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How Can I Use Mint in Cooking?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 16, 2024
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Mint is an herb that can add flavor to a variety of dishes, both savory and sweet. It gives a clean, fresh taste to food and drinks and can also serve as a garnish.

The Benefits of Cooking with Peppermint Leaves

You will feel minty fresh learning about the many peppermint leaf benefits of adding this herb to different dishes and beverages. It can boost energy to combat fatigue you may feel during the day. 

The herb acts as an anti-inflammatory. Hence, it can ease menstrual cramps. Drinking peppermint tea during menstruation can be soothing and relaxing.

Peppermint can also combat bad breath. The active ingredient in peppermint, menthol, can ward off sickness-causing bacteria such as E. coli.

A few sprigs of mint in hot or iced tea can enhance flavor. It's also often paired with fruit juice, including melon, lemon, and tropical fruit juices. Adding just a few leaves of mint to freshly made or store bought juice can help flavor if its allowed to infuse for a few minutes prior to serving. Alternately, glasses can be garnished with a sprig of mint. Mint ice cubes can be made by placing a mint leaf in an ice cube tray, and then filling the tray with water and then freezing.

Mint leaves are essential in many alcohol-based drinks, like the mint julep. Chocolate liqueurs are also an excellent place to use a mint garnish or mint ice cubes.

Chocolate and mint are natural partners. Brownies and cookies can easily become mint chocolate wonders with a little peppermint extract. Fruit salads topped with whipped cream can also incorporate fresh mint. Frosting is another place to use mint and it will work especially well with white and yellow cakes, and especially angel food cake. Also, consider peppermint meringues as a cool and low-fat dessert. Mint extract can be added to homemade ice cream. Crushed peppermint sticks can also be added to ice cream for a sparkling and clean finish.

Another common way to use mint in dessert cooking is by making mint sorbet. This can be used to cleanse the palate in between courses at an elaborate meal. Adding a bit more sugar can further enhance the flavor.

Vegetables, Grain, and Fruit
Mint can also work well in fresh, green salads. A little mint and peanuts will give a salad a Southeast Asian appeal. The herb is also commonly used in Middle Eastern food — to garnish hummus, flavor tabbouleh, or enhance couscous.

Cooked veggies like peas, corn and carrots can all be infused with mint flavor. A minute prior to ending cooking, one or two leaves can be added to the steamed vegetables. The leaves should be removed before serving because the texture is not generally considered to be pleasant but the flavor will remain.

Mint marinades, chutneys and mint flavored butter can be used to enhance the flavor of meats. Lamb is the most common red meat paired with the herb. Some seafood, like lobster and scallops, and fish including sole, goes well with mint chutneys.

Mint plays a key role in Vietnamese cuisine. Many of the “make your own” rolls served in Vietnamese restaurants include thin rice pancakes, strips or balls of cooked meat, and a beautiful pile of fresh herbs and dipping sauce to add together for an Asian style burrito. Thai and Chinese egg rolls may also include mint as well as coriander. Alternatively these rolls may be paired with a mint-flavored dipping sauce. A tiny amount of chopped mint can garnish scrambled eggs, omelets, or egg foo yung.

Table Décor
Mint is also very attractive as part of a flower arrangement, easily adding height to the arrangement. Its fresh smell makes it very appealing on a dinner table and can easily be grown at home.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By burcidi — On Dec 21, 2012

There are so many ways to use mint in cooking.

When I buy fresh mint, I usually buy a bunch and then I have to figure out what to do with it before it spoils. The first thing that usually comes to mind is mint ice cream which is really good. If I still have mint left over, I usually add it to salads. It's especially good in tabbouleh, potato salad and bean salad.

If I don't have these ingredients and I'm stuck with mint, then I just put it in lemonade or iced tea.

By donasmrs — On Dec 21, 2012

Has anyone tried mint pesto?

Most people associate pesto with basil but it can be made from mint too and it's equally good.

By stoneMason — On Dec 20, 2012

I use dry and fresh mint a lot with plain yogurt. In the summer, I make a cold yogurt soup with plain yogurt, cold water, cucumbers, salt and mint. It's so refreshing and keeps me hydrated.

I also use fresh mint for Indian mint chutney which is actually also made with some yogurt. Mint chutney goes great with fried snacks, like pakoras and samosas. It helps counterbalance the oiliness and spice of these foods.

I think yogurt and mint is the best combination ever.

By Oceana — On Dec 19, 2012

I like to put a bit of mint frosting on my brownies to make them more refreshing. I put a few drops of peppermint extract into some vanilla frosting, and I add some green food coloring to make it look minty. Then, I pipe it out of a bag into the shape of a leaf onto the brownie.

By OeKc05 — On Dec 18, 2012

Around the holidays, I long for mint cookies. My best friend made these one year, and I have been craving them ever since.

She just mixes up some chocolate cookie dough with cocoa powder. She takes a chocolate covered peppermint candy and folds the dough around it. Then, she bakes it until it hardens a little and cracks.

The mint candy inside is perfectly gooey, and the crust makes a nice contrast. These are so addictive!

By Perdido — On Dec 18, 2012
@cloudel – I agree with you about mint and meat, but I don't even like it with my dessert. I do love mint tea, though.

I often drink this mint and lounge around in my pajamas at night. It soothes my stomach, and that makes me a little sleepy.

I have also been known to drink it whenever I'm nauseous. I was going through a stressful time at work, and I drank it every morning to get through the day without vomiting.

I just buy peppermint tea bags and steep them in hot water. I've also tried spearmint tea, which is slightly sweeter but still good.

By cloudel — On Dec 17, 2012

I don't think I would like mint with meat. It's a flavor that I associate with desserts only, and anything else would taste weird with it.

By tigers88 — On Dec 06, 2012

I really like to use fresh mint in cocktails. Many people have had a mojito which uses a large quality of fresh mint, but it tastes great in lots of other drinks.

Try it in one of the standards, a whiskey and coke or a gin and tonic for instance. The mint adds an extra bright note that is distinct but not so strong that it overpowers anything else in the drink.

By gravois — On Dec 05, 2012
Most people only eat mint jelly with lamb, but I like it with all kinds of meats and vegetables. I always have a jar in my fridge and I use it all the time.

I am a huge mint person though. I chew gum, I use mint air fresheners, I just love it.

By anon88471 — On Jun 05, 2010

Don't forget mint and yogurt!

By motherteresa — On Jul 27, 2008

Add sprigs of mint to water when boiling new potatoes or peas.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
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