How to Make Mint Extract with Fresh Mint (Easy DIY Recipe)

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my full disclosure.

Turn your overgrown patch of mint into homemade mint extract for the most delicious cakes, cookies, and more! Learn how to make mint extract with just two simple ingredients (and a little time). 

bottle of homemade mint extract with fresh mint.

The first time I made my own extract with peppermint leaves, I knew I’d never go back to store-bought peppermint extract. The cool, pure flavor of freshly harvested mint is unmatched by anything you’ll find in grocery stores.

Last summer, I harvested a ton of leaves from my mint plants and found that the extract is just as flavorful now as it was last year. With little time and minimal ingredients, you can put this homemade extract to good use in your kitchen. You can also give away any leftovers as homemade gifts for family and friends!

What is mint extract?

Mint extract is a flavorful liquid created by infusing fresh mint leaves in high proof alcohol, typically vodka. Since it is concentrated, it only takes a bit to add a mint flavor to various culinary dishes and beverages. Start small because too much mint can make your dishes taste like toothpaste, as it does contain menthol.

This is different from peppermint oil, which is derived directly from the pure essential oil of the plant material through a distillation process. Peppermint oil has a much more concentrated flavor than homemade mint extract! 

Why you’ll love this homemade mint extract recipe


  • PRESERVE THE HARVEST – Preserving your herbs in an extract is an easy way to extend their shelf life and concentrate their fresh flavor. It takes so much fresher than store-bought mint extract!
  • FLAVOR YOUR BAKES AND TREATS – From mint chocolate chip ice cream to rich chocolate cake, the extra minty flavor from this extract is one of my favorite ways to elevate the flavor profile of desserts. It’s an especially nice contrast to chocolate.
  • EASY TO MAKE – Making your own mint extract could not be easier! It requires just two simple ingredients, a few extract bottles, and 1-2 months of steeping time. 

Equipment

To make this mint extract, you’ll need the following equipment:

  • Glass jar (one pint or half pint jar and a small amber bottle for storage)
  • Cutting board and knife
  • Fine mesh strainer
  • Narrow funnel
batch of fresh mint extract next to diy mint extract from a year ago.

Ingredients

  • Fresh mint leaves – Chop the fresh leaves into small pieces. Smaller pieces increase the surface area, resulting in a faster infusion.
  • Neutral alcohol – It’s best to use a high-proof alcohol, like 100-proof vodka or Everclear.

How to Make Mint Extract from Mint Leaves

1. Wash, dry, and chop your fresh mint to help extract the oils.  

2. Add the chopped mint to your clean mason jar or glass container. Cover with alcohol. 

3. Shake the jar daily. Store in a cool, dark place for 4-8 weeks.

4. Once you smell the mint before the alcohol, strain out the leaves and store the mint extract in a small glass bottle in a cool, dark place for approximately 1-2 years.

5. Optional – Try a double or triple infusion. Add a fresh bunch of mint to the strained extract to get an even more concentrated flavor!

Storing

If you really want your homemade extracts to last for a long time, use amber glass bottles or blue glass bottles. These help keep the sunlight out, which can cause the delicate mint oils to break down. 

This extract can last quite a while, approximately 1-2 years. As always, store in a dark cabinet away from direct sunlight.

How to Use DIY Mint Extract

Here are some of my favorite mint recipes and ways to use this homemade extract.

  • Add a bit to your hot chocolate for a mint chocolate moment
  • Add to chocolate chip cookies or brownies
  • Make an iced mint tea or mint lemonade
  • Try these homemade peppermint patties
  • Add a splash to these 2 ingredient truffles – great for the holidays!
  • Add to homemade mojitos
  • Make your own thin mints
  • Add to your morning coffee for an invigorating mint latte
  • Make your own mint sorbet or mint chocolate ice cream
overhead view of a bottle of homemade mint extract with fresh peppermint.

Tips & Variations

  • Feel free to use different types of mints! It’s fun to use chocolate mint, spearmint, peppermint, and other mint varieties for different flavors. Spearmint is a personal favorite of mine!
  • You can certainly use dry mint, but I prefer the flavor of fresh herbs. If you use dried leaves, simply reduce the herb quantity to about 1/2.
  • Homemade herbal extracts make a great gift! Store your finished extract in amber dropper bottles and share the joy of crafting herbal remedies with friends and family.
  • Make vanilla mint extract by infusing 1 oz of sliced vanilla beans per 8 oz of vodka. Making your own vanilla extract is a great way to incorporate these unique flavors from your herb garden. This homemade version would also make a wonderful gift.
  • You could use food-grade glycerin in place of the alcohol if needed. While the alcohol content can better extract and preserve the flavors, glycerin or vinegar would be the next best thing!
  • For an extra potent extract, try double or even triple infusion. After giving your jar a gentle shake every day for 4-8 weeks and straining out the old leaves, you can add some new fresh mint leaves to the extract and repeat the process.
  • Try lemon balm extract for a citrusy and subtle mint flavor. Lemon balm also belongs to the mint family, though it only contains subtle hints of mint. This extract would be better for its medicinal rather than culinary uses.

FAQs

Does the type of mint matter? 

There are so many different types of mint, and you can make infusions with each kind. They will all have a slightly different flavor. Most mint extract is made from peppermint. I especially like using spearmint as it has a really bold, slightly sweet flavor. Always be cautious using mint extract, as you can easily make an otherwise delicious dish taste like toothpaste!

Is mint extract the same as peppermint extract?

They’re similar but different. Some mint extract recipes use a mixture of types of mint, like spearmint and peppermint, while peppermint extract only uses that one type of mint. You’ll also find some mint extract recipes that use candy canes, but that’s a whole different kind of thing!

What is mint extract good for?

Mint extract is a versatile ingredient that adds a refreshing and aromatic flavor to a variety of dishes and beverages. It pairs particularly well with sweets, especially chocolate. You can use it in homemade chocolate chip cookies, brownies, cakes, mint chocolate chip ice cream, and holiday candy. Next time you make hot chocolate, try adding a bit for a refreshing minty flavor. It also works well in teas, lattes, and craft cocktails.

Can you replace vanilla extract with mint extract?

That really depends on the recipe, but generally yes! If your favorite brownie recipe calls for a teaspoon of vanilla, it’d be great to use mint extract instead. However, mint is kind of like lavender in that it’s very easy to overdo it! Start by using half as much as the other extract in the recipe. This is generally a safe bet without making your frosting or cookies taste like toothpaste.

Related Recipes

bottle of homemade mint extract next to fresh mint.

DIY Mint Extract Recipe

Turn a little fresh mint and alcohol into a refreshing extract to make the best cakes, cookies, muffins and more! This homemade mint extract recipe requires barely any effort, but it does take a couple of months so you'll want to start it soon!
5 from 1 vote
Servings 1 cup

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 4 oz vodka, high proof (min 80% alcohol)
  • .25 oz fresh mint leaves, chopped or ripped apart

Instructions
 

  • Wash, dry, and chop your fresh mint to help extract the oils.
  • Add the chopped mint to your clean mason jar or glass container. Cover with alcohol.
  • Shake the jar daily. Store in a cool, dark place for 4-8 weeks.
  • Once you smell the mint before the alcohol, strain out the leaves and store the mint extract in a small glass bottle in a cool, dark place for approximately 1-2 years.
  • Optional – Try a double or triple infusion. Add a fresh bunch of mint to the strained extract to get an even more concentrated flavor!
Did you try this recipe?Be sure to leave a star rating!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.