How to Make Peppermint Extract

Part of the reason that I decided to grow mint this year was so that I could try making my own peppermint extract. Jesse and I are pretty much obsessed with mint (especially mint plus chocolate) so we go through a lot of mint extract. I buy this brand of mint extract and think it’s great, but it’s not exactly cheap, so making my own seemed like a great way to save some money.

I finally got down to it last weekend. The extract has only been sitting for a few days so far so I can’t tell you how it came out, but I wanted to share the method now in case anyone else has an abundance of mint just begging to be used for something.

How to Make Peppermint Extract

I did a quick Google search and found a multitude of recipes, all of which followed the same basic outline. Taking direction particularly from this recipe from Crunchy Betty and this recipe from Saved by the Egg Timer, here’s what I did:

Harvest a bunch of mint leaves from your mint plant. I chose to cut off stalks of mint because my plant was getting quite big, but I’m sure that you could just pull off individual leaves if you prefer.

Harvested mint leaves

Remove mint leaves from stalks (if applicable) and pack leaves into a measuring cup to determine how much mint you have. I ended up with about 1/2 cup of mint. Since I wanted to make my mint extract in a pint jar, 1/2 cup of leaves was a good amount for me, but you could easily use more or less leaves if desired.

Mint leaves ready to be rinsed

Rinse mint leaves with water, then squeeze leaves in your hands to bruise the leaves before placing them into a clean glass jar. (Bruising the leaves helps them release their oil when they’re placed in the vodka.)

Add about two to four times as much vodka as you have mint, making sure that use enough to submerge all of your leaves. I originally planned on adding one cup of vodka for my 1/2 cup of mint, but that didn’t end up being enough vodka to cover my leaves so I bumped it up to 1 1/2 cups.

Cover your jar with a lid and allow to steep for about a month in a cool, dark place. (I put mine in my pantry.) After the month has elapsed, you can start tasting the extract to see if it’s developed the flavor and intensity you want. If so, strain out the leaves and use the extract just as you would store-bought extract.

If your mint extract is not yet strong enough, allow it to continue to steep until it reaches your desired flavor.

That’s it! I can’t wait to try out my finished extract in our favorite mint recipes, like homemade mint chocolate, mint chocolate fudge, mint chocolate chip coconut ice cream, and chocolate mint coconut ice cream. 🙂

Have you ever made peppermint extract? What are your favorite ways to use up fresh mint?


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101 Responses to How to Make Peppermint Extract

  1. Mindy @ Too Many Jars in My Kitchen! says:
    You're making me really wish I had planted peppermint this year! I can't wait to see how it turns out for you. : ) I just launched a new real food blog carnival called Fill Those Jars Friday. I'd love to have you come stop by and share this on it: See you there! Mindy
  2. What a fabulous idea! My mint always grows well (too well) and this would be a great way to use it in the winter. ....hmmm, maybe I will do the same with my lemon balm, etc!
    • Meghan says:
      If you do try other extracts, please let us know how they turn out! I've only ever made vanilla and peppermint but I don't see why other herbs wouldn't work.
  3. Thanks! I'm bummed I picked all mine for tea - will have to plan for this next year! Heather
  4. So easy Meghan! Thanks for sharing it with us at Scratch Cookin' Tuesday!
  5. i love this post! i always end up with SO MUCH MINT i can't use it all! the thing is like a bloody weed! that being said, a few mojitos never hurt anyone ;) thank you for taking the time to link up with us at the Wednesday Fresh Foods Blog Hop! We hope to see you again this Wednesday with more fantastic seasonal & real food posts :) xo, kristy
  6. Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures' Make Your Own! Monday link-up. Check back tomorrow when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! :)
  7. Traditional Tuesdays | Cooking Traditional Foods says:
    [...] we have How to Make Homemade Peppermint Extract from Whole Natural Life. I have an abundance of peppermint going crazy in my backyard and I have been trying to think of a [...]
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  9. Traditional Tuesdays: Nutritious and Delicious – 08/21/12 - Delicious Obsessions says:
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  10. [...] we have How to Make Homemade Peppermint Extract from Whole Natural Life. I have an abundance of peppermint going crazy in my backyard and I have been trying to think of a [...]
  11. [...] How To Make Homemade Peppermint Extract by Whole Natural Life. Making your own mint extract looks so easy. What a clever way to use fresh mint! [...]
  12. Cheryl says:
    What a simple recipe, can't wait to try this. Do you use just the vanilla seed or pod too when doing vanilla extract? I use alot of vanilla so this has to be less expensive then store bought and taste better too...
    • Meghan says:
      Cheryl, for vanilla extract, I recommend checking out this tutorial:
      • Amy says:
        I've done this with peppermint, speariment and the chocolate peppermint. I just buy pints of vodka and add the leaves to the jars. Also, I take the 2 madigasgar vanilla beans, cut down the center and drop into the vodka, once it starts getting low I add another split bean and more vodka until my jar is overloaded with beans
  13. Tina says:
    Have you tried making this in oil instead of vodka? I bought an organic version that was sunflower oil. Thanks!
    • Meghan says:
      Tina, I haven't tried making this in oil rather than vodka. If you give it a try, let us all know how it turns out!
    • claudia says:
      Hi dear to infuse a plant in oil it must be dry if not it will rotten your oil and because menthol is volatile a mint infused oil may turn out good but not as potent than a mint tincture. Have a nice experiment.
  14. Den says:
    Thank you thank you thank you. I have so much peppermint. This will make great gifts! :o)
    • Meghan says:
      I agree - homemade extracts are a great gift idea! I'd totally get on that bandwagon except most of the people we give gifts to live a thousand miles away so transportation is an issue. :( I hope it goes well for you!
  15. [...] buckets of mint to make this homemade peppermint extract and dried tea to give away as Christmas gifts. Hobby Lobby just so happens to have these adorable [...]
  16. The Reading Corner: September 2012 | Too Many Jars in My Kitchen! says:
    [...] *I love learning how to make my own staple ingredients, and now there’s a great tutorial on how to make your own homemade peppermint extract. [...]
  17. Joan Sholl Francis says:
    Thanks for sharing. I dehydrate cuttings for tea, removing the leaves after I dehydrate, then I use the stems in potpourri. I also make a strong spearmint tea and put it in a spray bottle to use as a flea repellent for the dogs A great safe spray that you can use around their eyes, nose and ears. Smells great too.
  18. Genet says:
    I've not made my own extracts before. Tell me though ? Is it alcoholic ? Or does that evaporate? Was concerned about that and giving it in an uncooked concoction like pudding ? Also ? Have you ever grown chocolate mint ? YUM !
    • Meghan says:
      Yes, the extract is alcoholic. As far as I know, though, I think that's the case for all commercial extracts as well, unless you buy one that uses oil instead of alcohol. Since you only use a teaspoon or two in an entire recipe I personally wouldn't be concerned about the alcohol. I've never grown chocolate mint. I have very limited gardening space for the next few years but I will definitely be filing that suggestion away for the future. Thanks!
      • Arden says:
        I grow both peppermint and chocolate mint. The chocolate mint make a wonderful extract to use in cookies, frostings or cakes.
  19. Pam says:
    I was wondering if this method would work for 'lemon balm' came up by itself & has become a shrub! Any other suggestions for using 'lemon balm' would be greatly appreciated!
    • Meghan says:
      I don't know, Pam. I don't have any experience with lemon balm. I'd say give it a try and see how it goes! Or perhaps just try googling lemon balm uses. I'm sure there are a lot of things you can do with it.
    • Jennifer Lawrence says:
      Yes, that will work just fine with lemon balm, if you do a lemon balm/feverfew mixture it is a great migraine reliever.
    • Arden says:
      It will work for lemon verbena, although I prefer freezing the leaves in ice cube trays and dropping in my tea. The leaves also make a wonderful, relaxing tea, preferably served hot. I can't help you with the lemon balm but I would think it would work just as the verbena does.
  20. annita says:
    i have just picked a bag full of mint and have them sitting on the kitchen counter, studyind what to do with them , and here you are, you are a saviour, thant you very very much, you guys are awesome, going and buy the vodka an dtry this now.
  21. Rebecca says:
    This is awesome! I bought some whole vanilla bean and picked peppermint and chocolate mint from my garden to make this yesterday!
  22. [...] now you know how to make homemade extracts.  The same concept can be used with homegrown mints for homemade mint extract, or to make homemade orange extract and coconut extract.  The shelf life is indefinite – [...]
  23. Linky Links: September 2012 | OUR NOURISHING ROOTS says:
    [...] GAPS gravy recipe and thought it was so clever!  Another recipe I geeked out about a little: homemade peppermint extract.  In time for the holidays, [...]
  24. [...] you know how to make homemade extracts.  The same concept can be used with homegrown mints for homemade mint extract, or to make homemade orange extract and coconut extract.  The shelf life is indefinite – [...]
  25. I can't wait to try this!
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  27. evangelyn sena says:
    Thank you so much for sharing about how to make a peppermint extract.but my problem is I don't have vodka is there any alternatives.Not all place here in middle east is allowed.Please help m I wanna try this peppermint extract.
    • Meghan says:
      Evangelyn, are you able to buy any other type of hard alcohol? I think you might be able to make it with something other than vodka. I'd do a google search and see what you can find out. If you can't find any other alcohol, I'm afraid I don't have any advice. I'd try searching for "how to make alcohol-free peppermint extract" or something of that sort.
  28. Marlene Perry says:
    What do you use the peppermint extract for? Please share!
  29. rhonda says:
    It does work for lemon balm. Follow the directions for mint except steep it in the sun for up to 4 weeks, then store it in a dark container in your cabinet. Take a teaspoon every half hour for up to 2 hours to cure a headache. Works!
  30. Friday Happy Hour #11 - Oh Lardy! says:
    [...] Homemade Peppermint Extract?!  Hot Dog!  I see homemade peppermint coffee creamer in my future!! [...]
  31. Devo K says:
    I have had AMAZING success in making pure vanilla extract and my two attempts at making mint extract have been DISMAL failures (and I also follow an online recipe). Have you cracked open your mint extract yet? How is it?
  32. [...] instructions. For the Foodies in your life, gift them with culinary essentials like homemade peppermint extract or this beautiful vanilla extract.Any dudes (or gals) that love to barbeque will love this tasty [...]
  33. John says:
    I make many extracts like this with different leaves. Remember, if you want to make syrup, stir in the sweetener after you have the consistency you want and let it sit for another couple of weeks. I use maple syrup,honey Blue Agave to make syrups. if you just want to sweeten things up a little, go to your health food place and get a small bag of stevia leaves in the bulk section and add it with your other herbs to careful though its very sweet.
  34. Glen Flower says:
    Thank you! This looks great -- I'll try and get a hold of some vodka. I can't wait to hear how this turns out!
  35. keltic says:
    I've made peppermint extract for years. I use the mint vodka to make a liqueur (schnappes) by making a simple syrup and adding it to the mint vodka with some green food coloring.
  36. Maddie says:
    How long will it keep after its done?
    • Maddie, I'm not sure, but since it's in alcohol I would guess it would keep indefinitely...? The flavor might disapper over time, but I'd be surprised it it actually spoiled.
  37. erik says:
    I'm guessing that you use the vodka for its alchohol content? would it be better to use a higher proof? Because I know that there is much in there other than the booze that might affect the flavour. Also would it be a good idea to reduce the liquid volume evaporating some of it? would that perhaps make it stronger? Also can you use this method for extracting other flavours from other plants like vanilla pods? Thanks for the recipe!
    • I don't know, Erik--I haven't played around with the method at all. If you experiment, let us all know your results! And yes, you can use a similar method to make your own vanilla extract.
  38. Make Your Own Homemade Peppermint Extract » Gimster says:
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  42. [...] Mint Extract – which is actually just mint-infused vodka, which might make some interesting cocktails [...]
  43. Trista says:
    I am making mint extract right now. One week in and it tastes like olives? I just added some more mint leaves, hopefully this helps? Otherwise I guess I'll have a martini...
  44. Emily says:
    Hi, I just recently discovered your blog and love it! I tried making mint extract recently. What's it supposed to look like in the end? Mine is very brownish. Should it still be clear?
  45. Jude the Obtuse says:
    I've also learned that it helps to pick up the jar and shake it gently every day. It helps keep the process active.
  46. Sheri Farmer says:
    I have an abundance of chocolate mint and wondered what would be a good use for it? any ideas?
  47. Janet White says:
    Does everyone have Peppermint growing or are they using Spearmint or wild mint as well? Not sure I have true Peppermint but have plenty of regular mint I use for tea and Mint Juleps- guess it would work OK?
  48. Janet White says:
    Does everyone have true Peppermint growing or are they using Spearmint and Wild Mint as well? I have plenty wild mint which I use for tea and Mint Juleps- I hope that would work as well? Thanks.
  49. Angel says:
    I cant wait to try this! I have Spearmint, Peppermint, Orange mint and Chocolate mint! Not I just have to getenough vodka.... hmmmm LOL
  50. Zinn says:
    This is a common tincture recipe and can be used for any medicinal herb. Keep spreading the word!
  51. Marie Vincent says:
    I love to drink sun-tea. I put fresh crushed mint leaves in a glass gallon jar of water and set it in the sun to brew all day. Then I fill the icecube tray and the rest gets chilled in the frige. I sometime add a little wedge of organic lemon with the peel to the tea in the icecube tray. It is refreshing on a hot summer day, not sweetened and the icecubes adds a touch of lemony flavor to the mint.
  52. Nancy Truhn says:
    I have 3 kinds of mint growing (I just let it go and it is everywhere, but I am OK with that) How can ID each different kind of mint?
    • Nancy Truhn says:
      If anyone replies to my comment (how do i identify the 3 kinds of mint) could you please reply to my email? Thanks
  53. How To Make Homemade Peppermint Extract | Precious Women says:
    […] Ready for the peppermint extract recipe? Find out how to make it here… […]
  54. Linda Corbin says:
    Is there a NON alcoholic way to do this? There are some of us who have an allergy to alcohol and I'm one of them.
  55. […] To make your own mint extract go visit Whole Natural Life […]
  56. Norma Lozano says:
    Can I use gin also besides vodka to steep the mint leaves?
  57. lee koelzer says:
    Thank you so much for this! I randomly live in Uganda (Africa) and have been making my own western items like pickles, infused oils, kaluah(sp?), and peppermint schnapps. Since peppermint extract does not exist here, I am now making my own! You are awesome. :)
  58. Theresa says:
    You have just created peppermint vodka. You need to take your leaves out of the mixture after the time is up & then you take the liquid and freeze it. The part that freezes is the extract. The part that doesn't freeze is alcohol. Vodka wont freeze. However your extract still will contain some alcohol content but not as much as yours. Good luck this is a fun one to make & I always feel great using it when I know I grew it & made it myself. Only thing better would be if I made my own vodka. Lol.
  59. […] now you know how to make homemade extracts.  The same concept can be used with homegrown mints for homemade mint extract, or to make homemade orange extract and coconut extract.  The shelf life is indefinite – alcohol […]
  60. Peppermint Extract | Crochet Newby says:
    […] informative (read: first link in the search) post reflecting how I make my extract. Head on over to Whole Natural Life for the Step By Step […]
  61. Naurah says:
    Can I use olive oil instead of vodka? Or is there any other way besides using vodka?
  62. Deeksha says:
    Hey, Can the same recipe be used to make regular mint extract(I mean Spearmint not peppermint)? We have mint in abundance here in India. Also can refular mint extract be used in the recipes you've listed above?
  63. HAPPY WEEKEND + A Few Favorites says:
    […] in my Essential Oils post this week, Peppermint is one of my favorites!  Whole Natural Life shared How to Make your own Peppermint Extract.  I can’t wait to test […]
  64. What do you use your peppermint extract for other than aromatherapy
  65. […] course, if you’re feeling very adventurous then you can make your own aromatherapy oil using the leaves.  Although I haven’t tried this myself it doesn’t look too painful to […]
  66. […] How To Make Homemade Peppermint Extract […]
  67. Homemade toothpaste | Straw and Daughter says:
    […] we are currently making our own mint essence.  We have a heap of mint growing in our garden.  Here is the recipe we used from Whole Natural Life to make mint essence. Our mason jar of mint and vodka […]
  68. Denise says:
    I am wondering if the extract is supposed to be brownish in color and the mint leaves looking like wilted spinach in color? It's been about 3 weeks now since I've started making the extract. Thanks for anyone's comments about the results.
  69. Denise says:
    My mint leaves have been soaking in vodka for about 3 weeks now. They look very dark green almost like cooked spinach color and still smell strongly of the vodka (alcohol). I am just wondering what it's ultimately suppose to smell and taste look to know if it's ready to use. Thanks!
  70. […] Add in the melted white chocolate, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract. It’s a good idea to make sure the chocolate is ever so slightly cooled before adding it to the […]
  71. For The Home | Sweet Treats! ~ Peppermint Cookie Pizza | Emerge Beautiful says:
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  72. […] mint extract right now (read these instructionals from Mommypotamus, The Prairie Homestead, Whole Natural Life, Healthy Green Kitchen and Crafting a Green World to see what inspired me to try this homemade […]
  73. Eva Stosic says:
    Can you use dry mint leafs?
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  75. […] amongst the many food colourings, in the baking aisle at  any supermarket or you can simply make your own peppermint extract from scratch (for adult use only) […]

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