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
1 hr
Cook Time
2 hrs
Total Time
3 hrs
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Grandma's Homemade Mincemeat Recipe, Old Fashioned Mincemeat Recipe
  • 4 pounds venison, elk, or beef
  • Water 
  • 2 1/2 cups suet, finely chopped or grated*
  • 7 1/2 cups tart apples, chopped
  • 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 cinnamon, ground
  • 1 tablespoon cloves, ground
  • 2 tablespoons allspice, ground
  • 2 tablespoons nutmeg, ground
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Juice of 2 oranges
  • 1 cup brandy or sherry
  1. Trim fat from meat of your choice and discard.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

Recipe Notes

*  Suet is a solid while animal fat. The best Suet comes from the fat that grows around the kidneys in cows and sheep. You can 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.  You can also substite lard, shortening, butter, or bacon fat.


Grandma's Homemade Mincemeat Pie


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

Comments and Reviews

42 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.

    • David Walker

      Do you know what kind of liquor? I would think an orange liquor would be nice.

      • Linda Stradley

        Use any brandy or sherry that you prefer would be ok.

      • tony

        good rum, dark, non-spiced, I used cognac once found I didn’t have the regular liqueurs, nothing too bold.

  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.

    • Simone

      I get my suet from a butcher. If there are any close by, you may be able to get it from them.

  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!

    • Whats Cooking America

      Yes, you can substitute unfiltered apple juice and other variations of tart apples that you would also use in a pie would work.

    • emjayay

      Apple cider in the US can be the same as apple juice and can be clear (filtered) or cloudy. In some states cider has to be the unfiltered cloudy version. In other states it might be labeled “unfiltered apple juice”. But either will do. So, macht nichts. Hard cider is alcoholic apple cider.

    • Jim Howell


  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.

  13. Jennifer

    Suet is a special kind of fat found around the kidneys. It isn´t the same as the fat you would find around a steak. Suet behaves differently and doesn´t go rancid in the same way that other fat and lard does.

  14. Barb

    Yes. Thanks for recipe. My mother made mincemeat pie from a purchased jar. Wasn”t at all fond of it. About 45 years ago I had the “real deal” made by a “grandmother” in W. VA. Could not believe it! It was wonderful! Tried making but mine always seemed to be missing something. SO THANKS!

  15. Hilary

    I am in the process of making mincemeat right now- I used a different recipe, I wish I had found this first, and I used lard instead of suet, and coconut sugar instead of reg sugar as I love the taste and its better for you. My question is keeping this, or rather ferementing. Im not sure if its safe – is the sugar the preservative that keeps this all from going bad? HOw long will it keep and does that include the sugar from the fruits used also work as a perservative for a long keep? Ive heard, from friends of mine whose grandmothers made mince, that traditionally the mince meat would be kept unrefridgerated in clay crocks. And Im wondering if coconut sugar will work like sugar as a preservative. So there is a couple of questions here. Hope Im making them clear.

    • Nancy

      Sugar is not a preservative. When I have extra mincemeat, if usually freeze it. You could also can it.

  16. Ruth

    I made mincemeat this year and failed to keep the beef juice , thus it is dry . What can I do to put moisture into the mixture ???

    • Evelyn Griffith

      Apple juice or apple cider is what keeps it moist. You can add a cup of red wine and 2-3 ounces of brandy and keep it refrigerated or frozen if you are not baking your pies within a week to ten days.

  17. ruth

    I do not have enough moisture in mine. What can I do?

    • Rita

      To moisten dry mincemeat, use apple juice or cider

  18. Tanya

    I have a modified version of this recipe. I use a mix of dark and light raisins. Currents, dried cranberries and dried cherries. I use a little more vinegar and mace in the spice mix. When I pack it in the jars, I top each jar with the brandy before sealing. I run the meat through a meat grinder after it is cooked too. It makes the best Christmas gifts to family and friends who like it.

    • Barbara

      Can I get on your mailing list?? I always wondered why mincemeat had all that horrid candied fruit! This recipe is so intriguing, but I have no family now to make a batch this big. I know of no one who likes mincemeat. I’d gladly pay for a jar!! Merry Christmas to you and yours.

      • Nancy

        Barbra, Thank you! I added you to our mailing list, the sign-up is located the he bottom right of our web pages.

  19. Heather Griffith

    Have you ever tried mincemeat cookies? My husband’s family had a mincemeat recipe similar to yours which made wonderful cookies! I don’t recall there being any sugar, molasses, or cider vinegar in their recipe, though. Also, there were no lemons or oranges, and certainly no brandy/sherry, since Grandma Griffith was a teatotalling Methodist! It was always made from the neck of a deer or elk, which was boiled, boned, and then ground. After the mincemeat was done, it was canned into wide-mouth pint jars, which were just perfect for mincemeat cookies! Recipe: 1c. shortening, 1 1/2 c. sugar, 1 beaten egg, 3 1/2 c. flour, 3/4 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 pt. homemade mincemeat, and 1 tsp. vanilla. Cream shortening and sugar. Add egg. Sift together flour, soda, and salt. Add to creamed mixture. Add mincemeat and vanilla; stir. If too dry, add a little apple juice/cider. Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 9 minutes. Best when enjoyed right out of the oven!

  20. tony

    On Christmas Eve my German & Cherokee family made a wonderful mincemeat pie when I was a child.
    I found a few recipes for mincemeat pie, this one is good. First try was canned, uhg, folks who had never had mincemeat liked it, until they sampled my ‘meat pies.
    Made with beef and pork and it was good. Next I used venison, much better. Now I use bear, more meat that fruit 2:1, real suet, my butcher orders it for me. Five pound at a time and into the deep freeze. Canned a dozen quarts.

  21. Carolyn

    Thank you sharing your recipe, I’ve always loved minced meat pies, but have not had an authentic recipe. Most people don’t know they’re supposed to actually have spiced meat in them. Can’t wait to try it, you made day.

  22. Tammy Lytle-Hall

    I was wondering if anyone has tried Grand Marnier ?

  23. Mary Jo Stewart

    I made this recipe yesterday. The flavor is wonderful but the consistency is very fluid. Will this solidify as it sits for a few weeks? I won’t be able to use it in a pie in this fluid state.

    • Nancy

      Mary Jo, I am checking with the expert on the Mincemeat, but yes, it should absorb the liquid over the next few weeks. When you use the filling in the pie don’t pour the excess liquid in the pie crust, strain it out first.

  24. Mary Jo Stewart

    Thank you for your reply. The liquid has absorbed a little. I also decided to reheat one of the quarts of mincemeat to see if the liquid would reduce. It did! My only other issue is that it is really meaty. I think that I might have to run it through my food processor to break up the meat a little. Other than that, the taste is wonderful and I am anxious to use it in a pie.

  25. Al

    One of our local (Sarasota, FL) Amish Restaurants, “Yoders” on Bahia Vista, has a regional reputation for great pies. One must pre-order for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons. One of their seasonal pies is Mincemeat made with plenty of real meat, just like I remember from my Grandmother’s kitchen! I like your recipe and we may give it a try.

    • Nancy

      Thanks for visiting and let us know how your pie turns out
      Happy Holidays!

  26. Anna Marie

    What cut of beef do you use? My husband loves Mincemeat Pie but the kind with meat in the filling.


Leave a Reply