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3 September 2018

Zhug is a spicy green hot sauce from Yemen made with chili peppers, fresh green herbs and lots of aromatic seasoning. Here is the recipe. Great as a finishing sauce or a condiment.

The first thing I have to say about zhug is, if you haven’t made this hot sauce before, run to the store immediately, buy the ingredients, and make it as quickly as possible. The second thing I have to say about zhug is — You need Zhug NOW!

What is Zhug?

Zhug is basically a hot sauce, but it is oil and herb based with lots of chili peppers and hugely flavorful seasonings. It originated in Yemen, hence the “Yemenite Green Hot Sauce” subtitle, though it is widely popular in Middle Eastern Cooking.

It is also becoming more and more popular in Africa and Europe, though I hope this popularity spreads to the United States because it is MASSIVE on flavor.

I’ve had similar herb-based spicy sauces, but zhug is in a class of it’s own.

Zhug - this green hot sauce is ready to serve

The Ingredients for Making Zhug

Zhug relies heavily on olive oil and fresh parsley, as well as both fresh and dried chili peppers. I used serrano peppers and chiles de arbol.

The seasoning blend is what makes it different from similar sauces, which include black peppercorns, ground cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cardamom seeds, and salt. It also includes garlic and lemon juice.

Put that all together and BOOM! You’ve got yourself some awesome flavor there!

What Sauces are Similar to Zhug?

Zhug is very similar in ingredients and textures to Green Chimichurri (South America), Chermoula (North Africa), and Italian Pesto. It’s also somewhat similar to Mexican Salsa Verde.

Zhug - a green hot sauce from Israel made with chili peppers, fresh herbs, olive oil, and a mixture of amazing seasonings.

About the Chili Peppers

As mentioned, I used serrano peppers and chiles de arbol for my zhug recipe, though I have seen recipes using Thai bird chilies, using serrano peppers only, and other chili peppers.

If you’re concerned about the overall heat level, try making this with jalapeno peppers and adjust the heat from there with other peppers. I like to use a mix for flavor and heat.

Variations on Zhug

Of course you can very easily adjust this recipe to your own personal preferences. For example, swap in habanero peppers for some EXTRA heat. Try different herbs, other citrus, and other seasonings, though the more you change it, the more you lose the original essence of “Zhug”.

Cilantro is a popular addition as well.

There are other variations on this recipe already, such as “brown zhug”, which includes tomatoes, as well as “red zhug”, which includes hot red chili peppers. Big YES from me to Red Zhug! I’ll have to make that soon.

Other Names for Zhug

Zhug also goes by the name of “Shug”, “Shoug”, “Schug”, “Skhug”. It seems to be somewhat spelling impaired.

Let’s talk about how we make the recipe, shall we?

How to Make Zhug – The recipe Method

Add all of your ingredients, minus the olive oil – including fresh parsley, chili peppers and your seasoning mix – to a food processor.

You can also use a mortar and pestle, which makes this recipe quite fun to make by hand.

Process it to incorporate the ingredients. You don’t want to over process the mix, however, or you will lose the desirable texture.

Drizzle in the olive oil and pulse/process until the oil is emulsified and the remaining sauce is thick and chunky.

Adjust for salt and use as needed, and you’re good to go! Super easy, right? I LOVE easy!

Serving Up Your Zhug

I like to enjoy my zhug as a finisher for grilled foods, though it’s GREAT as a simple table condiment. Try it on grilled skirt steak or grilled chicken.

Top your sandwiches with this flavorful mix and transform it completely.

It loves to pair with pitas and kababs. Swirl it into hummus for a nice change up. It’s so unique, and flatly so awesome.

I hope you will try it!

Try My Other Popular Recipes Like Zhug

That’s it, my friends! If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

Zhug - Recipe (Yemenite Green Hot Sauce)
Print Recipe
5 from 6 votes

Zhug – The Recipe (Yemenite Green Hot Sauce with Chili Peppers, Herbs and Oil)

Zhug is a spicy green hot sauce from Yemen made with chili peppers, fresh green herbs and lots of aromatic seasoning. Here is the recipe. Great as a finishing sauce or a condiment.
Prep Time9 mins
Cook Time1 min
Total Time10 mins
Course: Salsa, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Middle Eastern
Keyword: chili peppers, condiment, Middle Eastern, spicy
Servings: 10
Calories: 103kcal


  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • Salt to taste I use about a teaspoon
  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro
  • 1 cup loosely packed parsley
  • 5-6 serrano peppers chopped
  • 4-5 dried chiles de arbol coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • Juice from 1 lemon about 2-3 tablespoons
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil


  • Grind the peppercorns, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and cardamom seeds in a mortar and pestal into a coarse powder. Alternatively, you can start with powdered versions of these ingredients. Add them to a food processor along with the salt.
  • Add the remaining ingredients except for the olive oil to the food processor and pulse until the ingredients are chunky but combined. Do not overprocess or you’ll lose the desireable texture.
  • Drizzle in the olive oil and pulse/process until the oil is emulsified and the remaining sauce is thick and chunky.
  • Adjust for salt and use as needed.


Makes about 1.5 cups. 
Heat Level: Medium-Hot, because of the use of serrano peppers. You can easily dial back the heat by using milder peppers.
Store your zhug in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep a couple weeks easily.


Calories: 103kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 5mg | Potassium: 65mg | Vitamin A: 695IU | Vitamin C: 10.1mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 0.6mg


  1. 5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe, it is insanely delicious! My husband was so surprised and excited, as he used to live in the Middle East and remembered this as the spicy green sauce they serve with kabsa rice and grilled whole chickens. I’ve put it on almost everything since I made it and I will be whipping up 3 or 4 batches tomorrow to share! Definitely going to be a staple in our fridge. It turned turkey burgers from an ever so slightly disappointing healthy alternative to what I predict will be a weekly favourite!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Excellent, Sarah! Super happy to have helped you. I love the idea of using it on Turkey burgers. Great way to add some zing! It’s one of my favorites. Enjoy.

  2. 5 stars
    I add a little onion. We use Thai bird peppers(6) and jalapeños (2) 6 garlic cloves. Fabulous on morrocan chicken stew.


    5 stars
    I LOVE this stuff and have been looking for the recipe for a long time!!! Thanks so much!!!

  4. Sébastien Caron

    5 stars
    I doubled this recipe using green jalapeños. It is a great success! Tastes amazing and is so fresh! It’s now and forever on my favorites list.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      That’s great! I know, I LOVE this recipe. So good. Glad you enjoyed it!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Rodney, absolutely. You many not get the exact same flavor, but it will be pretty good with them as a substitute! Let me know how it turns out for you.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Peter, you could pressure can something like this, since it low acidity. It should last a week in the fridge, or several months in the freezer. You might freeze small portions for use.

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