8 Peppermint Extract Substitutes
If you’re someone who loves to use peppermint extract in your cooking and baking, you may have encountered a situation where you run out of this ingredient and need to find a substitute.
Fortunately, there are several options you can consider when it comes to finding a replacement for peppermint extract in your recipes. In this post, we’ll explore 8 peppermint extract substitutes that can work just as well in your culinary creations.
Whether you’re making peppermint bark, mint chocolate chip ice cream, or a refreshing minty cocktail, these substitutes can help you achieve the desired flavor and aroma. So, let’s dive in and discover some new ingredients to add to your pantry!
What Is Peppermint Extract?
Food extract is typically a mix of medium and essential oil to convey the flavor fully, and this is no exception to peppermint extract. Like orange extract, people will drench the peppermint leaves in the alcohol content to absorb the natural oil and carry the plant flavor in the finished extract resulting in the distinctive peppermint-enhanced alcohol.
So, what does Peppermint extract taste like? Is mint extract the same as peppermint extract?
As I mentioned above, mint and peppermint have different flavors. The peppermint extract has a mild peppery, slightly spicy, and sweet flavor with a mild mint-like undertone.
This gives Peppermint a versatility that can be used in sweets, candy canes, patties, and much merchandise. You can find peppermint extract available in imitation, artificial, natural, and pure forms.
Recommended Peppermint Extract Substitutes
How can you substitute peppermint extract? Here are some effective peppermints extract you can refer to!
1. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint essential oil is a concentrated, and pure oil squeezed from the leaves and stems of the peppermint plant.
When comparing Peppermint oil vs. Peppermint extract, I found out they are quite similar. With a high concentration of flavor and aroma, peppermint oil is certainly a great peppermint extract substitute in many desserts and baked goods. However, is Peppermint extract the same as peppermint oil?
To get the pure oil, people have to let the plant go through high-pressure steam and temperature, the steam distillation process. The extreme condition will push the oil out of the plant and create a mixture of oil and steam. Once this fume cools down and gathers, people can start collecting the separated oil.
This process gives the fresh peppermint oil a higher concentration than peppermint extract, which you need to adjust slightly when applying to peppermint extract recipes.
Substitute peppermint oil for extract, and you can find the exact flavor and fragrance that peppermint extract has. To use them in cooking, you should use ¼ teaspoon of peppermint oil for one teaspoon of peppermint extract. With this small amount, it can already infuse your baked goods, doughs, and many desserts with plenty of peppermint flavor.
However, some research shows potential harm when using the wrong peppermint oil substitute for extract in cooking. The National Capital Poison Center shows that pennyroyal oil – a type of peppermint oil – can lead to liver issues when you consume it.
2. Peppermint Syrup
Peppermint syrup is another product derived from peppermint plants. It is generally known for its usage in beverages and baked goods and can be a fantastic peppermint extract substitute.
Peppermint syrup is made of mint leaves, water, and sugar, so the consistency of the syrup is slightly dense. The diluted peppermint liquid has a mild peppery, spicy note like peppermint extract and an amazingly sweet flavor to add to your desserts.
As the syrup has added sugar so when using it to substitute for peppermint extract, you should use less than the recipe asks for to avoid an overly sweet taste.
Peppermint syrup is an ideal ingredient in your favorite hot chocolate cocoa or creamy and lukewarm mocha. Their fresh and Peppermint flavor will balance out the sweetness in your drinks greatly.
3. Vanilla Extract
If there is a flavor that everybody loves, that’s vanilla. It is such a popular and pleasant flavor that you can spot in many baked goods and desserts. Thus, you can also use vanilla extract to substitute peppermint extract to make delicious dishes. This extract has a sugary, caramel-like flavor with a floral aroma similar to Peppermint.
When tasting vanilla extract directly, you can find a sweet taste and strong bitterness from the alcohol, as with all extracts. However, when implemented in baked goods, the alcohol will be vaporized and left with the scent of refreshing vanilla beans. With a versatile flavor, you can use vanilla for any peppermint extract-based dishes without worrying that you might upset any picky eaters.
You can add them to many beverages like milk, coffee, and tea; it is also popular in peppermint desserts and savory dishes like scrambled eggs.
Peppermint extract is a mixture of watermint and spearmint, so watermint is certainly a good peppermint extract substitute. This leaf has the same cooling effect from the menthol content as the Peppermint, making them quite identical when adding to your dishes.
With 48% menthol compared with the 40% of menthol in Peppermint, it is ideal to use watermint extract to substitute in all peppermint extract dishes. You can dilute the watermint with water to lower the flavor’s intensity.
As one of the fresh herbs that make peppermint extract, spearmint is undoubtedly a great peppermint extract substitute in your desserts. The spearmint has a particularly lower minty flavor due to containing only 1% of menthol.
Most of the spearmint flavor comes from a chemical called carvone which gives a delicious herbaceous and sharp flavor. If you’re not a fan of the “toothpaste” flavor, then spearmint oil is the best substitute for you. People tend to use spearmints in beverages to enhance the drink’s refreshment taste.
Another great substitute that you can work with is Basil. This hybrid herb is also a member of the mint family with a beautiful mint flavor profile similar to Peppermint.
You can find a savory and sweetness of pepper, anise, and mint on the main notes. Underlying them is the scent of black pepper. With a complex taste, basil leaf is used to spice up savory applications like creamy sauces, salads, curries, and soups.
There are many basil varieties, but Thai basil is the closest to the taste of Peppermint with an aromatic quality. You can use fresh Basil to influence the taste of your favorite drinks, but also dilute it in water to drop it onto your baked goods and desserts.
7. Peppermint Candy Canes
What’s a better way to utilize your leftover pack of peppermint candy canes by substituting peppermint extract? These holiday favorites are filled with the minty, extra sweet, and bold flavor of Peppermint. So, how can you use these hard candies to alternate extract? It might seem impossible, but the method is, in fact, simple.
To extract the taste of Peppermint, you can crush the peppermint candy canes into a fine powder by using a food processor or meat mallet. Once they are just tiny pieces, the crushed candy canes can easily blend into your delicious martini or hot chocolate. You can also use them as a sugar substitute in this powder form of baked goods and desserts.
8. Homemade Peppermint Extract
If you have some free time at home, why not make your homemade peppermint extract? You can follow my recipe below:
- One bottle of vodka
- One cup of peppermint leaves
How to do it?
- Prepare the fresh mint leaves by rinsing them with cold water. Use a glass jar to contain all of the leaves.
- Take your vodka and pour it onto the jar to the top. Then, you can close the lid and shake the jar slightly.
- In 3–4 weeks, you need to store the jar in cool and dark storage. Shake it once a day to blend the mix evenly.
- Keep them until you smell the strong peppermint flavor instead of the alcohol smell.