Sometimes we want replacements because we have run out of an ingredient or sometimes because we want a little something different. With mint it can be fun to play around and try adding new flavors into the mix.
Mint is closely related to basil and therefore basil makes a slightly more peppery and anise replacement. Dried mint works well to replace fresh, with a little bit of adjustment to ratios. Lemon balm is a nice citrus like version of mint and can be tasty in drinks or recipes.
There are a few more options for replacing the intensity of mint in different recipes and meals as well!
How To Replace Mint In Popular Recipes
Sometimes it can be quite straightforward to replace mint, in a like for like ratio. Other times we may need a little bit of culinary creativity.
Whether it is a simple replacement of mint with basil or you are looking to get the flavor without the use of fresh herbs, we have some good ideas that will work.
Basil vs Mint
Basil is closely related to the mentha type of mint that we are thinking of with our cooking.
Basil is a very simple and straight forward replacement for mint. It contains that menthol type of background flavor but with peppery and anise like notes as well. Fantastic fresh or dried. Like for like substitute; 1 teaspoon fresh mint = 1 teaspoon fresh basil.
It is also good for when you need dried mint and you can replace with like for like ratio with dried basil.
Dried Mint Vs Fresh Mint
If we are stuck for fresh ingredients it can be so helpful to have them dried in our spice cupboard.
When replacing fresh mint for dried mint go for a 3:1 ratio. 1 teaspoon fresh mint = 3 teaspoons of dried mint. Useful when a recipe calls for steeping in herbs. Not so useful when you are making a dessert or sweet that has a mint flavor though.
Dried mint is very useful in homemade spa type of recipes. If you are using dried mint make sure to use the best quality,
check availability and price here.
Peppermint Extract vs Mint
Peppermint extract is actually very useful in cooking.
If you choose to make sweets like peppermint thins or mint ice cream you are really looking for a concentrated flavor. Peppermint is much more intense than spearmint or garden mint, so a few drops will go a long way.
If you are making a mint sauce and you do not have fresh leaves, then using parsley with a drop of extract can make a lot of difference.
Marjoram vs Mint
Marjoram is a perky fresh herb with citrus notes as well as a herbaceous flavor.
The pungency of marjoram is ideal for replacing mint as there are citrus like notes as well as herbaceous ones. Not an exact like for like match, but one that will offer a real intensity of flavor.
Use 1 teaspoon of fresh marjoram = 1 teaspoon of fresh mint.
Tarragon Vs Mint
Tarragon is anise like in flavor and has a real depth of flavor, not the exact match for mint but an interesting one. If you are making a Spring mojito then tarragon may make a nice option instead of fresh mint.
Rosemary Vs Mint
Looks wise rosemary and mint don’t appear to have much in common, but flavor wise they do.
Rosemary is a pungent herb that works well in place of mint. If you are cooking with lamb and want a mint sauce, but have no fresh leaves to hand, replace with rosemary for an earthy, herbal option. Use 2 teaspoon mint = 1 teaspoon rosemary.
Make sure to finely chop the rosemary as the pine like needles don’t release their flavor as easily as mint does.
Lemon Balm as a Replacement For Mint
Lemon balm and mint have a very similar appearance and in fact I have an article on all of the differences as well as the similarities here.
Lemon balm has mint notes as well as citrus in the background. Therefore if a recipe has requirements for mint, then lemon balm offers a little bit more. Both are a perfect garnish and you can replace one with the other relatively easily. 1 teaspoon mint = 1 teaspoon lemon balm.
If the recipe has called for lemon you can reduce it a little bit if you are using lemon balm in place of mint.
Parsley Vs Mint
Parsley is an earthy and herbaceous herb. Mint will not be perfectly replaced with parsley but it can be an interesting alternative as there is also a hint of peppery flavor in parsley. All in all go for a like for like ratio 1 teaspoon mint = 1 teaspoon parsley, when using fresh.
Just be very aware that parsley loses a lot of flavor when dried, so if a recipe asks for 1 teaspoon of dried mint use 2 teaspoon dried parsley.
Mint Herbal Tea
This may sound a strange option, but bear with me on this one!
If you are making a sorbet or ice cream and have no fresh mint, using a cold herbal infusion can work very well. Simply boil water and then you can leave to steep or keep as a decoction and get the most from the flavor.
Make sure to use a good quality tea bag to ensure as fresh and true a flavor as possible.
What Next & Further Reading
I hope that this has given you some inspiration for trying new flavors and combinations. Now let’s see if you fancy growing any of these ideas.