Harissa Lamb Sliders

published Oct 22, 2021
Harissa Lamb Sliders Recipe

Harissa and lamb make for a dynamic duo in these sliders topped with feta cheese, pickled onions, and harissa mayo.

Serves6 to 12

Prep35 minutes

Cook25 minutes

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lamb sliders on a plate
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

For the longest time, I thought lamb was strictly reserved for holidays like Christmas and Easter. (My mom doesn’t eat lamb, so I only ever ate it when I celebrated holidays at friends’ houses). But about five years ago, I had my first lamb burger at a restaurant in Brooklyn, and I realized what I’d been missing. It was one of the best burgers I’d ever had, and I became determined to create my own version — in slider form, that is.

The best thing about the burger was how well-seasoned it was. When cooking lamb, you don’t want to drown out its unique flavor, but you do need enough of a kick to counterbalance it. That’s where harissa — a Tunisian chili paste made up of peppers, citrus, cumin, coriander, and caraway seeds — comes into play. Its flavor perfectly tempers the richness of the lamb, and trust me: Once the sauce (or powder; it’s sold both ways) is in your kitchen, you’ll find endless ways to use it.

These sliders also include quick-pickled red onions, crumbled feta, and a harissa mayo that I now use on a variety of sandwiches. I still eat lamb rather sparingly, but these sliders are proof you don’t have to wait for an extra-special occasion.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Harissa Lamb Sliders Recipe

Harissa and lamb make for a dynamic duo in these sliders topped with feta cheese, pickled onions, and harissa mayo.

Prep time 35 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes

Serves 6 to 12

Nutritional Info


For the pickled onions:

  • 1

    small red onion (about 3 to 4 ounces)

  • 3/4 cup

    apple cider vinegar

  • 1/4 cup

    cold water

  • 1 teaspoon

    granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

For the sliders:

  • 3 sprigs

    fresh parsley

  • 3 springs

    fresh cilantro

  • 8 to 10

    fresh mint leaves

  • 4 cloves


  • 2 pounds

    ground lamb

  • 1 tablespoon

    harissa powder, or 2 tablespoons harissa sauce

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 3 ounces

    feta cheese

  • 4 tablespoons

    olive oil, divided

  • 12

    slider buns or dinner rolls (potato, brioche, etc.)

For the harissa mayo:

  • 1/2 cup


  • 1/2


  • 1 teaspoon

    harissa powder, or 1 tablespoon harissa sauce


Make the pickled onions:

  1. Pour 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar and 1/4 cup cold water into a Mason jar or another airtight container. Add 1 teaspoon granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and use a spoon to stir until the sugar and salt have completely dissolved. Halve and then thinly slice 1 small red onion (about 1 cup). Add to the vinegar mixture and make sure the onion is completely submerged. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Make the sliders:

  1. Finely chop 3 sprigs parsley and 3 sprigs cilantro, about 1 tablespoon each. Add them to a large bowl. Finely chop 8 to 10 mint leaves until you have 1 tablespoon of mint and add it to the bowl. Mince 4 cloves garlic (about 1 tablespoon) and add to the bowl. Add 2 pounds ground lamb meat to the bowl. Sprinkle in 1 tablespoon of harissa powder or 2 tablespoons of harissa sauce and 2 teaspoons kosher salt. Using either your hands or a rubber spatula, thoroughly mix everything together. Shape into 12 (3-inch wide) patties (about 3 ounces each) and place them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the harissa mayo

Make the harissa mayo:

  1. Whisk together 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon harissa powder or 1 tablespoon harissa sauce in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the sliders.

Cook and assemble the sliders:

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 450ºF. Meanwhile, crumble 3 ounces feta cheese (about 2/3 cup). Cook the sliders.

  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet or pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add 6 lamb patties to the skillet and cook, flipping them halfway through, until browned, cooked through, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a patty registers 160°F, 8 to 10 minutes total. Transfer to a plate and repeat cooking the remaining patties.

  3. Split the buns in half and put them cut-side up in a single layer on a baking sheet. Brush the cut sides with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake until golden-brown and toasted, 3 to 4 minutes.

  4. Assemble the sliders: Drain the pickled onions. Spread the harissa mayo on the top and bottom of the buns. Sprinkle the bottom bun with feta, and then place pickled onions on top. Place lamb patties down on top of the pickled onions. Close with the top buns.

Recipe Notes

Storage: The lamb patties can be stored in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.