Ways to Use Quince Paste (Membrillo)

Quince paste, also known as membrillo or dulce de membrillo, is a thick, sweet jelly made from the quince fruit.

Ways to Use Quince Paste (Membrillo)

It's a traditional Spanish delicacy that has been enjoyed for centuries. While it's commonly served with Manchego cheese, there are many other delicious ways to use this unique and flavorful condiment.

What is Quince?

Before we adress the different ways to use quince paste, let's take a moment to understand what a quince is. The quince is a hard, yellow fruit that resembles a cross between an apple and a pear. It has a unique, slightly tart and floral flavor that becomes more pronounced when cooked.

While quinces can be eaten raw, they are highly astringent and often used for cooking or making preserves. Quince paste is one of the most popular ways to enjoy this underrated fruit.

Serving Quince Paste with Cheese

While this is perhaps the most well-known way to enjoy quince paste, it's worth mentioning again. Serve thin slices of membrillo alongside a variety of cheeses, such as Manchego, aged cheddar, or blue cheese. The sweet and tangy flavors of the quince paste complement the richness of the cheese beautifully.

Key Takeaway: The classic way to serve quince paste is with Manchego cheese, but don't be afraid to pair it with other aged or strong cheeses as well.

Quince Paste in Desserts

Quince paste's sweet, floral notes make it a wonderful addition to many desserts. Here are some ideas:

Baked Goods

  • Tarts and Pies: Use quince paste as a filling for tarts or pies, either on its own or combined with other fruits like apples or pears.
  • Cakes and Cupcakes: Incorporate small cubes of quince paste into cake or cupcake batter for a unique flavor and texture.
  • Cookies and Bars: Try substituting some of the jam or preserves in your favorite cookie or bar recipe with quince paste.

Other Desserts

  • Parfaits and Trifles: Layer quince paste with yogurt, granola, and fresh fruit for a beautiful and delicious parfait or trifle.
  • Ice Cream and Sorbet: Swirl quince paste into homemade ice cream or sorbet for a burst of flavor.
  • Cheesecake: Use quince paste as a topping or swirl it into the cheesecake batter for a unique twist.

Quince Paste in Savory Dishes

Don't limit quince paste to just sweet dishes; it can also add a delightful flavor to savory recipes. Here are some ideas:

  • Glazes and Sauces: Melt quince paste with a little water or wine to create a sweet and tangy glaze for roasted meats or vegetables.
  • Sandwiches and Wraps: Spread quince paste on sandwiches or wraps for a unique twist on a classic.
  • Salad Dressings: Whisk quince paste into vinaigrettes for a sweet and tangy dressing that pairs well with greens, fruits, and cheese.
  • Marinades and Rubs: Incorporate quince paste into marinades or rubs for meats, adding a delightful depth of flavor.
Savory Dish Ideas with Quince Paste
Roasted chicken with quince glaze
Grilled cheese with quince paste
Quinoa salad with quince vinaigrette
Pork tenderloin with quince marinade

Quince Paste as a Gift

Homemade quince paste makes a lovely and thoughtful gift, especially around the holidays. Consider packaging it in pretty jars or boxes and giving it to friends and family who appreciate unique and gourmet treats.

Key Takeaway: Quince paste is incredibly versatile and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, from desserts to glazes and marinades.


How long does quince paste last?

Properly stored in the refrigerator, quince paste can last for several months. It can also be frozen for longer storage.

Is quince paste the same as membrillo?

Yes, membrillo is the Spanish name for quince paste.

Can I substitute quince paste for other jams or preserves?

While quince paste has a distinct flavor, you can often substitute it for other jams or preserves in recipes, especially in baked goods or sauces.

Is quince paste sweet or savory?

Quince paste has a sweet, slightly tart, and floral flavor, making it suitable for both sweet and savory dishes.

Where can I buy quince paste?

Look for quince paste in the specialty or gourmet section of your grocery store or at international or Hispanic markets. It's also available online from various retailers.


Quince paste, or membrillo, is a versatile and delicious ingredient that deserves a place in your kitchen. While it's traditionally served with Manchego cheese, we've explored many other ways to incorporate its unique flavor into both sweet and savory dishes.

From baked goods and desserts to glazes, sauces, and marinades, quince paste can add a touch of elegance and depth to your cooking.

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