Muhammara is a Middle Eastern dip traditionally made from roasted red peppers, ground walnuts, Aleppo peppers, breadcrumbs, and pomegranate molasses. Sweet, tangy, smoky, and a little spicy, this post provides an easy muhammara recipe with step-by-step instructions to make this easy and delicious appetizer at home!
Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip
Muhammara is a warm and comforting roasted red pepper and walnut dip that originated in the Syrian city of Aleppo. One of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, some believe Aleppo may have been inhabited since the 6th millennium BC.
Characteristic ingredients in muhammara include pomegranate molasses, red bell peppers, walnuts, and crushed Aleppo pepper (which was named after the city of Aleppo).
Bursting with unique flavors, muhammara is often described as sweet, savory, smoky, and (maybe) a little spicy (although, it should be noted that Aleppo peppers are not known for being super spicy).
Most often muhammara is enjoyed as a dip with bread or pita, spread over toast, or served as a sauce grilled meats.
Ingredients in Muhammara
- Red bell peppers – Red bell peppers are a must for muhammara. They’re mild in taste, slightly sweet, and produce a gorgeous bright red color after roasting.
- Pomegranate Molasses – store-bought or homemade, pomegranate molasses is a delicious addition to many Middle Eastern recipes including this pomegranate and walnut stew.
- Walnuts – You may use raw or roasted walnuts, however, I recommend roasted walnuts if you can get some. If you have a nut allergy, try substituting with sunflower or hemp seeds (I can’t speak for the results as I have not tried this personally).
- Green onions – Green onions give a nice bite to this dip without overpowering any of the most important flavors.
- Breadcrumbs – You want to use plain, unseasoned breadcrumbs. I recommend starting with less (approximately half a cup) and adding more to thicken the dip if needed.
- Garlic cloves – You’ll only need one (maybe two) cloves of garlic. Since we don’t want this to end up tasting like a garlic dip, it’s better to start with less and add more as needed. With that in mind, I also advise against powdered garlic as it is much too strong.
- Olive oil – The olive oil will help blend everything together into a creamy dip. It’s not the most important ingredient, so don’t worry about buying the very best olive oil ever made, but definitely pick one that you enjoy.
- Aleppo chili flakes – Moderate heat level with fruit-like undertones, mild saltiness, and slow-building heat.
- Lemon juice – fresh lemon juice!
- Cumin powder (optional) – I only add a small amount of cumin as it can easily overwhelm the flavors of the dip. Feel free to add it or leave it out.
If you can’t find pomegranate molasses at your grocery store, make your own with just 3 ingredients – pomegranate molasses, sugar, and lemon juice. Learn how to make pomegranate molasses here or buy it on Amazon.
As far as the Aleppo chili flakes, you may either purchase Aleppo chili flakes from Amazon if you can’t find them at your local market, or substitute them with something else like red pepper flakes, ancho chili flakes, or even paprika.
How to Make Muhammara
- Roast the bell peppers until they are charred and tender on all sides. Remove from the oven and wrap the peppers in foil. Allow them to steam for approximately 10-15 minutes.
- Unwrap the foil and allow them to cool for approximately five minutes before peeling away the core, seeds, and skin. Transfer the flesh to a large food processor.
- Meanwhile, toast the walnuts in a 350F oven until golden and fragrant, approximately 8-12 minutes.
- Add the walnuts, olive oil, green onion, breadcrumbs, garlic, cumin, Aleppo chili flakes, salt, lemon juice, and pomegranate molasses to a large food processor with the roasted red bell peppers. Process until smooth. If the mixture is very loose (or you prefer a thicker dip) add the remaining breadcrumbs and pulse a few more times until combined.
- Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve in a large shallow bowl. Use a spoon to make a small well in the middle and drizzle with additional olive oil or pomegranate molasses, if desired.
- Toast your walnuts and breadcrumbs. Anytime you toast something you’re adding a little extra flavor. Fortunately, you can buy both pre-toasted walnuts and breadcrumbs at your local supermarket if you’re looking to save on time.
- Remember to steam your peppers after roasting. This makes them significantly easier to peel.
- Enjoy muhammara warm or chilled. I find that this red pepper and walnut dip is equally addictive either way.
- Keep it stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
- Easily make this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free breadcrumbs. You can find these at most supermarkets or you can make your own using gluten-free bread.
How to Serve Muhammara
I like to serve muhammara in a large shallow bowl drizzled with olive oil, pomegranate molasses and sprinkled with crushed walnuts. Sometimes I’ll sprinkle with sumac, zaatar, or Aleppo pepper flakes.
I will often serve this recipe,
- As a healthy snack or light lunch with warm pita bread and fresh, crunchy veggies.
- As a mezze (or collection of small dishes) with other items such as tzatziki, tabbouleh, flatbread, garden vegetables, and hummus.
- Wrapped in a large flatbread with chicken, lettuce, and fresh tomatoes.
- With a side of rice, grilled or steamed tomatoes, fresh pita, and a sprinkle of sumac.
Looking for more delicious Middle Eastern recipes? Try these reader favorites:
- Middle Eastern Curried Lamb Meatballs
- Tzatziki Sauce Recipe (How to Make Tzatziki)
- Tabbouleh (Tabouli Salad Recipe)
- Baba Ganoush Recipe (How to Make Baba Ganoush)
- Baked Harissa Chicken Recipe
- Fesenjān – Persian Pomegranate and Chicken Stew
Have you tried making this Muhammara Recipe?
Tell me about it in the comments below! I always love to hear your thoughts. And tag me #theforkedspoon on Instagram if you’ve made any of my recipes, I always love to see what you’re cooking in the kitchen.
Muhammara Recipe (Red Pepper and Walnut Dip)
For the Pomegranate Molasses (if you're making your own)
- 4 cups fresh pomegranate juice
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
For the Muhammara
- 3 red bell peppers
- ¾ cup walnuts (lightly toasted)
- 3 tablespoon olive oil (divided)
- ¼ cup green onions (chopped)
- ¾ cup breadcrumbs
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoon Aleppo chili flakes ((see notes))
- 1 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (plus more for serving)
To Make Your Own Pomegranate Molasses
- Add ingredients to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the pomegranate juice, sugar, and fresh lemon juice to a wide and uncovered saucepan set over medium heat. Whisk well to combine and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, maintaining a low and steady simmer.
- Reduce. Simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent the sugars from burning to the bottom of the pan, for approximately 60-75 minutes, or until the mixture has reduced to approximately 1.5 cups and has reached a sticky, syrupy consistency. Remove from heat.
For the Muhammara
- Roast the bell peppers. Preheat oven to broil and line a large baking sheet with foil. Transfer your whole red bell peppers to the prepared baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes, rotating every 5 minutes to ensure even cooking on each side. Remove from oven when the peppers are charred and tender on each side.
- Steam and peel the bell peppers. Carefully (the peppers will be hot) wrap the roasted peppers in foil. Allow them to steam for approximately 5-10 minutes, then let them cool for approximately 5 minutes before peeling away the core, seeds, and skin. Transfer the flesh to a large food processor.
- Toast the walnuts (or purchase pre-toasted walnuts). Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the walnuts in 1 teaspoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt (optional) and transfer to prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Toast in the preheated oven until golden and fragrant, approximately 8-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove immediately.
- Process. Add the walnuts, olive oil, green onion, 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, garlic, cumin, Aleppo chili flakes, salt, lemon juice, and pomegranate molasses to the large food processor filled with the roasted red bell peppers. Puree until smooth. If the mixture is very loose (or you prefer a thicker dip) add the remaining breadcrumbs and pulse a few more times until combined. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
- To serve. Serve in a large shallow bowl. Use a spoon to make a small well in the middle and drizzle with additional olive oil or pomegranate molasses, if desired. Garnish with crushed walnuts and Aleppo pepper. Serve with fresh pita or flatbread, crackers, rice, or as part of your favorite meze spread.
- You may substitute with 1/2 - 1 tsp red pepper flakes if you can't find Aleppo chili flakes.
- If you prefer not to make your own pomegranate molasses (read all about pomegranate molasses here) you can buy it from Amazon or select markets and specialty stores.
- This recipe is vegan and dairy-free. To make it gluten-free, substitute regular breadcrumbs for gluten-free breadcrumbs.
- Adjust the consistency of your dip according to your preference by blending for more or less time.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)