homemade merguez with herby yogurt

I had lunch with Julia Turshen a couple months ago (mostly so I could fangirl out and try to sponge up some curl tips for my moppet) and one of my favorite things she told me was that when she moved from Brooklyn to upstate with her wife her cooking changed because all of a sudden she was doing it everyday. She felt she got better at cooking from her gut, throwing meals together with whatever they had — it’s simply not an option to eat out or order in every night the way she could before so not every meal could be a performance piece. Sometimes it’s just chicken on the grill with a good sauce and salad on the side.

what you'll need

If you’re anything like me — but with a cleaner apartment, I bet — you’re thinking “wait, tell me about the sauce!” because odds are, like the avocado-cucumber salad I spied on the side of her plate a year ago and ran off to tell you about, it’s something crazy simple that you didn’t realize you knew how to make and now you’re 300x more excited to grill chicken and make salad tonight. The good news for us is that Turshen, who previously only hid her cooking talent behind larger-than-life names like Mario Batali, Gwyneth Paltrow, Dana Cowin, Hot Bread Kitchen, Buvette, Fat Radish… seriously, I’m just getting started… finally penned her own book with all the great simple sauces and 400 other things I cannot wait to cook.

grind your spices, if using whole
mix everything
cooking them smashburger-style
like tiny burgers

Our conversation (also, we’re having another one on Thursday!) did not turn to sausage making, but apparently, she does this too. Meat grinders? Casings? No thank you, right? But once she realized that sausage is essentially highly seasoned ground meat, she began forming them into patties and for an ambitious but not-too-ambitious weeknight meal. Her merguez is perfect — sure, I can get it around here from a couple good butchers, but it’s often too spicy for the kids and this is so much better: seasoned exactly to taste and crispy from the pan. You serve it with an herbed yogurt and for us, a tomato-cucumber salad on the side and some pita wedges. You could also make them into little sliders in pitas with a tahini sauce and crunchy greens, falafel-style. And then one day you might be at lunch and will casually drop that you made sausage last night from and it took about 15 minutes because this is us now: people who make amazing things on weekday nights like it is no big deal. Or, at least tonight.

homemade merguez with herby yogurt


One year ago: Zucchini Rice and Cheese Gratin (now even easier to make)
Two years ago: Cauliflower Slaw
Three years ago: Baked Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage
Four years ago: Fig, Olive Oil and Sea Salt Challah
Five years ago: Red Wine Chocolate Cake
Six years ago: Linguine with Tomato-Almond Pesto
Seven years ago: Cheesecake Marbled Brownies and Grilled Lamb Kebabs with Tzatziki
Eight years ago: Eggs in Tomato Sauce
Nine years ago: Apple and Yogurt Cake

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart
1.5 Years Ago: Black Bottom Oatmeal Pie
2.5 Years Ago: Broccoli Cheddar and Wild Rice Casserole
3.5 Years Ago: Coconut Bread
4.5 Years Ago: Potato Knish, Two Ways

Homemade Merguez with Herby Yogurt

  • Servings: 4 to 6
  • Print

This recipe is adapted, just barely, from Julia Turshen’s Small Victories. Merguez is a spicy fresh sausage in North African cuisine, and is also popular throughout the Middle East and Europe. It’s usually made with mutton or beef; we are going to use lamb. Harissa usually gives it its characteristic red color; Turshen calls for 2 tablespoons but because I have kids who would not appreciate it, I used just a little squeeze. You can adjust it to taste as well. Oh, and if you’re feeling extra-ambitious, you can also make your own very delicious harissa. But I was out and used this.

    To serve
  • 1/2 cup (110 grams) plain yogurt
  • A small handful finely chopped leafy fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, mint, chives, dill or a mix thereof) plus a few roughly chopped, to serve
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, or more to taste
  • Kosher salt
  • Olive oil
  • A handful shredded red cabbage to serve (optional)
  • Lemon wedges, to serve
  • Sausage
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds or a heaped 1/2 teaspoon ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds or a heaped 1/2 teaspoon ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds or a heaped 1/2 teaspoon ground
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons harissa paste (I just used a small squeeze) or another hot sauce
  • 1 pound (455 grams) ground lamb, at room temperature

Make the herby yogurt: Mix the yogurt, finely chopped herbs and vinegar in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and extra vinegar, if desired. Set aside until needed.

Make the merguez: If using whole spices, toast them in a dry skillet over medium heat for a few minutes until fragrant. Grind them in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle.

Combine lamb, spices, including paprika, harissa, garlic and 1 teaspoon (Turshen called for 1 1/2, which was very salty and we liked it but probably not for everyone) kosher salt and mix to combine. Form into 12 mounds.

[Do ahead: You can keep the mixed meat patties and herbed yogurt in the fridge for up to 3 days.]

Heat a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Coat with olive oil and once it is very hot, add a few sausage mounds. Once they hit the frying pan, flatten them with the back of your spatula. Cook until brown and crispy underneath, then flip and cook for another minute or two. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining meat.

Serve patties warm with herby yogurt and scattered with extra herbs and shredded cabbage, if desired, plus wedges of lemon to squeeze over.

Leave a Reply

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

New here? You might want to check out the comment guidelines before chiming in.

119 comments on homemade merguez with herby yogurt

  1. I can get some pretty decent merguez here but this sounds SO good I must do it. Husband will finally be on board with a recipe. Lamb is one of his major food groups (along with beef and duck).

  2. Do you think this would work out with either a mix of beef and lamb or just beef? I’ve got a partner who doesn’t like lamb and unless I can sneak it through until the moment of clarity I’m all out of delicious merguez luck.

    1. Elean

      I’ve used : beef, beef and pork, venison, and bison. The latter two were pretty dry, but with a good yogurt sauce, I don’t mind.

  3. Leah

    Food encyclopedia question: What makes this sausage and not a spiced meat patty? I ask because spiced meat, usually a lamb-beef blend, is the way I’ve always made Greek hamburgers (bifteki, which some people also stuff with feta), though I’ve never thought of calling it sausage.

    1. Jen

      This recipe seems to be for spiced meat patties. To make sausage you need to mix the meat somewhat vigorously. You need to mix until it gets kind of sticky and binds to itself. There’s some sort of chemical reaction that goes on that’s analogous to activating the gluten when you kneed bread. I use a stand mixer on low speed for about 60-90 seconds for a 5 lb batch of sausage–if you’re just making one pound, it might bind a little more quickly. The meat needs to be very cold, and it’s important not to over mix or the texture of the cooked meat will be terrible.

  4. Alys Longworth

    Omg, can’t wait to try this. Thank you for this recipe! I can’t see why one couldn’t adapt the flavors in endless ways. I’m thinking about the fabulous Nigel Slater here and how he encourages experimentation. Lamb and beef, pork and beef, change up the spices, add some fresh cilantro, yada yada.

    Fyi, as a curly girl who had too much hairbrush/gum/tangle drama as a curly kid, i can recommend Curly Girl: The Handbook for some ideas about looking after young moppet’s adorable curls in a modern non-traumatic way. (Sorry, the 70s were just not a good time for curls.)

  5. Kate Sprengnether

    I made sausage a few years ago and I was so incredibly impressed with myself! It was just not the kind of thing I ever saw myself doing before that. It was seasoned just how I wanted it and my family loved it. I made a big batch and froze portions and we had delicious sausage dishes all winter that year. I’d forgotten about it, so thank you for the reminder. I’ll give this recipe a try!

  6. We have been making all kinds of simple flavored patties for weeknight meals this summer!! This version looks great!! As is, do you think there is enough fat in the lamb for this to be grilled? Or, does it need some additional fat for it to render nicely on a grill? I am thinking it needs a bit extra?

    1. Shelby

      I just made these, followed the recipe exactly, but I grilled. Turned out perfect. Ground lamb is usually quite fatty, and flared up in the grill. No extra fat needed. Made the yogurt with mint and cilantro and also added a clove of crushed garlic. Delicious!

  7. Elina

    This looks fantastic! I love that it consists of very few ingredients. I wanted to know if these patties could be baked instead of fried, and if so, at what temperature. Thank you!

  8. Sharon

    So, theoretically, if you had a husband who “hates” sausage, but loves spiced meat, and all the flavoring so involved here, what would you call this meal? I would like to call it dinner tomorrow!

    1. sparkgrrl658

      i was just thinking of a way to present this to my partner too, haha. i’m thinking of seeing if i can get some mini pitas at the store or some other not-hamburger-bun type bun and doing “middle eastern burgers.”

  9. akondrashova

    It’s like magic: I’m staring into the freezer wondering what to do with six pounds of ground turkey I bought on sale, and fwoosh, this post appears. Somebody’s having an awesome dinner tonight. :D Thank you!

  10. Maro

    Oh, man. I made this tonight with half beef and half dark turkey. Plenty of harissa and we are happily buzzin with spicey deliciousness. The herby yogurt is perfect.

    So. So. Good.

  11. iblameparis

    This looks absolutely delicious. I love food with a lot of Mediterranean flavours. I have bookmarked this and will give it a try! The only thing is that I am – and have Always been – abit hesitant to cumin, fennel (and liquorice, I might add, thought that is thankfully not in the recipe). Would you suggest maybe fresh garlic instead?

  12. Susan

    As a celiac, I can no longer eat most commercial (or even privately-produced) sausage/chorizo/merguez, my faaaavorite 😰 because of either inherent gluten or likely cross-contamination. This recipe makes me SO HAPPY. And you can bet I’ll have to move up a size or two because I will be making it way too often.

  13. Now I am going to have to track down some harissa.

    Curly hair tips for your moppet from one who was once a curly haired moppet: Always comb wet/damp hair, and don’t ever brush. For those times when a full-on hair washing/bath isn’t necessary/possible, fill a spray bottle with 1/4 gentle conditioner, and then top off with water. Spray and comb with wide tooth comb, then just don’t touch it again. Brush is a curse word.

  14. sparkgrrl658

    on monday i finally got around to making my own chorizo courtesy of the homesick texan. i never thought about making my own “sausage” because i thought, even if you skipped the casings, you had to grind up meat and add various fats. simply seasoning ground meat and letting it hang in the fridge honestly never crossed my mind. but man, it was so good (we used it to make tinga de puerco) and now i know i can make it whenever i want. (chorizo and eggs, here i come.) so this merguez recipe is right on time! tomorrow is grocery shopping day, i have a few things to put on the list :)

  15. Abbie

    I can’t print from your website anymore. It just spools and spools and then sits there in my queue. Do you have any suggestions? Is anyone else having this problem? I use Microsoft Edge.

    1. Lorri

      I suggest copy-and-paste. Select the text you want, and copy – then paste onto a word document. You can select the ingredients & written instructions at the same time. Adjust formatting. Title the doc. Save in computer folder for easy reference ; – )

  16. Stephanie

    Imagine for a moment, if you will, that you were a vegetarian who got really excited over the picture (and because you have never ever heard of merguez until reading this post you didn’t think anything of the title) and you love to make harissa and eat things in patty form with dips.

    You ready? How would you replace the lamb in this recipe? Tofu? Cashews? Chickpeas (like differently-seasoned felafel?) What other flavors would you bump up to make up for the taste of the meat?

    Thanks for playing!!!!

    1. Hi Stephanie,
      I wanted to play! :) And it was a success!! I used some QUORN mince (sure it would work with any kind of meat-less mince), which I first soaked in a bit of olive oil and soy sauce for a bit of fat and flavour. Then continued with Deb’s recipe, i.e. added all the herbs and spices etc., but I also added one egg, some grated cheese and panko breadcrumbs to bind it all together. It’s juicy and red/spicy like the Merguez I know, and so, so good! Give it a try :)

      1. Stephanie

        Thank you, Hannant, I will! I often add some extra oil when I’m cooking Quorn or Gardein (the only wheat-free ones I’ve found), but hadn’t thought to soak and then cook!
        I will make this!

        1. I played some more ;) – and added a few things I came across in my research, namely some mashed up beans (I used part of a can of cannellini) and some crumbled, extra firm tofu (which I had frozen for a bit before crumbling – apparently that changes the texture for the better. It was, once again, delicious, and I felt that the beans and tofu added some extra juiciness!

      2. Meleyna

        I like tiny caviar lentils for meatless “meat”balls. Their nubby texture seems to really mimic ground meat. I buy them cooked and vacuum packed just for this sort of thing. (There’s an excellent recipe over on Sprouted Kitchen.) Their dry texture is perfect!

  17. Jamie

    I actually patty-fied your chicken meatball recipe last night for sandwiches, and loved it, so this will definitely be working its way into our meal plan for next week.

  18. Abby

    I made this with lean ground turkey breast instead of lamb (I know, I know…) and it was really delicious and simple. We had it with chickpeas, roasted eggplant, garlic yogurt, and extra harissa – a perfect dinner and great leftovers today.

  19. Karen Burke

    I just made this for dinner using ground chicken, and sriracha in place of Harissa. It was really delicious. I will absolutely make this again.

  20. 44dinner

    I made these tonight to rave reviews! Tasted the Harissa before putting it in and, wow, it is hot stuff. Glad you gave that hint. I put in a heaping teaspoon and that was plenty. Homemade regular pita and the GF pitta recipe from Great British Bake-off for my daughter. A great meal. Thanks so much for this recipe, Deb!

  21. I thought the sauce resembled tazitiki, but after looking at the ingredients there is no cucumber. So it literally is an herby sauce.
    BTW.. I have your Chocolate WIne cake bookmarked still, I know, I’m so lazy! I gotta make it, definitely before xmas. :-)

  22. I don’t know if it’s because the photos are polished or I haven’t had merguez in a long time but this is now my target meal. I will try it as soon as I gather the ingredients. My tummy thanks you(or will thank you later :)

  23. Denise

    Love the spice jars. I searched Amazon and found a Libbey set, is that the ones you have. I like the sealed lid rather than the screw top type.

  24. sinaasappeljetzt

    These are downright delicious and easy to make! The spices in the merguez and the herbs in the yoghurt are so wonderfully combined – we didn’t bother using a fork and licked our fingers after dinner…
    Some alterations: I didn’t find lamb so we went for beef and it turned out wonderful. Also, instead of frying them in the pan, we brushed the merguez with a little olive oil and grilled them on the barbecue, which was perfect.
    Thanks for this wonderful recipe!

  25. Cheryl

    I made this last night, Deb. It was absolutely beautiful. I have leftovers for lunch today (hours away) and am quietly excited!

    I made some flatbread, some garlicky yoghurt (no herbs living in my snail infested garden) and a big salad and rolled it all up with some leftover hummus as well.

    Yum! x

  26. rachel

    Merguez! You read my mind! I have been craving it like crazy since I had it stuffed in a tortelloni at a restaurant a couple of weeks ago. (Delicious idea! I’m stealing it.) Next time you’re in Boston you’ve got to go to Alden and Harlow. (Pickled sweet corn buttermilk cakes appetizers anyone…?) Oh do you recall where you got your marble mortal and pestle? How do you clean it? I have a craggy granite one that they say explicitly NOT to clean with soap, just warm water. So of course now it smells perpetually of cumin, coriander and the like..which I don’t MIND exactly but I occasionally need to grind something for baking/sweet applications.

  27. Gene

    Your moppet is adorable, as an adult with curls the search has been long and hard but Hairstory products are the end of my rainbow. One cleanser, a couple products (and pure aloe) and my hair is happy. Now to find someone to cut it reliably… Also, love your recipes. We’re on a first name basis with you in my house.

  28. Gerley

    OOOOh the ingredients in grams- I love it! Thank you!

    I made it and loved it. I rolled the meat into quasi sausages which worked well. I served it with marinated, roasted cauliflower and it was a good combination as well. Thanks for another winner.

  29. Megan

    This was great. We used ground pork, and served it with homemade pitas and also some of the herb pesto from the summer squash gratin. So easy and will definitely make again. When I do, I’ll use grapeseed oil to cook them though, because the olive oil didn’t do well at such a high heat.

  30. Elean

    SO good. Filled pitas with these (made recipe as written), cucumbers, and the yogurt sauce. I will be making them again in a couple days. YUM! Thank you for all your delicious (and hard) work.

  31. Carissa R.

    A fabulous way to cook & serve these patties is a trick learned from Bon App a few years ago: Cut open a pita, smear the uncooked sausage mixture inside, close it up and grill the whole thing (preferably on a piece of foil as they tend to get dark pretty quickly). As the BA copy reads, “As the lamb cooks inside the pita, the fat will render into the bread, creating a crunchy, compact, vibrantly flavored meat pie that’s unlike any burger you’ve ever had.” Same accoutrements but with crispy, fatty, slightly charred deliciousness as the main? Yes, please. Directions here:

  32. Anna Serridge

    Made these last week and they were delicious, fast and easy. Adding them to our weeknight dinner cycle! My husband and I added a little extra cayenne for a spicier kick. The recipe made enough for a dinner and lunch the next day.

  33. Rita G.

    I made this and loved it! Used piri piri sauce rather than harissa as I couldn’t find it, and it turned out great. I served it with pita bread, lettuce, shredded carrots and the yougurt sauce (to which I added a bit of garlic).
    I look forward to making this again using other types of meat and cooking it in the oven.

  34. AS

    I’m delurking to recommend the Tangle Teezer comb! As a woman with thick, curly hair, I read about it recently and bought the original one after reading reviews online. There is one for curly hair, but some reviews indicated very little difference. Price-wise, they are the same and they were out of the Thick & Curly one when I was buying, which made the decision for me.

    Trust me, anyone out there with curly hair – you will not regret this. I really wish it had existed when I was a child and my mum used to break the teeth of her combs getting the knots out of my hair!

    1. sparkgrrl658

      oooh, i might check that out. my hair is neither thick nor curly, but as long as i’ve been on this earth it has tangled like no other. and i’m down to my last few bits of an already-broken-in-half wide tooth comb because i still break teeth combing my hair! i can’t even comb it at all once it’s dry, it’ll just frizz and rip out.

      1. AS

        Ooh, I feel for you. My hair isn’t as thick as it was, which is another reason why I really don’t want to be ripping lots of it out with tangles! :(

        I used a wide tooth comb for detangling before I got the Tangle Teezer. I still use it sometimes, but the TT is much gentler. It somehow manages to be a brush and a comb all in one. I have noticed that my hair doesn’t frizz as much after using it even when dry, probably because it doesn’t seem to create as much static as a regular comb.

        1. sparkgrrl658

          just wanted to say i bought the tangle teezer and i love it! (i got the original off amazon for around ten bucks.) it’s not a miracle cure but for the first time in years i actually brushed my dry hair. i also used it in the shower to evenly distribute conditioner so my hair is softer for that ability alone…but i couldn’t believe it went through the hair at the top of my head, while soaking wet. since i couldn’t see, at first i thought it wasn’t combing my hair at all! it also pulls out significantly less hair than the comb. anyway, i’m hooked. thank you.

  35. Ariel

    I’ve made this twice already. So easy and so damn good. The second time I prepped the yogurt sauce and the meat two days in advance, and it was just as delicious. Now I am the kind of person who casually makes homemade merguez for a weeknight dinner. Thank you!

  36. Meagan

    So, the patties are sitting in my fridge, ready to be made for dinner tonight – but in my sleep deprived state (toddler and 4 month old to blame) I forgot to toast the cumin and fennel seeds. Is it going to be too strong and inconsistent in flavor now? Wondering if i should give the family a heads up or just pretend that’s how they are supposed to taste. Thoughts?

    1. sparkgrrl658

      i left out the fennel (just don’t care for it) but i didn’t toast my cumin seeds and didn’t notice a difference. (tbh i was just too lazy, haha. i planned to use ground cumin but ran out.)

  37. sparkgrrl658

    success! i bought the linked harissa paste from amazon – the tube is actually really big, like a full sized toothpaste tube. (had it in my mind it would be teeny.) never worked with harissa before but it was so good. definitely a spice that sneaks up on you though. you get to taste the flavors, then get the spice.

    i used ground beef and left out the fennel seeds (just used a bit of extra cumin – half ground and half seeds i chop-bashed with a knife). used the full 2T of paste, maybe a little more. bought some mini pitas at the store and did the patties one by one, smashing to the size of the pita. at around 1/4-1/2″ thick, i got five patties from a pound of meat.

    topped with the yogurt (makes the dish imho) before putting the lids on. i used an individual sized cup of yogurt, plus a spoonful each of mayo & sour cream (just wanted it thicker). i used dill, cilantro, mint, and a clove of garlic, grated. made the yogurt and the meat earlier in the day so it could hang out and just so it’d be easy to throw dinner together. i had mine with a cucumber tomato salad, and boyperson got waffle fries :) excited to find more things to do with harissa!

  38. Uklisa

    Can I make these with beef and if so what percentage of fat should they contain? They sound so yummy I can’t wait to give them a try for dinner one night this week! Thank you for inspiring new ideas in my kitchen!

  39. Brittany

    I upped the spices and used pork, as it was what we had. I also added preserved lemon to the sauce as I had it. It is fantastic and totally a recipie that you can use what you have.

  40. Erica

    I made this today for lunch and it turned out great! I omitted the fennel and added a bit of onion and garlic powder along with some smoked paprika too. Served these on a bed of mixed greens with some store bought tzatziki, roasted red peppers, and feta. Delish. I also used the TJ’s harissa! Spotted it last week after I had saved this recipe! Just had to wait til I got to Whole Foods for the lamb.

  41. Laura

    I made this over the weekend to take for lunch this week, and it’s really great! I made a few modifications based on my needs that all worked really well. First, I used ground beef instead of lamb, since that’s what I had on hand. I like things a bit on the saltier side, so I used 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt as suggested by the original recipe. I think that Deb’s modification of 1 teaspoon is probably the way to go, though. 1 1/2 teaspoons was quite salty, which worked fine when I ate the sausage in a pita, but was a bit too salty when I had them on their own. I also ditched the yogurt due to a dairy allergy and didn’t miss it.

    To make the whole thing lunch friendly, I put the finished sausage patties in half a pita with some hummus and topped with cabbage and cilantro tossed with the lemon juice and olive oil (so I didn’t have to pack a lemon wedge in my lunch). Both my husband and I were super impressed with the finished result and I can’t wait to have it again for lunch tomorrow!

  42. Olga Haugland

    These were so aromatic and wholesome! I made them as my first time cooking with my baby! It was so quick that she didn’t get bored and she loved smelling the spices!

  43. Joy

    I’d had these in my mind for weeks before I made them, mostly because i desperately wanted to put them into a soup. Picture it: merguez meetball soup with roasted peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes. I added a little caraway to the merguez. Added cumin, cardamom, caraway, and garlic in the soup withy the last of he harissa in the tube. Great way to say goodbye to summer vegetables and hello to soup season!

  44. Alissa

    These were delicious! I’ve had them bookmarked for a few weeks, and finally made them today. Huge hit all around, including all three of my littles (6, 3, and 7 months). I discovered as I was mixing up the meat (I used beef) that I was out of fennel and coriander, so I upped the cumin and paprika. A bit of TJs harissa, and served with flatbread, yogurt, and a tomato-cucumber salad. Huge hit all around! We’ve long had our own version of your chicken gyro salad in regular rotation, so this was a great way to mix it up a bit but still having some familiar aspects for the kids. As we sat down tonight my oldest said, “this looks fantastic!”.

  45. eclaire

    Made this with turkey today and it was delicious and super quick to put together. Just be sure to mix the meat well, or your patties will be unevenly seasoned! I served my merguez with the yogurt and some farro for a nice lunch.

  46. Vansy

    Yay! I have some ground lamb in the freezer from a friend’s farm, and I only have experience cooking chops. So excited to try this recipe! The flavors look delish.

    Man I love this site! I eat gluten free, but there are still tons of recipes here that work for or I can adapt to work for me. Thank you!

  47. Dahlink

    Had to return to this post to thank you, Deb, for introducing us to Julia Turshen. My son gave me two cookbooks for Christmas. One was yours, which is already well loved and well used (so son promptly put that in his take home pile). The other was Julia’s Small Victories. I am having a blast reading through it and will soon start cooking from it. She cooks the way I do–free form and with lots of variations on the theme. Plus she seems like a very real person (as do you!) Thanks again.

  48. Mirandamidas

    I made these tonight and they were terrific. I used one third beef mince, two thirds sausagemeat and served them inside homemade pitta breads with salad. We loved the spice levels, next time I might go even more spicy with some extra cayenne or just a dab more harissa (I used the UK brand Belazu’s Rose Harissa). One thing – I wish I had pressed down on the patties more in the pan. My merguez were quite thick still – next time I will be more forceful with the spatula :-) Thanks for another great, easy recipe.

  49. Beth

    Quick question for anyone who has made these — how long do you typically brown these? I made them last week but found them to be a bit dry, probably because I overcooked them as I am wont to do. They were delicious otherwise and I intend to revisit for a dinner party I am hosting.

  50. Sarah

    I made this a few months ago as a surprise for my Tunisian husband, and it was quite a hit. I used his mother’s homemade harissa in place of the store bought stuff and followed the rest of the recipe very closely. He declared them delicious and authentic, and I think they taste better than the Tunisian merguez you can buy in Montreal.

  51. I am making this. Wondering how it would be if I oven baked them patties. Going to try this. Will start them, then flatten a few minutes, flip a bit later and then finish cooking. Save me from splatter on the stove top.

  52. Jen in Seattle

    Suggestions on how long to cook on each side? I made these and they were tasty and browned perfectly, but pretty pink (raw?) inside.

  53. Sarah

    Yum! My husband took our daughter (who is the exact same age as Anna, to the day) to the playground so I could make these. Then I packed them up with some warm Naan bread and we enjoyed them as a picnic in the park. So portable and tasty! Even the little one kept asking for more meat :-)

  54. atteoj

    I made this last night for dinner, served with a tomato-cucumber-bell pepper salad and some leftover hummus I had on hand, and OMG, it was spectacular. It smelled and tasted SO AMAZING. And the yogurt (I added fresh mint, as well as a bit of dried parsley and dill) was the absolutely perfect pairing with the lamb. I will 100% be making this on a regular basis.

  55. Jessica

    Can these be cooked ahead of time and then reheated? Will they turn into dry hockey pucks? I’d like to bring them to a party I’m going to.

    1. deb

      If you want to reheat them and are worried about them drying out, just cook them a hair less so there’s wiggle room as they reheat.

  56. Pat

    I’ve made this several times but instead of using expensive harissa from those little tubes I use my own, which I always have in my refrigerator, following the recipe from — Smitten Kitchen!

  57. Jen in Seattle

    I’ve made this twice and really enjoyed it both times. But if you mix the spices and meat in advance, the garlic really intensifies. If you do this step a day or more ahead, I would reduce the garlic.

  58. Lena

    I found some ground lamb on super sale at my local supermarket and decided to make this recipe. Overall these little meatballs were delicious. I pretty much followed the recipe except I used anise seeds instead of fennel seeds, dill instead of coriander, a 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne instead of paprika, and a tablespoon of ground harissa spice instead of the 2 tablespoons of harissa paste (I wasn’t sure how the ground spice mixture would compare in terms of spiciness and decided to be conservative). A really quick meal to put together (I had let the mixture sit in my fridge overnight before bringing it to room temperature for cooking this evening). My balls were not as soft as I would prefer; unsure if it’s the brand or freshness of the ground lamb, if I mixed everything together too much, or if I simply fried them a little too long (I typically don’t cook a lot of meats, although I am by no means a vegetarian). If I find lamb again, I would definitely make this again.

  59. Molly

    This was a delicious weeknight dinner! My grocery store didn’t sell harissa, and I wasn’t up for making any at 6:30 PM, so I used sambal oelek instead. Thanks for another excellent recipe!

  60. Cara

    Another huge, huge win. I used ground beef, because I had it on hand, and was fully prepared for it to be mediocre, but no! I can’t even imagine how good this would be with lamb.

    Thank you!!!!

  61. Jill

    We do not eat dairy with meat…do you think this would work with coconut yogurt or some other kind of non-dairy yogurt? It looks fabulous!

  62. Jen

    Made this again and was reminded of just how good this recipe is! LOVE. We add a squeeze of lime juice instead of lemon with cilantro and with freshly baked homemade pitas, this is divine.

  63. Margot

    Made exactly as described and grilled. Just delish! And I normally don’t eat lamb. Can’t wait to make for my extended family.