Have you been in the center of cooking only to realize you’re out of a key ingredient? It’s happened to the best of us.
But don’t worry, we’re here to help. In this blog post, we’ll be discussing some of the best mahlab substitutes, a spice that’s generally used in Middle Eastern and North African cuisines.
So next time you find yourself in a bind, try one of these three spices instead.
What is mahlab? What does mahlab taste like?
Mahlab is a dried fruit kernel that has a sweet, nutty flavor. Mahlab can be found in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean markets.
The taste of mahlab is often described as being similar to almonds or marzipan. When used in baking, mahlab gives desserts a rich, exotic flavor.
It is also a famous ingredient in Turkish Delight and in many traditional Middle Eastern recipes.
Mahlab can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. When used in savory dishes, it adds depth and complexity to the flavor of the dish.
You can use Marzipan, Bitter Almond and Cherry, Cherry liqueur, Almond Liqueur, Cherry Seeds, Almond extract and star anise, Almond liqueur and kirsch, Dried Apricot Kernels, Almond meal, Poppy seeds, Caraway seeds, etc.to substitute mahlab.
Best Mahlab Substitutes in Details
1. You can try Marzipan to replace mahlab
If you’re looking for a substitution for mahlab in your baking, marzipan is the way to go. Marzipan is made from almonds, sugar, and water, and it has a similar flavor profile to mahlab.
It’s also much more effortless to work with than mahlab – it doesn’t need to be soaked or ground, and it’s less likely to clump.
Marzipan can be used in any recipe that calls for mahlab, like cakes, cookies, and even candy, and it will give your baked goods a deliciously almondy flavor.
So next time you’re in the kitchen, reach for the marzipan instead of the mahlab – you won’t be disappointed!
2. Bitter Almond and Cherry – use this combination to substitute mahlab
Try bitter almond or cherry. Both of these flavors are similar to mahlab, and they can help to give your dish the same distinctive taste.
Just ensure to use them sparingly, as too much can easily overpower the other flavors in your dish. With a little experimentation, you’re sure to find the perfect substitute for mablab.
3. Cherry liqueur – gives a similar flavor to mahlab
If you’re looking for a Mahlab replacement, the cherry liqueur is a suitable choice. It has an identical flavor profile and can be used in many of the same recipes.
If you can’t find cherry liqueur, you can also use cherry brandy or cherry juice as a substitute. Just remember that these substitutes will change the flavor of your dish slightly.
Cherry brandy will make it sweeter, while cherry juice will make it tarter. Use whichever one you think will taste best in your recipe.
4. Almond Liqueur – a good replacement for mahlab
If you’re looking for a substitution for Mahlab in a recipe, consider using Almond Liqueur. This liquor has a similar flavor profile to Mahlab, with notes of almond and cherry.
It also has a little sweeter flavor than Mahlab, so it can be a good choice if your recipe is calling for a bit of sweetness.
When substituting Almond Liqueur for Mahlab, keep in mind that the alcohol content will be higher. As a result, you may want to use less Almond Liqueur than the recipe calls for Mahlab.
It is also important to use the same amount of liqueur as called for in the recipe. This will guarantee that your baked goods have the same flavor and consistency as they would if you had used Mahlab.
With a little experimentation, you’re sure to find the perfect balance for your next culinary creation.
5. Use Cherry Seeds to replace mahlab
Cherry seeds are the most obvious substitute for mahlab. The seeds have a similar flavor profile to Mahlab, with notes of almond and cherry.
They can be used in the same proportion as Mahlab and can be ground in a coffee grinder or pestle and mortar.
When substituting cherry seeds for Mahlab, it’s important to cook them briefly to release their flavor. This can be done by dry roasting them in a pan before using them in your recipe.
Moreover, You can also use almond meal or flour, which will give your dish a nutty flavor. If you’re searching for something sweeter, you could try using ground apricots or even dried rose petals.
Ultimately, the best substitute for mahlab is one that you think will complement the other flavors in your dish.
So don’t be scared to experiment until you find the perfect replacement for this unique spice.
6. Almond extract and star anise – for baking
Almond extract and star anise are two possible substitutes for Mahlab, a spice typically used in baking.
Almond extract has a similar flavor to Mahlab, making it a good option for those looking to recreate the taste of traditional desserts.
Star anise, in contrast, has a more savory flavor profile and can be used in dishes such as stews and curries.
Both substitutes will add a unique flavor to your dish, so experiment until you find the right balance for your recipe.
However, if you are looking for a substitute that is closest in taste to mahlab, then star anise is the better option.
And if you are looking for a substitute that has a different but still complementary flavor, then the almond extract is a good choice.
Ultimately, the best substitute for mahlab is one that works best in the dish you are preparing.
7. Almond liqueur and kirsch – try this to replace mahlab
When it comes to baking, I often use Almond liqueur or kirsch. Both of these substitutes have a similar flavor profile to Mahlab, and they can help to add a hint of sweetness to any type of dish.
In addition, both of these substitutes are relatively easy to find in most liquor stores. If you’re searching for a method to add some extra flavor to your cooking, I would recommend trying Almond liqueur or kirsch as an alternative to Mahlab.
8. Why not try Dried Apricot Kernels to substitute mahlab!
Dried apricot kernels are commonly used as a Mahlab substitute in baking. Mahlab is a spice made from the ground kernels of wild cherries. It has a little sweet and nutty flavor that pairs well with baked goods.
Dried apricot kernels have a similar flavor profile and can be used in the same way as Mahlab.
When substituting dried apricot kernels for Mahlab, use a 1:1 ratio. So, if your recipe demands 1 teaspoon of Mahlab, use 1 teaspoon of dried apricot kernels instead.
Add the apricot kernels and other dry ingredients to your recipe and mix well.
Baked goods made with dried apricot kernels will have a slightly sweeter flavor than those made with Mahlab. However, both spices pair well with sugar and other sweeteners.
So, feel free to modify the quantity of sugar in your recipe to suit your taste.
9. Almond meal – Ideal replacement for mahlab
Almond meal is a good substitute for mahlab because it has a similar texture. You can use almond meals in any recipe that calls for mahlab.
Remember that an almond meal is less absorbent than mahlab, so you may need to add a little extra liquid to your recipe.
10. you can try Poppy seeds to alternate mahlab
Poppy seeds can be used as a substitute for mahlab in both sweet and savory recipes. Poppy seeds have a little nutty flavor that pairs well with both sweet and savory dishes.
Just like with an almond meal, you may need to add a little extra liquid to your recipe if you’re using poppy seeds as a substitute for mahlab.
11. I use Caraway seeds to substitute mahlab
Caraway seeds are used as a replacement for mahlab in both sweet and savory recipes. Caraway seeds have a slight licorice flavor that pairs well with sweet and savory dishes.
Just like with almond meals and poppy seeds, you may need to add a little extra liquid to your recipe if you’re using caraway seeds as a substitute for mahlab.
Other mahlab alternatives you can use
· Ground cardamom and fennel seed
· Tonka beans and bitter almonds
· Cinnamon, cloves, and bay leaf
· Pure anise extract and almond essence
· Cardamom and fennel seeds
FAQ’s on mahlab substitute
Q1. Does Mahlab have any Alternative Names?
Q2. What is a Lebanese mahlab?
A Lebanese mahlab is a spice made from the pits of cherry fruits. It has a sweet and almond-like flavor and is used to enhance baked goods, confectioneries, and meat dishes.
Mahlab is used to add flavor to a variety of baked goods, including bread, cookies, and cakes. It can also be used to flavor confectioneries such as nougat and marzipan. Meat dishes such as kofta and kebabs can also benefit from a sprinkle of mahlab.
Q3. Is mahlepi the same as Mahleb?
Mahlepi is not the same as Mahleb. Mahleb is a spice made from the pits of cherries, while mahlepi is a spice made from the seeds of a wild apricot. Both have a strong, sweet flavor that is often used in baking.
Mahlepi is used in various Greek desserts, including Baklava, Kataifi, and Galaktoboureko. It is also used in savory dishes, like stews and sauces.
Q4. What do apricot kernels taste like?
Apricot kernels have a nutty, sweet flavor that is reminiscent of almonds. When roasted, the flavor becomes even more pronounced, and the kernels can be used as a crunchy addition to salads or used to top baked goods.
Apricot kernels can also be ground into a powder and used as a natural sweetener or flavoring agent. In addition to their unique flavor, apricot kernels are also a good source of vitamins and minerals.
So, whether you’re looking to add some unexpected flavor to your cooking or boost your nutrient intake, apricot kernels are worth a try.
Q5. What is the difference between bitter almonds and regular almonds?
Bitter almonds and regular almonds have different shapes, sizes, and tastes. Bitter almonds are smaller and more pointed than regular almonds. They also have a strong, bitter taste. Regular almonds are larger and rounder than bitter almonds. They have a sweet, nutty taste.