By Mariah Bourne
You've mastered whisking traditional matcha, and perfected your favorite matcha latte at home – but have you been pondering flavors that pair with matcha? If you’re new to cooking with matcha, so many questions may come to mind (is matcha strictly for sweet treats? Or does matcha taste good with savory dishes?). Don’t worry, we’re here to fill you in on some of our favorite matcha flavor pairings to guide your exploration of cooking with matcha.
The delicious, earthy flavor of matcha makes it the perfect addition to several dishes, from tilapia to chia pudding. Some of these flavors are surprising. Others may seem obvious. But all result in mouthwatering matcha creations you won’t get enough of.
Mizuba Matcha White Chocolate Bars by Loria Stern
Keep a few things in mind when choosing flavors that pair with matcha. The tea has a bold, umami flavor, so it works well with sweet, neutral flavors. Still, matcha’s taste also complements nutty, citrus, and other umami flavors. Matcha has a soft, creamy texture that’s smooth on the tastebuds, making it the perfect addition to desserts and sweet breakfasts. Hence, this is why matcha is traditionally enjoyed with sweet Japanese treats like wagashi.
Matcha serves equally well as the center of a recipe or as a supporting actor. It’s all about understanding matcha’s unique flavor and how much to add for the perfect balance. Always be mindful of how much matcha you’re using in your recipes. If you’re not careful, the matcha taste could easily overpower other flavors instead of complementing them.
As promised, here are some of our favorite matcha flavor pairings you must try!
A Mediterranean and Middle Eastern staple, this paste made from grounded sesame seeds has a strong umami flavor that works especially well in salad dressings. But you’re not just limited to savory with these two! Try our delightful brownie recipe or this amazing "no-bake" matcha cake recipe!
With the right balance, umami-rich vegetables, like mushrooms, tomatoes, peas, garlic, and spinach, paired with matcha, can create the same delicious, well-rounded taste as meat dishes. Saute your veggies in a zesty matcha sauce for a flavorful spin on a simple recipe. Don't believe us? This matcha mushroom ravioli might change your mind.
Meat is naturally rich in umami because of its high amino acid levels, glutamate. Matcha-infused marinades, butter, and sauces can easily amp up your grilled New York strip steak or beef tips.
The brothy, savory flavor of matcha makes it an ideal partner with fish and shellfish of all kinds. Mild white fish, like tilapia, halibut, grouper, and cod, go well with matcha because of their subtle flavors and matcha’s tasty umami. Matcha is also an excellent addition to oysters, scallops, and shrimp.
Black sesame and matcha are one of our favorite matcha flavor pairings for desserts. The nuttiness of black sesame, the earthiness of matcha, and the balanced umami make for a fantastic burst of flavors. Babka, cookies, sticky buns, and rolls are just a handful of the delicious desserts you can come up with.
Ever tried a mocha matcha latte? You should add that to your list along with matcha chocolate bars and matcha brownies — yum! The earthy flavors of the two complement each other, while dark chocolate’s sweetness offsets matcha’s bitterness. Just make sure to be careful since it’s easy to overdo it with these two intense flavors.
The milder butteriness of white chocolate provides a blank canvas for the matcha taste to shine through. Think desserts like matcha white chocolate bark, matcha white chocolate lattes, and matcha white chocolate wafers — just to name a few.
It’s easy to forget about bananas when it comes to sweet and earthy matcha flavor pairings. We’re here to remind you! Try a banana matcha smoothie or matcha banana bread for equally energizing and delicious breakfast recipes.
Coconut brings both nutty and sweet to the table, making it an ideal match for matcha. With the many diverse uses of coconut, like milk, cream, and flakes, it perfectly pairs with matcha for breakfast or dessert recipes. Both are creamy, smooth, and a bit sweet, making for a delectable coconut matcha latte or macaroon cookie. PS - one of the most refreshing drinks ever is iced matcha with coconut water!
Nuttiness and earthiness are a match made in heaven. That’s why matcha pairs superbly with a variety of nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, and cashews. Along with delicious cookies and cakes, experience the nut and matcha taste in matcha-dusted nuts or savory spreads.
With yogurt’s neutral flavor and matcha’s sweet, slight bitterness, it’s not hard to believe these two make one of the most beautiful matcha flavor pairings. From smoothies to ice cream or soft serve, yogurt harnesses the flavor of matcha so it can be the center of attention.
Peanut butter and matcha cookies, anyone? The creaminess of peanut butter, paired with the smooth, earthy matcha taste, is wonderful for plenty of delicious desserts and breakfasts. From matcha peanut butter cups to peanut butter matcha smoothies, the options for ingenuity are endless.
The vegetal taste of matcha goes incredibly well with tropical flavors. Super-sweet, slightly tart pineapple mixed with the subtle bitterness and grassiness of matcha makes for an uber-refreshing combination — especially in drinks. Start your day off with a pineapple matcha smoothie, or kick back with a pineapple matcha cocktail.
So there you have it! Thirteen amazingly delicious matcha flavor pairings. Of course, it’s up to you, but we hope you try them all! Or, take it a step further and combine some of these pairings. Try matcha, yogurt, and peanut butter in a smoothie or matcha tahini spread on roasted vegetables.
Matcha is truly an extraordinary ingredient that can transform the simplest of meals. Whether you’re a novice matcha drinker or a connoisseur, always experiment and see what tastes best. With a bit of exploring, you could discover your new favorite flavor combos or venture out and create something new.
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