How to Make Homemade Mincemeat

I wish you could smell my kitchen right now. The aromas wafting out of it rank up there with roasting turkey and fresh baked pannetone. A pot of homemade mincemeat is simmering on the stove and I’m thinking we’ll be nibbling mince tarts before the weekend is over.

Wait, don’t click away! Granted mincemeat is unfamiliar to many and has a reputation to live down (suet? Eww) but the mincemeat I’m talking about is seasonal, bursting with flavor, and downright decadent. My version of this British holiday favorite is full of cranberries, apples, fresh ground spices, spiked with a splash of liquor and sweetened with maple syrup.

Mincemeat is most often used in recipes such as mince pies, a favorite of Jamie Oliver’s, or Nigella Lawson’s Star-topped mince tarts. I’ve also enjoyed it in shortbread bars, and this Christmas, plan to create a mincemeat slab pie of sorts.

I wish I had stockpiled cranberries earlier in the season so that I could make pots and pots, because little jars of spiced mincemeat would make THE most delightful homemade edible Christmas gifts.

Canadian-Style Mincemeat

This recipe is dubbed ‘Canadian’ because so many ingredients I use are local, including cranberries, apples, apple cider, maple syrup, and maple whisky.

  • 2/3 cup apple cider (or substitute cranberry juice)
  • 2 cups whole cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup raw cane sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon, freshly ground if possible
  • 1/2 teaspoon both allspice and ginger
  • 1 cup currants
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 medium apples
  • 50 ml Sortilège (Canadian maple whisky), brandy OR port
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  1. In a large saucepan, warm the apple cider and dissolve the sugar in it over low heat. Meanwhile, wash, core and finely chop the apples. Note: You can also grate the apple, if that is easier for you.
  2. Tip the whole cranberries into the pot (I used frozen) and stir to combine. Add cinnamon, ginger and allspice, along with the currants, raisins, dried cranberries and apple.
  3. Stir and simmer over medium low heat until it starts to darken and the mixture has absorbed most of the liquid, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  4. Take off the heat and add the whisky or port, maple syrup and honey. Beat well to incorporate everything and crush the cranberries slightly.
  5. Spoon into sterilized jars (a run through the dishwasher will do the trick), cover with lids and store in the refrigerator for several weeks.
  6. May also be frozen for up to three months.

Have you ever tried mincemeat? Is it something you look forward to over the holidays?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. YUM – I may need to try this. Delish alternative to butter tarts !

  2. I’ve never made mincemeat before but my dad LOVES it. Your recipe makes me want to hop in the kitchen and make it right now! Great job on the video. You’re a natural. 😉

  3. I have never really been a mincemeat person but I know I would like this one. Can this be water bathed preserved? Thanks

    • I’ve never preserved my mince in a water bath, Susan, but I’m sure it would work, similar to a chutney.
      You can also freeze the mincemeat for up to three months,

  4. Marilyn Trudel says

    Hurray Canada & Montreal!!!!!
    I love ‘sortilège’!!! so yummy! It must be delicious in this recipe… will try it!

  5. My grandmother-in-law loves mincemeat, and she doesn’t want any “stuff” for Christmas, so this would be the perfect gift. Thank you for posting!

  6. My English Grandmother makes very English mincemeat, which I like but no one else in my family will eat. This recipe sounds delicious and I think everyone would love it. I may have to try this while we are snowed in this weekend!

  7. I love mincemeat! My mother used to make the most amazing Mincemeat turnovers and pies at Christmas time. Ah, this post makes me miss home (Nova Scotia) that much more! Thanks for sharing!!! 🙂

  8. I’ve got a bottle of Gelinotte maple liqueur. Do you think I can replace the ma[le whisky with that?

  9. I confess I had no idea what mincemeat was, but it sounds amazing! Cranberries, maple syrup and liquor…I gotta try it 🙂

  10. First, I *love* Simple Bites! I have never tried mincemeat, I always thought it had a variety of meat in it- boy was I wrong! This looks so good, I plan to make some this week! I cannot wait to see how yummy it is, & how yummy my kitchen smells!

  11. Mincement and Tourtiere pies & tarts were a staple growing up in our home at Christmas time. Oddly enough, although I made tourtiere, I’ve never made mincemeat tarts. Your video and recipe makes it seem uncomplicated and your mincemeat looks wonderful.

  12. Where’s the MEAT????
    Mincemeat without meat seems to be a modern twist to an old-fashioned recipe.

    My grandmother’s mincemeat recipe (she raised her family in the 1930s and 40s) starts with boiled beef beef and includes raisins, currants, molasses and spices. Her sauce is 2 pounds of brown sugar in 2 quarts of apple cider boiled down to half its volume and poured over the rest of the ingredients. She canned it and made pies with it for family dinners and holidays. It’s really rich–I don’t know how my grandfather could eat a whole piece of pie in one sitting.

    It would be interesting to research the history of mincemeat. I thought it was one of the ways of preserving meat before freezers–but maybe not.

  13. Love the meat-free variation! I’ve never been a huge mincemeat fan, but I will definitely have to try this! Thanks! 🙂

  14. Hi Aimee, On step number 4 you mention adding ‘extracts’. Can you let me know what you are referring to? This looks delicious, thank you!

    • Hi Amy,
      Sometimes I add a splash of vanilla or maple extract in the recipe, but you don’t have to. Opps. Looks like I forgot that in the recipe. Sorry!

      Merry Christmas!

  15. I have to agree, there’s just somethin that ain’t right about mincemeat with no meat! I mean, I’m sure it tastes good, but mincemeat with meat in it tastes GREAT. at least if you have the right recipe!

  16. This is interesting! I have never heard of “Canadian” style mincemeat, but maybe that has something to do with being a Canadian in Canada – you won’t find Canadian Bacon here either – we call it back bacon. I like the idea of cranberries. I have made mincemeat from my mother in law’s recipe which uses green tomatoes and is processed in a water bath canner.

    • Hey Karen! This recipe is dubbed ‘Canadian’ because so many ingredients I use are local from the area of Canada that I am in including cranberries, apples, apple cider, maple syrup, and maple whisky.
      Did you know I was Canadian? Yeah, funny thing about back bacon, eh?

      Green tomatoes sounds pretty neat.

  17. markfrommaine says

    Now, why would you call that mincemeat? There is no MEAT in it..just sayin

  18. Can I substitute for the Sortilège? I don’t use alcohol so I was hoping you might have a suggestion as to what I might use instead. I’ve never had mincemeat before because what I’ve seen in the US looks awful. However, your recipe looks very yummy, I think I’d like to try it. I just found you blog and I’m so glad I did! Thanks so much!

  19. My dad tells me that my great grandmother was known for her mincemeat pies on the island he grew up on. I keep researching to find THE PERFECT recipe that might be like the shaker style pies she made but I keep finding neutered varieties.

    I love this variation, it sounds rich and flavorful. It is sad to see people snub their nose at offal and suet, they are nutrient dense foods that are part of the tradition. 😉

  20. Aimee, this sounds so wonderful. I have a British mother and granny who both make mincemeat tarts for Christmas, but I never did develop a taste for it. But this, OMG girlfriend, l can do. It sounds so refreshingly fruity and a little brandy and vanilla…well, they make it sound heavenly. I live in Mexico, Pacific coast, so I will have to hunt down currants, but you can be sure I am going to make this in the summer so I can be sure it will stand up for Christmas gifts this year. Thanks so much for the post, love your site!

  21. Brenda vanrootselaar says

    This recipe looks delicious. I will try it sometime. I just buy mincemeat in the jar and add rum or whatever liqueur I have. Funny how so many people assume mincemeat is actual meat. It originated in Britain. The only reason it is called Mincemeat is because of the tiny bit of Beef suet that is usually in the traditional recipes. I make my tarts like my mom did. I cut the dough in circles, place the filling in the middle and fold them over, like a perogy. I cover the unbaked tarts with a little eggwash and sprinkle with sugar. I have never ever come across anyone else who does this method. They are so nice because if you are not really a fan of mincemeat, you don’t get a huge amount of filling. Mostly pastry.

  22. Michelle Honey says

    I love mincemeant pie and have used it in muffins and cookies before too. I plan to try the recipe. Thank you for sharing it with us. Is there a link for printing it?

  23. Deena Johnson says

    This really is not mincemeat. More of a fruit relish maybe. It sounds delicious but definitely not mincemeat.

  24. Deena Johnson says

    This recipe with cranberries is not mincemeat. Sounds delicious, just NOT mincemeat.

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