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Grilled honey harissa marinated chicken thighs shown on a white speckled plate atop a light blue surface. The chicken is garnished with pomegranate arils & fresh cilantro leaves.

Sweet and Spicy Honey Harissa Marinade

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  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1/4 cup marinade 1x
  • Category: Sauces & Condiments
  • Method: No-Cook, Grilling & Smoking
  • Cuisine: Moroccan
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This Honey Harissa Marinade is ready to amp up your grilling routine! Harissa paste, cayenne pepper, and cumin add just enough smoky heat while sweet honey and bright lemon juice tone things down for a not-too-spicy and not-too-sweet marinade. An easy way to infuse the heat of North Africa into your grilled favorites! Use it as a Moroccan chicken marinade or add instant flavor to grilled steak, lamb, pork, veggies, and more.

Made with 7 ingredients in 10 minutes or less!


  • up to 2 pounds meat or veggies of choice
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup spicy harissa paste (see Recipe Notes)
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • optional: ¼-½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Olive oil, spicy harissa paste, honey, lemon, garlic, ground coriander, ground cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, & pepper arranged on a light blue surface.


  1. Mix the honey harissa marinade: Add the olive oil, spicy harissa paste, honey, lemon juice, garlic, coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper (as desired), kosher salt and ground black pepper to a medium bowl or jar. Whisk or shake to combine. Set aside, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.Honey Harissa marinade shown in a small ball jar, sitting atop a light blue surface with fresh Cilantro leaves & cracked pepper in the foreground & in the background.
  2. Marinate: Pour the Moroccan marinade over your meat or veggies of choice. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours.Chicken thighs in a large glass mixing bowl, marinating in Honey Harissa marinade. The bowl sits atop a light blue surface.
  3. Grill as desired. Enjoy!Grilled honey harissa marinated chicken thighs shown on a white speckled plate atop a light blue surface. The chicken is garnished with pomegranate arils & fresh cilantro leaves.


  • Harissa paste is…. (what is it, sourcing). If you cannot find harissa paste, you can use up to 1/3 cup your favorite harissa sauce, omitting the lemon juice in the marinade recipe.
  • Suggested marinade time: After testing this honey harissa marinade with a variety of different marinade times, we found a 12-hour marinade period to be ideal. The flavor of the marinade really sinks into the meat without affecting the meat’s texture. Because of the amount of lemon juice used in this marinade, I do not recommend marinating longer than 24 hours.
  • 10-Minute Meal Prep: If you’d like to marinate something later in the week, I suggest making the marinade in advance, whenever you’re meal prepping for the week. Store it in a jar or an airtight container for up to 5 days – the flavors meld together even more as the marinade sits. At least 12 hours before you’re ready to hit the grill, simply pour the marinade over whatever meat or veggies you’re using it on – easy peasy!
  • Easy vegan substitution: If you’d like to make a vegan version of this honey harissa marinade, simply swap the honey for an equal amount of pure maple syrup or agave nectar. The marinade will be awesome on veggies, cauliflower steaks, or even grilled tofu!