How to make Classic Homemade Mincemeat

Mix up a batch of this delicious homemade mincemeat recipe and you’ll be able to make mince pies whenever you want!

Overhead view of Traditional Christmas fruit mince pies decorated with pastry stars ready to be sprinkled with powdered icing sugar

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Mince pies are one of the classic traditional Christmas foods, and we go through piles of them every year here at the Christmas Guide. But even the best shop-bought mince pies can’t compare to homemade mince pies, served warm from the oven and topped with thick cream or brandy butter. 

And if you’re going to make your own mince pies, you may as well go the extra step and make your own mincemeat as well. As well as being ideal for use in mince pies, cakes and pastries, a jar of home made mincemeat is a lovely addition to a foodie gift hamper.

This is a classic mincemeat recipe, based upon the recipe which I originally found in Delia Smith’s classic Christmas book. It’s packed full of plump raisins, currants and sultanas and chunks of juicy apple, and it’s really easy to make.

Warming the mixture through in a very low oven melts the suet so that it coats all of the fruit, including the fresh apple pieces. And that helps it to keep much better than some other mincemeat recipes, in fact this will sit happily in a cool, dark spot for up to a year.

Which means you can enjoy mince pies all year round!

Homemade Mincemeat: Make it your own

Making mincemeat is not as much as faff as you might think it is, and the great thing with home made mincemeat is that you can tweak the recipe to suit your own tastes. 

I don’t like candied peel, so I always leave it out of my own mincemeat. But you can easily add it in if you want to, it’s no problem at all – just switch out the candied peel for an equal weight of dried fruit.

If you do decide to add it, I’d recommend buying whole pieces of candied peel and cutting it up with sharp kitchen scissors rather than buying the ready cut stuff.

Storing your mincemeat

You’ll need enough jars to store around 2.75kg of mincemeat and of course you can buy new jam jars from Amazon or other online suppliers. But if you’ve been planning ahead for Christmas, you can use some of the jars you have saved, just buy new lids and waxed discs to top the mincemeat.

You can either sterilise the jars by washing them and then putting them in a low oven to dry, or by running them through a dishwasher. 

Overhead view of Traditional Christmas fruit mince pies decorated with pastry stars ready to be sprinkled with powdered icing sugar

Classic Homemade Mincemeat

Sally Akins
This is a classic Christmas Mincemeat recipe, easy to make and absolutely delicious. Mix up a batch of this homemade mincemeat and you'll be able to enjoy mince pies all year round!
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 3 hrs
Cooling time 2 hrs
Total Time 6 hrs
Course Dessert
Cuisine British
Servings 6 jars

Ingredients
  

  • 450 g Bramley apples
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 lemons, unwaxed if possible
  • 225 g shredded suet
  • 350 g raisins
  • 225 g sultanas
  • 225 g currants
  • 225 g candied mixed peel
  • 350 g soft dark brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 nutmeg, whole
  • 6 tbsp brandy

Optional

  • 50 g whole almonds cut into slivers

Instructions
 

  • Wash the Bramley apples, core them and cut into small pieces. There’s no need to peel them unless you really want to.
  • Zest the oranges and lemons and squeeze the juice from them.
  • Combine all of the ingredients except the brandy in a large mixing bowl. Give it a really good stir so that everything is well mixed together.
  • Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and leave it in a cool place for at least 12 hours or preferably overnight. This gives the flavours a chance to really develop and meld.
  • Next day, or at least 12 hours later, preheat the oven to 120C (100C for a fan oven).
  • Remove the cloth that’s covering the bowl and replace with a loose covering of foil. Place the bowl on a low shelf in the oven for 3 hours.
  • When the 3 hours are up, take the bowl out of the oven. The fruit will be swimming in melted suet but don’t worry, that’s how it should look.
  • Leave the mincemeat to cool, giving it a stir every so often so that it coats all of the other ingredients.
  • When the mincemeat is completely cold, stir in the brandy and pack into sterilised jars, cover with wax discs and add the lids.

Notes

This can easily be made vegetarian by substituting vegetarian suet.

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