How to Make Homemade Bakhoor: A Step-by-Step Guide

Bakhoor, a fragrant hallmark of the Middle East, has been captivating souls for centuries. This traditional incense, with its unique blend of wood chips and aromatic oils, offers an olfactory experience like no other.

Ever thought of crafting your own bakhoor at home? Dive into our step-by-step guide below.


What is Bakhoor?

Bakhoor is a fragrant masterpiece that has its roots deeply embedded in the rich tapestry of Middle Eastern culture. It refers to the aromatic scents that are traditionally burned in households, mosques, and communal gatherings.

Originating from the Arabic word ‘bukhur’ which means ‘fume’ or ‘smoke’, bakhoor is more than just a scent — it’s an experience.

At its core, bakhoor consists of specially treated wood chips, most notably agarwood (Oud) or sandalwood. These chips or wood powder are soaked and marinated in fragrant oils, allowing them to capture and hold scents that are released upon burning. Over time, these fragrances have evolved, with many blends including resins, amber, musk, and floral essences like rose or jasmine, to enhance their complexity and appeal.

Historically, the use of bakhoor was not merely limited to masking unpleasant odors. It was, and still is, an integral component of Arabic hospitality, often burned to welcome guests. They made homemade bakhoor based on family recipes that hand down through generations.

In religious contexts, bakhoor’s fragrant plumes rise in mosques, symbolizing prayers ascending to the heavens. It’s also a staple in many ceremonies, from weddings to spiritual gatherings, acting as an olfactory bridge between the past and present.

In essence, bakhoor is a celebration of heritage, tradition, and a deep appreciation for the finer, aromatic joys of life.

What are the Benefits of Making Homemade Bakhoor

The art of crafting homemade bakhoor offers an array of benefits that go beyond mere fragrance. Here’s why enthusiasts and beginners alike are turning towards creating their own aromatic blends:

  • Customizable Scents: One of the primary joys of making bakhoor at home is the freedom it offers. You can craft a scent profile that resonates with your personality, moods, or memories. Whether you prefer the deep notes of musk, the sweetness of jasmine, or the warmth of amber, the possibilities are boundless.
  • Natural Ingredients: The market can sometimes be flooded with bakhoor that contains synthetic additives or sub-par ingredients. Making your own ensures a genuine and organic aroma. You know exactly what goes into your mixture, ensuring a purer and more authentic experience.
  • Cost-Effective: While the initial investment in quality ingredients might seem high, in the long run, making bakhoor at home can be more economical. Given that you can create large batches and have control over ingredient proportions, it often turns out to be friendlier on the wallet compared to frequent store-bought purchases.
  • Therapeutic Process: The act of grinding, mixing, and shaping bakhoor is therapeutic. It’s a meditative process that allows one to disconnect from daily stresses and connect with an age-old tradition. The sensory delight of blending fragrances can be a calming and rewarding experience.
  • Unique Gifting Opportunity: Homemade bakhoor, with its exquisite fragrance and personal touch, makes for a thoughtful gift. It’s a unique offering that carries with it not just the scent but also the love and effort you’ve poured into it.

What are The Ingredients Needed for Bakhoor Making?

The allure of bakhoor lies in its complex composition. Each ingredient not only contributes its own distinct aroma but also serves a specific function in the bakhoor-making process:

Base Materials

  • Agarwood Chips or Power(Oud): As the primary ingredient, agarwood chips are ground to a specific consistency and act as the core carrier of the fragrance. They absorb the essential oils and resins, ensuring a lasting aroma when burned.
  • Sandalwood Chips or Power: Often ground together with agarwood, sandalwood acts as a secondary base, enhancing the longevity and richness of the overall scent.


  • Frankincense: Apart from its fragrance, frankincense resin, when ground into powder, acts as a binding agent, helping to keep the bakhoor chunks together. It also emits a beautiful white smoke when burned.
  • Myrrh: Used similarly to frankincense, its sticky nature, when powdered and mixed, helps in binding the bakhoor while adding depth to the scent.

Essential Oils

  • Rose Oil: A few drops are often enough. Rose oil is mixed into the blend to introduce a top note. It’s usually added after the initial grinding of the base materials to ensure even distribution.
  • Jasmine Oil: Incorporated for its intoxicating aroma, it’s blended in after the base materials are ground, ensuring the scent permeates throughout.
  • Amber: Added in moderate quantities, amber oil helps in layering the fragrance, ensuring a smooth transition between the top, middle, and base notes.
  • Others: Oils like patchouli, vetiver, and cedarwood can be dripped into the mixture at different stages, depending on the desired scent profile.


  • Honey: Used sparingly, honey is mixed into the blend as both a binder and a fragrance enhancer. It ensures the bakhoor maintains its shape while adding a hint of sweetness.
  • sugar powder:Acting both as a sweetener and a binder, sugar powder can be mixed with the ground woods and resins. Its granulated structure helps in binding the ingredients together. When burned, it releases a subtle caramel-like sweetness, adding another layer to the bakhoor’s fragrance.

Additional Fragrant Materials

  • Saffron: Ground saffron threads can be sprinkled into the blend. They not only offer a unique aroma but also give the bakhoor a rich golden hue, enhancing its visual appeal.
  • Musk: Musk grains can be crushed and mixed in during the early stages of blending. This ensures that its deep aroma is evenly distributed throughout the bakhoor.
  • Ambergris: Typically used in very tiny amounts, ambergris is either ground or melted into the mixture. It acts as a fixative, intensifying the lasting power of the bakhoor’s fragrance.

Step-by-Step Guide to Making Homemade Bakhoor


  • Gathering Materials: Begin by ensuring you have all the necessary ingredients and tools. This includes your base materials (like agarwood and sandalwood chips), resins, essential oils, binders, and additional fragrant materials.
  • Workspace Setup: Opt for a clean, well-ventilated area to work in. Lay out your ingredients and tools such as a mortar and pestle or a grinder, mixing bowls, measuring spoons, and airtight storage containers.

Grinding the Base Materials

  • Agarwood and Sandalwood Chips: Using a mortar and pestle or an electric grinder, grind the agarwood and sandalwood chips into a fine or medium-coarse powder. This acts as the primary foundation for your bakhoor.

Incorporating the Resins

  • Frankincense and Myrrh: Grind the resins into a fine powder. Given their sticky nature, they will not only contribute to the aroma but also help bind the ingredients.

Blending the Essential Oils

  • Slowly and meticulously add your chosen essential oils, drop by drop, ensuring they’re evenly distributed. Gently mix the blend after each addition. This step requires patience, as you’re layering the fragrance.

Adding the Binders

  • If you’re using dried fruit pulp, first ensure it’s crushed into a smooth paste. Incorporate the paste into the mix, kneading and ensuring an even distribution.
  • If using honey as an additional binder, add it gradually. Remember, the goal is to achieve a consistency where the mixture can hold its shape but isn’t overly sticky.


  • Lay out the shaped bakhoor pieces on a tray lined with parchment paper. Let them air dry in a cool, dark place for another week. This step is crucial, as it allows the bakhoor to harden, ensuring it burns effectively.


  • Once fully dried, store your bakhoor in an airtight container to retain its fragrance. Keeping it in a cool, dark place will ensure its longevity and potency.
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