Haitian Epis (Haitian Seasoning Base)

5 from 3 votes

Haitian Epis (Haitian Seasoning Base) is a spicy and bold paste or seasoning popular in traditional Haitian cooking. Try my authentic recipe to make it.

Here are some more homemade paste recipes you might like: Thai Green Curry Paste, Tahini Paste, Asian Red Chili Paste, and Golden Paste.

Haitian epis served in a bowl.
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About Haitian Epis

Haitian Epis (Haitian Seasoning Base) is a traditional Caribbean paste or seasoning prepared with peppers, fresh herbs, garlic, olive oil, and vinegar. The green sauce recipe varies from home to home, but the main ingredients are almost identical.

This vegan and gluten-free paste is the base of Haitian Cuisine. Haitian cuisine, also known as Haitian Creole cuisine, is a unique style of cooking that originated in Haiti, blending African, French, Spanish, Taíno, and Caribbean influences.

It resembles Trinidad and Tobago’s green seasoning and the Latin American sofrito.

Epis seasoning is used as a base to flavor most of the savory dishes in Haitian cooking. This bold and spicy paste is easy to make and comes together in 10 minutes.

Traditionally, it was prepared in a mortar and pestle, but to speed up the process, I like to use a food processor.

Ingredients

Bell Peppers – This recipe uses a mix of green and red bell peppers.

Herbs – Adding fresh herbs like parsley and thyme gives it a refreshing taste.

Olive Oil – Use the best quality extra virgin olive oil.

Apple Cider Vinegar adds a nice acidic flavor and helps the paste last longer. You can use freshly squeezed lemon juice (or lime juice) instead.

Others – You will also need red onion, scallions, garlic, cloves, celery stalks, a vegetable bouillon cube, scotch bonnet peppers, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.

Scotch bonnet peppers are small, fiery chili peppers used in African and Caribbean cuisine. They are optional, but add a nice spicy kick to the Epis. You can replace them with any spicy peppers, like Thai bird’s eye chilies or Habanero peppers.

You can replace veg bullion cubes with chicken bouillon cubes. Maggi brand is the most popular.

Replace scallions with leeks if they are not available.

How To Make Epis

Add the following ingredients to a food processor fitted with an S blade.

  • 1 seeded and sliced green bell pepper
  • 1 seeded and sliced red bell pepper
  • ½ cup fresh parsley
  • ½ cup chopped red onions
  • 6-8 sprigs of thyme
  • 3 scallions (sliced)
  • 5-6 peeled garlic cloves
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 veg bouillon cube
  • 1 teaspoon chopped scotch bonnet pepper
All the ingredients except oil and vinegar added to a food processor.

Pulse to break down the vegetables into smaller pieces.

Coarse paste made.

Slowly pour in ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil, followed by ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar, while the processor is still running.

Olive oil and vinegar added to the processor.

Continue to pulse until the mixture is mostly smooth.

Add 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper powder, and 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder, and pulse until combined.

Salt, pepper and cayenne added to the processor.

Pour epis into an airtight container and refrigerate for 5-7 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Ready Haitian Epis.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I skip adding salt to the Epis recipe?

Salt acts as a preservative and increases the shelf life of epis, but if you want to skip adding it, go for it. You can add salt to the actual recipe where you are using the Epis.

Pro Tips By Neha

Avoid using a blender to make epis otherwise, it will turn pasty. Food processors or mortar and pestle are the best choices.

Adjust the quantity of cayenne pepper and scotch bonnet to suit your taste buds. I personally like it medium spicy, but you can add more peppers if you like it spicy.

Do not add any water to the recipe; otherwise, the life of the seasoning will be reduced.

If you want a greener epis, replace red bell pepper with green bell pepper. I like the flecks of red coming in between.

Usage Suggestions

Epis is generally used as a base for rice and beans, vegetable curries, stews, and soups. It is an integral part of Haitian cuisine and is added to almost all Haitian recipes.

It can be used as a marinade for chicken or other meat recipes.

Use it as a dipping sauce for roasted potatoes, wedges, vegetable fries, or snacks or appetizers.

Add it to your pasta recipe. Add a little to enhance the flavor of your pasta dishes, or use it just like pesto with some protein to make a pasta dish.

You can also use it as a salad dressing.

I make my Haitian Spaghetti using my homemade Epis, do try it.

Storage Suggestions

Haitian Epis lasts up to 7 days in the refrigerator when stored in an air-tight container.

Use a clean and dry spoon for every use, and make sure to close the container properly again. This will ensure that the paste lasts longer.

It is also freezer-friendly. You can freeze it in ice cube trays and make individual ice cubes for every use, lasting up to 3 months. Once they are frozen, store them in freezer-safe ziplock bags.

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Haitian Epis (Haitian Seasoning Base) is a spicy and bold paste or seasoning popularly used in traditional Haitian cooking. Try my authentic recipe to make it (vegan, gluten-free).
5 from 3 votes

Haitian Epis Recipe (Haitian Seasoning Base)

Haitian Epis (Haitian Seasoning Base) is a spicy and bold paste or seasoning popularly used in traditional Haitian cooking. Try my authentic recipe to make it.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients 

  • 1 green bell pepper (seeded and sliced)
  • 1 red bell pepper (seeded and sliced)
  • ½ cup chopped parsley (packed)
  • ½ cup chopped red onions
  • 6-8 sprigs thyme
  • 3 scallions (chopped)
  • 5-6 cloves peeled garlic
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 veg bouillon cube
  • 1 teaspoon chopped scotch bonnet (or any other spicy chilli)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar (or lime juice)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
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Instructions 

  • Add green bell pepper, red bell pepper, parsley, onions, thyme, scallions, garlic cloves, cloves, veg bouillon cube, and scotch bonnet pepper to a food processor fitted with an S blade.
  • Pulse to break down the vegetables into smaller pieces.
  • Slowly pour in olive oil followed by vinegar, while the processor is still running.
  • Continue to pulse until the mixture is mostly smooth.
  • Add salt, pepper powder, and cayenne pepper powder, and pulse until combined.
  • Pour epis into an airtight container and refrigerate for 5-7 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

Avoid using a blender to make epis otherwise, it will turn pasty. Food processors or mortar and pestle are the best choices to make.
Adjust the quantity of cayenne pepper and scotch bonnet to suit your taste buds. I personally like it medium spicy, but you can add more peppers if you like it spicy.
Do not add any water to the recipe; otherwise, the life of the seasoning will be reduced.
If you want a greener epis, replace red bell pepper with green bell pepper. I like the flecks of red coming in between.

Nutrition

Calories: 105kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 0.002g, Sodium: 508mg, Potassium: 154mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 1305IU, Vitamin C: 51mg, Calcium: 24mg, Iron: 1mg
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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    My mom’s haitian she make it every 2 weeks , without that epis we not gonna know how test the food. Thank to my ancestors 🙏.