Environmental concerns arising from the generation of huge amount of construction and demolition waste requires recycling this material, which would otherwise be sent to landfill. The mechanical and durability performance of mortar mixtures containing recycled concrete (RC) aggregate was investigated in this study. Although it is known that the adhered mortar creates a porous and a weak additional interfacial transition zone in recycled aggregate-bearing mixture, the dependence of the behavior on the type of new matrix should be searched in detail. For this purpose, compressive strength, ultrasound pulse velocity, water absorption, chloride ion penetration, freeze-thaw and sulfate resistance as well as drying shrinkage tests were conducted on mortar mixtures containing either natural aggregate (sand) or recycled concrete aggregate. Scanning electron micrographs and optical microscope images were obtained on specimens exposed to sulfate attack. The mineral admixtures used in the study included silica fume (SF), metakaolin (MK) and a Class C fly ash (FA). In addition to the control mixture including no mineral admixture (PC), silica fume- and metakaolin-incorporating binary systems (PC-SF and PC-MK) were prepared. Besides, two ternary systems, i.e., PC-SF-FA and PC-MK-FA were also designed. The results indicated a gradual strength gain beyond 28 days and reduction in initial shrinkage values in RC-bearing mixtures, compared to those of the sand-bearing mixtures. Besides, the porous character of RC helped reducing the internal pressure and resultant damage related with expanding water and swelling ettringite crystals in freeze-thaw and sulfate attack tests, respectively. The exact effect of recycled aggregate on mortar properties was found to be greatly dependent on the type of the cementitious system of the new mix. (C) 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.