Looking for the BEST homemade vegan mincemeat recipe ever? Look no further! My homemade mincemeat is packed with a beautiful mix of dried fruit, nuts and spices. Along with a few generous spoonfuls of alcohol too, this delivers all the cosy flavours and delights of Christmas!
What is mincemeat?
Contrary to what it sounds like, modern day mincemeat actually contains no meat. Back in the 16th century, it did contain meat, along with fruit, and was fermented together with vinegars and wines. Fast forward a few hundred years, and by the 19th century recipes included the addition of sugar, spices and brandy.
Fast forward just a century later, recipes no longer included any meat, instead calling for apples, lemons, orange juice and candied fruits alongside the brandy and suet. The use of mincemeat had moved from being pies containing meat, as the name suggests, to being used more as a sweet pie filling instead. It was during the 20th century that mince pies became more popular as a seasonal Christmas bake in the UK.
What is in vegan mincemeat?
- Bramley apples: these have a tart and tangy flavour, which works beautifully with the sweeter dried fruit, added sugar and alcohol.
- Almonds: I use whole almonds which I chop into small ish chunks. I love the texture from the nuts in this vegetarian mincemeat.
- Cranberries: dried cranberries add a vibrant tart flavour to the mincemeat.
- Currants: these dried fruit bring a sweet and tangy flavour to the mincemeat.
- Mixed fruit: I use some mixed dried fruit too, just for convenience!
- Mixed peel: this is essentially candied orange and lemon peel cut into small pieces.
- Vegetable suet: the fat content in this, helps preserve the vegan mincemeat and acts as a binder too.
- Dark brown sugar: for sweetness with some beautiful caramel notes.
- Mixed spice: contains a good mix of spices to flavour this mincemeat, but I like to add a little extra of my favourites, listed below.
- Cinnamon: adding a little more cinnamon gives a wonderful warmth to the Christmas mincemeat I think is perfect for the season!
- Nutmeg: for extra warm, slightly nutty flavour, this spice really makes for a wonderfully festive flavour when added to bakes.
- Orange: sweet and citrusy, I use the zest and juice of the fruit.
- Lemon: for extra (subtle) zing, makes for extra flavour in the vegan mincemeat.
- Brandy: what is Christmas without brandy??
- Port: or without port! Adding two types of alcohol really rounds off the boozy flavours and truly makes this a luxury mincemeat recipe!
What equipment do I need to make homemade mincemeat?
- Large ovenproof bowl*: to make the vegan mincemeat in. Please make sure you use a dish or bowl large enough to allow you to stir the mixture as it cooks.
- Digital kitchen scales*: my recommended method of measuring ingredients is to weigh them out using grams rather than using cups. I do, however, provide cup measures too, if you prefer working with this method of measurement.
- Measuring spoons*: for measuring smaller quantities such as tablespoons (tbsp) and teaspoons (tsp). A set of dedicated measuring spoons are far more accurate than using your everyday eating spoons.
- Zester*: to get all that beautiful, deliciously flavourful zest off the oranges and lemons. Remember to zest the fruit before you juice them for the best and most stress free results!
- Citrus juicer*: makes getting all the juice from the fruit super easy.
- Storage jar*: to store the delicious vegan mincemeat in once made. Try to resist eating it with a spoon!
How to make vegan mincemeat
Making this homemade vegan mincemeat could not be easier. Quite simply mix all the ingredients, except the alcohol, together in a large oven proof dish, and bake until the apples are soft. Cool a little, stir through the booze, then decant into jars and seal shut. Job done!
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 140C/280F whilst preparing the ingredients for the mincemeat.
Step 2: Wash and dry the apples, then core and chop them into small chunks. I leave the skin on, but you can peel it off if you wish. Place the apples in the oven safe bowl along with all the other ingredients except the alcohol. Stir through, then place the dish in the oven and leave to melt and mix together. Stir every 15-20 minutes until the suet has melted, the sugar has dissolved and the apples soften to your liking. The apples can take the longest to soften, anywhere from 40-90 minutes depending on how large the chunks are and how soft you want the fruit to be.
Step 3: Once the apples have softened to your liking, carefully remove the dish from the oven. Leave the mixture to cool in the oven dish, stirring occasionally to evenly spread the fat and juices. Once the mixture has reached a warm room temperature, tip in 4 tbsp each of brandy and port and stir through. Taste some of the vegan mincemeat and add in more of either alcohol (or both if you wish, I’m not judging!) to suit your tastes. Leave out for a further half hour or so, stirring every five minutes, so the mincemeat is evenly coated in the alcohol and the cooking liquids.
Step 4: Decant the vegan mincemeat mixture into a large airtight jar, sealing it shut. Ideally, you would leave the mixture to stand for a couple of weeks before using it. This allows the flavours to absorb and infuse. However, it can be used immediately if required, but is much nicer if the flavours are allowed to deepen for a little while. Enjoy!
What can I do with mincemeat?
Mincemeat has become more of a seasonal Christmas flavour in its uses, but there is no reason not to use it year round! The most common recipes using mincemeat are for bakes such as mince pies, whether mini individual serving, or a larger one where you cut a slice to serve. I have used my vegan mincemeat in other bakes too, such as my mince pie cupcakes or in apple and mincemeat crumble. The flavours work well in a variety of other bakes too, such as in a loaf cake, as a filling for cookies, in a mince pie cheesecake or even a mincemeat scone! Truly, the possibilities as as limitless as your imagination!
When should I make mincemeat?
You can make your homemade mincemeat up to six months ahead of when you plan on using it. Ideally, it would be made and left for the flavours to develop for a fortnight or so. However, my recipe for vegan mincemeat can be made and used as soon as it is cooked down.
How long will this vegan mincemeat keep?
Thanks to the suet and the alcohol, which act as a preservative, this mincemeat will keep for a fair few months. I have made mincemeat and kept it for a full year, and it has been just fine. I would, however, recommend that once the mincemeat container has been opened it is used up within a week.
Additional tips for making this vegan mincemeat recipe
- I use my apples unpeeled as I like the texture of the skin on. If you prefer, you can of course peel them too.
- You can substitute other nuts in here for the almonds if you wish. I like that almonds hold their texture well, even once baked and left to steep, whereas other nuts are more likely to soften.
- The combination of dried fruit I use in my recipe has been tweaked to suit my family’s tastes. If you have less of one, and add more of another, it’s all good, it will still taste delicious!
- I like to use two types of alcohol in my vegetarian mincemeat recipe, however you could choose to not make it boozy as I do and substitute the alcohol for Earl Grey or Darjeeling tea instead if you wish.
- When you come to using it, if you find the suet has set, simply pop it in the microwave for a few seconds and it will come beautifully smooth and tempting all over again!
If you have any other questions or comments about this recipe, please use the comments below, I would love to help. And if you do make this recipe for vegan mincemeat, please do consider leaving a rating and review below. I would love to know how you enjoyed it! Additionally, you could also post a picture on Instagram and tag me when you share it with the world. After all, you know I would love to see!
More recipes from my blog for you to enjoy
Do check out these other yummy festive recipes on my blog too:
Mini mince pies: Christmas and mince pies go together like strawberries and cream. These mini mince pies are perfect bite-sized morsels of joy, with melt-in-your-mouth pastry, homemade mincemeat (check out the recipe above!) and a pretty snowflake pastry topper.
Mince pie cupcakes: light and fluffy vanilla cupcakes, filled generously with my homemade mincemeat and topped with an incredible brandy butter buttercream. These are quite simply an extravagant festive cupcake version of the traditional mince pie! Christmas baking at its best!
Christmas pudding cookies: these adorable chocolate Christmas pudding cookies are soft and chewy and just oh-so-cute! Combining both brownies and cookies in one ever-popular bake, these are perfect for seasonal baking with the kids!
Gingerbread cheesecake: my no-bake gingerbread cheesecake is PERFECT for the festive season! Creamy and dreamy, with a beautiful gingery biscuit base and all the yummy flavours of gingerbread, this cheesecake is always a crowd pleaser!
A final note…
Remember to only stir your mincemeat in a clockwise direction when making it. Tradition has it that stirring anticlockwise is bad luck for the coming year. So go on, get stuck in and let everyone get stirring for good luck over the coming year!
Wishing you all the love and joy of the season, my friends. Happy festive baking! x