Peppermint extract is a staple in many kitchens and baking pantries, known for its refreshing and cooling flavor that adds a unique touch to dishes. However, there may be times when you don’t have peppermint extract on hand, or perhaps you’re looking for a different flavor profile. Fortunately, there are several substitutes that you can use to achieve a similar flavor or add a unique twist to your dishes. In this article, we’ll explore the 7 best substitutes for peppermint extract.
What is Peppermint Extract?
Peppermint extract is a popular ingredient in many sweet and savory dishes. It is typically made by soaking peppermint leaves and stems in alcohol and then straining the mixture before use. The alcohol absorbs the flavor from the peppermint plant, resulting in a concentrated peppermint-flavored liquid.
Another method of making peppermint extract is by diluting peppermint essential oil with alcohol. This method produces a similar result to the traditional method, but with a stronger flavor and aroma.
Peppermint extract comes in three different forms: natural, imitation, and artificial. Natural peppermint extract contains fewer ingredients, such as peppermint oil, alcohol, and sometimes water. Imitation and artificial peppermint extracts often contain artificial flavors and other additives.
Best Peppermint Extract Substitutes
1. Vanilla Extract
Vanilla extract is a common baking ingredient that can be used as a substitute for peppermint extract. While it doesn’t have the same cooling effect as peppermint, it does add a sweet and floral note to dishes. To substitute vanilla extract for peppermint extract, use a 1:1 ratio. Vanilla extract works well in baked goods like cakes, cookies, and muffins.
2. Spearmint Extract
Spearmint extract is another mint flavor that can be used as a substitute for peppermint extract. While spearmint is similar to peppermint, it has a slightly sweeter and less intense flavor. To substitute spearmint extract for peppermint extract, use a 1:1 ratio. Spearmint extract works well in desserts like ice cream, sorbet, and chocolate truffles.
3. Mint Leaves
Fresh or dried mint leaves can be used as a substitute for peppermint extract, and they add a natural and herbal flavor to dishes. To substitute mint leaves for peppermint extract, use 2-3 fresh mint leaves or 1/2 teaspoon of dried mint leaves for every 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract. Mint leaves work well in savory dishes like lamb chops, roasted vegetables, and salads.
4. Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil is a highly concentrated oil that can be used as a substitute for peppermint extract. However, it’s important to note that essential oils are potent and should be used sparingly in cooking and baking. To substitute peppermint essential oil for peppermint extract, use 1 drop of essential oil for every 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract. Peppermint essential oil works well in desserts like brownies, fudge, and cheesecake.
5. Peppermint Tea
Peppermint tea is a readily available and natural substitute for peppermint extract. It adds a subtle mint flavor to dishes and can be used in both sweet and savory recipes. To substitute peppermint tea for peppermint extract, brew a strong cup of tea and use 2 tablespoons for every 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract. Peppermint tea works well in beverages like hot chocolate, cocktails, and smoothies.
6. Peppermint Schnapps
Peppermint schnapps is a sweet liqueur that can be used as a substitute for peppermint extract. It has a strong and distinct flavor, so it should be used sparingly in cooking and baking. To substitute peppermint schnapps for peppermint extract, use 1-2 tablespoons for every 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract. Peppermint schnapps works well in desserts like truffles, cakes, and cupcakes.
7. Peppermint Candies
Peppermint candies, such as candy canes or peppermint sticks, can be crushed and used as a substitute for peppermint extract. They add a sweet and minty flavor to dishes and can be used in both sweet and savory recipes. To substitute peppermint candies for peppermint extract, crush 2-3 candies and use in place of 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract. Peppermint candies work well in desserts like bark, fudge, and cookies.
In conclusion, if you don’t have peppermint extract on hand or want to experiment with new flavors, there are several substitutes that can add a unique twist to your dishes.
While these substitutes may not have the exact same flavor profile as peppermint extract, they can still provide a refreshing and enjoyable taste. It’s important to use these substitutes in moderation and adjust the quantities to your personal preference.
Whether you choose vanilla extract, spearmint extract, mint leaves, peppermint essential oil, peppermint tea, peppermint schnapps, or peppermint candies, have fun experimenting with different flavors and finding the perfect substitute for your dish.