle Eastern twist.
  • Use the Lebanese spices to season eggs or scrambled tofu.

Top tip: these Baharat spices work particularly well at helping to cut the acidity in tomato-based dishes – which is great!

Recipe Notes

  • Making a 2-minute “cheat” version: In a pinch, you can make this Baharat spice blend in just two minutes using pre-ground spices (you can still bloom them for extra flavor, too!). I prefer to use whole spices, though, as I find the flavor to be superior.
  • Be careful with the cloves: cloves are already a robust flavor. However, I’ve noticed some find it more so than others. So, feel free to start with less than I’ve recommended and add in more to taste.
  • When using Lebanese 7 spice: this blend is very aromatic, so it is best used in small quantities (you can always increase, but you can’t decrease!). When using with ground meat, I recommend around one teaspoon per pound of ground protein.

Related DIYs

If you try this Lebanese 7 spice recipe (Baharat recipe), I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions below. Also, I’d really appreciate a recipe card rating below, and feel free to tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

Lebanese 7 Spice Blend (Sabaa Baharat)

5 from 10 votes
By: Samira
How to make popular Lebanese 7 spice (Sabaa Baharat) using seven spices in under 10 minutes. This Baharat spice mix recipe is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine and is also 100% tweakable to personal taste!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 8 minutes
Servings: 7 teaspoons

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 medium-size cinnamon stick or 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 whole nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 Tbsp peppercorn
  • 1 Tbsp ground ginger powder optional
  • 1/2 Tbsp cardamom pods green (optional)

This will yield about 1.2oz/35 grams

    Instructions 

    • Bloom the spices in a large, dry (no oil) skillet. To do this, break up the cinnamon into smaller pieces and then add all the whole spices to a pan over medium heat and stir constantly until the spices begin to "pop" and smell fragrant (3-5 minutes).
      Alternatively, you can spread the spices across a baking tray and bake in a preheated oven for 5-7 minutes at 360ºF/180ºC.
    • Transfer them to a bowl to cool down slightly.
    • Transfer the spice mixture to either an electric coffee/spice grinder OR a high-speed blender (though a larger batch will be needed to work in a blender). Grind into a powder.
      For a machine-free alternative, you can use a mortar and pestle to manually grind the spices into a powder consistency.
    • Sieve the mixture for a fine powder. If you have enough larger pieces remaining, you can re-grind them once more.
    • Transfer the spice blend to an airtight glass container. It can help to use a funnel.

    How to Store

    • Store the Lebanese 7 spice in a clean airtight glass jar in a cool, dark location (like a kitchen cupboard). Aim to use the seasoning within 3 months for the best flavor, though it will last 6+months. Ensure you shake well before each use, too.
      I recommend storing the homemade spice blend in materials like glass, which is less porous than plastic. Otherwise, the flavor can leech into the plastic and work its way into what you next put into the container.
      For longer-term storage, you can store the Baharat spices in the freezer for between 6-8 months (for the best flavor). However, make sure the container is completely airtight or the entire batch could be ruined.

    Notes

    • Making a 2-minute “cheat” version: in a pinch, you can make this Baharat spice blend in just two minutes using pre-ground spices (you can still bloom them for extra flavor, too!). I prefer to use whole spices though, as I find the flavor to be superior.
    • Be careful with the cloves: cloves are already a particularly strong flavor. However, I’ve noticed some find it more so than others. So, feel free to start with less than I’ve recommended and add in more, to taste.
    • When using Lebanese 7 spice: this spice blend is very aromatic, so is best used in small quantities (you can always increase, but you can’t decrease!). When using with ground meat, I recommend around 1 teaspoon per pound of ground protein.
     
    Check the blog post for more information on extra ingredients and serving suggestions!
    Course: DIYs
    Cuisine: Lebanese, Middle Eastern
    Freezer friendly: 6-8 Months
    Shelf life: 3 Months

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1tsp, Calories: 15kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 3mg, Potassium: 56mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 19IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 27mg, Iron: 1mg

    Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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    Recipe Rating




    2 Comments

    1. Jen says:

      5 stars
      Very informative and inspiring.

      1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

        Thank you! Glad you liked it.