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Merguez sausages.jpg
Alternative namesمرقاز
Region or stateMaghreb
Created byMaghreb region
Invented12th century
Main ingredientsLamb or beef
Ingredients generally usedCumin and chili pepper or harissa

Merguez (/mɛərˈɡɛz/, from Arabic: مرقاز‎, also مركاس, مرقاس, مرقاص) is a red, spicy mutton- or beef-based fresh sausage in Maghrebi cuisine. Since the late twentieth century, it has been popular in France as well.

Merguez is a sausage made with uncooked lamb, beef, or a mixture stuffed into a lamb-intestine casing. It is heavily spiced with cumin and chili pepper or harissa, which give it its characteristic piquancy and red color, as well as other spices such as sumac, fennel, and garlic.

Merguez is usually eaten grilled. Dried merguez is used to add flavour to tagines and couscous. It is also eaten in sandwiches and with french fries.


There are several spellings in Arabic (مِركس mirkas, pl. مراكس marākis; مِركاس mirkās, مَركس markas and مِرقاز mirqāz). The hesitation between k and q probably reflects the pronunciation /ɡ/, for which there is no standard Arabic spelling; further confusing matters is that in some maghrebi dialects, Arabic qāf is sometimes pronounced as /ɡ/, as an allophone of /q/.[1] It is first attested in Andalusian Arabic in the 12th century, as mirkās or merkās.[2][3] One author connects the word to the Spanish morcilla or morcon.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pellat, Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd edition
  2. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, Third Edition, 2001, s.v. merguez
  3. ^ a b Trésor de la langue française, s.v. merguez


  • Davidson, Alan, "Merguez", Oxford Companion to Food (1999), p. 497. ISBN 0-19-211579-0
  • Ch. Pellat, "Mirkās", Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd edition.

External links[edit]