Homemade Ingredients

How To Make Traditional Mincemeat

4.75 from 8 votes
Growing up in Ireland, a mince pie was a staple at Christmas! My Traditional Mincemeat recipe is perfectly spiced and sweet, just like from my childhood.
A jar of mincemeat with a spoon in it.

Hi Bold Bakers!

Growing up in Ireland, a mince pie was a staple at any dinner or gathering around Christmas! A little pie filled with dried fruit, spices, a little booze, and sugar makes up the delicious filling that gets wrapped in a buttery pastry. Everything about it screams the holidays for me. I’m sharing with you now my traditional mincemeat recipe — I do have another Homemade Mincemeat recipe, and if that’s your favorite, feel free to still give it a go! This recipe here, though, is for very traditional and classic mincemeat — I hope you’ll love it as much as I do!

Mincemeat reminds me of home in Ireland and is part of my Bold Baking Holidays Worldwide series — where I’m sharing lovely holiday recipes from around the world. Check my Holiday Baking Headquarters for the full list!

What Is Mincemeat?

English recipes from the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries describe mincemeat as a fermented mixture of meat and fruit used as a pie filling. These early recipes included vinegar and wine, but by the 18th century, distilled spirits, frequently brandy, were being used instead. The use of spices like clove, nutmeg, mace, and cinnamon was common in late medieval and renaissance meat dishes. The increase of sweetness from added sugar made mincemeat less a savory dinner course and more of a dessert.

Oh, and there’s no meat in my recipe — I’ll get to that in a second.

Is There Ever Meat in Mincemeat?

Nowadays, no, not technically, however, some bakers still use suet which is what was used traditionally as the fat. Make sure to read the label in case you are vegan/vegetarian. Suet is the hard fat that encases the pig’s kidneys. I use melted butter in my recipe instead of suet so everyone can enjoy it! You can use vegetable shortening too, choose a hard baking type.

A closeup of my traditional mincemeat recipe.

What You Need To Make Mincemeat

Although there are many ingredients in this recipe, very little equipment is needed to make Traditional Mincemeat.

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Wooden spoon
  • Box grater
  • Zester
  • Reamer/juicer
  • Medium saucepan
  • Glass jars for storage

How to Make Traditional Mincemeat

Seriously, there are only three steps. Could it get any easier? I don’t think so! Here’s how to do it (and don’t forget to get the full recipe with measurements, on the page down below):

  1. In a large bowl add all of the ingredients. Cover and allow to soak and hydrate overnight or for a minimum of 12 hours.
  2. The next day, add the contents of the bowl to a medium-sized saucepan. Simmer uncovered over medium/low heat for roughly 10-15 minutes until the liquid reduces and thickens slightly.
  3. Store the mincemeat in sterilized jars in a cupboard for up to 1 year. If you live in a hot, humid place you may like to refrigerate it. Use it in my Homemade Mince pies recipe.

A top-down view of my homemade mincemeat in mini pies in a muffin tin.

Tips and Tricks for Making Traditional Mincemeat

  • Use a good cooking apple for this recipe so it breaks down, like a Granny Smith or Bramley apple.
  • Mixed spice: If you don’t have Mixed Spice you can make your own or you can use Pumpkin Pie Spice which is made up of similar spices.
  • Can’t find Candied peel? Make your own Candied Mixed Peel.  It’s easy and inexpensive.
  • Muscovado sugar: This gives the mincemeat a dark, rich, treacle kind of flavor. If you don’t have any you can substitute dark brown sugar.
  • This is a saucy recipe, don’t cook off all of the liquid (see video for consistency).

How do I store it? How long does it last?

Store the mincemeat in sterilized jars in a cupboard for up to 1 year. You can sterilize jars in the microwave with a little water in them or you can steam them. Use my Mincemeat in in my Homemade Mince pies recipe.

Homemade mince pies with my mincemeat recipe, dusted with powdered sugar.

Make More Pies At Home!

And don’t forget to buy my Bigger Bolder Baking Cookbook!

Full (and printable) recipe below!

Watch The Recipe Video!

Traditional Mincemeat Recipe

4.75 from 8 votes
Growing up in Ireland, a mince pie was a staple at Christmas! My Traditional Mincemeat recipe is perfectly spiced and sweet, just like from my childhood.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 3 cups (900g)
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Soak 12 hrs
Growing up in Ireland, a mince pie was a staple at Christmas! My Traditional Mincemeat recipe is perfectly spiced and sweet, just like from my childhood.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 3 cups (900g)

Ingredients

  • 1 medium cooking apple
  • 1 ½ cups (7 ½oz/213g) raisins
  • 1 ½ cups (7 ½oz/213g) currents
  • 1 ½ cups (7 ½oz/213g) sultanas
  • 1 cup (8oz/225g) candied mixed peel
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice*
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 medium lemon zest and juice
  • 1 medium orange zest and juice
  • 1 cup (6oz/170g) muscovado sugar* (or dark brown sugar)
  • cup (5oz/142ml) whiskey (brandy or rum)
  • 1 stick (4oz/115g) butter cubed

Instructions

  • In a large bowl add all of the above ingredients. Cover and allow to soak and hydrate overnight or for a minimum of 12 hours.
  • The next day add the contents of the bowl to a medium-sized saucepan. Simmer uncovered over medium/low heat for roughly 10-15 minutes until the liquid reduces and thickens slightly. This is a saucy recipe, don't cook off all of the liquid (see video for consistency).
  • Store the mincemeat in sterilized jars in a cupboard for up to 1 year. Use in my Homemade Mince pies recipe.

Recipe Notes

*Mixed spice: If you don't have mixed spice you can make your own or you can use pumpkin pie spice which is made up of similar spices. 
*Muscovado sugar: This gives the mincemeat a dark, rich treacle kind of flavor. If you don't have any you can substitute dark brown sugar.

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Wendy Doyle

Lois King McMaster

Lois King McMaster

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Smita Shore
Smita Shore
1 month ago

Thank you, Gemma, for this recipe! I love traditional Christmas pudding but never made it because we don’t get mincemeat in our country. But thanks to your recipe that gave very clear instructions, I managed to make quite a bit of mincemeat yesterday. I followed your recipe for candied citrus peels and successfully managed to add that in. I didn’t get currants but I substituted those with black raisins and also mixed in some dried kiwis and cranberries to add some color. I’m going to let it rest for a week in the refrigerator before using them in your Christmas… Read more »

1 month ago

Outstanding recipe! So easy to make, a real treat from the aroma to the finished product. I will be making this again in a few weeks!!

Ayzah
1 month ago

Hi Gemma yesterday I made dinner for my whole family and loved the minced meat ! Me and my family aren’t allowed to have alcohol so I used orange juice and it tasted amazing thank you so much I will be turning 11 and this is a great thing thank you!

Danielle
Danielle
1 month ago

My grandmother always served this with “hard sauce.” It was a little too much flavor for me, as a kid. Think I’ll try again this year.

Patricia Babbitt
27 days ago

I began making mince mini pies this past Christmas. I have craved mince meat for so long and have no idea why I didn’t think to make it. Probably because it was what my grandmother made during the holidays. So glad I made the little minis!! It was fun, delicious, and tasted like Christmas.

Wendy Doyle
1 month ago

I just finished making this and it is amazing!!! I have never made anything like this before and this recipe is so easy! I didn’t have sultanas, but I did use another variety of grapes. I even made the candied mixed peel! Sterilizing jars is new, but I am going to try it now too!!

Lara
Lara
1 month ago

My grandmother always made mincemeat with venison. All the fruit too and it was a desert but included the meat. Unfortunately I have never had mincemeat because of my violent allergy to oranges. Someday I’m hoping someone will create a recipe that doesn’t include oranges. (If that’s possible.) In the meantime, someone enjoy it for me!

1 month ago

Hi Gemma,

I had a blast making spice, peels, and the mince. This is wonderful! Got 3 pints of mince and a pint of peel leftover to boot. Plenty of mixed spice too.

Thank you for this one!

Last edited 1 month ago by Lois King McMaster
Sheryl
Sheryl
1 month ago

I will be making this recipe. Years ago, my aunt use to make mincemeat pumpkin cookies, do you have a recipe for those? Thank you.

Last edited 1 month ago by Sheryl
Sarwat
Sarwat
1 month ago

Excellent recipe… Please advise a substitute for whiskey as we are not allowed the same… Also I assume that we can use the no roll pie crust here too…

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Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere! No matter your skills, I have you covered. Sign up for my FREE weekly emails and join millions of other Bold Bakers in the community for new recipes, baking techniques, and more every week!

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