How To Make a Traditional Mincemeat Recipe - Gemma’s Bigger Bolder Baking (2024)

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Craft my timeless Traditional Mincemeat Recipe to elevate your Christmas staple Mince Pies with rich Irish flavors and festive charm.

By Gemma Stafford | | 84

Last updated on March 13, 2024

How To Make a Traditional Mincemeat Recipe - Gemma’s Bigger Bolder Baking (1)

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WHY YOU’LL LOVE THISRECIPE:This Traditional Mince MeatRecipepromises you a joyous endeavor resulting in aunique and delightful holiday celebration that goes beyond the ordinary,creating lasting memories with each delectable bite.

  • The preparation of this TraditionalMincemeat Recipefills your kitchen with an irresistible aromatic medley of seasonalspices.
  • Adjusting the sweetness, experimenting with thespicelevels, and selecting your favorite combination of dried fruits andbutterorsuetallows you to tailor the flavors to perfection.
  • Making the Traditional Mincemeat from scratch not only connects you to the roots of this classicrecipebut also allows you to pass it down as a piece of culinary heritage.
  • Beyond filling the iconicMince Pies, mincemeat adds a touch of festive flair to various dishes on your holiday menu.

Mince Pieshold an irreplaceable place in my cherished holiday food traditions. Growing up in Ireland, it was a staple at any dinner or gathering aroundChristmas! Everything about it screams the holidays for me. Yet, the essence ofTraditionalMince PiesorMum’sMince Pieswith Coconut Toppingis incomplete without the aromatic touch of Mincemeat! It reminds me of home in Ireland and is part of my BoldBakingHolidays Worldwide series — where I’m sharing lovely holidayrecipesfrom around the world. Check myHolidayBakingHeadquartersfor the full list!

I’m proud to say there’s a connection to the much-loved O’Driscolls Irish Whiskey used in thisrecipe. My cousin, Michael J Stafford is the managing director of Stafford Bonded in my hometown of Wexford, Ireland. Michael carried on the family business created by our grandfather (James Stafford) and also our fathers (George Stafford Snr and Michael Stafford Snr). Michael has chronicled the history of the Stafford family in Wexford beautifully on theStafford Bonded website, O’Driscolls Irish Whiskey is inspired by Diarmuid O’Driscoll, Michael’s other grandfather, a true inspiration and a great storyteller who recently passed away at 104. You will understand the inspiration whenyou hear Diarmuid talkof the O’Driscoll family.

IMPORTANT NOTE:This recipe was improved and updated on 11/29/2023, to include explanations of key ingredients, answers to the most frequently asked questions, and more Pro Chef Tips.

Table of Contents

  • What is a TraditionalMincemeat Recipe?
  • Tools for a TraditionalMincemeat Recipe
  • KeyIngredientsfor TraditionalMincemeat Recipe
  • How to Make a Traditional Mincemeat
  • How to Store Traditional Mincemeat and How Long Does Traditional Mincemeat Last?
  • Is There Ever Meat in Mincemeat?
  • FAQs
  • Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips
  • More IrishChristmasRecipes

How To Make a Traditional Mincemeat Recipe - Gemma’s Bigger Bolder Baking (2)

What is a TraditionalMincemeat Recipe?

Englishrecipesfrom the 15th, 16th, and17th centuriesdescribe mincemeat as a fermentedmixture of meatand fruit used as apiefilling.

  • These earlyrecipesincludedvinegarand wine, but by the 18th century, distilled spirits, frequentlybrandyor whiskey, were being used instead.
  • The use ofspiceslike clove,nutmeg,mace, andcinnamonwas common in late medieval and Renaissance meat dishes.
  • The increase in sweetness from added sugar made mincemeat less of a savory dinner course and more of a dessert.

Tools for a TraditionalMincemeat Recipe

Although there are manyingredientsin thisrecipe, very little equipment is needed to make Traditional Mincemeat.

KeyIngredients for a Traditional Mincemeat Recipe

  • Cookingapple

    • Use peeled and cored Granny Smithapplesfor the best flavor and texture.
    • Bramley applewill be your go-to cookingapplein Ireland or the UK. They are very sour to eat raw but are one of the bestapplesworking beautifully inbaking, such as in an AppleCrumbleorAppleStrudel.
  • Raisins,currants, and sultanas

    • Raisinsare from different types of grapes dried for around 3 weeks in a dark brownish color.
    • Currantsare dried from a variety of small, seedless grapes called “Black Corinth” and “Carina.”
    • Sultanas/goldenraisinsare dried from green seedless grapes and are typically coated in an oil-based solution before drying to speed up the process to have a lighter golden color.
  • Candied mixedcitrus peel

    • Candied peels add sweetness, a unique citrus flavor, and a delightful, chewy, and slightly firm texture to mincemeat.
  • Mixedspice

    • Mixedspicein mincemeat adds warmth, balancing the sweetness of mincemeat.
    • It also adds aromatic complexity, depth, and a traditional holiday flavor.
  • Citruszestandjuice

    • Lemon zest and lemon juice with orange zest and orange juice, bring vibrant and refreshing elements to mincemeat, enhancing both the flavor and aroma.
    • They also complement the otheringredientsin this classic holidaymixture.
  • Muscovado sugar

    • Muscovado sugar adds moisture and can enhance the overall richness and complexity of mincemeat.
    • You can also usedark brown sugarinstead.
  • O’Driscolls Irish Whiskey

    • I love using Irish whiskey for the most authentic flavor.
    • Brandyorrumwill also work.
  • Butter

    • Butter’s savory and creamy profile complements the sweetness of sugars and dried fruit.
    • As a source of fat,butter contributes to moisture and tenderness.
    • Buttermelts duringbaking, coating the otheringredientsthus resulting in a more cohesive filling.

How To Make a Traditional Mincemeat Recipe - Gemma’s Bigger Bolder Baking (3)

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 thefullrecipewith measurements, on the page down below):

  • Prepareingredients: In a large bowl add all of the aboveingredients. Cover and allow to soak and hydrate overnight or for a minimum of 12 hours.
  • Cookingredients:The next day add the contents of the bowl to a medium-sized saucepan.Simmeruncovered over medium/low heat for roughly 10-15 minutes until the liquid reduces and thickens slightly. This is a saucyrecipe, don’t cook off all of the liquid (see video for consistency).
  • Enjoy:Stirwell before use.

How to Store Traditional Mincemeat and How Long Does Traditional Mincemeat Last?

Store the mincemeat in sterilizedjarsin a cupboard for up to 1 year. You can sterilizejars in the microwave with a little water in them or you can steam them. So you can make a Traditional Mincemeat recipein advance and use it in myHomemadeMince Piesrecipe.

Is There Ever Meat in Mincemeat?

Nowadays, no, not technically, however, some bakers still usesuetwhich is what was used traditionally as the fat. Make sure to read the label in case you are vegan/vegetarian.Suetis the hard fat that encases the pig’skidney fat.

I use meltedbutterin myrecipeinstead ofsuetso everyone can enjoy it! You can use vegetable shortening too, choose a hardbakingtype.

FAQs

Can I freeze traditional mincemeat?

Yes, traditional mincemeat can be frozen in airtight containers for extended storage. Thaw and bring to room temperature before using.

Can I omitalcoholin traditional mincemeat?

Yes, you can omitalcohol, but it adds depth of flavor. Consider usingapplejuice,orangejuice, or other fruitjuiceor tea as a non-alcoholic alternative.

How do I use traditional mincemeat inrecipes?

Traditional mincemeat is commonly used as a filling formince pies, and tarts, or even as a topping for desserts likeice cream.

Can I use different types of dried fruits in traditional mincemeat?

Yes, you can customize the dried fruits. Common choices includedried cranberries,raisins,currants, sultanas, dried apricots, or dried blueberries.

Can I substitute fresh fruit for dried fruit in traditional mincemeat?

It’s not recommended as the dried fruits contribute sweetness, texture, and a concentrated flavor essential to traditional mincemeat.

Can I make a vegan version of traditional mincemeat?

Yes, you can use vegetable-basedsuetor veganbutteras a substitute for traditionalsuet, and ensure otheringredientsare plant-based.

How To Make a Traditional Mincemeat Recipe - Gemma’s Bigger Bolder Baking (4)

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips

  • Mincemeat doesn’t have to be made months in advance like you think. I make this about 2 weeks beforeChristmasand it has great flavor and texture.
  • When it comes to sterilizing thejar, just put some water in the bottom of thejarand microwave it for 2 minutes until the water bubbles and steams. Pour out and fill while hot. Not too fussy at all.
  • If you don’t have MixedSpice you can make my MixedSpice recipe or you can use PumpkinPieSpicewhich is made up of similarspices.
  • Can’t find CandiedPeel? Make your ownCandied MixedPeel. 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 substitutedark brown sugar. Check out myUltimate Guide to Different Types of Brown Sugarsto see the differences and how to use them.
  • This is a saucyrecipe, don’t cook off all of the liquid (see video for consistency).
  • I do haveanotherHomemade Mincemeat recipe, and if that’s your favorite, feel free to still give it a go!

More IrishChristmasRecipes

  • Aunty Rosaleen’s Traditional IrishChristmasCakeRecipe
  • My Mum’sChristmasPudding
  • Holiday GingerbreadTrifle (IrishRecipe)
  • Irish ShortbreadChristmasTree Cookies
  • Traditional IrishBrandyButter

IMPORTANT NOTE:This recipe was improved and updated on 11/29/2023, to include explanations of key ingredients, answers to the most frequently asked questions, and more Pro Chef Tips.

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

Try These Recipes!

Homemade Dumpling Wrappers
O’Driscolls Irish Cream Recipe (Coffee Creamer for Irish Coffee)
Sweet and Boozy Peach Whiskey Jam Recipe
How to Make a Raspberry Curd Recipe

Watch The Recipe Video!

Traditional Mincemeat Recipe

4.73 from 37 votes

Print Recipe

Craft my timeless Traditional Mincemeat Recipe to elevate your Christmas staple Mince Pies with rich Irish flavors and festive charm.

Author: Gemma Stafford

Servings: 3 cups (900g)

  • Dessert
  • Fruit
  • Holiday Baking Headquarters
  • Saucepan
  • Stovetop

Prep Time 15 minutes mins

Cook Time 15 minutes mins

Soak 12 hours hrs

Craft my timeless Traditional Mincemeat Recipe to elevate your Christmas staple Mince Pies with rich Irish flavors and festive charm.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium cooking apple, peeled and grated
  • 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/158ml) O'Driscolls Irish Whiskey (brandy or rum)
  • 1 stick (4oz/115g) butter

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. Stir well before use.

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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How To Make a Traditional Mincemeat Recipe - Gemma’s Bigger Bolder Baking (11)

Smita Shore

3 years 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 ChristmasRead more »

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Lara

3 years 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!

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Ayzah

3 years 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!

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Janet Foo

2 years ago

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

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Danielle

3 years 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.

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Patricia Babbitt

3 years 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.

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Jeanie Griffin Sibley

3 years 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!!

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Cloighi Doyle

3 years 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!!

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Donna

2 months ago

Hi Gemma,
Thank you sooo much for sharing this recipe. I am excited to make it for my Joseph. He loves mince pie. I have made your pie filling and it looks wonderful. I still have to do the cooking of it. My family don’t use or drink alcohol so I used apple juice for my liquid. How long will my mince pie filling keep in the refrigerator?

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Naomi

3 months ago

Hi Gemma,
Was wondering if I could skip the sugar? If not, can I also use normal brown sugar?

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Meet Gemma

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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.

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