Mint Jelly

The tarter the apples, the more pectin they will usually have. If you are using home picked apples, earliest in the season is best, and the smaller apples will have proportionally more pectin as well.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Mash straining time: 2 hours
  • Yield: Makes about 4 8-ounce jars


  • 4 lbs of tart apples (e.g. Granny Smith), un-peeled, chopped into big pieces, including the cores (including the cores is important as this is where most of the natural pectin is)
  • 3 cups of fresh spearmint leaves, chopped, packed
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar (7/8 cups for each cup of juice)

Special equipment:

  • Digital thermometer
  • Large, fine mesh sieve
  • 4 half-pint canning jars


1 Cook apple and mint in water: Combine apple pieces with water and mint in a large pan. Bring water to a boil then reduce heat and cook 20 minutes, until apples are soft.

2 Add vinegar and simmer: Add vinegar, return to boil. Simmer covered, 5 more minutes.

3 Mash apple pieces: Use a potato masher to mash up the apple pieces to the consistency of thin apple sauce. If the mash is too thick (it should be quite runny), add another 1/2 to 1 cup of water to the pot.

4 Strain apple mash in sieve or with cloth: Spoon the apple pulp into a muslin cloth (or a couple layers of cheesecloth) or a large, fine mesh sieve, suspended over a large bowl. Leave to strain for several hours. Do not squeeze.

After a few hours about 4 cups of juice should have strained out of the mash.

5 Measure juice, add sugar, heat until sugar is dissolved: Measure the juice, then pour into a large pot. Add the sugar (7/8 a cup for each cup of juice). Heat on high, stirring to make sure the sugar gets dissolved and doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan or burn.

6 Simmer until set point: Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium or medium high, so that you maintain a strong simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes, using a metal spoon to skim off the surface scum.

Continue to boil until a digital thermometer shows that the temperature has reached 8-10°F above the boiling point at your altitude (boiling point is 212°F at sea level, so at sea level the temperature should read 220-222°F).

Additional time needed for cooking can be anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour or longer, depending on the amount of water, sugar, and apple pectin in the mix.

A thermometer reading isn't always the best way to tell whether or not a jelly is done. Another way to test is put a half teaspoonful of the jelly on a chilled (in the freezer) plate. Allow the jelly to cool a few seconds, then push it with your fingertip. If it wrinkles up, it's ready. I usually start testing the jelly this way when the mixture gets to 218°F.

7 Pour into canning jars and seal: Pour into sterilized* canning jars to within 1/4" from the top and seal.

Makes approximately 4 8-ounce jars.

*There are several ways to sterilize jars for canning. You can run the jars through a short cycle in a dishwasher. You can place the jars in a large pot (12 quart) of water on top of a steaming rack (so they don't touch the bottom of the pan), and bring the water to a boil for 10 minutes. Or you can rinse the jars, dry them, and place them, without lids, in a 200°F oven for 10 minutes.

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  • Janessa

    Can I can this rather than put it on the refrigerator after making it? I don’t think I’ll go through it quick enough without it being canned

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Janessa, the instructions are for canning. If you want, you can water-bath them, that can help with a better seal. But there is so much sugar and acid in this jelly recipe that it’s shelf stable without taking extra steps than the ones I’ve outlined here. The sugar and acid retard the growth of bacteria.

  • Steve '88

    Hey Elise! Searching for a home made mint jelly recipe, I happened upon your YouTube vid. Here’s a hint: Instead of the cheesecloth/strainer rig, use a chinois, French for “Chinese”, from whence they originated. This is a fine sieve conical strainer used in Chinese kitchens, and hence in French ones as well. It cuts down the 8-hour draining process, to about 15 minutes using the back of a spoon to swirl around the mush. The pectin solution comes out cloudy, but free of apple bits. My great aunts Pearl and Eva used this tool well into their nineties, and the solution should clarify with sugar, heat, and skimming the foam. For apple sauce just use a chinois with larger holes. Yay!!

  • Jan Canovas

    its the best mint jelly I have found, especially using the Granny Smith apples for pectin.
    I am a South African married to a Spaniard and living in Spain, where its impossible to buy mint jelly, which to me, it natural with lamb, which here is a good quality. Thank you so much for your help – incidently mint grows beautifully here, so makes fantastic jelly.
    At my old age it is a pleasure to find good recipies. Thanks again Jan


    • Elise Bauer

      I’m so glad you like the mint jelly Jan! It’s one of my favorites.

  • Eileen

    Can you tell me what you do after you have put the jelly in the jars? Just refrigerate?

  • Irene Gail Bjerky

    Hello, I saw the comments about the mintiness gone after the 20 minute boil with apples. I plan on trying both ways, but it always seems that the mint only has to steep for 10 minutes, so wonder if the mint gets boiled away.

  • Kim

    Correct me if I’m wrong but I read 5 ingredients..JS

  • Jennifer

    I’d like to reduce the sugar, but I know some is necessary for gelling and to help preserve it…. I’m thinking of reducing to 1/2 cup sugar per cup of juice (though I’d prefer to reduce even further). Do you think it will work?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Jennifer, I’ve only made reduced sugar jellies with Pomona pectin which works with low sugar jellies. I don’t know how reducing the sugar would work with this recipe that uses natural pectin from apples. I do know that if you reduce the sugar substantially that the shell life is greatly reduced, from a year to 3 months.

      • Jennifer

        Thanks Elise!

  • Carol Allen

    I got a vinegary apple jelly, no mint tasty and through. Very sweet and I cut back on the sugar by about 1/2 cup. Can I reheat to add more mint or just start over? Would the recipe work with 3C water and 1 C vinegar?

    • Elise Bauer

      I would just add more mint. You might also try chopping up some fresh mint, adding it to the jelly, reheating to a boil of course. I haven’t tried making it with less vinegar, but I’m guessing it would still work.

  • Carolyn

    Can I use my mint jelly right away or is it like other preserves and have to sit a certain amount of time???? Thanks :-)

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Carolyn, you can use your mint jelly right away, though it may may not be as well set as you like. The longer the mint jelly sits, the firmer it gets (to a point).

  • Danielle

    Why NOT squeeze the muslin bag when extracting the juice. I don’t seem to be getting the required amount of juice and the bag has been hanging over the pot all night. What would be the harm in trying to squeeze it out now? ….or…could I run that mash through my single auger juicer?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Danielle, when you squeeze the bag you will get a suspended solids coming through that may cloud up your jelly. If that doesn’t matter to you (it’s cosmetic only, the taste is the same), then go ahead and squeeze. Sometimes what I do when there isn’t enough liquid coming out is to stir some boiling water into the mash.

  • HTuttle

    Made a batch with a variation of this recipe.
    Apple/Mint/Ginger/HotPepper Jelly

    Used Apple juice drink instead of water wherever water is called for.

    Used a large bunch of spearmint, about ten cut off tops, total about the size of a batch of celery.
    One large ginger root, lightly peeled.
    Ten or so green serano chile peppers.
    Ran all that through a food processor until a coarse mush. Added some apple juice and simmered for about ten minutes.

    3 lbs of Granny Smith apples, cut up and cooked with more chopped spearmint (another 4 tops or so) and apple drink as directed (bag of apples was 3 lbs. so I went with that instead of the 4 lbs. called for).

    Strained the apple/mint mush four times through a metal mesh strainer, adding more juice and reheating before each straining.

    Strained the food processor mush once into the same liquid (then added that mush to the apple/mint mush for use in later making a great Apple/Mint/Ginger/HotPepper cake).

    Measured the liquid and had 8 cups so I boiled and simmered until reduced down to just under 5 cups.
    Added the sugar according to directions, 7/8 cup sugar to each cup of liquid.

    Boiled the sugar liquid to 221f degrees. Could fee/l how thick it was. Ladled into sterile Mason jars. Put on lids and left to cool on counter. Next day all was jellied nicely and went into the fridge!

    Bonus cake:
    Mixed the remaining mush with about an equal amount of flour/sugar/baking powder mix and baked at 350 for about 50 minutes. Came out GREAT! The ginger and hot pepper makes it a very peppy cake with the apple and mint flavor behind it.

    • Rosalyn

      May lemon juice be used instead of vinegar? I’d like to be able to dual purpose my mint jelly to make dessert jellied mojhitos.

  • Taffy

    Excellent recipe Elise, the apple jelly formed perfectly but the mint flavour was very weak when I sampled it before putting it in jars. Decided to add another half cup of finely chopped mint leaves immediately before putting into jars. The result was a much improved minty flavour, although you end up with a speckled jelly – no problem as far as I’m concerned. The mint flavour also improves after 24 hours in the fridge. This recipe is an excellent veggie alternative to my traditional jelly made with gelatine.


  • metaxia

    I tried this recipe. I even doubled the mint and I can’t taste the mint. I think I will try this with pork roast also, since the mint is so weak in flaver.

  • Claire

    Can I just double check this recipe please.

    I have 8 cups of juice. So how many cups of sugar do I need?

    In general, it’s not a good idea to double jelly recipes. The fact that you are doubling the volume, without doubling the surface area for evaporation is what can get you into trouble. That said, you don’t really know if it will work unless you try it. Personally I would just make a second batch. As for the amount of sugar, it is as given in the recipe, 7/8 of a cup of sugar for every cup of juice. ~Elise

  • Robin

    I have a really stupid question…What kind of mint? Spearmint? I’m planning on getting some seed to start and was wondering what kind to grow…

    Yes, spearmint. ~Elise

  • Barbara

    Can you use dried mint for this?

    How much dried mint can I use?

    Normaly there is fresh mint in my yard in the summer. It’s early spring here.

    No. This particular recipe requires fresh mint. ~Elise

  • JoAnn

    I have an open jar of mint jelly and a portion is crusty white. Is it safe to eat? It seems this always happens when I refrigerate the left overs from a newly open jar.

    Sounds like mold to me. I would toss the jelly. ~Elise

  • Connie

    Thank you for this recipe! I followed your recipe exactly, except for draining the juice. I didn’t get much juice out the first time I drained it, so instead I pressed out the solids and then let it drain from the apple sauce that was left. The juice wasn’t very clear, but I decided that it was going to be OK if it wasn’t clear. After I added the sugar and brought it to a boil, the juice became clear! I was amazed! It also gelled better than I could have imagined! I am very amazed that I made something so awesome. Thanks for the good, clear, directions.

  • Kirk

    I’m just finishing the recipe. I’ve got a nice Apple Jelly, no mint. I added the mint in step one as directed. By the end of the 20 minute boil, all the minty-ness was gone. Is the mint supposed to be added with the vinegar?

    Hmm, that’s weird. No idea what’s up with that. You do add the mint with the apples in the first step. ~Elise

  • Elle

    This was great! I was looking for a recipe to use my chocolate mint on – it’s all over the place already this year – and this worked out great! I really like the trick of checking the jelly on a frozen plate. Thanks for the great recipes, Elise!

  • Mike

    I used this for Easter and thought it was great – thanks! I did have to boil the juice to a much higher temperature than suggested here to get a good jelly consistency, though. I liked that the vinegar added a bit of tanginess to it, but if you’re looking for something more purely sweet like what you’d buy in the supermarket, I might cut down on the vinegar a little — unless it’s necessary to use that much to extract the pectin effectively?

    I think you only need a couple tablespoons for the pectin to work properly. ~Elise

  • Jennifer

    Hi Elise! I want to preserve the incredibly large amount of mint I have and I think this is a grest way to do it. I just have one question. My in laws can’t eat apples. It’s a special diet and the kids can’t have them. They can have the packaged pectin. Do you think it would work to use that? I hate to mess with a winning recipe (as yours always are!) but I’d love to present a jar of mint jelly to my mother in law for Thanksgiving. Your thoughts would be appreciated!

    Hi Jennifer, I’m sure you can make mint jelly jelly with packaged pectin, I just don’t have a recipe for it. You might want to check mint jelly recipes online and see what you come up with. ~Elise

  • Michele

    Thanks Elise, almost done, about to boil with sugar. Smells Great! I am making one jar and I am sure it will be gone before it gets a chance to mold. I am sure I will be making more by Thanksgiving! I will definately be looking at your recipes for a long time to come! Oh, I am using fresh apple mint!

  • mayel

    Thank you for the great recipes.
    I made jelly last night and will be going back for some more elderberries. Your site is the best, the pictures with all the bright colors and directions on the recipes are easy to follow even for me. Thanks again, Mayel in Indiana

  • Michele

    Hello Elise, I want to make a 1/2 recipe because I don’t have the materials or time for canning. I like my mint jelly all natural and on toast. How long will a fresh batch last in the refrigerator if I refrigerate it promptly? I am using Granny Smith Apples for the Pectin.

    The biggest risk you face is mold. It will either get moldy or not. If it doesn’t get moldy it will last indefinitely (though best the first year), as sugar is the preservative. ~Elise

  • Jack

    Thank you for this recipe. I’m going to give it a shot as my fiancee loves mint jelly on her lamb. As we have both recently gotten into organic foods, I am going to try this with Agave Nectar as a sweetener instead of sugar.

    Hello Jack, Actually I don’t advise making this jelly with anything other than straight sugar. Not only will sugar assist in the firming up of the jelly, it is also an important preservative. If all you want to make is a mint sauce, to be eaten right away, that’s another thing. In that case agave would likely work just fine. But if you are intending to make preserves, it is best to stick with sugar. ~Elise

  • Les

    A wonderful recipe! But I must say I like to add a bit of green food coloring, especially during the holidays. I think it’s festive. There are plenty of brands out there that use all natural ingredients.

  • Stormy

    I make Mint and Kiwi jelly for my pork and lamb chops also good smeared on ribs and barbqued over a pit with two tablespoons of Onion flavored Barbque sauce with it
    Try it Its wonderful!!!

  • Cris

    Instead of mint jelly, we use mint honey on our lamb, since we don’t eat refined sugar. It’s a lot less work, too. Wash your fresh mint leaves (I don’t bother removing the stems), pat them dry, pack them into a clean pint or jam jar. Heat up about a cup of honey just so it’s warm, pour it over the mint, stirring to get rid of any air bubbles. Allow to steep on the counter until it’s cool. I keep this in the fridge for months, set it on the counter when I’m cooking the lamb so it’s more fluid by the time dinner’s ready.

    Hi Chris, what an absolutely brilliant idea. Thank you! ~Elise

  • Elise Bauer

    Hi Rachel – because there is so much natural pectin in apples (in the cores, especially of slightly under-ripe tart apples), apples are used as a base for a lot of jelly making. They make a wonderful base for mint jelly. If you are following this recipe properly (e.g. using the apple cores, and using tart Granny Smith apples) you should not need to add any gelatin. I’ve never had a problem with an apple-based jelly not setting. Regarding the preserving of mint, I don’t know what to tell you as our mint grows all year long. Perhaps you could dry some?

  • Rachel

    Hullo, I have a mint jelly question! (apologies if they seem a bit daft)

    I’ve never had mint jelly as here in britain mint sauce (mint leaves in vinegar) dominates…do the apples really go? and how minty is it?…

    I have two mint plants which have thrived in the awful weather we have had so far this summer and am looking for a way of preserving them (asides from packing them ino ice cube trays and freezing).

    Also…to ensure it gels completely would it be a cheat to add a small amount of gelatin?

  • Lynn

    I know the original question about how long the jelly would last was asked last year, but wanted to answer, in case anyone else was wondering. My mom made mint jelly like this when I was a kid. (I’m 50 now.) The last batch she made before she died was when I was 14. We didn’t have lamb often. Ten years later, my husband had some of the last jar, and it was just as delicious. It survived four moves, too, so once it’s canned properly, it will last for years.

    Also, as a child, my older brothers, who didn’t necessarily like this chore, made my bag lunch for school. They kept trying to make lunches that they didn’t think I would like. It sounds strange, but one of the best sandwiches they made was mint jelly and pretzels. Consider using the mint jelly as a dip for pretzels sometime. Good combinations of salt and sweet with the extra punch of mint for the sweet. LOL

  • Elise Bauer

    Hi Julie – you can still use it as a syrup with lamb, can’t you?

    3 things affect the gelling – 1) the amount of pectin – tart apples like granny smith have more pectin than sweet apples, 2) the amount of sugar – sugar helps with gelling, and 3) getting the temperature of the syrup up to 220°F (at sea level) – this means enough water has evaporated from the jelly.

  • Julie

    I tried this recipe and found that the jelly did not gel. It is fully cooled and still a syrup. Some things I may have done wrong: I used half Granny Smith, half McIntosh apples, I put in two cups of mint instead of one and one-half. Hmmm, evidently that was enough to throw off the geling properties. I guess there was not enough natural pectin in my apples? I don’t know. I just mixed in some freezer jam pectin and I am waiting to see its impact. It is no longer the beautiful clear gold, but whatever. If this doesn’t work, I guess I’ll pour it over ice cream. It is a disappointment, though. I’d rather eat it with my leg of lamb.

  • ben

    Lamb chops, new potatoes, fresh leaf spinach, good butter and home-made mint jelly. From in the door to on the plate in twenty minutes, and you’d turn up your nose at ambrosia and lobster thermidor for it. The dog gets to crunch on a bone (just one!) afterwards. Nothing better.

  • ben

    OK, it’s in the jar, and I’ve learned many things about preserve-making and canning (this was my first time). The jars took the seal and the lids turned concave; so I think I did it mostly right.

    The jelly turned out a beautiful deep copper/gold colour. I added some fine-chopped mint in the boil at the end, because I think it should be flecked with bits of mint leaf.

    Still a little bit soupier and sloppier than I’d like, but I think it’ll be just right when refrigerated.

  • Cathy

    I am wondering about how long jelly can be stored. Also if it should be stored in refrigerator or if it can be at room temperature.

    Hi Cathy – if you follow good canning procedures you should be able to store the jelly unopened at room temperature for a year. Though once you open a jar, in to the fridge it must go. Both sugar and vinegar act as preservatives. The biggest risk is of mold. ~Elise