It isn’t the holidays if you don’t have a nice cup of peppermint hot chocolate. In fact, anything peppermint is extremely popular in sweets during the colder months, warming you up with its cooling effect and sharp flavor!
However, what’s stopping you from enjoying peppermint-based recipes all year long? Peppermint extract is an excellent ingredient to keep for your drinks and desserts in the kitchen.
But what if you can’t find peppermint extract in grocery stores or have none at home while you’re in the middle of a recipe?
Not to worry for those who don’t have any peppermint extract, as there are various substitutes to try out! Read on for our list of the best peppermint extract substitutes.
The Best Peppermint Extract Substitute
Peppermint extract is a flavoring made from peppermint leaves. We use this ingredient in sauces, desserts, and
If you can’t buy peppermint extract in your grocery stores, there are many different alternate extract options to choose from. Here are the best peppermint extract substitutes:
1. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint essential oils hold a bold flavor and stronger odor than peppermint extract, though you can still use it as an alternative. It will still give you the same distinct flavor in your food and beverages.
Note that 4 parts of peppermint extract are equal to 1 part of peppermint oil. So if a recipe calls for 4 teaspoons of peppermint extract, use one teaspoon of peppermint oil.
You can use this pure essential oil in sweet and savory dishes, drinks, and other minty recipes.
2. Peppermint Schnapps
Peppermint schnapps is a peppermint-flavored liqueur. We recommend using this in cocktails that require peppermint extract, though we see people adding peppermint schnapps to their recipes, too.
Since you get a strong peppermint flavor from this ingredient, you can use one ounce of peppermint schnapps for every 4-5 drops of extract.
3. Watermint Extract
Peppermint is a hybrid herb, coming from spearmint and watermint. Watermint has a high menthol concentration, giving a cooling sensation you find in peppermint extract. (*)
Therefore, watermint extract will have a slightly stronger taste than peppermint, so we recommend diluting it. You can also use fresh watermint herb, though only add a few leaves to avoid overwhelming your dish.
4. Spearmint Extract
Spearmint extract offers a similar minty flavor, but there are distinct differences. Spearmint extract is sweeter and doesn’t give a cooling sensation than peppermint extract.
Because of that, the spearmint flavor is best for sweet dishes and desserts. However, you can also use this in savory applications, using equal amounts.
You can also try using spearmint leaves or spearmint oil.
Basil also works as an excellent peppermint extract substitute! It comes from the mint family, with the strong aroma of peppermint leaves. However, it has a different taste.
Basil has an outstanding balance between sweet and savory, with just a hint of pepper. That’s why some people may notice a slight difference in the dish’s overall taste.
But that isn’t a bad thing; basil will add a refreshing flavor to your savory recipes in a good way.
6. Peppermint Candy Canes
If you happen to have extra peppermint candy canes left over, then use it to substitute peppermint extract!
Crush your candy canes into a fine powder with a meat mallet or food processor. Then, you can blend this into your beverage, baked goods, or other desserts.
7. Creme de Menthe
This is another liqueur with a sweet and creamy mint flavor. You can find this liqueur in green or colorless versions, using it for desserts and cocktails for a refreshing taste.
Compared to peppermint extract, creme de menthe only has a slightly mild flavor and odor. For every 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract required, use 1/2 to 1 cup of creme de menthe.
8. Create Your Own Mint Extract
You can make homemade peppermint extract easily.
All you need is one bottle of vodka and one cup of peppermint leaves.
Follow these directions:
- Prepare your leaves by rinsing them using cold water. Please place them in a glass jar.
- Pour all the vodka in the jar or until it fills to the top. Close the lid, then shake the jar.
- Keep the glass jar in the dark, cool area for 3-4 weeks. Shake the jar once a day so the ingredients mix properly.
- Strain the mixture and discard the leaves, and you’ve got a finished extract!
9. Herbal Mint Tea
Herbal mint tea is one of the most accessible substitutes you can purchase in the supermarket or make yourself.
While you can use it in baked goods, note that it would have somewhat different flavors. Only add a small amount of tea, then taste test it until it reaches your desired flavor.
10. Methanol Crystals
Methanol crystals come from peppermint oil and are readily available in grocery stores or online. That’s why they make an excellent peppermint extract substitute!
This ingredient is used in so many products because of its menthol content’s aroma, flavor, and cooling sensation. We recommend using this substitute in cosmetics like lotions, balms, shampoos, or perfumes that require peppermint extract.
Rosemary also belongs to the mint family, so you can get similar characteristics to most mint leaves. However, we only recommend using this substitute for peppermint extract if all else fails.
Rosemary has a much different flavor than peppermint, which many may notice. While it will still provide good flavor, don’t expect it to taste exactly like fresh mint leaves.
12. Vanilla Extract
The vanilla extract should only be used as a last resort, as peppermint and vanilla have different flavors. Vanilla is milder than peppermint’s distinct and significant flavors.
Because of this, only use vanilla in very small amounts. We added vanilla extract to our list because of its accessibility (you probably have some at home already) and how it can add nice flavors to your desserts!
Frequently Asked Questions
For those who still have other questions related to peppermint extract, we’ll help you out! These are frequently asked questions our readers have wondered about, too.
1. How is peppermint extract created?
There are two production processes for peppermint extract.
Either you can dilute essential oils in alcohol or steep peppermint leaves in alcohol, straining the mixture before use.
There are three kinds of peppermint extract: Natural, imitation, and artificial.
Natural peppermint extract has minimal ingredients, which are alcohol, peppermint oil, and water (at times). Artificial and imitation extracts have artificial flavoring.
2. Can I substitute peppermint oil with peppermint extract?
Yes, you can interchange peppermint essential oil with the extract. However, they are not the same.
Peppermint oil is concentrated and pure, having a fantastic aroma and flavor. On the other hand, extracts are diluted and mild.
3. What can I do with peppermint extract?
There are so many different ways you can use peppermint extract. Check out these cool ideas to try, whether with the extract itself or when using substitutes for peppermint extract:
- Make a herbal tea by adding a few drops of it
- Add a bit of extract to your ice cream base to create a whole new flavor
- Add it to hot chocolate to make a mintiness to your favorite sweet drink
- Place a bit of extract into your batter or dough for more of a mint flavor
Wrapping It Up
Who knew how powerful of an ingredient peppermint extract was? If you can’t buy peppermint extract in your local grocery stores, you can always save your baked goods with any mentioned substitutes.
Hopefully, you will find peppermint extract substitutes from our list. If you did, let us know what you thought of our list and share your tips and cooking experiences!
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