Quince Paste (Membrillo)

quince paste


In Mexico and Spain, quince paste is called membrillo. The quince fruit is very high in natural pectin so when the fruit is cooked down it thickens to a firm paste which is thick enough to slice. Sometimes quince paste is used like a thick jam on toast. A common presentation is to serve 1/4" thick slices of Manchego cheese with a thin 1/8" slice of quince paste atop. The sweet fruit is a perfect complement to the pungent cheese.

Where To Buy Quince Paste

Quince paste is sold in cans, blocks, plastic tubs and jars.  Look for this product in Mexican or Spanish specialty shops as well as in cheese shops.  Whole Foods Market sells quince paste.

Featured Recipe: Phyllo Cups with Chevre and Quince Paste

Serves: 12

  • 6 phyllo pastry sheets, thawed, stacked and cut into 4 stacks lengthwise, forming 24 rectangles, roughly 17 inches x 3 1/4-inches
  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup crushed toasted almonds or hazelnuts
  • 4 ounces soft goat cheese
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 3 ounces membrillo, chopped or cut into shapes
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Generously butter each muffin cup in a 12-cup mini muffin pan.
  2. Place 1 phyllo rectangle on work surface; cover remaining phyllo with a damp cloth to prevent drying. Brush rectangle with melted butter and add second phyllo rectangle atop first; brush with butter and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon of ground almonds.
  3. Add a third rectangle and brush with butter. Add the fourth rectangle and repeat with the butter, sugar and almonds. Add a fifth and sixth rectangle and brush each with melted butter.
  4. Cut this strip into 5 equal pieces and place each piece in a muffin cup, pushing down so the phyllo covers the bottom and sides. Repeat the above steps with the remaining phyllo.
  5. Bake cups in 375 degree oven until golden and crisp, about 10 minutes. Immediately lift cups from pan, twisting carefully to loosen; place on rack. Cool completely. (Can be made 2 days ahead and stored at room temperature in an airtight container.)
  6. Puree the cream cheese and goat cheese in a food processor until smooth. Fill a pastry bag with a fluted tip with mixture and pipe into phyllo cups. Garnish with chopped quince paste.

More About Quince

Quince Flower

The quince flowers from the ornamental quince in very early spring and displays vibrant pink to red blossoms.  Quince is my favorite flower to bring indoors in early spring. 

quince flowers
quince flowers (this is a flowering quince, not the edible quince)

Fun Fact about Quince Paste (Membrillo)

Nutrition Information For Quince Paste (Membrillo)

Serving Size
1 fruit without refuse
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g
Saturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 4mg
Total Carbohydrate 14g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin A  0% Vitamin C  0%
Calcium  0% Iron  0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Quince Fruit

The small, yellow, quince fruit tastes like a cross between and apple and a pear.

The Romans gave quince to their beloved as a symbol of commitment. Although the fruit has been revered by many cultures for over 4000 years it has never gained a lot of popularity in the U.S.

The quince fruit contains a high amount of pectin so it inherently makes very good jam or paste.

Fresh quince may be available in your local market from October to December. Fruits should have no sign of green.  Store quince in a tightly sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to two months.
quince fruits


Barbara Bowman graduated with degree in Foods and Nutrition from San Jose State University. As CEO of GourmetSleuth.com she spends most waking hours writing, cooking, eating, gardening and traveling.