Flavor Bites: 2-Methoxy-3-methylpyrazine


The methoxy pyrazines stand out as an island of interesting unpredictability within the broader pyrazine family. Unfortunately, at first sight, 2-methoxy-3-methylpyrazine (FEMA# 3183, CAS# 2847-30-5) is slightly disappointing. It is one of the few methoxy pyrazines that manage to adhere to the predictable roasted profile. First sight, as is so often the case, is a little misleading because the roasted odor profile of this pyrazine hides a slyly attractive nuance of earthiness. A hint perhaps of ethyl-3-methoxypyrazine.

This makes it exceptionally well suited to nut and seed flavors. It is only occasionally discovered in nature but it is a better fit into this category of flavors than the pyrazines that do actually occur naturally in nuts and seeds.

Note that the dose rates given throughout this article are the levels suggested for use in flavors intended to be dosed at 0.05% in ready-to-drink beverages or in a simple bouillon.

Nut and Seed Flavors

Almond: Toasted almond flavors can easily accommodate relatively high levels of 2-methoxy-3-methylpyrazine. One thousand ppm is a cautious starting level of addition.

Bread: Ideal level s in bread flavors vary and depend on the level of grain character. Four hundred ppm works well in pizza crust flavors but higher levels are more effective in whole grain bread flavors.

Cereal: Similar comments can be applied to cereal flavors. Five hundred ppm and up works well.

Hazelnut: Hazelnut must be the single flavor profile that is best suited to the character of this pyrazine. Five thousand ppm can be a very effective level of addition but 2,000 ppm is more subtle and realistic.

Peanut: Peanut flavors are almost equally compatible with 2-methoxy-3-methylpyrazine. Again, 2,000 ppm is a good starting level but higher levels can also work.

Pistachio: This ingredient should be used with care in “pistachio” cartoon flavors dominated by benzaldehyde. One thousand ppm is a good level in authentic nutty flavors.

Popcorn: Popcorn and toasted corn flavors require widely varying additions of roasted notes. Two hundred ppm is a reasonable starting point.

Rice, toasted: As was the case with cereal flavors, 500 ppm of 2-methoxy-3-methylpyrazine is very effective in toasted rice flavors.

Sesame: One thousand ppm of this methoxy pyrazine adds a well balanced roasted character to sesame flavors but higher levels can also be effective.

Walnut: If hazelnut is the most sympathetic nut flavor for this pyrazine, then walnut is perhaps the least sympathetic. Two hundred ppm adds an interesting nuance but is not an essential addition.

More in Ingredients