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Homemade Ingredients

How To Make Traditional Mincemeat

4.85 from 19 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.

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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

4.85 from 19 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) currants
  • 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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Smita Shore
Smita Shore
1 year 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 »

Ayzah
Ayzah
1 year 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 year 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.

Janet Foo
Janet Foo
11 months ago

Hi Gemma what can I use to substitute the candied peel? How about the cherries that you put in Fruitcake?

Patricia Babbitt
Patricia Babbitt
1 year 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.

Jeanie Griffin Sibley
Jeanie Griffin Sibley
1 year 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!!

Cloighi Doyle
Cloighi Doyle
1 year 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 year 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!

liz ciavatta
liz ciavatta
2 days ago

Hello there, I’m going to make this over weekend but have a question about the candied peel measurement. Recipe says I cup/8oz/225g, but the dried fruit measurements above it are for 1.5 cups/7.5oz/213g. I can do the conversions but want to make sure I have the proportions right so getting confused. Thanks so much, sounds like a lovely recipe.

Lisa Runo
Lisa Runo
25 days ago

We love mince pies, so I’m going to give this a go! Do you need to give a water bath after putting the mince in the sterilized jars?

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About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

 

Weeknight Family Favorites Chapter from the Bigger Bolder Baking Every Day Cookbook