Making homemade mint extract was one of the very first extract recipes I ever attempted… and I've never gone back. Have you seen the price of extracts in the store? It can be rather spendy for the real stuff, but the imitation extracts often have caramel coloring and other not so lovely ingredients.
What's a pioneering today person to do? Make your own mint extract… or vanilla extract, stevia, lemon, almond, orange, chocolate mint-okay, you get the picture. If it can be bought in the store, it can be made at home, both cheaper and healthier (like homemade condensed soup).
Psst… swap out the vanilla extract for mint in these DIY Homemade Brownie Mix in Jar- Best Ever Fudge Brownies
Extracts are the perfect gift for any baker on your list, including yourself… what, I'm the only one who makes gifts myself?
How to Make Homemade Extracts
- alcohol (Most vodkas are made from grains, including wheat or corn, and in the United States almost all corn is GMO unless certified GMO Free or Organic. To avoid grains & GMO crops use rum. Rum is made from molasses and sugar cane by-products. This is especially important for those with grain sensitivities or allergies.)
- glass jar with lid
- fresh mint leaves (for the other extracts you'll need vanilla beans, lemons, almonds, and stevia leaves) Because there are tons of different mint varieties out there, the flavor of your mint extract will vary based on which variety of mint you use. I personally grow chocolate mint, peppermint, and spearmint. A girl can't have too many mint plants!
To Make Mint Extract for Baking
- Pick your mint leaves in the morning when they have the highest concentration of oils in leaves. Rinse and pat dry.
- Discard any burnt or damaged-looking leaves. Strip the leaves from the stem. Roll the leaves up between your fingers so they're good and bruised. Or you can roughly chop them.
- Put leaves inside of your glass jar. Fill jar with vodka, completely submerge mint leaves. Place lid on jar and give it a good shake.
- Place jar in a cupboard or out of direct light, but somewhere you'll remember to shake it every few days. Let mint leaves steep for at least 6 weeks. You can allow it to steep longer for a stronger flavored extract.
- When mint extract has reached its desired strength, strain liquid through a sieve into a glass container.
I purchased these pretty and vintage-looking glass swing-top bottles to house my extract in and give it away as a gift. I adore these chalkboard labels and may have labeled every glass container in my house with them… may have. Store extract in a cool dark place.
How to Make Mint Extract Fast
If you don't have enough time to seep the extract before giving it as a gift, create a DIY homemade extract kit by giving one of these flip-top jars with the filled Mason jar of seeping extract and instructions on when to strain it.
This way you're actually teaching the person how to make their own by just doing the first part for them. Now they'll have the jars to make it again and only have to purchase the ingredients when they run out!
How to Make Mint Extract Without Vodka?
You can use 3 parts glycerin to 1 part distilled water in place of the alcohol. Make sure you use food-grade glycerin like this one.
How to Make Mint Extract With Dried Leaves
Use 1/3 to 1/2 the amount of fresh, 1/3 to 1/2 cup of dried leaves for this recipe. The dried leaves will swell and rehydrate with the alcohol, make sure you have plenty of room in the jar. Check the jar after 24 hours and add additional alcohol if leaves are above the liquid level.
Top off with more alcohol if this happens.
To Make Vanilla Extract
1 cup of Rum
5 Vanilla Beans (5 beans per 8 ounces of alcohol)–> This is where I get mine but Costco carries vanilla beans during the holidays, so check there.
Glass Jar with a lid
- With a sharp knife, slit the bean lengthwise, then roughly chop into pieces.
- Place chopped beans into a glass jar and fill with alcohol, I prefer rum for my vanilla extract but you can use vodka as well.
- Put a lid on it and shake well.
- Store in a dark cupboard away from heat and shake every few days.
- Allow extract to seep for 8 weeks or longer for best flavor.
- After seeping, strain out the vanilla extract and store in a glass bottle.
Many vanilla extracts in the store have added ingredients such as water, sugar, and corn syrup, making a homemade version a better alternative.
5 Other Homemade Extract Recipes
Homemade Stevia Extract from the Prairie Homestead
Recipes for homemade lemon and almond extract from Common Sense Homesteading
Tutorial for Orange Extract from My Frugal Home
What homemade goodies are you making this year? Do you make any other flavors of the extract?
Homemade Mint Extract
- Mason jar
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1 and 1/2 cups vodka or rum
- Pick your mint leaves in the morning when they have the highest concentration of oils in leaves. Rinse and pat dry.Discard any burnt or damaged-looking leaves. Strip the leaves from the stem. Roll the leaves up between your fingers so they're good and bruised. Or you can roughly chop them.Put leaves inside of your glass jar. Fill jar with vodka so mint leaves are submerged in the alcohol. Place lid on jar and give it a good shake.Place jar in a cupboard or out of direct light, but somewhere you'll remember to shake it every few days. Let mint leaves steep for at least 6 weeks. You can allow it to steep longer for a stronger flavored extract.When mint extract has reached its desired strength, strain liquid through a sieve into a glass container.
- You can use peppermint, chocolate mint, or spearmint leaves. Each imparts a slightly different flavor but all are delicious.
- To make a mint extract with dried leaves, cut back by 1/2 to 1/3 of the fresh amount. For this recipe use, 1/3 to 1/2 cup dried mint leaves. The leaves will rehydrate with the alcohol. Make sure you check the liquid level after a day or two and add more alcohol if needed to keep submerged.
I have some 4 month old vanilla bean extract sitting on the shelf. The recipe I used called for six months on the shelf before it’s ready – however I don’t get a chance to shake it every day so I figure it’ll be Christmas presents for next year…
Another site I use to get vanilla beans and other stuff is olivenation.com. Their prices are reasonable and as long as I follow any directions on storing, I’ve never had a problem.
I have some vanilla extract left from last year, but I think it’s time to make more. I love not having to buy it! I also just started some chocolate mint extract following your post. I was able to use the chocolate mint I had growing on my patio. Can’t wait to try it when its finished. 🙂
I love making extracts! I made my own vanilla and ordered beans from beanilla.com. They have good prices and several types of different vanilla beans. I’ve never had a problem with molding, as long as they are sealed in an airtight container. It’s so nice to know exactly what goes into what I’m eating!
Thanks for featuring my extracts. 🙂
I’m not sure that’s a website address; it was a blog I tried to start….
I just want to thank you for your wholesomeness…Every High School in the nation would benefit from your site…I hope you can somehow reach out to the Home Economics departments…Congratulations…and God bless you, Melissa.
Hi – What color is the mint extract when it is finished? I made some and totally forgot about it and left it in the cupboard for many, many months 🙁 When I took it out and strained it – it was a murky green/brown color. It smells minty but didn’t look great. I strained it again (twice) through coffee filters and now its a clear brown color (almost the color of a dark vanilla extract). How can I tell if its okay to use? Help 🙂
That’s what color mine is. It won’t be a green color. As long as it smells good and is clear you should be good to go!
Frothy Nutrient-Dense Peppermint Mocha — Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS
[…] Then I decided to take my frothy coffee to the next level. Cue a peppermint frothy mocha. I prefer to make my mochas with raw milk, but feel free to use homemade coconut milk or almond milk instead. If you have extra peppermint around, try making your own mint extract! […]
Does this work with wintergreen? Because I like wintergreen. A lot. 🙂
I’ve never worked with wintergreen so I’m not sure.
My husband was really intrigued about making homemade vanilla extract. He went online and bought a pound of Grade B vanilla beans. They arrived a few days later in the mail. BEST SMELLING DELIVERY EVER! The company had included gratis a 1/4 lb of Grade A beans as well. It’s been two years, and we’re still using these beans. No mold or rotting issues at all. Of course, we shrink wrap them. I take about a half dozen out now and then to use in baking and jam making. The rest get shrink wrapped again until the next time I need them. They are still pliable and fragrant after a little more than two years. The cost was about $25 (which included postage). Definitely the way to go. I can’t imagine paying grocery store prices!
I noticed in this post that you espoused using alcohol to make your extracts. I hope it is better than the other post where you endorsed vinegar! That was just plain nasty. If you found it successful, I would like to know more. If it was not successful, I would have appreciated that story being shared rather than left unsaid for your readers to continue trying?
I’ve used both successfully. For baking where most of the alcohol is evaporated and it’s in a larger amount, I prefer to use the alcohol extracts, especially for vanilla and lemon.
Thank you for the ideal for mint extract. So besides sipping it, what other ways can you suggest using it. -Brady 3
I use it in cooking for the most part, brownies, candy, cakes, etc. You could also use it in adult only style hot chocolate.
If i use this mint extract with Vodka to make candy that is not baked, I guess it would not be evaporated off? So would it be ok for kids to eat the candy?
Thank you for the extract instructions. You make is sound simple and easy.
Bless you and your family
Can you make these extracts with something other than alcohol? I have so much mint
I’ve done it with vinegar and then cut it with honey. It worked well for me as I don’t mind a slight vinegar taste.
I was wondering what type of vanilla bean you use, Mexican, Tahitian, Madagascar???…and do you use the same kind whether you use vodka or bourbon?
Love the site and look forward to following you for the homemade Christmas
Hi, Chris and so glad you’re enjoying the site and the Homemade Christmas series.
I use Madagascar as that’s been the cheapest for me to find and I use the same kind of bean no matter which alcohol type I”m using.
I have spearmint and peppermint growing in containers but didn’t know exactly what I was going to do with them…except use the spearmint in my tea. 🙂 I now know what to use the peppermint for! Christmas gift for family!
Yes!! It’s wonderful and such a great way to preserve it.
When I make my oils I normally use plants I have grown. And, I do it with the dried ones. This is to insure that I have the most concentration of the oils from them.
My procedure is to hang the plants by their roots until they are air dried, or by the leaves if the oil is from the root.
The reason being that when you process them, the hanging upside down causes the essential oils to settle in the lower area. The water evaporates leaving it concentrated there. Both oil and water are soluble in alcohol so the less water, the higher the concentration of the oil in the alcohol.
Foraging & Growing Mint
[…] so excited to try many of them this summer:Chocolate Covered Mint Leaves from Jenny from the Garden Mint Extract by Melissa Knorris Mint Jelly from All Recipes Mint Simple Syrup from The Hungry Mouse Blood Orange Mojito from Chef […]
I make my own vanilla extract and I have made it with Vodka, rum, and bourbon. I have to agree that I liked the rum but I also like the bourbon. I had the same problem trying to fine the vanilla beans at a reasonable price. I found a great web site that sells the vanilla beans in bulk at a reasonable price. It not only sells Madagascar vanilla beans but many other different types of vanilla beans . When they are in stock I get the Madagascar bean grade B. You can get them in a 25 pack and are perfect for extract. Please check this out and see if you like it, beanilla.com.
Beanilla is also what I use. Love them! 🙂
Didn’t see how to make almond extract. I use this one in cookies.
It’s listed with the lemon here https://commonsensehome.com/how-to-make-homemade-extracts/
Most Vodka is made from potatoes. Some are made from rye. Check the labels.
My aunt, Camille Glenn, in her cookbook “The Heritage of Southern Cooking” recommends Cognac for making vanilla. She calls for 2 1/2 ounces of Cognac to each vanilla bean. She says that when the liquid is used, it can be replaced with fresh 2-3 times before the beans are spent. She agrees with you that homemade is very much better than store bought! Many thanks for your blog. I live out of the country and often store-bought is not an option. I turn to your instructions out of necessity!
Hi Melissa~ After using my vanilla up, which I sometimes just leave the vanilla beans in jar and refill with vodka), I chop up in blender the beans and use them in cookies, cakes…..
What’s your opinion about reusing the vanilla beans after making a batch of extract? Can you re-use them to make another batch of extract? Thanks!
The second time it’s not as strong, you can re-use them but I usually do a mix with some fresh beans and not all re-used.
I love your site! I have been using Vodka for my vanilla, but use a potato vodka, not from grain. There are quite a few brands out there: Monopolowa is an inexpensive one. Also, another great source for vanilla beans is IndriVanilla. They are a Co-Op and sell Fair Trade whole vanilla beans.