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Homemade Peppermint Extract

Learn how easy and affordable it is to make your own Homemade Peppermint Extract! Homemade mint extract makes wonderful Christmas and holiday gifts.

A bottle of homemade peppermint extract with mint and lavender on a wooden board

Innocently plant some mint in your garden and within a few weeks you’ll be a full-fledged mint farmer. Trying to decide what to do with some of that excess? Homemade peppermint extract is the answer you have been looking for.

Oh, you haven’t been looking for it? Well, humor me then, m’kay?

How is peppermint extract made?

There are two methods discussed in this post – the Instant Pot and more of a traditional long steep. As the name implies, the Instant Pot gives you pretty much immediate results and the long steep takes one to three months. You’ll get great results either way.

The extract process essentially removes the oils and flavors from an item, be it vanilla or peppermint. The oils/flavors are absorbed into a liquid – generally vodka or another alcohol for preservation and use.

Are peppermint oil and extract the same thing?

Nope. Extract has a weaker flavor profile and the oils/flavors are suspended in a liquid. Quality essential oils are only pure oils in a bottle and are more heavily concentrated.

While some people will advocating using essential oils in cooking or in capsule form, this should only be done under strict supervision. Extracts, on the other hand, are safe for internal consumption assuming you don’t have any sensitivity to alcohol.

How do you make peppermint extract without alcohol?

Maybe you want to use extracts for kids or don’t consume alcohol yourself. There is a way to create extracts without using booze. You’re going to use vegetable glycerin!

You will need to pour boiling water over the mint leaves and then add glycerin to your jar until the leaves are fully covered. And then you’ll place your jars in a slow cooker or Instant Pot on low for three days. Yep, three freaking days!

After that, you’ll strain the herbs and pour a bit of boiling water over the herbs to rinse the glycerin off. Bottle the liquid and use in place of alcohol-based extracts in a 1:1 ratio. For full instructions and more details, please visit this post.

What Kind of Mint Should I Use?

Honestly? Any kind works fine. The fresh mint available in most stores is actually spearmint and not peppermint. It’s a mad, mad world we live in.

Many years ago I planted three kinds of mint (spearmint, peppermint, and chocolate mint) in a container in my yard and the resulting mint orgy that took place means I have no idea what kind of mint I use for this recipe and others. And guess what? It all works out great! Live a little friends and use whatever you want.

How Do I Use Homemade Peppermint Extract?

Use it in a 1:1 ratio as you would storebought peppermint extract. It’s great for cooking, desserts, or drinks

Here’s How to Make It:

Instant Pot:

If you are new to pressure cooking and the Instant Pot, check out this post on recipes for Instant Pot beginners.

  1. Rinse your peppermint leaves and add them to a canning jar. You may need to pack them in with a spoon to get everything to fit.
  2. Pour vodka over the leaves. Add the lid and ring and tighten to fingertip tight.
  3. Place 1 cup of water in the Instant Pot and place a wire rack inside. Add the jars.
  4. Put the lid on the Instant Pot, set the vent to “sealing” and press Manual>high pressure>30 minutes.
  5. Allow for a natural release. Carefully remove the hot jars from the Instant Pot and place on a towel to fully cool. Store in a cool dry place.process shots for making homemade peppermint extract

Traditional Method:

  1. Rinse your peppermint leaves and add them to a canning jar. You may need to pack them in with a spoon to get everything to fit.m
  2. Pour vodka over the leaves. Put a lid on the jar and shake a few times.
  3. Store in a cool dark place, shaking once a day for the first few weeks. After that, shake it (like a Polaroid picture) whenever you think of it.

Can we be frank about appearance here for a minute? The pressurized leaves are butt-ugly after they have been processed. If giving this as a gift I like to strain the finished extract from the old leaves, decant to another bottle and add a few fresh mint leaves.

A jar of peppermint extract with mint and lavender on a board

Want printable labels for your own homemade peppermint extract?

Click this link to download and print the template I use. Labels print to Avery print to edge round labels in kraft brown (Avery 22808).

Pro Tips/Recipe Notes:

  • Need to make more or less of the recipe? Click and slide the “servings” number on the recipe card and the ingredients will adjust as needed. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
  • You may notice that the Instant Pot extract still smells of alcohol after the extract process. This is normal and the alcohol smell should fade over the next week.
  • I have an 8 quart Instant Pot and chose to use two 8 oz jam jars for this process.
  • Some recipes will have directions to place the jars in the Instant Pot uncovered. I find this caused too much evaporation of the vodka during the pressure cooking process.
  • Fingertip tight means you tighten the lid and ring and then loosen it just a tiny bit. This should prevent the jar from forming an actual seal. If that does happen, use a bottle opener and pop it loose when it has cooled. There is no harm in it sealing.
  • I made multiple batches of this to test it out and found that a longer processing time in the Instant Pot did not result in a more “minty” flavor.
  • Homemade mint extract has a pretty infinite shelf-life as long as it is stored with an air-tight lid.

Other Recipes Like This:

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A bottle of homemade peppermint extract with mint and lavender on a wooden board
Print
5 from 2 votes
Homemade Peppermint Extract
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Pressurizing/depressurizing
1 hr
Total Time
35 mins
 

Learn how easy and affordable it is to make your own Homemade Peppermint Extract! Homemade mint extract makes wonderful Christmas and holiday gifts.

Course: Condiments
Cuisine: American
Keyword: homemade peppermint extract, peppermint extract in the instant pot
Servings: 40
Calories: 16 kcal
Ingredients
  • 3 cups peppermint leaves packed
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1 cup water
Instructions
Instant Pot:
  1. Rinse your peppermint leaves and add them to a canning jar. You may need to pack them in with a spoon to get everything to fit.m

  2. Pour vodka over the leaves. Add the lid and ring and tighten to fingertip tight.

  3. Place 1 cup of water in the Instant Pot and place a wire rack inside. Add the jars.

  4. Put the lid on the Instant Pot, set the vent to “sealing” and press Manual>high pressure>30 minutes.

  5. Allow for a natural release. Carefully remove the hot jars from the Instant Pot and place on a towel to fully cool. Store in a cool dry place and use in a 1:1 ratio as store-bought extracts.

Traditional Method:
  1. Rinse your peppermint leaves and add them to a canning jar. You may need to pack them in with a spoon to get everything to fit.m

  2. Pour vodka over the leaves. Put a lid on the jar and shake a few times.

  3. Store in a cool dark place, shaking once a day for the first few weeks. After that, shake it whenever you think of it.

Recipe Notes

You may notice that the extract still smells of alcohol after the extract process. This is normal and the alcohol smell should fade over the next few weeks.

 

Fingertip tight means you tighten the lid and ring and then loosen it just a tiny bit. This should prevent the jar from forming an actual seal. If that does happen, use a bottle opener and pop it loose when it has cooled. There is no harm in it sealing.

Nutrition Facts
Homemade Peppermint Extract
Amount Per Serving (1 tsp)
Calories 16
% Daily Value*
Fat 0g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 1mg0%
Potassium 19mg1%
Carbohydrates 0g0%
Fiber 0g0%
Sugar 0g0%
Protein 0g0%
Vitamin A 145IU3%
Vitamin C 1.1mg1%
Calcium 8mg1%
Iron 0.2mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This recipe was originally published in November 2011. It has been retested and updated with reader feedback. New photos have been added and the recipe has been made printable. For reference, this is the photo from the original post:

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26 comments on “Homemade Peppermint Extract”

  1. Can I use a pressure cooker instead of a instant pot for the non-alcoholic method?

    Thank you

    • Hi Farah, I would assume you mean a stovetop pressure cooker? It should work but I’ll be honest that I don’t know how the cook times would correlate.

  2. My extract turned brown. Is that normal?

  3. I followed your directions and now I have mint extract, just as you promised. My question is, is it supposed to be so bitter? Or do I need to cull my leaves more carefully? Thanks for your patience.

    • Hey Beth, yeah, it’s bitter because of the booze. Not sure if you’ve ever sipped on store-bought extract (I wouldn’t. Gross), but it’s the same.

      What kind of mint did you use? Spearmint might add a tiny bit sweeter flavor, but it’s still mint in booze.

  4. At the risk of sounding foolish, how do you rinse your peppermint leaves? Do you soak them in a pan with vinegar and water? Do you rinse them in a colandar? Do you pick the leaves and then rinse them, or do you wash the leaves while they’re still on the stem and then pick them? Sorry to ask what is probably such a basic question, but I seem to have missed this class at school, and I’d like to use some of the rampant peppermint in one of my garden beds to make peppermint extract. I would appreciate any tips you could give me. Thanks.

    • I put them in a colander and use the spray feature on my kitchen faucet to get into the nooks and crannies. I do this when they’re still on the stem (but after I’ve picked them). Then I remove the leaves!

      • Thanks for helping out those of us who are “fresh mint impaired.” This recipe is at the top of my list for tomorrow. I’ll let you know how it goes…

  5. Amazing idea for homemade Christmas gifts – so glad I found this tutorial in time! I had no idea it was so easy!

  6. I love this idea! I have always made my own vanilla extract, but have never delved into other kinds of extracts until now. I had no idea it was so easy, but holy crap, it is! And this stuff smells incredible. Can’t wait to put it to use with my holiday baking.

  7. I have some vanilla extract going right now, though I need to add more beans to it. I have a lot of vodka left AND I happen to be growing some mint in a pot on our terrace so…
    Thanks for this!

  8. Or, you know, sometimes you don’t plant mint at all but SOMEONE (ie the people who lived at your house before you) must have planted at least one mint plant sometime in the past and you go outside to find that the mint orgies have been going strong in the five minutes you looked away and now half your planter box is taken over by mint. Guess I should go buy some vodka!

    • Isn’t it insane Alli? Mint is invasive AF! I had a small pot of mint for years and decided to upgrade to a giant metal tub this year. Within a week it had doubled in size. Within three weeks it was ready to take on the world.

  9. Could this work somehow with elderflower? I tried elderflower gin at Christmas and OMG…MOUTH EXPLOSION!!!

    • I think you could, but it might turn out to be more like a tincture (herbal medicine steeped in vodka). Give it a shot, and see what happens. That is always my motto! ;-D

  10. Thanks! I know the store-bought ones have alcohol in them. I didn’t word my question well, but I was trying to ask if the amount of minty vodka I would need to flavour anything would be enough to get me tipsy. I’m also a super lightweight. I only add a couple drops of store-bought extract, so if I only needed to add a couple drops of homemade then that would be great. I could always add more mint to make the concentration stronger, right?

  11. I would love to do this, but won’t the vodka affect me? How strong is this compared to store-bought extract? I always put either cinnamon or a couple drops of mint extract into my hot chocolates, but I don’t want to get boozed up in the mornings. Well, not every morning. Would I still only need a couple drops of the homemade extract to get the strong mint flavour?

    • Check your current extract; chances are it is probably alcoholic anyway. I just use a splash, and it doesn’t seem to impact me. And I can get drunk off of beer battered shrimp.

  12. Awesome! I’ve been looking for things to do with the mint in my backyard, this sounds perfect. And I picked up some cute little bottles at a thrift store a few months back that would be great for this.

    Just a quick question though: you mentioned that the homemade vanilla extract could last for a couple of years by adding some more vodka as you use it. Do you think the same goes for the mint? Or should we take the mint leaves out after a couple months? (Just wondering if the mint leaves go bad after long enough.)

    Thanks 🙂

    • I’ve left the mint leaves in my bottle since the vodka kind of “pickles it”. It has been fine so far!

      • Hey I was wondering if you have any tips or reasons why my mint extract didn’t quite work I personally did the traditional method and it’s been over 2 months and it still taste strongly of vodka. Do you have any reason why it ended up like this? If so could you email me.

      • Hi Ethan,

        I shot you an email. Sarah

  13. Dang, I wish I had 4-6 weeks until Christmas. I guess this will be NEXT Christmas gifts. ;D

  14. Duh! That IS a genius idea!