Ran out of mint at the last minute? If you did, and you are looking for the best mint substitute then you are in luck. Here, you will find 6 of the best mint substitutes for just about any recipe.
What is mint?
Mint is an aromatic perennial herb with hundreds of varieties including peppermint, spearmint, wild mint, apple mint, pineapple mint, ginger mint and more.
Mint is subtly sweet with a cooling effect left on the tongue. Fresh mint is used to add flavor to cocktails, soups, teas, salads, frozen treats and even pestos, and it is widely used as a garnish.
Before we go on it is important to point out that nothing, other than mint itself will give the same exact flavor and fragrance that mint adds in recipes. Many of the substitutes listed below will slightly change the flavors of certain dishes. However, in a pinch they can be used to replace mint with good enough results.
The best substitutes for mint are basil, peppermint extract, spearmint extract, peppermint oil and dried mint.
Best substitutes for mint
Basil is one of the most popular substitutes for mint. Basil is from the mint family and has a flavor that is sweet and peppery with hints of anise and cloves. It is not a perfect mint replacement, and it does not have the cooling effect of fresh mint, however in savory recipes like vegetables and certain salads chopped fresh basil will work well in replacing mint.
Basil is also a great garnish.
This is an extract that is made from peppermint leaves and is a mixture of peppermint oils and alcohol.
Peppermint extract has a fresh and minty flavor that works great in sweet desserts such as holiday baking, ice creams and other frozen treats. It works great in drinks, dipping sauces and candies too.
For a good substitution ratio, use 4 drops of peppermint extract to replace 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped mint leaves.
While less popular than peppermint extract, spearmint extract is another good substitute for mint. Spearmint extract comes from spearmint leaves and is a mixture of spearmint oil and alcohol.
Spearmint extract has a flavor that is sweet and minty without the same cooling effect of peppermint as it contains a significantly lower percentage of menthol than peppermint extract does. In fact, spearmint contains less than 1% menthol, compared to the 40% menthol found in peppermint.
Nonetheless in savory dishes, spearmint extract can be used to replace mint leaves.
Peppermint oil is an essential oil that is taken from the leaves of the peppermint plant.
Peppermint oil is another good alternative for mint. Use peppermint oil in recipes like mint milkshakes, hot chocolate with peppermint, ice creams and other frozen treats.
Peppermint oil is a lot more concentrated so use 1 drop of peppermint oil to replace 1 tablespoon of freshly chopped mint leaves.
Dried mint is simply 100% fresh mint leaves that have been dried.
Typically the flavor of dried mint leaves is sweet and earthy with hints of eucalyptus , but, this depends on the brand you use. Some are weak and will not impart the flavor of mint.
I like and use The Spice Ways brand of dried mint.
While dried mint does not have the cooling effect that fresh mint provides, it works great in salads, teas, pestos, stews, casseroles and even used in dry rubs for meats.
Dried mint has a very concentrated flavor so use 1/3 tablespoons of dried mint for every 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped mint. ie a 1:3 ratio of dried mint to fresh mint.
Mint substitutes in specific recipes
Mint substitute for Moscow mule
Mint substitute in a mojito
If you want to make a mojito but you don’t have mint leaves, you can go ahead and make a mojito with basil leaves instead.
Substitute for mint leaves in biryani
Mint leaves are used mainly to garnish a biryani recipe. Therefore, if you are out of mint leaves, you can use cilantro leaves, or even parsley.