Experience a fruity delight with a batch of homemade mincemeat without suet or added sugar, and suitable for vegetarians and vegans. This mincemeat recipe will add a touch of magic to your Christmas celebrations as the perfect addition to your mince pies and other festive treats.
Christmas in the UK is synonymous with mince pies, and what better way to elevate your Christmas experience than by making your own mincemeat at home? So I decided I wanted a recipe that was refined sugar free and didn’t include any additional fat. This meant that I would have mincemeat to hand which would be great for my vegetarian daughter as well as helping to reduce the overall carb count for my other daughter with type 1 diabetes.
After a little research, some changes and mixes with the dried fruit used and a few batches later, this sugar-free alternative is the perfect make-ahead solution for a Christmas filled with flavour. It’s a slightly boozy, fruity delight that not only caters to your taste buds but also ensures a more considered option for diabetes management or those looking to cut back on added sugars during the holidays.
What is Mincemeat?
Mincemeat today is typically a mixture of chopped dried fruit, spices, alcohol and sometimes some form of fat like suet or vegetable shortening. It is a classic ingredient in British and American holiday desserts, particularly associated with Christmas. But it is still strange that we call it mincemeat and there isn’t actually any meat in the recipe!
However originally, no surprises here, but mincemeat did in fact contain meat. Historically it was another option for preserving meat, rather than salting, curing, smoking or drying. But today the tasty fruity mincemeat versions have become a real staple ingredient for the festive season with many different options available.
While traditional mincemeat recipes can be rich and sweet, this mincemeat recipe focuses on the fruity and spiced elements, as well as catering to dietary preferences such as sugar-free and vegetarian.
Why Homemade Mincemeat?
Creating your own mincemeat offers a host of benefits, from the flexibility to adjust ingredients to the satisfaction of knowing exactly what goes into your festive treats.
Benefits of Making Your Own Mincemeat
- Customization: Crafting your own mincemeat gives you the freedom to customize the flavours to suit your preferences. Whether you prefer a more citrusy profile or a sweeter blend of fruits, homemade mincemeat allows you to be the master of your culinary creation.
- Healthier Option: With no suet and no added sugar, this homemade vegan mincemeat offers a healthier alternative to shop-bought options.
- Ingredient Transparency: When you make your own mincemeat, you have complete control over the ingredients used. This transparency ensures that you know exactly what goes into your festive treats, avoiding hidden additives or preservatives commonly found in commercial alternatives.
Why this Vegan Mincemeat Recipe is so good?
This particular recipe does not include any extra added sugar – Whilst, not the enemy I just prefer to reduce or use sugar alternatives in its place. This recipe uses a sugar replacement called Xylitol. It is not only a natural alternative but has a very low glycaemic index and for us doesn’t raise blood sugars. you can read more on sugar substitutes and diabetes in the post below
The world of sugar substitutes and type 1 diabetes can be confusing. This guide explores substitutes in the UK and diabetes management
You can find a list of my recommended products that I use on my shop page!
This recipe also doesn’t contain any suet – Suet is basically animal fat although many shop-bought mincemeat now contain vegetable suet. This combines vegetable oil like palm and sunflower oil, combined with wheat or rice flour. However, I wanted this recipe to be free from these ingredients as well as suitable for both vegetarians and vegans.
The higher quantity of dried fruits used in this mincemeat recipe also tends to have a lower to moderate glycemic index. This means that these foods are generally digested and absorbed more slowly by the body (always better for blood sugar levels).
Make it in advance. The festive season is busy so this job is perfect for a rainy day. But also the longer you can leave your mincemeat, before using it, the more intense the flavours are. I usually make mine a month or 2 in advance.
Batch cook – you can batch cook this mincemeat to cover all your festive treat needs and even give it as a tasty gift. Increase the serving size in the recipe card below.
Does mincemeat need to be made in advance?
Yes, making mincemeat in advance is a common practice and is often recommended for the best flavour. Allowing the mixture to mature and the flavours to infuse over time enhances the overall taste and richness of the mincemeat. This is why many traditional mincemeat recipes suggest making it several weeks before using it in pies or other baked goods.
This recipe is very easy to make but does need some time to allow all those lovely flavours to infuse and become deeper. Therefore it is best to make your mincemeat in advance before you plan to use it.
But the good news is it can be stored for a long time. See below for more info.
Ingredients for mincemeat
- Low GI dried fruit
- These don’t include added sugar unlike glacier cherries of dried cranberries
- I used the Unsweetened Tart Cherries from Real Food Source
- Low GI dried fruit
- High in fibre, potassium, copper and vitamin E
- Moderate GI food
- Contains several essential vitamins and minerals, in addition to fibre and antioxidants.
- Moderate GI food
- High in calcium and fibre as well as being mineral-rich
Sultanas and Raisins
- Moderate GI food
- Full of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
- Low GI fruit
- A great source of fibre and vitamin C
Clementines or tangerines
- High in vitamin C and rich in antioxidants
- Adds a subtle orangey flavour to compliment the spice
- High in vitamin C and rich in antioxidants
- Adds an extra citrusy tang and helps with preserving
- I used Xylitol but you could also use any sweetener you prefer
- If you prefer to use different sweeteners like sucralose or stevia, remember to convert your quantity. Most brands have this information on their websites.
- You can find a list of my recommended products that I use on my shop page!
- Has a warm sweet flavour
- A mixture of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove
Brandy or any other distilled spirit of your choice
How to make homemade mincemeat without suet
It really couldn’t be easier to make homemade mincemeat. The hardest work is in the prep of the fruit. But the added bonus is it makes your kitchen smell fantastic!
Start by preparing your fresh fruit, zest and juice Add to a large saucepan and mix well.
Then add the remainder of the ingredients to the saucepan, mix well and heat over medium heat.
Then as soon as it starts bubbling lower the heat and allow it to simmer gently for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The dried fruit should look plump, and the apple should be soft and cooked through.
Remove your mincemeat from the heat and pour it into your hot sterilised jar(s). Once cooled to room temperature store your jar(s) of mincemeat in the fridge or in a cool dark place.
Once your homemade mincemeat is ready to take centre stage in your holiday desserts, consider these delightful serving suggestions:
- Mince Pies – The classic choice, mince pies are a staple during the Christmas season. The buttery, flaky crust paired with the sweet and tangy mincemeat creates a bite-sized treat that is perfect for holiday gatherings. For convenience, I like to use a gluten-free ready rolled puff pastry, available in most UK supermarkets.
- Mincemeat Pinwheels – An easy and different way to enjoy your mincemeat with pastry. These tarts add a festive touch to your dessert spread.
- Mincemeat Thumbprint Cookies – Transform your mincemeat into thumbprint cookies by making small wells in my almond flour cookie dough and filling them with a dollop of mincemeat before baking. The result is a delightful combination of textures and flavours.
4. Mincemeat Ice Cream – Try my absolutely delicious Mincemeat Ice Cream. The fruity mincemeat complements the cool, creamy ice cream, creating a dessert experience that is both comforting and indulgent.
How long can you keep homemade mincemeat?
Homemade mincemeat can be stored for an extended period, thanks to its preservative qualities, especially if it contains alcohol. The key to keeping it fresh is proper storage. Here are some general guidelines:
- Short-Term Storage (1-2 Weeks): If you plan to use your mincemeat relatively soon after making it, storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator is a good idea. This will keep it fresh for about 1 to 2 weeks.
- Medium-Term Storage (1-2 Months): For longer storage, you can keep it in a cool, dark place. Store it in a sterilized, airtight jar or container, ensuring that it is sealed tightly to prevent air and moisture from affecting the quality. A pantry or a cool cupboard is suitable for this purpose.
- Long-Term Storage (3-6 Months or More): If you’re planning to make mincemeat well in advance, it can be stored for an extended period in a cool, dark place. As above make sure the container is airtight, and consider checking it periodically to ensure the seal remains intact.
Always use clean utensils when scooping mincemeat from the jar to prevent contamination. If you notice any signs of spoilage, such as an off smell, mould, or changes in colour or texture, it’s best to discard the mincemeat.
But the most important element to storing your homemade mincemeat to ensure the length of preservation is that the jar is properly sterilised and you fill the jars with your mincemeat while they are still hot.
How to sterilise your jars
- Wash your jar(s) well in hot soapy water or the dishwasher is even better.
- Then put them in a preheated oven at 140C / 120C fan for 10 minutes
If you liked this, then take a look at these other delicious and nutritious recipes that are blood sugar-friendly and beneficial for diabetes management
This mincemeat is a slightly boozy, fruity delight, essential for enjoying at Christmas time. All the ingredients have been carefully considered for diabetes management. And whilst the carb count overall looks high you only need around 15g to fill a small mince pie!
The total overall carb count for this no added sugar mincemeat, based on the ingredients we would count for is:
- Dried Cherries = 90g – 60.3g of carbs
- Apricots = 100g – 36.5g of carbs
- Dates = 100g – 68g of carbs
- Figs = 125g – 60.8g of carbs
- Sultanas = 80g – 55.5g of carbs
- Raisins = 120g – 83.5g of carbs
- 2 Apples = approx 170g grated – 20.1g of carbs
Now add all the carbs together – 60.3+36.5+68+60.8+55.5+83.5+20.1 = 384.7 g of carbs
This recipe made approximately 1000g of mincemeat in total. Therefore
100g of mincemeat = 38.5g of carbs
15g of mincemeat (to fill a mince pie) = 5.8g of carb
Please note this carb count amount per portion is based on the standard ingredients listed above and may differ depending on what you use and how much you choose to eat.