Old-Fashioned Mincemeat

Aromatic and full of rich flavor, this New England-inspired old-fashioned mincemeat recipe is a worthy holiday season classic.

By Yankee Magazine

Oct 23 2016

Aromatic and full of rich flavor, this New England-inspired old-fashioned mincemeat recipe is a worthy holiday season classic.

To make the boiled cider called for in the recipe, bring 4 cups of apple cider to a boil in a nonreactive pan. Cook, uncovered, over medium-high heat until the cider is reduced to 2 cups. Transfer to a glass jar and refrigerate.

Note: Looking for a suet substitute? Shortening may be the answer. For best results, freeze the shortening before using, then grate the frozen shortening using a large holed grater (you want the pieces to be large and chunky) or pulse in a food processor until clumpy. Use immediately or keep frozen until ready to use.

Learn More: What is Mincemeat | History & Recipes


4 quarts, enough for 4 pies


2 pounds boneless lean beef or venison
1 pound beef suet (see Note)
2 1/2 pounds apples, peeled and cored
1/2 pound dried figs
1/2 pound pitted dates
2 pounds golden raisins
2 pounds dried currants
1/2 cup candied citron peel
1/2 cup candied orange peel
1/2 cup candied lemon peel
4 cups beef broth
2 cups boiled cider (see recipe introduction)
1 cup apple brandy
1 cup dark rum
1 cup molasses
2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup currant jelly
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon mace


Place beef or venison in a shallow pan and brown on all sides under the broiler. Transfer to a large pot and cover by two inches in cold water. Cook, covered, over low heat for 2 1/2 hours or until tender enough to shred apart with a fork. Lift the meat out and transfer to a plate. Cool, then chop fine by hand or cut into chunks and chop in the food processor, using brief pulses. Finely chop suet and combine with beef in a large nonreactive pan.

Finely chop apples, figs, and dates: add to beef mixture. Add raisins and currants. Finely chop citron, orange peel, and lemon peel and stir in. Pour on the beef broth, cider, brandy, and run. Bring to a simmer. Stir in the molasses, brown sugar, and jelly. Add salt and spices and stir to mix well. Simmer uncovered for 2 hours or until mixture has thickened to a juicy, relish-like consistency.

Homemade mincemeat may be canned in mason jars and stored for one year in a cool, dry place. Spoon hot mincemeat into sterilized quart jars, leaving 1″ headroom. Seal and process for 20 minutes at 10 pounds pressure. Or cool and transfer to plastic freezer containers or glass refrigerator jars. It may be frozen for six months or kept in the refrigerator for up to a month.