Mincemeat is a Christmas classic, and like most things, much improved when homemade. Ours uses homemade candied peel - it makes such a difference, trust us - fresh fruit, brandy, and brown sugar. It's not ultra sweet and has a great flavour.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Brandy: for an alcohol free version, sub apple juice for the brandy. If preferred, use cognac in place of brandy.
- Apples: pear can be substituted for apple. The mincemeat will be a little softer in that case.
- Dried fruit: substitute sultanas (golden raisins) or dried cranberries for the raisins and currants.
- Walnuts: pecans can be used in place of the walnuts.
- Make it vegan: use a good vegan butter, like Miyoko's.
Step 1: add the apples, raisins, currants, walnuts, mixed peel, brown sugar, lemon zest and juice, butter, nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon to a large pot.
Step 2: heat the mixture over medium and bring to a low simmer, until the butter and sugar melt. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Stir in the brandy and remove from the heat.
- Go for homemade: using homemade candied peel really makes all the difference here, and it doesn't take long to make. Definitely go that route if at all possible.
- Chop finely: you want everything to be about raisin-sized, so take your time cutting the apples into small pieces.
- Spice to taste: increase or reduce the spice levels to your taste (try the mincemeat before storing, and adjust as needed).
The brandy is not cooked for the mincemeat (it helps with the long storage potential), but it will be when you bake the tarts, etc. so use your discretion with what age you think is appropriate here. There may or may not be alcohol present after baking, we're not sure.
Traditional mincemeat is made with mutton or beef suet. With the difficulty of getting those ingredients, and since butter is more palatable to most, we have chosen butter instead. Just because something was used historically due to higher availability at the time doesn't mean we need to stick to tradition!
How to Store
Mincemeat will keep for a long time in the refrigerator, covered with a layer of butter over it. If you want to preserve it for an extended period, we recommend freezing in airtight containers. It is possible to can with a pressure canner but there's always some risk involved there if you're not an experienced canner.
More Ways to Use Mincemeat
- Sub it for the apples in our apple cinnamon rolls
- Add it to bread pudding
- Make turnovers, either with puff pastry or pie dough
- Make stuffed French toast
- Top pancakes or waffles (or stuff pancakes)
- Add it to a classic apple pie for a Christmas twist
When did they stop putting meat in mincemeat?
Around the Edwardian period, right around the turn of the 20th century, meat was no longer commonly added to mincemeat.
Is mincemeat the same as Christmas pudding?
Christmas pudding is a steamed dessert that often includes dried fruit and brandy, and can be made with mincemeat in the mix.
Does mincemeat go bad?
Mincemeat will eventually go bad, but it lasts for months due to the addition of brandy and the high sugar content. Store it in the fridge or freezer to make it last longer.
If you make this Homemade Mincemeat recipe or any other Christmas recipes on the Baked Collective, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe. For more baking, follow along on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
- Measuring cups and spoons or a digital kitchen scale
- Large pot
- Wooden spoon
- 2 apples peeled and diced
- 2 ¼ cups raisins chopped
- ¼ cup raw walnuts chopped
- ¼ cup currants
- ¾ cup mixed peel chopped
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- Zest of a lemon
- Juice of a lemon
- ½ cup salted butter
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup brandy
- Add the apples, raisins, currants, walnuts, mixed peel, brown sugar, lemon zest and juice, butter, nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon to a large pot.
- Heat the mixture over medium and bring to a low simmer, until the butter and sugar melt.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The raisins should be plump and apples softened after this time.
- Stir in the brandy and remove the mincemeat from the heat. Cool fully before storing in the refrigerator in a sealed container.
- For longer storage, fully cover the top of the mincemeat with a layer of melted butter.
- For an alcohol free version, sub apple juice for the brandy. If preferred, use cognac in place of brandy.