Homemade Mincemeat

The warm, spiced scent of homemade mincemeat spreading through the kitchen is one of those evocative smells of Christmas baking. Living in the US, mincemeat isn’t always easy to find in the shops. And if you do, there certainly isn’t a great selection. So, since moving here, I’ve been making my own. And it’s surprising simple.

A lot of traditional recipes for mincemeat call for suet. Another ingredient that isn’t all that easy to find in the shops. So I make my mincemeat without suet.

This is a simple mix of apples, dried fruit, almonds and spice. And whiskey. Although, the whiskey is optional and this mincemeat tastes great without it too. Just don’t forget to use Irish whiskey if do you choose to add it!

I use raisins, sultanas (or golden raisins as they’re called here) and glacé cherries in mine. Feel free to use a slightly different combination of dried fruit depending on what you have available. I don’t tend to use currants because I’m not a big fan. And I don’t often put mixed peel in mine because, as with so many other of these traditional Christmas baking ingredients, it’s not that easy to find here! I do sometimes make my own mixed peel, especially if I’m planning to make Christmas cake around the same time, so I’ll add some if I have it.

And that is the joy of making your own mincemeat. You can make sure you include all your favorite fruits and nuts and spices, and leave out all the ingredients you don’t like. That way, you don’t end up like Little Miss Traybakes, with a demolished Mince Pie with all the almonds picked out and sitting on the side of the plate!

This recipe makes enough to fill 24 small mince pies. And is perfect for my festive Meringue-Topped Mince Pies recipe.

My Homemade Mincemeat can be used immediately. But will also keep well in sterilized jars.

Homemade Mincemeat

An easy, suet-free mincemeat. Perfect for mince pies.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Dessert, Snack
Servings 2 large jars


  • 4 oz or 110g raisins
  • 4 oz or 110g sultanas (golden raisins)
  • 8 oz or 225g apples, peeled and chopped into small pieces
  • 2 oz or 55g chopped almonds
  • 4 oz or 110g brown sugar
  • 4 oz or 110g glacé cherries (candied cherries)
  • 1 orange, zest and juice
  • 2 oz or 55g butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp mixed spice (pumpkin pie spice)
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 4 tbsp whiskey, optional


  • Place everything, apart from the whiskey, in a saucepan and heat gently.
  • Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, then take the pan off the heat.
  • Let it cool slightly and stir in the whiskey, if using.
  • At this stage, the mincemeat can be used immediately but will keep well in sterilized jars.
Keyword dried fruit, mincemeat