Grandma’s Homemade Mincemeat Recipe

This is truly an old-fashion homemade mincemeat recipe that is actually made with meat in it.  Unfortunately, most people have never tasted a true old-fashioned mincemeat pie (also called mince pie).  The flavor of real mincemeat pie (not the bottled version purchased at your local store) is sort of like a Middle Eastern mixture of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  You will love this recipe.

History:  Today, we are accustomed to eating mince pie as a dessert, but actually “minced” pie and its follow-up “mincemeat pie” began as a main course dish with more meat than fruit (a mixture of meat, dried fruits, and spices).  As fruits and spices became more plentiful in the 17th century, the spiciness of the pies increased accordingly.  Learn more about the History of Mincemeat.

This is my grandmother’s actual recipe for mincemeat.  My mother always made this mincemeat recipe every Thanksgiving and Christmas for our holiday mincemeat pies.  Learn more about mincemeat and check out my family’s favorite Mincemeat Pie Recipe.


Homemade Mincemeat





Grandma’s Homemade Mincemeat Recipe:


Prep Time: 60 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Yield: serves many


4 pounds venison, elk, or beef
2 1/2 cups suet, finely chopped or grated*
7 1/2 cups chopped tart apples 
3 cups liquid (liquid from meat of your choice it was cooked in) 
5 cups granulated sugar 
3 cups apple cider 
1 cup molasses 
1/2 cup cider vinegar 
3 cups raisins 
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon 
1 tablespoon ground cloves 
2 tablespoons ground allspice 
2 tablespoons ground nutmeg 
Juice of 2 lemons 
Juice of 2 oranges
1 cup brandy or sherry

* Suet is firm beef fat.  Suet can be collected by trimming the hard white fat from steaks and other cuts of beef.  You can also purchase packages of suet from your local butcher or from the meat department of your local grocery store.  It then needs to be coarsely grated to make it ready to use. It also must be kept refrigerated prior to use and used within a few days of purchase, just like meat.



Trim fat from meat of your choice and discard.

In a large heavy pan over medium heat, place meat; cover with water and simmer until the meat is tender.  Remove from heat and refrigerate meat in the cooking liquid overnight.

Remove from refrigerator and remove meat from liquid.  Remove all fat from top of liquid; discard the fat and reserve the remaining liquid.  Separate meat from bones, discard bones.  Chop cooked meat into small cubes.

In a large pot, combine meat cubes, beef suet, apples, reserved liquid, sugar, apple cider, molasses, cider vinegar, raisins, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, lemon juice, and orange juice; simmer for 2 hours. remove from heat.  Add brandy or sherry and mix together.

It is best to let mincemeat stand at least a couple of weeks before using.  I store mine in the refrigerator.  Freeze in air-tight containers for longer storage.

Grandma's Homemade Mincemeat Pie

Related Recipes:


Apples    Baking Hints & Tips    Beef    Christmas    Heirloom Recipes    Mincemeat Recipes    Thanksgiving    Wild Game   

Comments and Reviews

17 Responses to “Grandma’s Homemade Mincemeat Recipe”

  1. Brent Myers

    My Grandma Myers also made a mincemeat pie. I remember one Holliday finding out she made the pie with liqueur, but kept the bottle hidden.

  2. Dick Albright

    My Mom’s-side Partridge family made mincemeat pie as well as pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. I don’t particularly like pumpkin pie, but loved the old-fashioned REAL mincemeat pie with meat in it…more meat than fruit. I have asked Carrow’s, Marie Calendar’s, Coco’s, and a plethora of other restaurants if they had mincemeat pie–always NO…and some never heard of it in SoCal. I often get invites from folks (but my own kids) for TDinner (“…I’d drive a million miles for one of their smiles…”), but the only one I really preferred was Billy C’s Mom, Nadine who made REAL MINCE(D) MEAT PIE. And now just found the recipe online, so I know I’m not crazy. Well, not THAT crazy. Miss you Mom, Aunt Char, Granma and Nadine…more than you’ll ever know…Happy TDay…

  3. Mitchell Webster

    This is the closest to my grandmothers recipe for mincemeat that I have found, the only differences is she used lots of sour cherries in hers, and currants, raisins, Stayman apples (they hold their shape best) less sugar. However we have always canned 30-60 quarts every couple of years.
    Right now I am simmering the first 30 quart stock pot full to can in the morning. There is nothing commercially made that even comes close to REAL HOMEMADE MINCEMEAT. 🙂
    Thanks for posting this recipe as well as the history of Mincemeat, very interesting!

  4. Angela Otte

    I grew up eating my grandma’s mincemeat and now make it as a family tradition in my house for my dad. Brings back a lot of memories! Must have real meat in it! Our recipes look very similar, although I’ve never added orange or lemon juice to mine. My grandma taught me to save the brandy and add a generous shot over the top before adding the top crust along with a couple pats of butter.

  5. Michele Helton

    My mom always made mincemeat pie and I loved it. She passed away a few years ago and It’s one of the few recipes I haven’t found. This sounds very similar. She would let her’s sit in crocks for weeks so that the alcohol flavor mellowed. But I remember getting buzzed on a single raisin one year lol

  6. Peter

    Just a correction about suet. It is the hard fat from around the kidneys. The fat trimmed off steaks (like the article suggests) is NOT suet; it is Tallow (after it is rendered). Suet has a different taste, texture, and melting point than Tallow. It is also frustratingly difficult to find real suet in the USA. I have to buy it from the U.K. and hope that customs doesn’t confiscate it. You can buy small packets on Amazon but the price is pretty high.

    • Sheila Gililland

      I found None Such mincemeat brand ready made for one pie. Its pretty good, A few dopules of butter In it before the top crust is real good too.
      My grandmother made it with the venison. It doesn’t taste as good but it fills the void at holidays when you can’t have the real stuff.

  7. Julie

    I found real suet at a small, artisan type butcher shop. Rendered it myself, it was fun and easy. One could also look into a a meat CSA too (community suported agriculture) to find some suet at a good price..

  8. Dave J.

    About how many pies would this recipe make??
    At 9 inch deap dish plates. I like to freeze mine in one pie fillings.

    • Linda Stradley

      A normal-sized pie takes appx. 1 quart of prepared mincemeat. As to how many pies would this recipe make – I just do not know.

  9. Kathy Crist

    Thank you for posting your grandmas recipe, it was wonderful! I used elk tri tip, cooked in the crockpot all day, and substituted currants for the raisins. I cut the recipe in half and it made three pies. Delicious!!

  10. andy

    Moose meat is great in mincemeat pie.hard to find a butcher in the city that sells suet.i did find one butcher,but they wanted a ridcoulious i bought a jar of premade mincemeat from Hutterite colony,very yummy.

  11. Stephanie

    If anyone can answer these questions, I would greatly appreciate it!
    1. Can I substitute unfiltered apple juice for the apple cider? I live in Germany and apple cider isn’t available here.
    2. For the tart apples: Should I use only Granny Smith or a combination with another type? Would Braeburn apples also be considered tart?
    Thank you for your reply!

  12. Carl Lyman

    Thanx for recipe!!! My mother made mincemeat pies for Xmas which I loved! Never knew the recipe. This recipe sounds very much like what my mother, who was from Canada, made while I watched. Looking forward to trying.


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