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How To Make Peppermint Extract

Peppermint Leaves

Peppermint Leaves

How Would You Rate This Peppermint Extract Recipe?

Peppermint Extract

From peppermint candy to herbal tea, this garden wonder has always been one of my favorite flavors. Its stimulating taste invigorates while offering a cool minty rush and aroma. It gets even better when combined with baked goods, chocolate, or ice cream! Who doesn't have a little brown-tinted bottle of some kind of extract in the pantry? Consider how much those bottles cost; each of those tiny little 1 to 4-ounce liquid extracts range anywhere from $4.00 to $8.00 each! Now, consider the cost savings; with your own fresh grown herbs, and cheap alcohol, the price for 16-ounces of homemade extract is pennies on the dollar! Homemade extracts are a simple to manage and worthwhile project. Not to mention they also offer you the control of ingredients, quality, and more importantly the freshest product possible!

Materials Needed

  • Pint size jar with a very tight sealing lid
  • Access to fresh picked peppermint (or any edible) plant material
  • Cool dark location for aging (3 to 6 weeks)
  • Pen for labeling jars (or adhesive labels)

Ingredients For Making Peppermint Etxract

  • 2 cups fresh peppermint leaf (or any edible plant material), cleaned and picked through
  • 2 cups 80-proof alcohol (vodka, brandy, and rum work best), Make sure to use ONLY consumable alcohol

Peppermint Extract

Clean and sort peppermint plant material.

Clean and sort peppermint plant material.

Bruise or chop the clean material.

Bruise or chop the clean material.

Fill the jar with plant material and alcohol. Stir, top off, and seal.

Fill the jar with plant material and alcohol. Stir, top off, and seal.

Labeling your jars with simple labels works just fine!

Labeling your jars with simple labels works just fine!


  1. Clean and sort all of the plant material. Avoid using any of the yellowed, moldy, damaged, or rotten parts. Wash any muddy roots thoroughly. Chop or severely bruise the plant material. This allows for increased cell exposure to the alcohol, which in-turn, speeds up the extraction process.
  2. Fill the clean 1-pint jar with the prepared peppermint (or any) plant material. Leave 1-inch of headroom.
  3. Pour the alcohol (I use the cheapest vodka I can find) into the jar so it completely covers the peppermint material. Using a butter knife, stir the blend to release all of the air bubbles that may be lurking inside the jar and between the leafy material. Add more alcohol as needed to totally cover any exposed material.
  4. Place the lid on very tightly. Label with the date, weather conditions, and seasonal information. Place the filled, sealed, and labeled jars in a cool dark location, and allow to sit for 3 to 6 weeks. (Shake the jars periodically and make sure the plant material is still completely covered by alcohol. Add more alcohol as needed.)
  5. AFTER 3 TO 6 WEEKS; the plant material should look pale, limp, and spent. Strain and press the liquid through a cheesecloth into a glass or stainless container. Leave the plant material in the jar for right now.
  6. Once you have drained off all of the liquid, place the plant material into the cheesecloth. Wrap it tight and squeeze out (or wring out) into the same container. Discard the plant material.
  7. Use a funnel to pour extract into appropriate sized jars or containers for storage or gifting. Be sure to label each newly filled container and store each in a dark, cool place. (Covering the jar with a decorative bag or cloth helps keep light from damaging your new extract, and offers a great looking gift!)

Straining Homemade Extracts

I don't necessarily strain out my extracts right as they come due. I have jars that have been setting for as much as a year. As long as you are sure to re-seal them tightly, you can pour right out of the jar with the materials still inside. Just watch out for sliding plant materials as you do.

Peppermint Extract Jars

Store the filled and sealed jars of extract in a cool dark location. In 3 to 6 weeks, strain and re-bottle for personal use, or as gifts!

Store the filled and sealed jars of extract in a cool dark location. In 3 to 6 weeks, strain and re-bottle for personal use, or as gifts!


Glycerine can be substituted for the 80-proof alcohol to make non-alcoholic extracts.

Glycerine can be substituted for the 80-proof alcohol to make non-alcoholic extracts.

What Is Glycerin?

Glycerin is a sweet, thick, syrupy, and slippery-feeling fluid. It will extract most of a plant's alkaloid and mucilage, but can't extract the resins like an 80-proof alcohol based extract will.

NON-Alcohol Peppermint Extract

How To Make A NON-Alcohol Peppermint Extract

To make a non-alcohol version of peppermint extract, use the same process as shown above, but replace the 80-proof alcohol with glycerin and distilled water.

Making A Glycerate: (NON-Alcoholic Extract)

Combine equal parts pure 100% vegetable glycerin and distilled water to replace the alcohol used in the recipe above. Since 80% alcohol is already diluted with water, the need to dilute the 100% glycerin is necessary to achieve a similar extraction element. Some herbalist use a 2:1 ratio of glycerin to water, saying that the plant matter already has a certain amount of water within it; thus, bringing a natural dilution. If you are sensitive to glycerin, revising the blend ratio may be appropriate to reduce the chance of discomfort when using the extract.

NOTE: **It is important to keep the glycerin and water to at least a 25% blend. This reduces the risk of spoilage while it also makes for safe consumption.**

Drops of peppermint extract

Drops of peppermint extract

Important Tips For Making Extracts

When creating your own peppermint extracts—or any kind of extract—there are just a few really important things to remember for the best product and shelf life. Below are the most important things to keep in mind while preparing your extracts.

  • be sure to use equal parts of 80-proof alcohol and plant material
  • the "equal parts" formula yields about a 20% alcohol end product
  • 15 to 20% alcohol will store best
  • a less than 15% alcohol formula can result in mold or rotting during storage
  • more than 20% alcohol and you are not utilizing the plant's/herb's full potential

What is The Difference Between A Tincture and An Extract

What Is An Extract:

An extract is a 1:1 ratio of alcohol to plant matter, which makes it stronger than a tincture. Extracts are the result of steeping fresh or dried plant matter in 100% vodka, rum, brandy; or stiff grain alcohol for a number of weeks (generally 3 to 6). The alcohol acts upon the plant material in such a way—like a solvent—to "extract" the medicinal or culinary properties of the plant. Some commercial extractions are done using acetone or other harsh chemicals. Using these harsh elements can leave some of the chemicals behind in the end product. Further curing or production methods may be applied in the commercial scenario, thus reducing the quality and worthiness of the extract. The cold (alcohol) method leaves the best attributes of the plant materials behind for straining and bottling. Keeping extracts for years without refrigeration is possible as long as they remain in a cool dark location.

What You Think Really Does Matter!

What Is A Tincture:

A tincture is a 1:3 (or more) ratio of plant matter to alcohol. A tincture is a combination of herbs (or plants) and alcohol, and is much less concentrated than an extract.

What Is A Glyceride:

You can use glycerin instead of alcohol as an extractor, this eliminates the problem of having alcohol in the product; which makes it suitable for those who have trouble using alcohol based consumables. Glycerine gets used more in external beauty products, but works well as a consumable when used in conservative dosages. It is important to note that when using a glycerin to extract plant elements, the storage time is significantly less than when using an alcohol base solvent.

Using Peppermint Extract

My favorite quick and easy recipe is a 5 minute chocolate peppermint cake that is as minty as you choose to make it. I use peppermint extract in cookies, frosting, candy making, and even swirled into vanilla ice cream. The limits to just how to use homemade peppermint extract is up to you. It is easy to make, with the most difficult part of the recipe being waiting for it to extract for 3 to 6 weeks!

Sample Cost Table For Pure Commercial-Made Peppermint Extract

As per my own online shopping research from original Adam's and Spice Barn sites, and Amazon site, and Lucky's site.


Adam's (web Site)

1.5 ounce



McCormick (Amazon online)

1 ounce (x pack of 6)



McCormick (Lucky's online)

16 ounce



Spice Barn (web Site)

4 ounce



Comments for "How To Make Peppermint Extract"

India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on October 01, 2012:

@cclitgirl~ That's fantastic! Like you, I have an enormous amount of mint (peppermint, spearmint, and basil) lurking about my garden area. It is pretty to look at, but so much better to eat! Let me know how your extracts turn out. Thank for all of the hublove, my friend!


@Millionaire Tips~ So glad you now have a way to preserve some of your mint! Minty holiday recipes are already swirling about in my head! Thank you for commenting.


Shasta Matova from USA on September 28, 2012:

I have peppermint in my yard too and was wondering what else I should do with it. I will have to make this!

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on September 28, 2012:

SSSSAAAAWWWWEEEEETTTT! I have peppermint in my garden and vodka from last year when I made some herb tinctures. I will be trying this like, tomorrow! AWESOMESAUCE! Voted up/shared/pinned/tweeted.

India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on September 27, 2012:

@akirchner~ How nice to see you made it by today! I am really glad that you will able to put some of your fresh mint to work! I like making my own candy with the homemade mint extracts, also. It just seems to add more "love" to a recipe, in my opinion! Thank you so much for leaving your thoughts!


India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on September 27, 2012:

@rebeccamealey~ Are those your Southern roots showing, my dear? Who doesn't adore a minty cool julep!? Your fish recipe sounds quite yummy! Glad you find the hub worthy of commenting! Thank you for making it by.


@mary615~ I love making tea using fresh mint, too. I guess my motivation for making the extracts was feeling as if all of that beautiful mint was wasting away. There simply had to be something productive to do with it; and so, the extraction process began. I sure appreciate you that you stopped by.


@v1p3r~ Thanks!

@L.L. Woodard~ These totally make great gifts for any season, but particularly at the Christmas holiday. When I give them as a gift, I usually tie a quick and easy recipe to the jar that includes using the extract. People have even offered to buy them to give as gifts themselves! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


@rcrumple~ It is easy to think that an extract is as difficult to make as an essential oil--two very different products and processes! Extraction is pretty darn simple, while essential oils are generally a product of distillation (a much more in-depth procedure). Let me know how thing go if you decide to make your own extract! Thank you for sharing you remarks here.


India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on September 27, 2012:

@carol7777~ You can make this type of extract using any freshly picked and "edible" plant material. I am going to try a basil extract this week, it could have a very special and amazing outcome; or a total herbsaster! There may well be a reason we don't find basil extracts at the market! ;) Thank you for commenting!


@Kris Heeter~ Thanks for sharing! I also grow a ton of plants that make great extracts. Until I learned how to make the recipes, a lot of fantastic material went to waste. Now I feel really good that in just minutes I can preserve and store them for the year to come. I appreciate your comments.


@TToomso8~ Thanks for the HubLove, Terrye!


@Daisy Mariposa~ How exciting! I hope you find as much joy in growing herbs as I do! I sure am grateful for the shares, ma'am! Always an honor to find you in the comment section!

HubHugs, my friend~

Audrey Kirchner from Washington on September 27, 2012:

What great information--and pictures~ I use peppermint extract and other kinds in my hard candy recipes for the holidays--what a neat thought to make it from scratch though. Mint kind of takes over my garden and I have several kinds~ Great idea!

moonlake from America on September 27, 2012:

This sounds good, I grow peppermint in my garden. I also make my own vanilla. Never thought to do the peppermint. Voted uP! Also pinned.

Rich from Kentucky on September 26, 2012:

Had no idea that these could ever be made without an extensive chemical process. Extremely interesting information. Up & Useful & Interesting

L.L. Woodard from Oklahoma City on September 26, 2012:

I'd never considered making my own extracts, but after reading your hub and the easy-to-follow instructions, I think I may give it a try. Would make nice Christmas gifts.

Voted up and Shared.

v1p3r on September 26, 2012:

nice hub

Mary Hyatt from Florida on September 26, 2012:

I have grown mint, but the most creative thing I've ever done is put it in my iced tea.

This all sounds interesting and I'm sure it tastes good but it just looks like too much work for me. (Just saying.....)

I voted this Up etc. shared Pinned and Tweeted.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on September 26, 2012:

Something to make besides mint juleps! This is a great Hub, thanks for sharing a fresh idea on using mint. It is so easy to grow, I am so looking forward to growing more herbs in order to try all the cool things to do with them. I had rosemary lemon fish for dinner and am on a roll. LOL

Daisy Mariposa from Orange County (Southern California) on September 26, 2012:


Wow! Your article is amazing! I had absolutely no idea how to make any type of herbal extract before reading your Hub. You've made it sound so easy.

I love the flavor combination of chocolate and peppermint, and I love peppermint tea. It looks like I'm going to start planning and planting a new herb garden.

Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on September 26, 2012:

Awesome, K9! I voted up and shared all over. :)

Kris Heeter from Indiana on September 26, 2012:

What a great "how to" hub with such clear and easy directions. I'm definitely willing to give this a try. I love mint and have always had extra that goes to waste - this is the perfect solution. Thanks, and I'm looking forward to sharing your hub with others.

carol stanley from Arizona on September 26, 2012:

I like the extract recipe..Could you make this with other plants? Interesting...how it is done. Thanks for sharing and it is something new to me.

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