You can never be mistaken for the fresh aroma of mint because it is so unique, so pleasant and compelling. Mint has a fresh taste; it is sweet, citrusy and becomes kind of cool–to-bitter on the tongue when you chew it.
It is one of the most aromatic ingredients in cooked dishes, meals, desserts and even drinks. If you too, love to use these small green leaves in your dishes, then check out this list of mint substitutes in case you need them.
The recipe that calls for mint would be incomplete if you skip it while cooking, baking or just flavoring. Make sure you choose the right substitute to keep the flavor, taste and fresh color of your dish.
Best Mint Substitutes For Your Recipe
Basil is the first substitute for fresh mint in many dishes. It will provide a similar taste plus some sweet peppery flavor. You can easily find it and replace mint in salads, pastas, sauces, vegetable dishes such as tomatoes, maize, coulflowers, beans as well as fish and poultry.
Fresh basil leaves also work well as a dressing. It is often used in Italian meals, and if Italian basil is available in your region, then you’d better use it for a better taste.
In order to achieve a more minty-like flavor you’d better use more basil in your recipes. 2 teaspoons of basil can substitute 1 teaspoon of mint.
2. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm is a herb from the mint family, so it can be used instead of mint in a number of recipes. They have similar taste and appearance.
Lemon balm tastes like lemon zest and has lemon-minty notes. Thanks to its strong citrusy taste and fragrance, lemon balm is widely used in desserts. Spice up cooked dishes with lemon balm, and try to add it at the end of the cooking process.
3. Lemon Extract
Use lemon extract instead of mint if you want to have a citrucy mixture of flavors mixed with fresh minty notes and some sourness. It is often included in sweet recipes and drinks, as well as in meat and fish dishes to enhance the flavors.
Since lemon extract is acidic, you may use small amounts when substituting with mint. In case you have allergies from citrus fruits, you’d better opt for something else.
4. Peppermint extract
Peppermint extract comes with the same flavor profile as mint and it’s an easy and quick substitute for mint. It can add a fresh aroma to your food.
You may choose it for sweets, baked goods, ice-creams, desserts, salads, sauces and dishes that don’t require fresh chopped mint leaves.
Several savory meals may also work with peppermint extract if they are slow-cooked and again call only for the flavor of mint.
Marjoram looks like mint but since it comes from the mint and oregano family it offers a complicated taste. It’s kind of floral, sweet and spicy at the same time. Marjoram can replace mint in salads as a topping, in marinades and sauces.
Depending on the dish, cooks use either fresh or dried marjoram leaves. It goes well with vegetables, meat, eggs and soups. Start with small amounts when using it instead of mint.
Tarragon may be something new for you but it is a medical herb also used in cooking. It tastes quite good with meat and soups. It has a unique flavor similar to licorice. It tastes bittersweet and kind of pungent.
When substituting tarragon with mint, try to use it with fish, seafood, vegetables, egg dishes and sauces. It works well in various cocktails and lemonades too.
Rosemary works wonders in meat recipes. If you need to replace mint with a herb that can enhance the taste of fish, pork, poultry, lamb, grilled and roasted meat, steaks or any meat marinade, then rosemary is the best choice.
It is great in drinks, salads, stews, sauces, vegetable dishes, mushrooms and beans. It has a strong and rich taste similar to mint, lemon, sage and pepper.
Parsley is mostly used in savory dishes and salads. Choose it to substitute mint in soups, stews, vegetable meals and use as dressing. It has a mild peppery taste and is used in the same amount as mint.
It’s quite easy to grow parsley in a pot, which means you can always have it in hand. It comes with a pleasant aroma and is used both fresh and in hot dishes.
As for cilantro, it’s a stronger version of parsley and tastes kind of citrus-peppery. So, choose it to replace mint if you don’t mind strong aromas. Try to use it in small amounts and then test the taste of the dish to decide whether you need more.
Cilantro can be paired with sauces, soups, stews, pastas and salads. It is suitable for savory dishes just like parsley.
While sage is not similar to mint, it can still substitute mint if you use it in the right quantities. Compared to mint, sage offers rather a pine-like taste than a strong citrusy aroma.
It has a sweet-to-savory flavor that goes well with pasta dishes, mushrooms, chicken and many Italian recipes. Sage is also known with many health benefits and it is used to make medicine.
If you are looking for a substitute for mint for yogurt-based dishes and creamy desserts, then choose dill. It has a fresh citrusy flavor mixed with grassy undertones.
Dill ideally goes with salads, eggs, vegetable dishes, soups and stews. It works well with fish and other seafood too. When replacing with mint, you’d better add a little bit of dill and then test the taste because it has a strong flavor.
12. Herbal Mint Tea
In case you can’t find any fresh substitute for mint, try herbal mint tea. You can find it from the tea section dried and packed as common teas.
There are herbal mint teas mixed with other spices and herbs but if you want to have the pure mint taste, then take the plain herbal mint tea.
You can use it to make tea, season your cooked dishes, add in meat marinades and in soups.
13. Dried Mint Leaves
Another good replacer for fresh mint is dried mint leaves. If you have the chance to purchase or harvest fresh mint in its season, then you can also dehydrate it and store it for later use.
You may even find dried mint leaves in stores just like the herbal mint tea. It is used in cooked dishes such as soups and stews. It is good to add dried mint to meat marinades and sprinkle over grilled or roasted dishes to add a strong aroma.
14. Frozen Mint Leaves
You can always have frozen mint leaves in your freezer and use it to make tea and fresh beverages such as lemonades, cocktails, mojitos as well as mint ice-creams and other desserts. It works well in cooked dishes, soups and sauces too.
Here is the easiest way to freeze mint: cleanse harvested mint leaves, leave them to drain on a clean towel, then store in a zipper storage bag and keep it in a freezer. You can keep them in the freezer for up to 6 months. You may also make mint ice cubes.
Just make sure you use them frozen if you want to keep their fresh green color. When they are defrosted, they change their color into a darker shade and become softer (it seems as if they are spoiled).
FAQs on Mint Herb
Is mint good for your health?
Mist is basically good for eye health and vision. It is a great source of vitamin A. However, like any other herb, mint can also be toxic if you use it in large doses.
What is the best mint alternative?
Basil is considered to be the best alternative for mint. It has a similar fresh taste and flavor profile like mint.
What can I use instead of mint in baking?
Peppermint extract is the best option in baking, if you don’t have mint at hand. It provides the same taste and flavor as mint.
What is your Choice?
When it comes to the right choice, try to orientate by the color and taste of your dish. If it calls for the same fresh green color of mint as well as its taste, then you’d better go for fresh herb.
If you only need to have mint’s flavor in the dish, then opt either for dried substitutes or the extracts we offer in this guide.