Traditional mincemeat

Prep: 20 mins Plus soaking


Makes about 2kg (4 x 500ml jars)
Try making your mincemeat well in advance of Christmas to give the flavours maximum time to mature

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per tbsp

  • kcal70
  • fat3g
  • saturates2g
  • carbs10g
  • sugars9g
  • fibre0g
  • protein0g
  • salt0.01g
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  • 250g raisin
  • 375g currant
  • 100ml brandy



    Brandy is a distilled spirit made from virtually any fermented fruit or starchy vegetable.…

  • zest of 1 lemon, juice of ½



    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

  • 300g shredded suet
  • 250g dark brown sugar



    Honey and syrups made from concentrated fruit juice were the earliest known sweeteners. Today,…

  • 85g chopped mixed peel
  • ½ small nutmeg, grated
  • 1 large Bramley apple, peeled and grated
    Bramley apples

    Bramley apple

    bram-lee app-el

    A large, flattish cooking apple, green in appearance but sometimes with specks of red. The flesh…


  1. Soak the raisins and currants in the brandy and lemon juice for 1 hr until plumped up, then drain and set the brandy aside. Mix all the ingredients together in the order given, then pour in the brandy when everything else is well mixed. Spoon and press into sterilised jars, to exclude any air (the easiest way to sterilise jars is to run them through a dishwasher on its hottest setting). Cover and leave for at least a fortnight. Will keep in the fridge for up to 6 months.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Comments (34)

Njt_bath's picture

Lovely recipe. I accidentally bought too little suet but I actually think this is an improvement. 200g instead of 300g.

Lucyandr's picture

Ab FAB!!! I have made this without sugar (hubby is type 2 diabetic) and used a little Stevia instead. Also used my own mixed peel (lemon and orange). It was fantastic - must admit I was a little sceptical about the suet amount (it did seem too much) but it was perfect and I now have another good few jars ready for much loved mince pies this Christmas!! Hubby is over the moon - mince pies and no sugar peaks!!

Cookiemonster1981's picture

Love this recipe. Have replaced Suet with goose grease and only use half the amount stated. Turned out really well last year. Just made another batch and can't wait to make mince pies.

Lucy.Mh's picture

This truly is a wonderful mincemeat and definitely lasts in the fridge, the flavour is intense and delicious. I've made these two years in a row now and use lots of cranberries in mine instead of the raisins, pecans work well in it too!

feedthebirds's picture

Made quite a lot of this about 3 weeks ago and just tasted it - very disappointed - left a 'furry' feeling in the mouth (all the suet maybe?) And had an 'earthy' taste - followed recipe exactly but won't be making again - can't believe the mostly rave reviews

Cookiemonster1981's picture

If you don't sterilize your jars, this can happen. I had test when making jam for the first time....

Don25's picture

You can just leave out the suet. I have nothing against fat but it's not necessary in mincemeat. I used to use suet, then over the years exchanged it for sunflower seed oil, and finally just left out all fats and oils. The mincemeat is still delicious. Just bulk it up with extra fruit. I think the suet is a filler and a hang-over from earlier times when mincemeat apparently used to actually contain meat.

chefchater's picture

Just made this - it looks very white in comparison to the picture - a little worried it will be too "suety" but I followed the recipe down to the gram so fingers crossed! Anyone else found this?

mrsctroy's picture

Made it too around the same time and thought the very same - seemed to be a lot of suet. Haven't tried it yet going to wait till nearer Xmas

MaxG's picture

Just finished making this recipe, I used cranberries in place of current as we can't get them in Bulgaria and soaked the fruit in the brandy overnight. Also had to make my own candied peel (much better than bought and so easy to make). It's tastes delicious now, can't wait to make it into mince pies :)

maxine_wilson's picture

I have made this mincemeat for the last 3 years and will be making it again this year! It's easy to make and tastes lovely, especially with home-made pastry :0)

chefchater's picture

does this mincemeat look very light in the jar? I added exactly the right amount of suet but it is very light in colour and seems to be outweighed by suet rather than fruit. Concerned I have made a mistake and it will be horrid!

meganlefay's picture

delicious!............ made it with mixture of raisins and sultanas and cranberries as i am unable to obtain currants in France....and used butter..... much much better than shop bought.... the first i have made myself.. and i will use this recipe again...

nettyellen's picture

Just made, it smells lovely, didn't have any brandy so I used rum instead.

benminx's picture

A darned nice recipe. As a novice at making homemade Mincemeat I found this easy and fun (although messy! heehee) to make, and it looked great. I didn't have a dishwasher to sterilise the large vacuum seal topped jar I used, but the following method worked and prevented any mould: I thoroughly washed every inch of the inside and out (including under the rubber seal in the lid) in hot sopay water and then left it to dry upside down on a clean rack. Making sure I didn't touch the inside of the lid or jar I gently 'flamed' the inside of the jar and it's lid and seal with a lighter the way we used to sterilise tools and petri dishes in school. (Remember not to hover over the rubber seal when doing this as brief heat is all that's necessary and you could melt the seal).
Used this with the Eccles cake style mince pies and it worked a dream.

mummy_sarah's picture

very keen to try this but what could you use instead of brandy for a non-alcohol version? would apple or orange juice be ok?

swiftie's picture

I have made my first ever batch of mincemeat, delias recipe, (i didnt see this recipe until after!) i cooked it in the oven at a very low heat for 3 hours, then put in jars, and I have to say it look very stodgy, not like the shop bought mincemeat. Now it as cooled, the fat is white and there is no liquid in it. Is there anyway I can rescue it or is this how it should look? my thoughts are when I make the mince pies it will go even drier. Any help would be very grateful!

pamd's picture

I made Delia's recipe. I have just thrown all 5 jars away. Cloyee and disgusting really!!!

nayaths's picture

scratch my last comment. I didnt read the note where it says it makes about 2Kg. My mistake

nayaths's picture

Im planning on making this for Xmas and making mince pies. Both as a treat for us on Xmas day and Im planning on giving some out to family when we visit over the Xmas time. Im just wondering how much it makes. Just so i have a good idea of how much i would need to make to cover every one. I dont realy like mince pies myself but they get gobbled up by everyone else. Dont want to resort to store-bought.


Questions (8)

Spanna1's picture

Making this for the first time and unsure whether to use suet or not. I may do a batch with and a batch without or a mixture of both. If replacing suet with butter do I use the same quantity of butter as suet? Thanks in advance.

Janet Baudevin's picture

I live in France and can't get Suet for puddings. Does anyone know of a substitute ingredient please?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there, thanks for your question. Use grated frozen butter, lard or vegetable shortening instead. 

JuicyJu's picture

You don't need suet. Apologies to James Martin but I always use Mary Berry's recipe with a little tweak here & there - butter in place of suet.

chefchater's picture

How many standard mince pies will this make? (I don't want to be short)!

Lovesfood0o3's picture

I Googled this recipe because I've always wanted to try mincemeat. At the risk of being completely ignorant I have never made or tasted it before and just assumed it had meat in it. It doesn't usually have some sort of meat in it?

lou5830's picture

Does the first 2 weeks need to be left on the side or in the fridge ?

Janet Baudevin's picture

No, it will keep perfectly without being in the fridge. In fact keeping it in the fridge may cause it to crystalize, so it's better at room temperature.

Tips (1)

Don25's picture

Leave the suet out! You can replace it with butter or sunflower seed oil if you want to, but this is not necessary. Personally, I just leave the suet out and replace it with extra fruit. Can anyone suggest what the suet is supposed to do in mincemeat except add bulk?