Berbere 101: What It Is & 8 Best Berbere Recipes

Berbere spice, a complex blend of chile peppers and spices, is all too familiar across the eastern Horn of Africa – Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia.  Here, berbere is considered an all purpose blend that adds warmth and depth to dishes like beans, meats, stews, burgers and roasted vegetables. The word berbere means “hot” in Amharic —a spicy and flavorful spice blend (pronounced bari baray).

What Is Berbere Spice?

Taste: Spicy, sweet
Uses: Wots (stews), dry rubs, lentil soups, roasted vegetables, dips

A deeply flavorful combination of spicy and sweet, berbere spice is the Ethiopian equivalent of garam masala. Berbere spice recipes vary regionally, but usually has some combination of dried red chiles, black peppercorns, fenugreek, ginger, green cardamom, coriander, cinnamon, allspice and cloves. 

How To Use Berbere

Just a pinch of berbere spice will add depth and spicy flavor to stews, soups, vegetables and meat rubs. Berbere may be used dry as a rub or mixed with oil to form a paste. Use it to add flavor to Ethiopian slow-cooked wats (stews) with lentils, beans, or meat or add to lentil soup, roasted veggies or stir-fries. You can also sneak some into burgers or meatballs. Marcus Samuelsson, the famous Ethiopian chef, loves using berbere spice as a dip with olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, berbere, and chopped olives.

Where to Buy Berbere

Berbere Recipes

Berbere Chicken

Level up your Chicken by adding RawSpiceBar's Berbere Spice. Serve and Enjoy! Full recipe here.

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West African Peanut Soup

Made with a delightful flavor combination of peanut butter, tomato paste and RawSpiceBar's Berbere Spice, this soup is creamy and comforting that would be a great weeknight meal. Full recipe here.

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Berbere Paste, Ethiopian

This RawSpiceBar's Berbere Spice Paste can be used immediately, or add to a jar, cover with a layer of oil, seal with a lid, and store in the fridge for up to a week. Full recipe here.

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Key Wat (Ethiopian Spicy Stewed Beef)

Key wat is an Ethiopian style stew that is typically prepared with fall apart chicken, beef, lamb or a variety of vegetables. The cornerstone of this dish is a spice blend called RawSpiceBar's Berbere Spice. Full recipe here.

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How To Make The [Best] Nigerian Joll of Rice

Nigerian jollof rice is cooked in a flavorful tomato and pepper sauce and laced with heat of freshly ground red chiles from RawSpiceBar's Berbere Spice. Full recipe here.

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Berbere Roasted Chickpeas

These spicy, crunchy and super addictive berbere roasted chickpeas are healthy and flavor packed with Ethiopian RawSpiceBar's Berbere Spice - the perfect snack! Full recipe here.

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African Peanut Soup, Vegan

Simplest but most wonderful flavors such as RawSpiceBar's Berbere Spice combined to make this soup. Full recipe here.

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Misir Wot (Ethiopian Lentil Stew)

This quick and easy recipe for Ethiopian lentil soup with RawSpiceBar's Berbere Spice puts a highly pleasant to the taste of dinner on the table in just about 1 hour. Full recipe here.

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