The best peppermint extract substitutes are peppermint oil, peppermint schnapps, creme de menthe, and mint leaves.
But there are also a few more substitutions you can try in your favorite recipes.
So you want to bake some minty cookies or make a peppermint mocha. But oh no, you’re out of peppermint extract! What now?
Take a deep breath, there’s no need to rush to the store. Your kitchen probably has something that will save the day.
From other extracts to simple ingredients you never thought could replace peppermint, they’re all here to help.
So stick around, and let’s keep that minty dream alive even without actual peppermint extract!
What Is Peppermint Extract?
Peppermint extract is basically the essence of mint in a little bottle. It’s made by getting the oils out of peppermint leaves and mixing them with alcohol.
This mix is then boiled down to get a really concentrated liquid packed with that classic minty taste. Think of it as mint leaves, but supercharged!
It’s a favorite for jazzing up cookies, ice creams, milkshakes, you name it. And it’s not just for sweets. Peppermint extract can add a cool twist to savory dishes too.
But watch out, this stuff is strong. Just a teaspoon is plenty enough to give a minty kick to your recipe.
Best Peppermint Extract Substitutes
Alright, let’s cut to the chase. Here are 10 peppermint extract substitutes that’ll come in handy when you’re in a pinch.
1. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil is like peppermint extract’s big sibling. It’s bolder and packs a punch. It’s extracted right from the peppermint plant’s stems and leaves. This oil is all-natural minty goodness.
Use it in mint chocolate-chip ice cream, minty cocktails, and cookies. Or, add a drop to your tea or lemonade for that extra zing.
Because it’s way stronger than the extract, use it sparingly. Try a drop or two to start with. With peppermint oil, a little goes a long way.
2. Peppermint Schnapps
Peppermint schnapps is basically booze infused with mint leaves. So you get that peppermint kick with a bit of buzz. It’s perfect for holiday cheer, by the way.
Use it in drinks, desserts, or anywhere you’d use peppermint extract. It’s wonderful in cocktails, brownies, or hot chocolate.
But it’s not as strong as the extract, so use a bit more. A good rule of thumb is to use twice the amount of schnapps compared to extract.
3. Creme de Menthe
Creme de Menthe is a sweet and minty liqueur that can step in for peppermint extract like a pro. It’s not as concentrated as peppermint extract, so use about twice as much. But go easy, as it’s still pretty strong.
Also, quality matters, so grab a good one to avoid any bitterness.
Creme de Menthe is fantastic in mint ice cream, coffees, and cocktails. It also pairs like a dream with dark chocolate. Use it in brownies, cakes, and frostings, too.
4. Mint Leaves
Peppermint extract is derived from mint leaves, so using them as a substitute is a no-brainer. They’re not just for mojitos, folks! Mint leaves are versatile. They bring minty freshness without going overboard.
Toss mint leaves in hot chocolate or blend them in smoothies. You can also throw them into a salad or a dish like lamb with couscous.
The result isn’t as in-your-face minty as the extract, but you’ll get that refreshing vibe you’re after.
So, when you’re out of extract, grab some mint leaves.
5. Candy Canes
Candy canes aren’t just for hanging on trees. They’re also a sweet hack for when you’re out of peppermint extract. Just smash them into bits and sprinkle them into your mix.
They melt when heated, so they’re best in no-bake treats like ice creams or frostings. But you can also use them to garnish cakes, cookies, and shakes. They add a crunch, festive touch.
Swap one candy cane for each teaspoon of extract.
They’re very sweet. Sometimes, it’s better to sprinkle them on top rather than mix them in.
6. Spearmint Extract
Spearmint extract is made from the essential oil of spearmint leaves and stems. It’s a solid swap for peppermint extract.
It’s less intense, thanks to its lower menthol content, and brings a fresh flavor with citrus and floral undertones.
It’s great for cakes, cookies, frostings, and ice creams. It also pairs well with chocolate, giving a twist to brownies and fudge.
Looking for a thirst quencher? Mix a teaspoon of spearmint extract into lemonade or iced tea.
7. Wintergreen Extract
Wintergreen extract packs a minty punch, just like peppermint. But it has its own distinct, slightly sweeter twist. Culinary-wise, it’s ideal for baked goodies, frostings, and cocktails.
But it’s a jacked-up version of mint, so it’s best to use less than you would with peppermint extract.
And here’s a fun twist: it’s not just for food. Have a DIY beauty project? Maybe lip balm or body scrub? A dash of wintergreen extract will leave you smelling minty fresh!
8. Peppermint Bark
Peppermint bark is not just a holiday treat. It’s a hero in the kitchen, too.
Imagine chocolate layers hugging peppermint-flavored cream. It’s peppermint with pizzazz.
It makes for such a flavor-packed snack, or you can use it to add oomph to your baked goods. Cakes, cookies, and brownies can all use some jazzing up from peppermint bark.
Simply melt it down, and use it in place of peppermint extract. It’s like peppermint extract got a chocolatey upgrade. It’s peppermint with benefits.
9. Mint Candy
Mint candy is an accessible and flavorful substitute for peppermint extract.
These candies are made from sugar and mint extract. While they offer a minty flavor, it’s not as intense as peppermint extract.
Since mint candies are so sugary, they’re best suited for sweet treats. They melt seamlessly when heated. This makes them excellent for baked goods.
Crush the candies and incorporate them into cookie dough or cake batter to achieve a mild minty sweetness. They’re also superb in homemade ice cream and hot chocolate.
Or, why not use them to decorate cakes and other desserts?
10. Vanilla Extract
Finally, vanilla extract, with its rich and complex flavor, can be used as an alternative to peppermint extract. However, keep in mind it won’t provide a minty taste. Instead, it brings a subtle, sweet depth to your dishes.
In baking, it’s excellent for flavoring cakes, cookies, and desserts. It also pairs wonderfully with chocolate and coffee.
Try it in savory dishes, like sauces and marinades, too. A dash of vanilla extract lends a gentle sweetness without dominating other flavors.
Use vanilla extract in a 1:1 ratio as a peppermint extract substitute.
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