​Best Traditional Mincemeat for Christmas

​Best Traditional Mincemeat for Christmas

Posted by Emily on 11th Oct 2023

In the UK, Christmas isn't complete without mince pies. These delightful little sweet pies are brimming with delectable homemade mince, a concoction of fresh and dried fruits, citrus zests, nutmeg, brandy, and suet. This mincemeat is as iconic as Christmas Day, with pies often enjoyed from early November, if not sooner.

Mincemeat in a bowl

For those curious, Christmas mince doesn't contain meat despite its name. Historically, it did, but not anymore. When melted in the oven, the suet acts as a preservative and imparts a rich flavour to the mix. Ensure you've got sterilised jars on hand, as this recipe yields about 900 grams (2 pounds) of mincemeat, and roughly 450 grams will fill a 12-hole muffin tin for individual pies.

Preparation 25 minutes
Cook 2 hrs 30 mins
Yield 1kg

Homemade mincemeat is surprisingly simple to create. It truly surpasses store-bought versions, making the effort thoroughly worthwhile. The ingredient list may appear daunting, but the process is straightforward. Many cooks prefer to prepare their mincemeat in advance, allowing it to mature, but fret not if you're crafting it last-minute; with such a splendid mix, it's bound to taste divine.

What You Will Need

Ingredients Quantity
Raisins 200g
Dried Currants 150g
Candied Mixed Peel 150g
Suet 200g
Dark Muscovado Sugar 220g
Freshly Grated Nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon
Mixed Spice 2 teaspoons
Zest & Juice of Lemon of 1 lemon
Zest & Juice of Orange of 1 orange
Bramley Apple 2
Brandy 6 tablespoons

Mince pies


1. Assemble your ingredients.

2. Mix all ingredients in a spacious baking dish, barring the brandy, ensuring a thorough mix. Cover with a fresh tea towel and set aside overnight, allowing the flavours to intermingle.

3. Preheat your oven to 110°C.

4. Discard the tea towel, replace it with foil, and transfer the dish to the pre-warmed oven for 2 1/2 hours. After removal, stir the mixture well, set it aside to cool, and periodically stir. This ensures even fruit distribution as the mince cools.

5. Once at room temperature, stir in the brandy.

6. Transfer the cooled mince into your sterilised jars, sealing them with canning lids. Stored in a cool, shaded area, this mince will remain fresh for up to a year, though consuming it much sooner is tempting.

If you fancy switching things up a little, then we have some suggestions.

Get Fruity

Dried Cherries or Cranberries: A touch of tartness can counterbalance the sweetness.

Chopped Dates: Adds a different texture and a caramel-like sweetness.


Chopped Almonds or Pecans: A bit of crunch can complement the soft texture of the mincemeat.


Ground Cinnamon or Cloves: For an added warmth.

Star Anise: Can be infused during the cooking process and removed before jarring, offering a subtle licorice note.


Substitute Brandy with Rum or Whiskey: Different alcohols can offer unique flavour profiles.

Port or Red Wine: A little can add depth to the mincemeat, but remember to adjust the quantity so the mix isn't too wet.


Lime Zest: To complement the lemon and orange, adding a bright, tangy note.


Golden Syrup or Honey: To replace a portion of the sugar, for a different kind of sweetness.

Other Flavour Enhancers:

Rose or Orange Blossom Water: Just a splash can provide a fragrant aroma.

Vanilla Bean Paste or Extract: A hint of vanilla can round out the flavors beautifully.

Remember, if adding any additional ingredients, you might need to adjust the quantities of the others to maintain the right consistency and flavor balance. It's always a good idea to taste and adjust accordingly.