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What’s The Perfect Substitute For Mint? 20 Fresh Ideas

If you’re in the middle of cooking and realize you don’t have one important ingredient – mint, don’t worry. I’ve got you covered!

As a serious food lover, I test various flavors and ingredients in my meals. 

If I want to replace mint in a recipe or just change the flavor, there are several possibilities.

Here I’ll show you some of the best mint substitutes.

What's The Perfect Substitute For Mint? Fresh Ideas featured image | Girl Meets Food

What is mint?

Mint is a versatile herb used in toothpaste, mouthwash, cooking, and baking. This Lamiaceae family plant provides a refreshing, cooling flavor and scent.

Mint is also valued for several health benefits – it may improve focus, digestion, and headaches.

This herb grows easily in gardens around the world. It’s available in various forms – fresh, dried and as an essential oil.

In many different meals and beverages, mint is utilized to offer a depth of flavor or a refreshing kick.

Herbs as a substitute for mint

Herbs in a bowl | Girl Meets Food

If you’re seeking an alternative herb to mint, the following are some possibilities to consider:

  • Fresh mint vs dried mint. You’ll need to use less dried mint than fresh leaves because of its stronger flavor. One tablespoon of fresh mint is roughly comparable to one teaspoon of dried mint.
  • Basil. As a member of the mint family, basil shares the same refreshing flavor and aromatic qualities as mint. Dried or fresh basil can stand in for mint in your favorite recipes.
  • Rosemary. Rosemary is an aromatic herb of the mint family. It can be used as a mint alternative in savory dishes due to its woody, pine-like flavor.
  • Oregano. This popular herb is widely used in Italian dishes and Mediterranean cooking. It’s a great alternative to mint in savory meals thanks to its somewhat bitter flavor.
  • Coriander, or cilantro. For its lemony taste, coriander is a great mint alternative in dishes like salsa, salads, and marinades.
  • Fennel. Fennel, which tastes much like licorice, can stand in for mint in dishes like salads, stews, and soups.
  • Tarragon. It’s possible to add tarragon to dressings, sauces and marinades. This herb is often used alongside mint in many recipes.
  • Lemon balm. The lemon balm herb has a zesty flavor that is comparable to that of mint, and it can be utilized in teas, desserts, and salads.

Spices as a substitute for mint

Spices and herbs on a white surface | Girl Meets Food

Some spices also work as an excellent substitute for mint:

  • Cardamom. This type of spice has both a sweet and a spicy taste, and it can be used in sweets in place of mint to achieve the same effect.
  • Cinnamon. Cinnamon is a type of spice that is known for having a flavor that is both sweet and warm, and it can be used in place of mint in desserts.
  • Cloves. Cloves are a type of spice that can be used in place of mint in savory meals due to its unique flavor profile that combines sweet and spicy notes.
  • Marjoram. Marjoram can substitute mint as a garnish or minor ingredient because of its delicate flavor with hints of pine and citrus.
  • Peppermint extract. If you don’t have any mint on hand, you can use peppermint extract. Be aware, its concentrated minty flavor allows you to use only a small amount.

Fruits as a substitute for mint

Citrus fruits slices | Girl Meets Food

You can also use the fresh flavor of certain fruits in place of mint in drinks and baked items. Some examples are:

  • Lemon. Fresh and tangy, lemon is a citrus fruit that can be used in place of mint in many beverage and dessert recipes.
  • Lime. You may swap out the mint for lime, another citrus fruit with a tangy, refreshing flavor. Lime is a fantastic flavor enhancer for both baked items and alcoholic beverages.
  • Pineapple. This tropical fruit with a tart and sweet flavor can be used in place of mint in many desserts and drink recipes.

Non-food alternatives

Some non-edible ingredients can be used in place of mint to get the same refreshing effect:

  • Menthol. Peppermint oil contains this cooling chemical. Toothpaste, mouthwash, and topical lotions and ointments include it.
  • Eucalyptus. Essential oils, candles, and diffusers infused with eucalyptus’s minty fragrance are all useful tools in the practice of aromatherapy. It’s also found in various lotions and potions for the skin.
  • Camphor. Camphor is waxy and smells chilly. It relieves pain and respiratory difficulties in lotions and ointments.
  • Wintergreen. Wintergreen tastes and cools like mint and is used in toothpaste and mouthwash.

A recipe that calls for mint can be adapted easily to include other fresh herbs or new flavors.

Basil, rosemary, oregano, lemon, lime, pineapple, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves can enhance your dishes and drinks with some new aromas and tastes.

You never know, but you might find a new favorite among these alternatives to mint should you ever run out.

Substitute for mint FAQs

Teapot with mint leaves | Girl Meets Food
Can I use peppermint extract as a substitute for mint?

Peppermint extract can replace fresh mint in recipes, although its flavor is stronger. Avoid over-seasoning by adding it slightly and tasting it as you go.

What herbs can I use in tea instead of mint?

Herbal mint tea can be flavored with a range of other herbs besides mint, including lemon balm, thyme, and rosemary, among others.

Can I use dried mint as a fresh mint leaves substitute?

If a recipe asks for fresh mint leaves but you only have dried ones on hand, that’s not an issue. 

I often use dried mint as a substitute for mint leaves in my favorite desserts and savory dishes, like tabbouleh. It has a strong flavor so it’s best to add a smaller amount.

What are substitutes for mint in cocktails?

Basil, cilantro, and thyme are all excellent alternatives to mint when it comes to making drinks.

What are substitutes for mint in Middle Eastern recipes?

In Middle Eastern cooking, parsley, cilantro, and dill are some herbs that can be used instead of mint. 

I usually add these herbs to traditional Middle Eastern tabbouleh if I don’t have any mint in hand.

What can I use mint for?

Mint is a super versatile ingredient!

You can use mint in cooking savory dishes, and cool and baked desserts to make them more flavorful and refreshing.

Some of my favorite recipes that have mint as the main ingredient are herbal mint tea, mint ice cream and mint sauce. 

It can also be used for several non-culinary purposes thanks to its health benefits and refreshing aroma.

Are there any savory dishes that use mint?

Yes, mint is a multipurpose plant that may be incorporated into both sweet and savory meals. It can be added to a pea soup, Greek salad, tabbouleh and even roasted meat.

What’s the best mint substitute for mojito?

In my opinion, the best substitute for fresh mint in mojitos is basil. But overall, it depends on your personal preferences.

Some other substitutes for mint leaves in mojito can be cilantro, lemon balm, rosemary or thyme.

What’s your perfect substitute for mint? Share your favorite recipes and ideas in the comments below!

BOTTOM LINE: basil, rosemary, coriander, cardamom, lemon and many more can be used as substitutes for mint in the kitchen. Your favorite recipes can be adapted to include these herbs, spices and fruits for a comparable refreshing feel.

If you’re seriously into substitutes for certain ingredients, take a look at the best olive alternatives, green onion replacements or strawberry extract replacements.

Also if you love sweets as I do, then you might check whether Gushers are vegan and Starburst Jelly Beans are vegan-friendly.