mincemeat recipe authentic traditional best British English
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4.79 from 14 votes

BEST Traditional Mincemeat

Few people today know what REAL mincemeat should taste like, today's version paling in comparison to the mincemeat that has been a household tradition for centuries.  Give this traditional version a try and even if you've always hated mincemeat this may just be the one to convert you!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 15 mins
Course: condiment, Dessert, Ingredient
Cuisine: British
Servings: 1 quart
Calories: 96kcal
Author: Kimberly Killebrew


  • 1 pound (450g) finely chopped beef steak (optional but HIGHLY recommended, otherwise use an extra 1 1/2 cups raisins or currants)
  • Note: Traditionally made with beef or lamb and can also be made with wild game
  • 1 1/4 cups (330g) raisins
  • 1 1/4 cups (330g) currants
  • 1/2 cup (150g) golden raisins
  • 2 cups finely chopped tart apple
  • 200 grams shredded beef suet
  • 2 cups (450g) dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons candied lemon peel
  • 2 tablespoons candied orange peel
  • STRONGLY recommend using Homemade Candied Citrus Peel (click link for recipe)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (50g) finely chopped blanched almonds
  • 1 lemon, its zest and juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum


  • Combine all ingredients except for the brandy and rum in a medium-sized pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer uncovered for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the brandy and rum.  (Note: If you prefer to have the alcohol cooked out, add them at the same time as the other ingredients.)  
  • Spoon the hot mincemeat into sterilized jars.  As the mixture cools the suet will harden, creating a seal to help preserve the mincemeat.  NOTE:  See blog post for different ways to preserve the mincemeat, including refrigerating, freezing and canning for long-term storage.
  • Makes about 1 quart.  Feel free to double, triple, etc, as needed.
  • Note:  Mincemeat is traditionally stored for several months before using to allow time for the flavors to deepen, however this mincemeat is also delicious eaten within just a few days.
  • Note:  Another common way to make mincemeat is to skip the cooking process and to pack the raw mixture directly into sterilized jars and store in the fridge for at least 2 days and up to 2 weeks (be sure to use the freshest meat) and then to cook the mixture directly into the pies.  If you're planning on storing the mincemeat for a longer period of time, follow the instructions for cooking it.  My preference is to cook the mixture either way because it brings out the flavors of the ingredients, releasing the oils of the spices and melding the flavor together.
  • Use this mincemeat to make Homemade Mince Pies! (click link for recipe)
Serving: 1tablespoon | Calories: 96kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g