Recipes Using Mastic in Greek Cooking

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Mastic is one of those spices that is unique to Greece. The spice comes from the resin of the mastic tree, and most of these trees grow on the island of Chios. In general, it has a delicate flavor that is similar as vanilla, but there is also an undertone reminiscent of pine. It is completely unique and absolutely worth experimenting with when you are cooking.

There are also some recipes that traditionally call for mastic. If mastic isn’t available, you could always substitute for vanilla. However, it is optimal if you can


This isn’t a recipe necessary, but it is a popular way that the Greek people use mastic. This traditional spirit is made from mastic resin. Like the mastic tree, this spirit is traditionally made on the island of Chios. It is usually served chilled as an aperitif or an after dinner drink. It also tastes great with grilled meat, such as souvlaki.


This syrup is a nice dish to have on hand. It can be prepared well in advance and keeps for a long time, especially if stored in the refrigerator. Use this syrup to flavor coffee, drizzle it over ice cream, use it to sweeten your tea, or use it to flavor cakes and cookies. You can also mix a teaspoon of the syrup with some sparkling water for a refreshing summer drink. Don’t be afraid to get creative when figure out ways to use this syrup!

Ice Cream

Did you know that you can use mastic as a flavoring for ice cream? The delicate, sweet flavor of the mastic is an excellent pairing to the sweet ice cream. This recipe uses all fresh ingredients, and if you don’t have an ice cream maker you can improvise by freezing the mixture and then pulsing it in a food processor before freezing it again. Try drizzling this finished ice cream with the mastic syrup.


Did you know that you can use mastic is a flavoring in koulourakia, or Greek butter cookies? Although most recipes call for vanilla extract, you can actually omit the vanilla extract and use either ground mastic or Mastika liquor instead. Mastica is a natural replacement for vanilla and it lends a slightly different flavor to the dough.

You can actually do this to just about every baked good that calls for vanilla. If you have Mastika, you can substitute it in a 1 for 1 conversion (so for 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, you could use 1 teaspoon of Mastika). If you are using ground mastic, for every 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract the recipe calls for, you can use 1/2 teaspoon of ground mastic.

Are you interested in getting to know mastic as a spice? Finding it outside of Greece can be tricky, but you an easily buy it from specialty shops or order it online. Once you find it, feel free to experiment with it whenever you get the chance!

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This post was written by Greek Boston

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