How to make Spanish quince paste

Spanish Quince Paste Recipe |
Quince paste used to be my favourite way to eat fruit when I was a little child. Still today, this sweet and fragrant jelly – when eaten together with a good piece of cheese – is one of my preferred ways to end a good lunch or dinner.

I have always wondered how it is possible to obtain something so delicious as quince paste from a fruit so tough you cannot even eat raw. But cooking makes almost everything possible, even little miracles such as this one.

I believe quince is a forgotten gem. True that its raw flesh is tough as cork, but when appropriately cooked, few things are comparable to the scent of quince. To me, it means 100% autumn. But it’s also an early reminder of how fast the Xmas season is approaching.

This recipe is still my favourite way to eat quince. It has been for as far as I remember, since I was a child and I would eat my mum’s homemade ‘carne de membrillo’ (quince paste), made with fruit from my parents’ very own quince tree.

I always eat the quince paste together with a good piece of either a cured or a semi-cured Spanish cheese. The classic combination is to have it with Manchego, although I personally love it together with some of the northern varieties of sheep milk cheese such as Roncal or even smoked Idiazabal.
However, quince paste works equally well with other creamier cheeses. As the ever-knowledgeable Nigel Slater mentions in one of his articles for the Guardian I wouldn’t stop at the firm Spanish cheeses that this slightly gritty amber spread traditionally accompanies. The sweet paste shines with goat’s cheeses and blues alike. I like the idea of making a tiny parcel of blue cheese, wrapping it in pastry and serving it with membrillo, as quince paste is known, on the side.”

How to make Spanish quince paste
Serves: kg Print recipe
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Passive time: 90 minutes
Difficulty: Easy



  1. Wash the quinces thoroughly to remove all the external natural fluff from the skin.
  2. Put the quinces in a big cooking pot and cover them with water. Bring to boil and cook for around 10 minutes until the quinces skin starts cracking.
  3. Take the quinces out, let them cool down and once cold, cut them in pieces disregarding the cores.
  4. Weight the chopped quinces and place them in a pot with the same amount of brown sugar and the juice of a lemon for every two kilos of quince.
  5. Cook over a medium heat – stirring constantly – until you see foam forming on the surface. Eventually, this foam will disappear and it’s at that point when the quince will be done, usually after 30-40 minutes approx.
  6. Take off the heat and blend well with a stick blender. Pour the paste into medium-size storage containers and let them cool down. Once cold, cover the containers. You can store them in a dry area or freeze them if you want.

Use quinces which have a bright yellow, smooth and stainless skin. If possible, choose the ones that don’t have any of the natural velvety fluff that sometimes appears on their skin.

Some people peel the quince. I personally don’t see the point because the quince skin is a natural jellifying and if you decide to remove it, you’ll need to replace it with a different jellifying such as agar agar. So why would you remove something natural to the fruit and replace it with something alien to it? I makes no sense to me.

If you decide to freeze it, you can easily have quince paste for the whole year, as it keeps very well frozen.