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Chermoula is a North African condiment that’s used as a sauce or marinade with an herby, zesty, and warmly spiced flavor. It only takes 5 minutes to make in a food processor, and it’s incredibly versatile!

overhead view of chermoula sauce in small condiment container with fresh lemon and garlic around

Chermoula is a fresh herb sauce used in Moroccan and other North African cuisines.

It’s full of verdant herbs like cilantro and parsley, aromatic with garlic, bright with lemon, peppery with olive oil, and rich with earthy spices. This versatile condiment is a popular pairing with fish and seafood, but is also delicious with chicken, lamb, and vegetables.

If you like pesto or chimichurri, chermoula is a must-try!

chermoula sauce in small teal tagine condiment holder

Easy Chermoula Sauce Recipe

Ingredients

In this section I explain the ingredients and give substitution ideas. For the full recipe (including ingredient amounts), see the recipe card below.

  • Fresh cilantro and parsley – I like to use half cilantro and half parsley, but you can use all cilantro or all parsley if you prefer; make sure to remove the touch stems
  • Garlic – this adds a ton of flavor and aroma to this fresh herb sauce
  • Cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, coarse kosher salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper – this is the spice blend we use to create a well-balanced, earthy, slightly smoky flavor profile; note that the cayenne pepper is optional and adds a slight kick without making this sauce overly spicy-hot
  • Fresh lemon juice and zest – these add fresh, bright, zesty flavor to the sauce
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – to help make the sauce into a paste-like consistency

Step-by-Step Instructions

how to make chermoula sauce
  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor.
  2. Pulse a few times to chop it up a bit, and then process until it’s as smooth as you like it (don’t completely puree it, leave a bit of texture).

Storage

You can make the chermoula sauce up to 3 days ahead and store it in an airtight container in the fridge.

How to Use Chermoula Sauce

The sky is the limit in terms of different ways to use chermoula sauce! Here are a few ideas:

  • Marinade (for seafood, chicken, lamb, or beef)
  • Dipping sauce
  • Pasta sauce
  • Salad dressing
  • Condiment for burgers, sandwiches, or wraps
  • Drizzled on roasted, steamed, or grilled vegetables
  • As a dip for raw vegetables, such as carrot sticks, bell pepper strips, broccoli florets, etc.
  • Stirred into soup right before serving for another layer of flavor
  • Tossed with cooked rice, quinoa, bulgur wheat, etc.

Chermoula Sauce FAQs

What is the Difference Between Chermoula and Zhoug Sauce?

Zhoug, also transliterated schug, skhug, zhug, zoug, and zoog, is quite a bit spicier than chermoula because of the addition of hot peppers (such as jalapenos). Also, some versions of zhug contain other spices, such as caraway and/or cardamom.

Zhoug is originally from Yemen, but is commonly found across the Middle East. In Israel, zhoug is a popular condiment for street food, and is often served with hummus, falafel, and shawarma. (You can read more about zhoug on Wikipedia.)

What is the Difference Between Chermoula and Pesto?

Italian pesto typically contains basil, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and pine nuts.

On the other hand, Moroccan chermoula uses a base of cilantro and parsley, and is flavored with warm, earthy spices like cumin, coriander, and paprika.

Both chermoula and pesto contain olive oil and garlic.

More Savory Sauces to Try

top view of fresh chermoula sauce in small condiment dish

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Chermoula Sauce Recipe

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time0 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Chermoula is a North African condiment that’s used as a sauce or marinade with an herby, zesty, and warmly spiced flavor. It only takes 5 minutes to make in a food processor, and it’s incredibly versatile!

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Ingredients
 

Instructions
 

  • Add all ingredients to a food processor. Pulse a few times to chop it up a bit, and then process until it’s as smooth as you like it (don’t completely puree it, leave a bit of texture).

Notes

  • Chermoula Sauce Yield: This recipe makes about 3/4 cup of sauce, which is 6 (2-tablespoon) servings.
  • Storage: You can make the chermoula sauce up to 3 days ahead and store it in an airtight container in the fridge.

Nutrition

Serving: 2tablespoons | Calories: 96kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 397mg | Potassium: 112mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.3g | Vitamin A: 1266IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximate.

Course: Condiments
Cuisine: North African

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chermoula sauce pin
Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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