The Little-Known Difference Between Marzipan And Almond Paste

You might know and love marzipan as a candy-like dessert with subtle almond flavors, but have you ever stopped to consider what it actually is? As Kitchn describes it, marzipan is sometimes called almond candy dough, and it has a sweet flavor and smooth texture. So, since it's made of almonds, it stands to reason that marzipan and almond paste are similar, if not the same, right? Actually, the two are completely different from one another, and though they share a common ingredient — almonds — they're far from the same.

According to Kitchn, marzipan is usually made with almonds, water, sugar, and glucose syrup, though some varieties also have egg whites. The almonds are finely ground to give it a smooth texture, and you'll usually see it sold in tubes or containers for easy molding and forming. Sometimes, marzipan is colored, shaped, and eaten just like a piece of candy, though it's also used a little like fondant to decorate other desserts, including cakes.

A big difference between marzipan and almond paste is the sweetness. According to Taste of Home, marzipan usually has about half as many almonds but twice the amount of sugar of almond paste. If you want to give it a little extra flavor, sometimes you'll see marzipan candies or decorations with spices like cinnamon or nutmeg.

What is almond paste, and how is it different?

Almond paste has more ground almonds and less sugar than marzipan, and, according to The Spruce Eats, this gives it a deeper, nuttier flavor. Rather than being used for decorating, it's usually preferred as a filling, especially for desserts like cookies and cakes. According to Kitchn, almond paste as a rougher texture than marzipan and is usually sold in tubes or cans at the grocery store.

You should notice the stronger almond flavor right away when you taste almond paste. According to Taste of Home, the ingredients in almond paste are just ground almonds, glycerin, and sugar. However, sometimes you'll also see almond extract on the ingredients list which gives the paste an even more pronounced flavor.

So, can you substitute marzipan for almond paste, or vice versa? The two are different enough that you don't want to directly replace one with the other, but according to The Spruce Eats, you can turn almond paste into marzipan if you forget to pick some up at the store. To do it, you'll need egg whites, as well as extra sugar to make it sweeter. However, you can't turn marzipan into almond paste, so if you're only going to buy one, almond paste is a little more versatile. Just remember: For filling, you want almond paste, and for decorating, you want marzipan.