Homemade Mincemeat

Mincemeat Recipe (2)

I’d be prepared to wager that mincemeat is one of the most commonly used ingredients during the festive season. It’s simply impossible to imagine just how many mince pies we, in the West, manage to consume in the latter month of the year. However, I’d also prepared to bet that 95% of mince pie consumers do not make their own mincemeat. This isn’t an attack against the lack of self-sufficiency countries like Britain experience today, it is merely the thought process behind my first ever batch of homemade mincemeat. It is generally accepted that food made in the home has the superior taste and is better for you. Mincemeat is no exception to the rule.

The fact that this mincemeat uses neither butter, nor beef suet, means that it has a less meaty texture and taste. Of course, the other use for such ingredients is in the field of preservation; however, the brandy and sugar do this job more than admirably. Indeed, once made, this mincemeat will last for at least 12 months.

I suppose it ought to be noted that Clever Muffin provided the inspiration behind my first batch of mincemeat. Though she didn’t provide the recipe, no one did, it was her who provided the impetus. Never again shall factory produced mincemeat grace the shelves of my cupboards. By the way, this mincemeat is out of this world. It is so light and delicate in comparison to the shop bought ‘stuff’, yet considerably fruitier and fuller in flavour. I’m seriously considering simply eating the two jam jars worth of mincemeat residing in my fridge, rather than using them in any sort of baking.

Homemade Mincemeat

Makes 2 pots


• 100g raisins

• 100g sultanas

• 60g candied peel

• 60g glacé cherries

• 1 apple

• The zest of 1 orange

• The juice of 1 lemon

• 60-100ml brandy

• 2 tbsp brown sugar

• ½ tsp cinnamon

• ½ tsp nutmeg

• ½ tsp mixed spice


1. Roughly chop all of the fruit until fairly fine, leave the peel on the apple. Place the fruit in a mixing bowl; add the orange zest, lemon juice, sugar and spices. Stir thoroughly. Add brandy to taste, at least 60ml is required, though if one prefers the slightly boozier mince pie add a little more. Cover the top of the bowl and leave to stand for at least 3 days before use. Make sure that you give it a little mix each day – this will ensure that the fruit absorbs all of the alcohol.

Mincemeat Recipe (3) Mincemeat Recipe (1)

Cost: This quantity of mincemeat would set one back at least £3 in store. The entire batch of mincemeat according to this recipe should cost one a maximum of around £1. As such, it is sure to make one’s mince pie addiction rather more economical this Christmas.

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104 comments on “Homemade Mincemeat

  1. Sue
    December 15, 2011 at 11:05 am

    I’m definitely having a go at this it looks lovely.

    Sue xx

  2. veghotpot
    December 15, 2011 at 11:11 am

    This looks fantastic!! Do you think I could add some dried figs? I have an abundance of them in my cupboard and really want to start using them! x

    • frugalfeeding
      December 15, 2011 at 11:31 pm

      Thanks! Yes, of course you can. Don’t feel bound by my recipe if your addition makes sense!

  3. thecompletecookbook
    December 15, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    Ooh, awesome recipe for mincemeat – you may just have converted me from the 95%!
    🙂 Mandy

  4. Arturo Féliz-Camilo
    December 15, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    I can almost smell the spices! Merry Christmas!

  5. thelittleloaf
    December 15, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    I would always make my own pastry, but am ashamed to admit I don’t tend to make my own mincemeat…I normally get it from my mum! So it’s still homemade, but a poor effort on my part. This is a great recipe and very frugal! 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      December 15, 2011 at 11:45 pm

      Good! But don’t be ashamed. Make it now, you shan’t regret it!

  6. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
    December 15, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Looks wonderful and I’m sure it is far tastier than store-bought.

  7. spree
    December 15, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Assuming you don’t fall to the temptation to spoon it into your mouth straight from its jar (which I’d be tempted to do) what ARE your plans for this lovely little jammy treat? Will you be sharing?

    • frugalfeeding
      December 15, 2011 at 11:30 pm

      Oh, I’ll be sharing alright… very soon. I’m not sure what I’ll do. But mince pies are for certain.

  8. Cara
    December 15, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Get out, GET OUT! I just made mincemeat cookies yesterday!!! And I totally failed at it, none-the-less (it was one of those days…) But I wanted to try them again and low and behold, look what I find here! I am doing this this weekend! Oh and if I wanted to put this in the cookies, what would you recommend, amount-wise?

    • frugalfeeding
      December 15, 2011 at 11:29 pm

      But, I’m in my own home… You better had do this recipe this weekend :D. Ummmmm, I have no idea. Not too much, the trick would be not to make the mixture too wet.

      • Cara
        December 16, 2011 at 4:00 pm

        You are of no help 🙂 ha

  9. Kristina
    December 15, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    I am not a big fan of mince pies, but home made are different! If I were spending my Christmas here I probably would try to make them 🙂 And I would use your recipe, it sounds great! 😀

    • frugalfeeding
      December 15, 2011 at 11:28 pm

      Really? I love all mince pies I think… Shame you can;t, but enjoy your Christmas wherever you are!

  10. Meredith
    December 15, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    I have been thinking about making mince meat for years. Now I must! Perhaps a tart instead of pie, it seems so rich.

  11. GretalRabbit
    December 15, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    I love mincemeat (and my sister is a mince pie addict!) but I always thought it would be really hard to make- I’ll definitely be making my own next year! Thanks for the recipe 🙂


    p.s. thanks so much for your shortcrust pastry post- I can now make pastry that isn’t a disaster! 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      December 15, 2011 at 11:27 pm

      Me too, it’s amazing. It’s definitely not hard in any way… Oh no problem, it just annoyed me how few people make their own pastry!

  12. Elaina @ Flavour
    December 15, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Yes!! I’ve been on the hunt for a proper mince meat recipe 🙂 I sure do miss them, not as readily available as in the UK! Thanks for sharing, this is going on my (long) holiday to make list 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      December 15, 2011 at 11:27 pm

      Well, this one’s not too bad :D. I’m quite surprised, they are literally everywhere here! Let me know how it turns out.

  13. Jane
    December 15, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Awesome! Love this! I have always wanted to make homemade mincemeat… my mom always got the stuff in the jars.. cannot wait to try this!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 15, 2011 at 11:26 pm

      Thanks! Do it, it’s SO simple. Would take no time at all.

  14. thewholebagofchips
    December 15, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    It’s funny because although my mom makes a mincemeat pie each Thanksgiving, it’s a rarity amongst many people locally here. The dying question each time she makes hers is “What exactly IS mincemeat?” My dad loves it and she makes it every year just for him. Loved your post today!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 15, 2011 at 11:25 pm

      Really? They are everywhere here! Wikipedia it :D. It used to be real meat, but has changed over the years. Glad you liked the post 🙂

  15. Kimby
    December 15, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    So glad you posted your recipe for this traditional favorite! There’s something about the flavor that has “holiday” written all over it. I still use my Grandma’s recipe (handwritten on a faded old recipe card) but am looking forward to trying your updated version. Merry Christmas!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 15, 2011 at 11:24 pm

      Me too! It’s the spicyness and the warmth it brings! You should give mine a try, perhaps alongside your grandmother’s? Merry Christmas!

  16. jo-lyn
    December 15, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    don’t let my husband see this post, he loves mince miet pie, me…notsomuch…no offense

    • frugalfeeding
      December 15, 2011 at 11:23 pm

      I can’t promise anything! Why not try this mixture? You may change your mind…

  17. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial
    December 15, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    You’re a lifesaver – I’ve been looking for a mincemeat recipe! Thank you..

    • frugalfeeding
      December 15, 2011 at 11:23 pm

      Well, though I’m sure that’s a slight exaggeration, thanks! 😀

  18. The Vegan Kat
    December 16, 2011 at 5:07 am

    This looks really good! My mom used to make mincemeat pies when I was younger, but I haven’t had it in years. I was thinking about finding or coming up with a vegan version, but this one already is 🙂 I may blog about this if you don’t mind, with credit of course! It was also fun to see you mention Christmas pudding in one of your recent posts. My mom makes one every year. She even found a way to veganize it so I can still have some! I’ve never heard of anyone else I know in the US making one and I have always had to explain what they are.

    • frugalfeeding
      January 1, 2012 at 1:37 pm

      You may blog it, of course! Glad you maintain some of the tradition 😀

  19. sandhyasun
    December 16, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    This looks super! I might have to try my hand at mince pies for the first time. Quick question: when you let the mixture sit for three days, do you leave it out or put it in the refrigerator? Thanks!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 1, 2012 at 1:52 pm

      I just left it out, but the fridge would do. It doesn’t really matter 🙂

  20. susiemaeday
    December 16, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    My Grandfather once told me “You don’t know what’s good.” when I turned up my nose at minced meat pie as a 5 year old. I think I’ll have to try it again as an adult.

    • frugalfeeding
      January 1, 2012 at 1:35 pm

      Quite clearly, your Granddad does know what’s good.

  21. Kay aka Babygirl
    December 16, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Oh this Homemade Mincemeat looks absolutely incredible. Thanks for sharing this recipe.. I definitely have to add it to my collection

  22. glutenfreezen
    December 18, 2011 at 1:11 am

    That sounds delicious! I’ve never had mincemeat and have always wondered what it really is. I can’t wait to try this!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 1, 2012 at 1:34 pm

      Really?! you’ve never had it? Where have you been living?

  23. naomiwinters
    December 19, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    Looks so yummy! I’ve never made my own mince meat- only made my first mince pie the other day- was never a fan when I was younger. But will def have to try this out! 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      January 1, 2012 at 1:49 pm

      Thanks, Naomi. You should try it out – it’s sooooo good.

  24. clumsylawyer
    December 20, 2011 at 7:58 am

    I hadn’t considered suet-less mincemeat. I used vegetarian suet when I made mine in October (for the benefit of a veggie friend who I knew would be munching them come December). Not sure how my proportions compared to the shop-bought stuff, but it’s certainly far less gloopy (and much tastier!)

    • frugalfeeding
      January 1, 2012 at 1:47 pm

      I just don’t really think it’s necessary… I prefer mine a little lighter.

  25. divaofdelicious
    December 20, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Happy to have stumbled upon your wonderful blog. Going to try this recipe today…just in time for Christmas!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 1, 2012 at 1:45 pm

      I’m glad you have also. Hope you enjoyed it.

  26. Aimee@clevermuffin
    December 21, 2011 at 1:24 am

    You know looking back at your recipe, you’ve actually pulled together what me and my partner in crime in making mince meat deduced was the best combination of mince. The candied peel is the real winner. Such a clever frugal man! Now… where are the pies? 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      January 1, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      Haha! Awesome. I’m glad about that. My girlfriend’s mum made some mince pies out of it – they were delicious.

  27. malaysiagirl
    December 29, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Nice post. Living in the States, i don’t really get a good Minced pie – might have to take a stab at this. Thanks for sharing.

    • frugalfeeding
      January 1, 2012 at 1:21 pm

      Thanks. You should definitely try it – one should never be down on the mince pie quota.

  28. Put Down the Knife
    January 9, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Any ideas on making a brandy reduction in order to get the flavor but no alcohol (for the kiddos)

    • frugalfeeding
      January 15, 2012 at 10:10 am

      Ummm, I guess you could cook it down before adding it. But cooking alcohol doesn’t burn it all off. Would a little really do them too much harm :D?

  29. Sophia
    November 24, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    I just made my first batch of minced meat roughly relying on your recipe. Some substitutions were necessary though for want of currants in Italy and a personal abhorrence of glace cherries. But my kitchen now smells divine and if I am not careful, half the mix will be gone by tomorrow as, everytime I wander into the kitchen, I have a sneaky spoonful … Now dreaming up potential uses for the minced meat (other than mince pies of course!).

    • frugalfeeding
      November 24, 2012 at 6:50 pm

      Fantastic! It’s such a nice mix 😀 – I’ll be making some very soon 🙂

  30. sockmonkeyskitchen
    December 26, 2012 at 4:47 am

    Oh yummmm!

  31. Kathy
    December 27, 2012 at 12:02 am

    You know my mother and grandmother used to make mincemeat pie at Christmas and I loved it – for some it is an acquired taste (especially if you include the meat) and I’ve had my grandmother’s recipe for probably 50 years. This year I was hungry for a mincemeat pie, so I made some mincemeat! Had about the same ingredients as your recipe and I did take some beef I’d boiled and chopped, and included it. It hit the spot – was very good. I will keep your recipe and try it next time. My family doesn’t enjoy it but I am old enough to appreciate it and hopefully some of these traditional old recipes will be coming back. Thanks for sharing!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 28, 2012 at 6:22 pm

      Fantastic! Meat is never included in Britain, at least I’ve never seen it included. Perhaps I’ll give it a go!

  32. gorunjess
    December 27, 2012 at 1:16 am

    My grandmother used to make mince meat pie for my grandpa every Christmas and growing up I wondered at what came in that little magic jar from the grocery store. Thank you for the recipe. I’m making these little treats at some point-maybe even a mini-Christmas in July!

  33. Mollie Walker Freeman
    December 28, 2012 at 2:42 am

    I do love the way you write about mincemeat; however, I’ve never tasted any that I’ve actually liked (sorry). My late grandma was the very best pie-maker I’ve ever seen, & she made her own mincemeat (& everything else!) until dementia would no longer allow it. But I could never quite stomach the mince pies…

    On another note, you write about the prodigious eating of such treats in “the West.” Things must be different in your part of the planet; I’ve never known anyone since my childhood who ate the stuff! (I live in Colorado.) When you describe it, it sounds so wonderful that I am actually happy someone is still enjoying mince pies. So, carry on! I don’t think I’ll be trying this one, but I look forward to all the future recipes you’ll share, so thanks in advance.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 28, 2012 at 5:05 pm

      Thanks! Perhaps you should give this recipe a go – it is delicious, I’ve no idea how one couldn’t like it! We eat loads of them here in Britain, we really do!

      • Mollie Walker Freeman
        December 30, 2012 at 4:55 am

        You may have me convinced…but not until next year. I’m about cooked out for now!

  34. Naomi
    December 12, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    I’m just after making a batch of mince pies using shop bought mincemeat (from the lovely shop down the road). After reading your article you have convinced me to have a go at making my own. Going to try finding an alternative for the brandy though – can’t stand the stuff. Any ideas?

    • frugalfeeding
      December 13, 2013 at 10:01 am

      To be honest, any spirit will do the job – dark rum or even a little Irish Whisky would probably work well, though I haven’t tried either!

      • MaryAnne
        July 18, 2017 at 4:47 pm

        I make an all fruit mincemeat and use Irish Whisky instead of brandy. I also use homemade seasoned applesauce & my own marmalade in place of the fresh apples & citrus. I store mine in a very old stone crock with the lid and a brick on top to keep critters out! Just stir it every once in a while, lick the wooden spoon to see how it tastes, add more Irish to it and put the lid back on. I have found over the years that just about any dried fruit works for mincemeat. I stir mine up on the first day of September every other year (I make enough of 2 years) and its ready by the 2nd or 3rd week of December.
        I use it in pies, tarts and in a pinch have made Christmas cakes with a cup or so of the mincemeat. Tastes wonderful!!

  35. Elisa Matthews
    December 7, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Great recipe made some last week and making more today for a friend, Iv been keep it in the fridge in an air tight jar home long do think it will keep in there? iv not really keep Homemade Mincemeat very long before to tasty. But not seeing friend until after the new year. Thank you 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      December 8, 2014 at 11:32 am

      A year? Perhaps more. My first batch lasted from one Christmas to the next. It improves wonderfully in flavour too.

  36. monika
    December 11, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    Goodness me, I’m really grateful for your suetless recipe. Definitely trying it this Christmas, yum

    • frugalfeeding
      December 13, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      Great! I much prefer it without suet. Nice and light.

  37. bloodfreak
    December 20, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    Thanks for this! I made one batch already this year and used it to stuff some puff pastry. It was very popular! Making a second batch right now for Christmas. I don’t have cherries, so I’m using dates. For “mixed spice”, in addition to the cinnamon and nutmeg, I’m going to try some allspice and ginger.

    • frugalfeeding
      January 5, 2015 at 10:20 am

      Yes, I did a puff pastry version too. Sounds delicious!

  38. Bel
    December 26, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Hi, thanks so much for the mincemeat recipe. I don’t live in the UK so it isn’t easy finding it in the shops. I made 15 pies yesterday for my husband and I and they’re almost all gone! I’ll certainly be making more as it’s so simple 🙂 I added extra sugar, brandy and cinnamon, but obviously that depends on personal taste. Thanks again and have a lovely Christmas/New Year!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 5, 2015 at 12:12 pm

      Glad you enjoyed them! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

  39. Kathryn Jackson
    November 25, 2015 at 10:42 am

    Do you know what size of jar this recipe fills? I’m looking at making 125ml jars so am just trying to work out quantities.

    • frugalfeeding
      November 25, 2015 at 12:56 pm

      Hi Kathryn! I’m not entirely sure of the volume of my jars, though I’d guess at around 325ml. I hope that helps.

  40. Eileen
    December 7, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    I usually make my own mincemeat every year using a recipe handed down from my husband’s grandfather but this year it seems to have gone AWOL. I found your recipe online & made it this afternoon….it smells & tastes fantastic. I added morello cherries and increased the spice and sugar (personal taste). It’s currently sitting in my kitchen making it smell devine. Thank you for posting the recipe. x

  41. Gai
    September 20, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    am I right that you don’t cook this at all before it goes into jars and into the fridge?

  42. Eileen
    January 10, 2018 at 11:01 am

    Interesting stuff. Ive made my own mincemeat for a while. I just use up all the dried fruit in the cupboard, add some suet and apples, sugar and spice, and by choice, brandy. I used whisky this year because we couldnt find the brandy. It keeps a long time and gets better with age.

  43. Beefsmum
    January 12, 2018 at 10:35 am

    Have done a similar fat free version – more apple & once or twicell added plums/damsons (very rich n fruity). This one you replace brandy with apple juice & bring to the boil , then bottle in sterilised jars like jam . Forgot no need to add sugar so slightly better for diabetics. Came up with it cos parents 88&91 last year have type 2 & some issues with gall bladder. It’s really adaptable & I might try it in a cake now thanks! Plus the poster who uses her home made marmalade had me wondering why I hadn’t thought of that! Keep cooking & innovating! Tricia H

  44. tibbs
    February 27, 2018 at 3:34 am

    This recipe states it makes “2 Pots”. That is extremely vague.

  45. Bruna
    October 9, 2018 at 3:25 am

    Hello! Being from Brazil never had mincemeat, but my recent interest for British (and frugal) recipes brought me here – lovely site! I used raisins, cranberries and dates (what I already had) but respected the amounts. I know I should wait a couple more days to taste it but while giving it a stir I couldn’t resist – gorgeous! Thank you for this recipe!

  46. Bev
    October 27, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    Loved the recipe how long will it keep ,I have put it in sterilised jam jars
    Thank you for the recipe .

  47. Bev
    October 29, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    Hello how long does this last in the jars please

  48. Alethea haisman
    November 26, 2018 at 9:48 pm

    Once made,does this have to stay in refrigerator

    • frugalfeeding
      December 17, 2018 at 2:37 pm

      Yes – this will help it last for longer.

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