A flavoursome Egyptian crunchy nut, seed, spice and herb blend. This dukkah recipe has a cocoa option for adding extra depth and richness. Toast or roast the nuts and seeds and create a flavour explosion as well as a mouthwatering scent. Traditionally used as a dip for bread, which is first dunked in olive oil. But it can be so much more.
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What is Dukkah?
Dukkah, pronounced doo-kah, is sometimes also written as dukka or duqqa. It’s a coarse textured popular Egyptian spice mix which is traditionally used as a dip for bread.
It’s best made at home rather than bought so the toasted nuts, seeds and spices are fresh and fragrant.
As usual with these things, every household has their own secret recipe. The simplest ones contain just a few key ingredients. Indeed anything calling itself dukkah must include them. As follows:
- nuts (usually hazelnuts)
- sesame seeds
- cumin seeds
- coriander seeds
Everything bar the salt needs to be toasted. Quantities may differ, but you’re good to go if you make your dukkah with these five essential ingredients.
In addition to these, dukkah may contain a number of other ingredients, including dried thyme, peppercorns, chilli flakes, paprika or dried mint.
Is Dukkah The Same as Za’atar?
Dukkah is different to za’atar, but there are some similarities. They both contain sesame seeds, cumin, coriander and sometimes thyme. It has a crunchier consistency though because of the nuts. One of the key ingredients in za’atar is sumac, which is not generally used for dukkah. However, you can use both more or less interchangeably.
What’s So Good About Dukkah?
- It’s crunchy, flavoursome and fragrant. No wonder everyone loves it, because it tastes nutty and aromatic with a whole heap of flavour notes leaping around in your mouth.
- Easy to make.
- Made with common ingredients you’re likely to have in your kitchen cupboard.
- Scents the house beautifully whilst you grind all those warm toasted nuts and seeds together.
- Can add crunch and flavour to a whole heap of dishes. See the section on how to eat dukkah further down the post.
- Make it your own with your favourite nuts, seeds, spices and herbs.
- Keeps for ages
How To Make Dukkah: Step-By-Step
This is my household recipe for dukkah and the secret is now out. My special ingredient is cocoa. I know that sounds a bit weird and by all means leave it out if the idea leaves you less than enthused. This spice mix already has a lot going for it, but cocoa adds a surprising extra dimension that enhances the whole.
I also add dried thyme and green peppercorns.
The smells emanating from the dukkah as you toast the ingredients are just divine. Warning – don’t make it if you’re feeling hungry!
1: Toast Hazelnuts
For this dukkah recipe, you can use hazelnuts prepared in three ways: buy them ready skinned, use unskinned or take the skins off yourself. I usually take the skins off myself as it’s not that difficult, but I only had unskinned ones in the cupboard when I shot the photos for this post.
If you don’t have any hazelnuts or want to try something different, almonds or pistachio nuts are sometimes used instead. But by all means, feel free to try whatever nuts you like. I reckon macadamias could be good, but I have yet to try them.
Toasting the nuts is key to making a good dukkah as it really ramps up the flavour. So don’t be tempted to miss this step.
To roast or toast? That is the question. My air fryer is excellent for roasting hazelnuts, but for pure ease, I often resort to toasting them in my medium sized cast iron skillet*. The scent of roasting or toasting hazelnuts is one of the best there is.
How To Skin Hazelnuts
- Roast the hazelnuts at 180℃ (350℉, Gas 4) on a lipped baking tray for about ten minutes in order to loosen their skins. The skins should be falling away and the nuts golden, but not in any way burnt.
- Wrap in a clean tea towel or piece of kitchen paper and leave for a minute to steam. Then rub the nuts in the towel to remove the skins. Don’t worry if there are the odd bits that don’t budge.
- Roasting the hazelnuts will give flavour as well as loosen their skins, so if you go down this route, you can skip step one.
2. Toast Sesame Seeds
As a whole food enthusiast, I always use unhulled sesame seeds in my cooking and baking. According to Healthline, they contain more calcium, manganese and zinc than their white hulled counterparts. They’re also a better source of fibre.
As with the hazelnuts, you need to toast the sesame seeds to enhance their flavour. Dry fry them over a medium heat, stirring occasionally for about three minutes or until they’re fragrant and starting to brown.
3. Toast Spices
If you’ve not toasted cumin seeds before, you’re in for a treat. The scent is almost intoxicating. Or is that just me?
Remove the sesame seeds from the pan and add the coriander seeds. Dry fry for a minute, giving the pan a shake from time to time. Then add the cumin seeds and toast for a further minute or so until they’re both fragrant and slightly brown.
4. Grind Dukkah
Mix the hazelnuts, seeds and remaining ingredients together and grind to a coarse breadcrumb consistency. The texture should be crunchy, not powdery.
Crush by hand with a pestle and mortar, or do what I normally do and grind in a small food processor*.
Allow to cool, then if not using straight away, pour into air tight containers to store. I use glass jars and usually keep them in the fridge.
I came up with this recipe for chocolate dukkah when I devised my six course chocolate themed dinner some years ago. The name chocolate dukkah is slightly misleading though, as it’s made with cocoa powder rather than chocolate.
You don’t have to add cocoa powder to the dukkah mix. It’s entirely optional. But it really does give extra depth and complexity of flavour without dominating the show.
If in doubt, why not make half the quantity and see what you think?
How Long Does Dukkah Keep?
This amazing Egyptian spice mix lasts a surprisingly long time. You can keep it in the cupboard for a couple of weeks or so, but it will store well in the fridge for up to two months. Because it has fresh nuts and seeds in it, dukkah can go rancid after a while if you don’t keep it in the fridge.
It also freezes very well and will easily last for six months in the freezer. I often make double the quantity that’s in the recipe card below. Then I freeze it in mini tubs, so I can take out a small quantity whenever I need it.
How To Eat Dukkah
Dukkah is a delicious crunchy flavour enhancer that you can use in so many ways. It really doesn’t matter if you have any leftover from a meal as it lasts well and is a great spice mix to have to hand. In fact it’s a good idea to make more than you need.
Here are a few ideas on how to use it. I’m sure there are plenty of others. Do let us know your favourite way to eat it.
As A Dip
Traditionally, dukkah is used as a dip with olive oil. Tear off a piece of bread, dip it into some olive oil and then into the dukkah. Eat and repeat. In much the same way, it works well as a dip for vegetable crudités. It’s particularly good with quail’s eggs too, although you don’t need the olive oil for these.
It makes a great dinner party starter or appetiser, as you can make it well in advance.
Toss roasted vegetables with a spoonful or two of dukkah as soon as they come out of the oven. It’s best not to add any before the veg have roasted though. This is because the nuts and seeds have already been toasted and might burn.
Brush some olive oil over flatbread dough, then sprinkle with dukkah prior to baking.
Use it as an aromatic and crunchy coating for tofu or tempeh. You can see this in action in my recipe for fasulye with dukkah roasted tofu.
Alternatively, mix with breadcrumbs as a coating for anything you’d normally use plain breadcrumbs for.
Sprinkle Over Everything
Sprinkle over the top of pasta, rice, simple salads, hummus and smashed avocado. Try it with eggs, scrambled, fried or poached. It’s also rather good with soft cheeses such as goat’s cheese or even labneh.
Swap the za’atar in this recipe for courgettes with yoghurt, but sprinkle it over the top once cooked.
Other Egyptian Recipes You Might Like
Keep in Touch
Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make this Egyptian dukkah, with or without the cocoa, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. And do please rate the recipe. How do you like to use it? Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.
If you’d like more Middle Eastern recipes, follow the link and you’ll find I have quite a lot of them. All delicious and nutritious, of course.
Egyptian Dukkah. PIN IT.
Dukkah – The Recipe
Dukkah Spice Mix
- 50 g hazelnuts skinned or unskinned
- 50 g sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp green peppercorns or ½ tsp black peppercorns
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp cocoa powder optional
- Dry roast the hazelnuts in a hot oven for about 5 minutes. Alternativly toast them in a pan over a medium heat on the stove top. They should be golden, but not burnt. Remove their skins (if needed) by rubbing them together in a clean tea towel.50 g hazelnuts
- Dry fry the sesame seeds over a medium heat until fragrant and just starting to brown. About three minutes.50 g sesame seeds
- Remove the sesame seeds and dry fry the coriander seeds for a minute followed by the cumin seeds until they're both fragrant and lightly browned. About two minutes in total.2 tbsp coriander seeds, 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- When all of the above have cooled down, throw all the ingredients into a coffee grinder or mini food processor and blend to a coarse breadcrumb type consistency. Be careful not to overblend, you want some crunch, not a powder.1 tsp green peppercorns, ½ tsp sea salt, ½ tsp dried thyme, 2 tsp cocoa powder
I’m sharing this recipe for the Egyptian spice mix, dukkah with Feast Glorious Feast for #CookBlogShare.
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