The best peppermint extract substitutes to use in cooking and baking recipes are vanilla, spearmint, mint candy, peppermint schnapps, peppermint oil, mint leaves, and Crème de Menthe.
From desserts like fudge, and cakes, to adding a splash of flavor and color in dishes, peppermint extract is a versatile ingredient used across various cuisines. There are so many things you can do with it.
From vanilla extract to wintergreen extract, in this blog, we will look at some of the best peppermint extract substitutes available.
What is Peppermint Extract?
Peppermint extract is produced from both the stems and leaves of peppermint, and it serves as a frequently used component in various dessert and baking recipes.
Its inclusion infuses a refreshing, minty taste to cakes, cookies, and various other delectable confections. Since it possesses a concentrated essence of peppermint, it is advisable to exercise caution when adding it to your culinary creations.
Peppermint extract is composed of alcohol, peppermint oil, and water. The alcohol aids in extracting the flavor from the peppermint leaves, while the oil concentration contributes to the extract’s strong and distinct taste.
It is available in three types: natural, artificial, and imitation. Both artificial and imitation versions contain ingredients that are not naturally derived.
What are the best substitutes for Peppermint Extract?
Peppermint extract is the most common ingredient used in recipes to add a fresh peppermint taste to the dish. The minty flavor can be achieved using other alternatives.
There are several alternatives of peppermint extract that are perfect for a wide range of recipes. Some are more minty than others and sweet.
1. Mint Leaves
Although mint leaves don’t offer the same intense flavor as peppermint extract, it is a great natural alternative. Mint leaves add freshness and brightness to the dish just like peppermint extract.
Peppermint extract possesses a higher concentration of menthol compared to mint leaves, making it more potent. Mint leaves, on the other hand, offer great versatility and can be used in both sweet and savory recipes.
Utilize mint leaves to brew a flavorful tea, enhance the taste of various dishes, or simply enjoy their refreshing flavor by chewing on them.
Additionally, mint leaves can be used to create a revitalizing beverage. Crush a few mint leaves in water or incorporate them into your preferred juice or smoothie for a refreshing twist.
2. Mint Candy
If you want to add peppermint extract to a dessert or a bakery item, mint candy is a good alternative. It does not provide the same flavor as peppermint extract, because it’s sweeter. In other words, it’s too sweet to be used in savory dishes.
Mint candy is made from mint extract and sugar. It has a refreshing flavor that can be used in desserts. The candies are available in different shapes, colors, and sizes.
3. Spearmint Extract
A suitable alternative to peppermint extract is spearmint extract. It contains a lower amount of menthol compared to peppermint, giving it a milder minty taste. Although it shares a similar flavor profile, it is not as intense.
Spearmint extract is derived from extracting the essential oil from the leaves and stems of the spearmint plant. The concentrated oil is typically mixed with carrier oil before being incorporated into various products. When using spearmint extract, you can use the same quantity as you would with peppermint extract.
Spearmint extract can be added to a wide range of items, including food, beverages, and cosmetics.
4. Peppermint Schnapps
Peppermint Schnapps has a similar flavor to peppermint extract. It is a distilled spirit that is flavored with mint and is commonly used in mixed drinks. Peppermint Schnapps is an inexpensive alternative to the extract which can be used to add a strong minty flavor to your recipes.
Peppermint schnapps is produced by steeping mint leaves in vodka or another neutral spirit. The infusion of mint leaves imparts the distinct flavor and aroma that characterizes schnapps. Peppermint schnapps is transparent in appearance and contains a high alcohol concentration, usually ranging from 15 to 20 percent.
Peppermint schnapps commonly finds its place in cocktails like the Grasshopper and the candy cane. When using peppermint schnapps, it is recommended to employ a 2:1 ratio compared to the amount of peppermint extract typically used.
5. Vanilla Extract
Although it may not look like it, vanilla extract is another good substitute for peppermint extract. It adds depth and flavor to your dishes without the minty taste. It is mostly used in baking and desserts because it has a sweet note.
Vanilla extract, a prevalent component in baking, is created through a process involving the immersion of vanilla beans in alcohol, followed by the combination of the infused alcohol with water. The beans are left to mature for several months to develop their distinctive flavor.
While crafting homemade vanilla extract can require up to a year, commercial food manufacturers possess the necessary equipment to expedite the process.
When replacing peppermint extract with vanilla extract, it is recommended to use an equal 1:1 ratio.
6. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil is very similar to peppermint extract. However, it is very powerful than an extract because it has a more minty flavor, so use it sparingly.
It is made from raw oil that is extracted from the stems and leaves of the peppermint plant. To get the desired minty flavor, you only need a few drops in the recipes.
This substitute is a common ingredient in mint chocolate chip ice cream, mint chocolate chip cookies, and mint cocktails. It is also used in cleaning soaps.
7. Creme de Menthe
Although not common, another close alternative to the extract is Creme de menthe. It is a mint-flavored liqueur that is easily available in most liquor stores. Because of its strong minty flavor, it is mostly used as an after-dinner drink.
This liqueur is very sweet but a good substitute for peppermint. Creme de menthe offers a taste reminiscent of peppermint extract but with a milder concentration.
Creme De Menthe is commonly used in recipes such as mint chocolate chip ice cream, mint cocktails, and mint chocolate cookies. It complements dark chocolate exceptionally well.
Make sure to use a good-quality liqueur because most lower-quality brands have a bitter aftertaste. Use it in a ratio of 2:1 to replace peppermint extract.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use candy canes instead of peppermint extract?
Yes, candy canes work as a substitute for peppermint extract. They have a strong minty flavor and can be crushed to add to the recipes.
Is Peppermint extract same as syrup?
No, peppermint extract is different from the syrup. The extract is more concentrated and is used in recipes to add a minty flavor. The syrup is usually made from sugar and water which is used in drinks and recipes as a flavoring agent.
Are mint extract and peppermint extract the same?
Mint extract is a mixture of peppermint and spearmint whereas peppermint extract is just that.