Peppermint-flavored candies and confections are abundant during the colder months across grocery stores, gift shops, and holiday markets. With a refreshing, cooling flavour, peppermint provides a nice contrast to a sugary treat or a decadent chocolate dessert.

But if you’re anything like me, you probably bought some peppermint extract with good intentions of using it to make holiday treats, and then promptly forgot about it. So, it’s only natural to wonder if the peppermint extract you bought recently has gone bad. Can you explain the distinction between peppermint oil and peppermint extract? How about some peppermint extract recipes?

As we go along, I’ll answer any questions you may have about peppermint extract.

Peppermint extract is made from peppermint leaves as opposed to spearmint leaves and consists of peppermint essential oil and alcohol.

Natural, synthetic, and synthetic imitations, all in liquid form.

Desserts and beverages like tea often call for this ingredient.

Substitutes: Peppermint oil, 1/4 teaspoon (food-grade only) or peppermint schnapps, 1 tablespoon

Finding Out About Peppermint Oil

Extract from peppermint can be made by either diluting the essential oils with alcohol or steeping the leaves in alcohol and straining them before use. Peppermint extract can be bought at the grocery store or made as a DIY project.

Natural, synthetic, and imitation extracts are the three most common types. All that you’ll find in an all-natural peppermint extract is alcohol, peppermint oil, and occasionally water. Artificial flavours are used in imitation and synthetic extracts.

Peppermint vs. spearmint

Mint leaves come in many varieties, including spearmint and peppermint. When compared to spearmint, peppermint has a much higher menthol content, which is what gives it its characteristic mentholated aftertaste and scent.

Despite their similarities, you shouldn’t use one in place of the other because of the other’s higher menthol content. Therefore, while peppermint is more commonly found in sweet desserts, especially around the holidays, spearmint is used more frequently in sweet and savoury applications.

When Choosing Between Peppermint Oil and Extract

It’s important to note that peppermint oil and peppermint extract are two entirely different things. Peppermint oil, or eugenol, is the pure essential oil extracted from peppermint leaves. Peppermint extract consists of a blend of peppermint essential oils and alcohol.

Because of its potency, peppermint oil is typically diluted before use. The oil has a potency that is roughly four times that of the extract. Many varieties of peppermint oil are not intended for consumption due to their use in aromatherapy and other fields.

Peppermint Oil: Where to Find It

Peppermint extract is available in most major supermarkets. Another option is to look for a store that sells the extract online.

Be mindful of whether natural, imitated, or synthetic options best suit your needs. Verify that peppermint, and not spearmint, is listed as the active ingredient.

When and Where to Put Things Away

Peppermint extract should be kept in a dark place, so avoid exposing the bottle to light. If stored properly, peppermint extract has a shelf life of three to four years.

Possible Alternatives to Peppermint Extract

There are a few alternatives that can be used in place of peppermint extract if you can’t locate any. Use this in place of 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract:
Mint oil, one-fourth teaspoonful (make sure it is edible)
Peppermint schnapps, 1 tablespoon
Swiss Roll with Chocolate and Peppermint
The Stark, Elizabeth
Recipes for Using Peppermint Oil in Your KitchenAdding a pinch of peppermint extract to baked goods or cold desserts like ice cream is a great way to add flavour without overwhelming the dish. Peppermint extract, in my opinion, has a sharper flavour than vanilla, so I typically start with a smaller quantity and increase if necessary.

The following are some of our favourite applications of peppermint extract:

  • Peppermint tea is a herbal beverage prepared by adding a few drops to hot water.
  • To make peppermint ice cream, mix with an ice cream base. To make a minty, sweet treat, add some crushed peppermint patties.
  • To make peppermint hot chocolate, simply add a few drops of peppermint extract to your mug of hot cocoa.
  • Mix some peppermint extract into cookie dough for a tasty treat.
  • Want to know how else to put that peppermint extract to good use? Here are a few of our favourite minty recipes for your perusal.
  • Ice cream with peppermint
  • Cupcakes flavoured with chocolate and mint
  • Pie with a chocolate mint filling
  • These marshmallows have a refreshing peppermint flavour.
  • Sugar Cookie Recipes
  • Chocolate Swiss Peppermint Chocolate Roll
  • Peppermint Branches Crispy Chocolate Biscuits
  • Cookies topped with peppermint meringue