Moroccan Chermoula Marinade Recipe


Also called Charmillah or Charmoula this authentic and delicious Moroccan Chermoula Marinade Recipe is actually quite famously used for Moroccan Fish & seafood Tagines or marinating the fish in before frying. In addition to this, it is used as a base for many Moroccan Salads and Vegetable Tagines. There are many versions, sometimes it’s green, sometimes it red, sometimes it’s spicy and other times it’s on the mild side (like this one) but they are all delicious!

Chermoula is a Moroccan blend of herbs and warm spices which can be similar to pesto or chimichurri & often used both as a marinade and as a condiment to season salads, stews, tagines and grilled foods. It can also be brushed over meat & chicken in addition to fish, and vegetables or added as a flavour enhancer to fillings for stuffed fish & poultry, pastries, pizza sauces & salsas. Perfect for use in breakfasts such as shakshuka, lunches and dinners.

There’s no doubt that this aromatic Moroccan Chermoula Marinade is a lifesaver and must-have in every home. Whether your a big family or a single professional living alone. This All-in-1 Moroccan spice paste cuts cooking time in half when you have hungry little ones to feed or after a long day at work. The Chermoula paste base has all the flavoursome spices you need for a delicious, healthy, home-cooked meal. Some of which include, organic Moroccan olive oil, freshly crushed garlic & green herbs, Moroccan harissa paste, freshly squeezed lemon juice and spices.

Traditionally, way before the invention of blenders & food processors, this Moroccan Chermoula marinade recipe was made using a Mortar & Pestle which in Moroccan is called a Mehraz. Many people in Morocco still use this method to this day due to habit, not being able to afford a food processor or due to sincere belief that old school traditional style is always best. I have included both methods for you to choose from.

Using a Food Processor

  • Place the herbs and the rest of the ingredients in the food processor.
  • Blend until it is close to relish in texture. It shouldn’t be smooth, so try to keep it slightly coarse & textured but a thin enough paste to easily fall off a spoon.
  • I find that this recipe’s texture is perfect without adding any more liquid to it, but if for some reason you find it too thick to blend, you may add a few more tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice or water to thin it out slightly & help with blending

Using a Mortar and Pestle

  • It is important to start by chopping the herbs & garlic before crushing them with the pestle, otherwise, you may end up with a stringy chermoula. 
  • First, add the chopped garlic to the pestle & pound with some salt.
  • Then add the chopped herbs and spices in hand-sized batches and continue to pound into a sloshy paste until you are happy with the texture.
  • You can use this marinade immediately or store in a jar or any airtight sealed container.
  • If the paste is quite thick, you can top with a little olive oil to help preserve.


  • Stores in the fridge for up to a month.
  • To freeze, drop spoonfuls into an ice cube tray that has been sprayed with a non-stick olive oil spray.  When frozen solid, remove from Ice cube tray and put into a freezer bag. You can now use the individual cubes as needed.
  • This recipe was perfected specifically for bulk cooking prep use, the extra salt is used for preserving purposes and when I cook with it I never usually need to add any more salt, however always taste test your meal before adjusting. 1 generous tablespoon = 1 meal prep for a family of 5-6
  • You could make a red chermoula paste by adding a roasted and peeled red pepper into the blend. Here, I used ready blended red pepper paste in olive oil, you can also use some tomato paste.
  • For a hot chermoula paste, you can either add more cayenne, red chilli flakes, harissa or a chilli paste to taste.
  • For a green chermoula paste you add less paprika powder and leave out the red pepper paste & harissa, you can add green chilli instead and some fresh ginger & saffron. This makes a great and healthy alternative to basil pesto as it does not need cheese. 
  • For a more lemony flavour chermoula paste, add 1 chopped preserved lemon to the blend. This is particularly tasty in Moroccan cooked salad recipes & marinating olives.
  • This Moroccan chermoula marinade is so versatile it can be easily adjusted to your own taste, so don’t be afraid to experiment and perfect it to your own preference.
  • A tip for when using or adjusting lemon juice for cold dishes such as salads, wait until cooked vegetables have cooled down before adding more lemon juice or vinegar and a touch more olive oil. This little detail enhances the flavour to a whole new level.
  • I added fresh lemon juice as well as vinegar to this recipe, that is my mother’s recipe and our preference however using vinegar is optional and if you choose not to, you can use 2 lemon juices instead. Only use white wine vinegar or white salad vinegar if you do not have Moroccan vinegar. Do not use any other kinds of vinegar such as balsamic, apple cider or malt vinegar. This will kill the taste!

Moroccan Chermoula Marinade Recipe

Chermoula can come in different hues and tones, depending on its intended use and also depending on family preferences. We can categorize chermoula as follows:
There are 3 Types of Moroccan Chermoula Mixes
GREEN – Without paprika and red elements such as Harissa.
RED – Due to sweet red pepper, smoked paprika (powder or paste and sometimes harissa.
YELLOW – Due to saffron threads, turmeric and/or a food colouring powder used in Morocco.
The chermoula base usually combines parsley & coriander, cumin, salt & sweet paprika as well as an acidic ingredient such as lemon & vinegar. In its extended version, it will include preserved lemons as well as harissa & maybe ginger or saffron. The herbs commonly used are fresh & the ratio of coriander to parsley varies depending on the preference and regions. Some Moroccans may go for only coriander while others will prefer parsley, we love using both. As for the spices, sweet paprika, cumin, garlic, and sometimes turmeric represent the ingredients of choice. Lemon juice and/or vinegar and olive oil are the main liquids in this blend.
Servings 2 cups
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • Food Processor
  • Pestle and Mortar


  • 1 Large Batch Coriander (only leaves and small stems) washed & roughly chopped
  • 1 Large Batch Parsley (only leaves and small stems) washed & roughly chopped
  • 1 Whole Head Garlic Cloves peeled & roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1-2 tbsp Cumin Powder
  • 1-2 tbsp Sea Salt or Kosher Salt to taste
  • 1 Fresh Lemon Juice you can use 2 lemon Juices if your not using Moroccan vinegar
  • 7 tbsp Olive Oil

Optional Ingredients

  • 1-2 tbsp Harissa Paste to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp Sweet Red Pepper Paste you can use 1 roasted and peeled red pepper if you don't have the paste
  • 1-2 tsp Cayenne Pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Ginger chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Saffron Threads broken
  • 1 Preserved Lemon chopped


  • This recipe is a concentrated bulk prep suitable for home freezing or storing in the fridge, which is why it's easier and quicker to use a food processor. And because it is concentrated it makes more when you liquid it down. 1 generous tablespoon = 1 meal prep for a family of 5-6
  • If you are only planning to make & use a single batch it is much prefered to use a Mortar and Pestle or just chop the ingredients very small by hand before mixing in with the spices, lemon & olive oil.


Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is only an estimate obtained from online calculators. Optional ingredients may not be included in the nutritional information.
Calories: 650kcal
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Moroccan
Keyword: marinade

Join the Conversation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

Your custom text © Copyright 2020. All rights reserved.