How to Make Zhug [Yemeni Hot Sauce Recipe]

January 11, 2021

Kick up your spice game with this traditional Zhug Recipe, a Yemeni-inspired hot sauce recipe. All you need is some oil, peppers, herbs and spices and you have flavorful additional to all sorts of meals!

It’s taken me over a year to post this recipe! I wish I had a good excuse but to be honest life just happened and I kind of put it on the back burner. But it was inspired by a meal C and I had in Portland in the fall of 2019. We tried out an amazing restaurant there called Shalom Y’all (highly recommend!) and I fell in love with their zhug recipe – although they spell is “s’hug”. I pretty much mixed it with everything from roasted cauliflower to grilled Octopus. It was to-die-for!

I asked the server before we left if he had the recipe. He said it didn’t but he believed it was a blend of grapeseed oil, peppers, parsley and spices. And so I did a little research, played around with amounts and landed on this zhug sauce which I’m in love with. C and I have been putting it on just about everything (more suggestions below!) and I knew it was time to share the recipe with you. Better late than never!

What is Zhug?

Zhug is a traditional Yemeni hot sauce that is typically a blend of oil, hot peppers and spices. It comes in two varities: green and red. It has been adapted across the Middle East so you can find a version of this zhug recipe in many middle eastern cultures. A more traditional version would use whole spices that you grind with a mortal and pestle but for those of you who are short on time and/or don’t have whole spices, this zhug recipe calls for ground spices. Note: sometimes zhug is also spelled “shug”, “skhug” or “zhoug”.

Here’s what you need:

  • Grapeseed oil – a traditional middle eastern oil that also has a more neutral taste. If you can’t find grapeseed oil you can replace it with olive oil
  • Serrano peppers – for heat! If you like things slightly less spicy you can remove the seeds
  • Parsley – just cut off the thick stems at the bottom but no need to chop the leaf. Go big! Use the whole bunch.
  • Garlic – wouldn’t be zhug without garlic
  • Spices – cumin, coriander, turmeric and of course, salt!

How To Make Zhug [Recipe Instructions]

This zhug recipe is so simple to make. You pretty much just need to gather your ingredients, add to a blender and then store in a container. The key is to use quality ingredients.

STEP 1: Gather all your ingredients and add them to a blender.

STEP 2: Blend until smooth and then store in a glass or sealable jar in the fridge.

How to Store Zhug Sauce

Your zhug sauce recipe will save in the fridge for up to 1 month. Just make sure you store it in a sealed container. The zhug sauce will thicken in the fridge. I personally don’t mind the thickness but if you prefer a thinner hot sauce you can thin it out with a little water before use.

Red Zhug vs. Green Zhug

Typically zhug can be either green or red. I personally prefer green zhug (who doesn’t love a good dose of parsley?!) but red zhug is just as delicious and easy to make.

To make red zhug:

-replace your serrano peppers with hot red peppers (cayenne pepper would be a good substitute)

-omit the parsley

Otherwise all other ingredients will remain the same and store in the fridge for up to 1 month.

Perfect Pairings!

So now that we know how to make zhug sauce, what do you pair it with? Honestly, I pair it with everything. Use it as liberally as you would use hot sauce. Here are some suggestions:

-Add a dollop to your shakshuka – even better, green shakshuka!

-Thin out with a bit of water and coat some roasted cauliflower or other roasted veggies

-Mix in with your avocado toast for a little kick

-As a dip for pita bread (here’s how to make homemade pita!) or veggies.

-The perfect dipping sauce for your meat – rotisserie chicken anyone?!

No matter how you eat it, just promise me you’ll savor it and enjoy it!


Zhug Sauce

Kick up your spice game with this traditional Zhug Recipe, a Yemeni-inspired hot sauce recipe. All you need is some oil, peppers, herbs and spices and you have flavorful additional to all sorts of meals!

  • Author: Davida Lederle
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 10-12 servings 1x
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Blend
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern
  • Diet: Vegan


  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  • 2 serrano peppers, tops removed
  • 1 bunch of parsley, thick stems removed
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Store in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to one month.

Keywords: zhug recipe, how to make zhug, shug, shug recipe, zhug sauce

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