Homemade Mincemeat Recipe • Curious Cuisiniere (2024)

What is mincemeat? We’re here to break down the confusion behind this boozy fruit concoction and share a recipe to make your own homemade mincemeat.

Homemade Mincemeat Recipe • Curious Cuisiniere (1)

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘mincemeat’?

Does it conjure images of an old-school British pie?

But, what’s inside that pie?

If you’re from the States, that pie is probably filled with lots of confusion.

So, let’s back up.

Homemade Mincemeat Recipe • Curious Cuisiniere (2)

Traditionally, what is Mincemeat?

Mincemeat developed as a way of preserving meat. Traditional mincemeat from the 15th -17th centuries contained a mixture of meat and fruits with vinegar or wine that was used as a preservative.

In the 18th century, liquor such as brandy or rum began to be used instead of thevinegar or wine.

And, over time itevolved to contain suet (beef or mutton fat) instead of meat.

What is mincemeat today?

Today, mincemeat is almost better known as “fruitmince” since it typically only contains dried fruits such as raisins, currants, cherries, apricots or candied citrus peel, along with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves (or allspice).

Homemade Mincemeat Recipe • Curious Cuisiniere (3)

This mixture is then aged withbrandy or rum, todeepen the flavors and activate the preserving effect of alcohol, which, over time will break down the proteins and change the texture of the mixture.

Since we make our mincemeat only a month or two before we’ll be using it, the texture doesn’t have time to change all that much.

But, the liquor does have time to really get into all the ingredients. Making itquite tasty.

How to make Mincemeat

Making mincemeat is so incredibly simple.

  • chop
  • simmer
  • add alcohol
  • age

Your fruit (dried and fresh) is all chopped to roughly the same size, to make sure the alcohol can evenly penetrate the pieces.

Homemade Mincemeat Recipe • Curious Cuisiniere (4)

The fruit is then simmered to break down the fresh fruit and soften the whole mixture.

Then the alcohol is added. (We do it after simmering, so that we don’t cook off the alcohol.)

Finally, your mincemeat just needs to be aged for a month or two, to let the flavors really come together so that it can be used in your favorite holiday treat!

Homemade Mincemeat without alcohol

If you’d like to give mincemeat a try, but are looking for it to be a bit more kid-friendly, you have a couple of options.

If you want the liquor flavor, without the alcohol, you can add the liquor while the mixture is simmering and cook off the alcohol.

Or, since we’re just using the liquor as a flavoring and not a preservative, you could simply use apple cider in place of the liquor.

Homemade Mincemeat Recipe • Curious Cuisiniere (5)

Stir for good luck!

Do be careful to only stir your mincemeat mixture clockwise while cooking, becausetradition has it, that stirring counterclockwise is bad luck for the coming year.

If you’d like to make Mince Piewith your mincemeat, be sure to check out our recipe HERE.

For a fun twist to your holiday cookie platter, try our Mincemeat Cookies. And, if you’re looking for a unique breakfast idea, try making Mincemeat Muffins!

Homemade Mincemeat Recipe • Curious Cuisiniere (6)

As a side note: We make this mincemeat nearly every year, the lighting is what makes some of the pictures look darker than others. Enjoy!

Yield: 2 c (roughly 24 oz by weight) of mincemeat

Homemade Mincemeat Recipe • Curious Cuisiniere (7)

Sweet and boozy this fruit mincemeat will have you looking for new ways to use it this Holiday season!

Prep Time5 minutes

Cook Time30 minutes

Total Time35 minutes


  • 2 large sweet apples, peeled, cored and diced (Gala works well)
  • 1 large orange, zested, peeled and diced
  • 1 c raisins
  • ½ c golden raisins
  • ½ c dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/3 c dark brown sugar
  • ¼ c lemon juice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ½ c brandy*, (bottom shelf is fine)


  1. In a medium saucepan, mix diced apples, orange zest, diced orange fruit, and remaining ingredients except the brandy. Stir and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the brandy.*
  3. Place the mixture in an air-tight container and store in the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks before using, to let the flavors meld.
  4. This will keep in the fridge 2-3 months.


*If you do not want alcohol in your finished mincemeat, you can either heat the brandy with the fruit mixture to a good simmer, to cook off the alcohol, or use fresh apple cider instead.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1/8 of recipe

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 113

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Homemade Mincemeat Recipe • Curious Cuisiniere (16)

Sarah - Curious Cuisiniere

Sarah is one of Curious Cuisiniere’s founding duo. Her love for cultural cuisines was instilled early by her French Canadian Grandmother. Her experience in the kitchen and in recipe development comes from years working in professional kitchens. She has traveled extensively and enjoys bringing the flavors of her travels back to create easy-to-make recipes.


Homemade Mincemeat Recipe • Curious Cuisiniere (2024)


How do you pimp up mincemeat? ›

Heat a pile of mincemeat in a pan with sugar, orange and lemon juice, orange peel, half a cinnamon stick and brandy, wait for it to thicken and then stir in some whipping cream.

How long does homemade mincemeat keep for? ›

Spoon and press into sterilised jars, to exclude any air (the easiest way to sterilise jars is to run them through a dishwasher on its hottest setting). Cover and leave for at least a fortnight. Will keep in the fridge for up to 6 months.

What are the ingredients to mincemeat pie? ›

Image of What are the ingredients to mincemeat pie?
Mincemeat is a mixture of chopped dried fruit, distilled spirits and spices, and often beef suet, usually used as a pie or pastry filling. Mincemeat formerly contained meat, notably beef or venison. Many modern recipes replace the suet with vegetable shortening.

Why should you stir mincemeat clockwise when making mince pies? ›

Traditions, folklore and superstitions

Stirring the mincemeat was quite an event, and English tradition dictates that it should only be stirred clockwise. Stirring the mincemeat anti-clockwise would lead to bad luck and poor fortune in the coming 12 months.

What makes mince taste better? ›

Consider the fat content of mince before you buy. Beef mince, and sometimes lamb, is graded by its fat content, and remember that some fat is desirable as it adds flavour and helps to keep the meat moist during cooking. The standard fat content of mince is 20%, but you can opt for a lean or extra-lean version.

Why does my mincemeat taste bitter? ›

Mincemeat over time does deepen in colour but the bitter taste may be that you pressed too hard when the citrus zests were grated!

Can you freeze home made mincemeat? ›

Top the mincemeat with the pastry lids, push around the edges to seal, then poke 1-2 small holes into each to allow steam to escape. Wrap the whole tray well in cling film. Will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. To cook, heat oven to 200C/180C fan/ gas 6.

Why does mincemeat go brown? ›

Oxygen exposure changes meat colour

When myoglobin comes in contact with oxygen, it forms oxymyoglobin, which has the bright, red colour of beef. After several hours or days of exposure, the oxymoyoglobin can convert to metmyoglobin, which has a brown-grey colour.

What can you substitute for suet in mincemeat? ›

If you can't find suet then we have found that grated vegetable shortening (such as Trex, Crisco or Copha) is a good substitute.

Why is mincemeat so expensive? ›

Mincemeat isn't difficult to make, but it has a lot of ingredients, which can make it expensive to produce in small batches, and it requires at least a day's advance planning to let the ingredients sit.

What is the difference between mincemeat and mince pie? ›

"Mince" is another term for chopping meat up into very small pieces, à la ground beef. However, because the English language is confusing AF, people in the UK also refer to meat as "mince." (Even though a mince pie is not a meat pie, it's the same thing as a mincemeat pie, which has no meat.

What is in a jar of ready to use mincemeat? ›

Ingredients: Water, Corn Syrup, Raisins, Dried Apples, Molasses, Corn Starch Modified, Distilled Vinegar, Dried Orange And Lemon Peel, Salt, Spices, Beef, Fruit Pectin, Natural Flavor.

Which way do you stir mincemeat for good luck? ›

English tradition demands that the mince meat mixture should only be stirred in a clockwise direction. To stir it anticlockwise is to bring bad luck for the coming year. Another English custom is for all the family to take a turn in stirring the mincemeat mixture whilst making a wish.

Which way should you stir your mincemeat for good luck? ›

Even today there are traditions associated with mince pies. When making the mincemeat mixture for the pies, for good luck it should be stirred in a clockwise direction. You should always make a wish when eating the first mince pie of the season and you should never cut one with a knife.

Do you cook mince on high or low? ›

Get your pan and oil nice and hot over medium-high heat before adding the mince meat in batches, otherwise it will stew. While in some recipes it's important to break up the mince as it cooks, stirring it constantly won't allow it to brown.

What can you add to store bought mincemeat? ›

Store-bought mincemeat can contain alcohol, and if it doesn't, here's my tip: add some. It will kick your mince pies up to the next level. Rum or brandy go especially well with the other ingredients.

How do you make shop bought mincemeat better? ›

I always add extra cherries and brandy to mine. I warm it slightly in a pan and stir in the extra ingredients - then leave it to sit while I sort out the pastry.

What can I add to mince to make it go further? ›

This combination works really well in any mince dishes but is particularly delicious with burgers.
  1. Add parsnip. Parsnip works really well mixed in with mince dishes as well. ...
  2. Add onions and tinned tomatoes. ...
  3. Add pulses.


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