This Dukkah recipe (Egyptian Herb and Spice Mix) is a savory, nutty herb and spice blend that packs a punch of flavor and crunch.
When I lived in and visited the Middle East, one of my favorite things to shop for was spices. The spice shops were vibrant; full of heady, exotically-spiced air, a rainbow of colors, and of course all the usual clamor that goes along with your typical lively marketplace.
Spice shops in the Middle East sell all manner of leaves, barks, and flowers in addition to spices, and they use them to make the most magical things.
Middle Eastern spice shops specialize in a custom spice blend for just about anything and everything.
A few of the more popular spice blends I've seen are meat spice mix (for red meat), chicken spice mix, fish spice mix, shawarma spice mix, cake spice mix (for sweets like mamoul), and a thyme mix called Za’atar (perfect for eating with flatbread dipped in olive oil).
They even add spice (cardamom) to their coffee (and it’s delicious!).
What is Dukkah?
Dukkah (also transliterated duqqa and dukkha) is an herb and spice mix hailing from Egypt. Similar to Za'atar, recipes for Dukkah vary slightly by region and family.
Authentic Dukkah Spice Mix Recipe
If you're wondering what's in Dukkah?, that question isn't necessarily an easy one to answer. Common ingredients include toasted nuts, sesame seeds, and savory spices like cumin and coriander.
I’ve seen Dukkah mixes that use different types of nuts, such as almonds, pistachios, or hazelnuts, or leave them out entirely. I went with hazelnuts here, because that’s what intrigued me most (although pistachio was next on my list). Feel free to swap out the hazelnuts for whatever strikes your fancy though.
I was unsure as to how the use of mint would fare in this Dukkah recipe, but it’s one of my favorite components. It adds a vibrancy and almost sweetness, without actually adding sweetener. I know it might sound like an odd addition, but don’t skip it!
I’ve also seen versions of this spice mix that add fennel seeds, shredded coconut, or sweetener. I am definitely intrigued to experiment with the recipe!
Egyptian Dukkah Ingredients
- Dry roasted unsalted hazelnuts - swap these out for almonds or pistachios if you prefer; be sure to toast them for the richest, deepest flavor
- Cumin - cumin has an earthy warm flavor with a hint of peppery, citrusy notes
- Coriander - coriander adds a bright lemony flavor
- Sesame seeds - sesame seeds are mildly sweet and nutty with a touch of bitterness
- Dried mint - mint is subtly sweet and grassy with a mild cooling effect
- Ground thyme - thyme is loved for its citrusy, lemon notes, as well as its earthy, subtly mint-like flavor
- Sea salt - to enhance the flavor of everything else
How to Make Dukkah
Mix together all ingredients.
Store Dukkah in an airtight container at room temperature in a cool, dark place (such as your spice cabinet) for up to 1 month.
Egyptian Dukkah FAQs
Is Dukkah the Same as Za'atar?
Dukkah shares a few of the same components as Za’atar, such as thyme and sesame seeds. However, Dukkah and Za'atar are different spice blends.
What Does Dukkah Taste Like?
Dukkah spice has a toasted, nutty flavor with bright citrusy notes, savory undertones, and a hint of earthy sweetness.
How Do You Use This Dukkah Spice Mix Recipe?
There are so many uses for this Dukkah spice blend!
Egyptian Dukkah is one of those things that I continuously find new purposes for. A few of my favorites include:
- Sprinkled on labneh (yogurt cheese) along with a drizzle of good-quality olive oil
- To add crunch and zest on top of salads (like Sweet Pepper Chickpea Salad with Mint and Honey-Sumac Vinaigrette), pilafs (such as One-Pot Brown Rice Pilaf with Chicken Sausage, Mushrooms, and Rosemary), or pasta
- As a seasoning for chicken or seafood (try Dukkah Crusted Blackened Salmon)
- Along with flatbread and olive oil (dip a bite-sized piece of flatbread into olive oil and then into the spice mix; it’s delicious paired with tea!)
- As a substitute for some recipes that call for Za’atar, such as Kale, Roasted Zucchini, and Green Pea Salad with Creamy Za’atar Dressing
More Spice Mixes to Try
Dukkah Recipe (Egyptian Herb and Spice Mix)
- 6 tablespoons dry-roasted unsalted hazelnuts coarsely crushed in a food processor or mortar and pestle
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds lightly toasted (coarsely crushed if desired, but I leave them whole)
- 2 teaspoons crushed dried mint
- ½ teaspoon ground thyme
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Mix together all ingredients.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month.
- Net Carbs: 1g per serving
- Recipe Yield and Serving Size: Each serving is 1 tablespoon. This recipe makes about ½ cup, for 8 (1-tablespoon-sized) servings.
Spice Market Photos from Yarmouk in Damascus Syria in March 2011
I was recently looking through my travel photos and I came across a few pictures I took of spice markets in Damascus, Syria in March 2011. The area was a Palestinian refugee camp called Yarmouk.
The people, their land, and their culture quickly found a way into my heart. (If you're interested, you can read more about my thoughts on living in the Middle East in this post.) I wanted to share a few of my pictures from the spice markets there.
This post was first published on An Edible Mosaic on March 23, 2018. I updated it with more information on July 10, 2023.