Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon


Save to Recipe Box
Add Private Note
Saved Add to List

    Add to List

Add Recipe Note

What is it?

A fruit that’s in season from October through January, quinces belong to the rose family, as do apples, pears, and peaches. They grow on small, shrub-like trees that flower and later produce the fist-size, lumpy, often fuzzy fruit. Native to the Middle East, quinces were introduced to the New World by Europeans in the 17th century.

Today, the most popular varieties in the United States are the Pineapple and the Champion. Cultivated in southern California, the Pineapple quince is bright yellow when ripe and has distinct notes of its namesake. The larger Champion grows predominantly in the cooler climes of the Northeast and Northwest and ripens to a gold or khaki color, with a more typical flavor of apple, pear, spice, and citrus.

The heady aroma of a golden quince is spicy and complex, with hints of apple, pear, and citrus. When cooked—and its hard, tart flesh must be cooked—a quince becomes soft and dense and develops a sweet, slightly piquant flavor and an even richer perfume.

Quinces are especially known for turning a a jewel-like rose when cooked. The tannin concentration in a quince, which varies depending on where it’s grown, determines this color: Heat causes tannins to release a red pigment called anthocyanin. Quinces that are rich in tannins become dark rose; those with fewer tannins may remain creamy white or turn light pink. Cooking in aluminum, which reacts to tannic acid, tends to produce darker results.

Quince’s assertive flavor and floral aroma go well with a variety of ingredients; pair them with cinnamon, vanilla, almonds, cream, and salty cheeses and meats like Stilton, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and prosciutto.

How to choose:

Ripe quinces should smell fruity and floral, be firm to the touch, and have yellow skin. If your fruit has a greenish hue, it may be underripe; keep it on the counter until completely yellow and very fragrant.

How to prep:

Rich in tannins, which make them astringent, and pectin, which makes them hard, quinces must be cooked before they’re eaten. Slow-cooking methods like poaching and roasting work best to break down the fruit’s flesh, making it tender, less tart, and delicious in both sweet and savory dishes.

Poach quinces in water with simple flavors like honey and lemon and use them to add a touch of sweetness to a savory salad, or try poaching them with bolder flavors like red wine, orange, star anise, and sugar to serve warm over vanilla ice cream. Roast them with honey, balsamic vinegar, and orange juice and serve alongside rich meats, duck, or goose. Like apples, quinces can be baked (peel and hollow them out and then fill with sugar, cream, and butter) or used in tarte Tatin and cakes.
With their high pectin content, quinces are a natural in jams, jellies, and chutneys. An iconic quince preparation is Spanish membrillo (mem-bree-yoh), a thick, jam-like paste that’s delicious with Manchego cheese or Serrano ham.

How to store:

Ripe quinces can be stored at room temperature for up to one week or in the refrigerator in a loosely sealed plastic bag for up to two weeks.


  • Recipe

    Upside-Down Quince and Honey Spice Cake

    Poached quinces turn a beautiful rosy color, which make a stunning top to the cake when arranged in concentric circles.

  • Recipe

    Quince Paste

    In Spain, slices of this sweet, fragrant paste, called membrillo, are served atop wedges of rich Manchego cheese as an hors d’oeuvre. Try it with goat cheese as well—or just…

  • Recipe

    Poached Quince Salad

    Salty ham, buttery cheese, and rich almonds play up the delicate sweetness of the honey-poached quinces in this sweet-savory salad. For the best results, use Marcona almonds, which are fried…

  • Recipe

    Spiced Quince and Apple Sauce

    If you happen to see bumpy yellow quinces in the fall at your supermarket or farmer's market, snatch them up; they make a wonderfully fragrant addition to plain old applesauce, and…


Leave a Comment


  • User avater
    EvaDBryant | 01/11/2019

    Thanks for sharing this post!

  • User avater
    RuthSAllen | 11/22/2018

    Thanks for sharing like this recipe.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Delicious Dish

Find the inspiration you crave for your love of cooking

Fine Cooking Magazine

Subscribe today
and save up to 50%

Already a subscriber? Log in.


View All


Follow Fine Cooking on your favorite social networks

We hope you’ve enjoyed your free articles. To keep reading, subscribe today.

Get the print magazine, 25 years of back issues online, over 7,000 recipes, and more.

Start your FREE trial