What Is Maror? Here’s How to Make Maror for Passover

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Maror, or bitter herbs, is a key Passover symbol. Here's what it represents and how to make maror for your seder.

Maror is a bitter herb that’s one of the items on the Passover Seder plate. Passover is a Jewish holiday commemorating the ancient Jewish peoples’ freedom from slavery in Egypt. The Seder is a ritual meal that involves telling the Passover story, in part by using foods to represent different themes.

Here’s a guide to what maror is and how you can make it at home.

What Is Maror?

According to Passover tradition, maror symbolizes the Jewish peoples’ suffering when they were enslaved. Some modern interpretations also say that it represents other forms of oppression that still exist today.

There are a number of different vegetables that you can use as the maror on a Passover Seder plate. Common choices include horseradish or romaine lettuce, and other traditional options include endive and celery. Like other Passover traditions, maror can vary depending on where you are in the world.

Alternatively, you can get creative and use less-traditional ingredients for the maror. In Brazil, where horseradish root isn’t native, some people use wasabi powder or mustard greens, according to the cookbook King Solomon’s Table. (Here are more of our favorite Jewish cookbooks!) And as food writer and culinary historian Michael Twitty explains on his blog, Afroculinaria, he uses collard greens to represent his Jewish and African-American identities.

Fresh horseradish root and a small jar of prepared white horseradish, which can be used for Passover maror.Contributor/Getty Images

How to Make Maror for Passover

While you can use raw bitter vegetables or store-bought prepared horseradish as maror, some families prefer to make it themselves. Our homemade horseradish recipe makes white horseradish, but you can also add beets to make a vibrant pink horseradish spread.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cubed peeled horseradish root (1/2-inch pieces)
  • 3/4 cup vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Go to Recipe

Directions

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender, and then process until the mixture is pureed. Cover the horseradish and store it in the refrigerator. That’s all there is to the prep!

How to Eat Maror

Traditionally, you eat maror as part of the Passover Seder—first by dipping it in charoset, an apple and nut mixture that’s also on the Seder plate, and then by sandwiching it between two pieces of matzo.

While some people enjoy the spicy taste of horseradish and happily eat it throughout the week of Passover, maror is primarily a symbolic food that’s eaten in small amounts as part of the Seder. For the main Passover meal, consider preparing some of these other Passover recipes.

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Teddy Nykiel
Teddy is an associate digital editor at Taste of Home specializing in SEO strategy. As a home cook herself, she loves finding inspiration at the farmer's market. She also enjoys doing any sport that involves water and taking long walks with her black lab mix, Berkeley.