Add a touch of luxury to your mince pies with my easy to make Slow Cooker Christmas Mincemeat.
Rich and deliciously decadent, it’s packed with dried fruit, apple, Christmas spices, stem ginger, orange zest, walnuts, vegetarian suet and Calvados.
The secret to the best mince pie is not only in the pastry but the quality of the filling. If, like me, you find shop bought mincemeat overly sweet, you will love my homemade Christmas mincemeat.
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Slow Cooker Christmas Mincemeat is so easy to make. There is no need soak ingredients overnight, the long slow cooking does all the rehydrating for you.
It’s a case of plonking everything in the slow cooker and leaving it to transform into a glossy rich Christmas mincemeat.
I’ve tweaked my recipe over the years and this version is a mix of recipes that appeared in my Kitchen Shed Slow Cooker book and Christmas Recipes book. Both books, originally published back in 2014, are being updated at the moment.
It’s an extra busy time of year at the Kitchen Shed, making food gifts for our Christmas hampers for family and friends as well as fitting in the annual Christmas pudding, cake and mincemeat making. And I love it.
Our kitchen is filled with wonderful Christmas aromas including oranges, cinnamon, ginger and gently cooked dried fruit.
Why is mince pie filling called mincemeat ?
Mincemeat is made with dried fruit, usually a mix of currants, sultanas, raisins and mixed peel. Sugar, spices and suet are added to give the rich fruity filling for a mince pie.
The origins of our mince pies date back to Medieval times when there was a Christmas pie which was oval in shape to represent the manger. The pie was filled with apples and meat and flavoured with sugar and spice.
Although over time, tradition, taste and food preservation technology have altered the ingredients and recipes for mincemeat, even in the late nineteenth century many mincemeat recipes still included meat.
Today, the only nod to meat is if the mincemeat has beef suet in it.
What equipment do I need ?
- A 4 to 6 person slow cooker – I used my 4.7 litre Crockpot
- A ladle
- A jam funnel
- 6 to 7 450g (1 lb) sterilised jam jars with lids
- Adhesive labels for your jars
How to sterilise jars.
Sterilise your jars shortly before they are to be used as this minimises the time in which the jars might pick up bacteria and ruin your mincemeat. Make sure your jars are dry when you come to fill them.
I like to sterilise jam jars in the microwave. Simply clean your jars as normal and rinse but whilst they are wet, pop them in the microwave for two minutes on full power. Remember the jars will be very hot, so remove with care.
Alternatively, wash jars in the dishwasher on a hot cycle.
Always sterilise more jars than you think you will need.
What ingredients do I need ?
See the recipe card for quantities.
- Dried fruit – I’ve added cranberries and blueberries to the traditional mix of sultanas, currants and raisins. You can easily swap the dried fruit choices for your favourites. Chopped dried apricots and sour cherries work well.
- Mixed peel – I prefer to use equal amounts of candied orange and candied lemon peel but I’ve found ready cut mixed peel tends to have more orange than lemon. Bearing that in mind, I find it best to buy candied peel as whole pieces and then cut to size. Also, I’m convinced the whole pieces retain more of their original flavour and this adds to the overall luxurious sense of the mincemeat.
- Walnuts – I love the earthiness of walnuts but in the past I’ve used hazelnuts and almonds.
- Stem ginger – we love ginger here at the Kitchen Shed and I always have a jar of homemade stem ginger in the pantry.
- Suet – I use Atora vegetable suet but feel free to use beef suet. I’ve worked the recipe ingredient quantities around a standard 240 g pack. My old recipe used 225 grams and I was fed up with 15 grams of suet leftovers. Suet adds richness whilst helping to preserve the mincemeat by melting and coating the fruit.
- Sugar – I’ve used soft dark brown sugar for the wonderful flavour of molasses.
- A blend of mixed spice, cinnamon and nutmeg. I like to use whole nutmeg and grate it myself, it’s a much fresher and full bodied taste.
- Juice and zest of oranges and lemons.
- Calvados (apple brandy) – helps to preserve the mincemeat for longer. Feel free to substitute with brandy, Cointreau, rum, whiskey or Amaretto, all will work well in the recipe. If you choose Amaretto, use almonds instead of walnuts.
How to make Slow Cooker Christmas Mincemeat
Firstly, prepare your apples, oranges and lemons. Cut your orange and lemon peel if making your own from whole pieces.
Add all the ingredients except the Calvados to your slow cooker and cook on low for three hours.
Add the Calvados if using.
Give it a good stir.
Lastly, ladle into jars and leave for a few weeks.
Recipes delivering such a luxuriously tasty food don’t come much more straightforward than this.
Use in your mince pies or if you fancy Christmas Mince Pies without the fuss, try my Mincemeat Streusel Slice. It has a buttery shortbread base so it’s easier than pastry to make and handle, plus there’s no need to roll it out if you don’t want to – you can simply press it into the tin.
Can I make Christmas mincemeat vegan ?
Yes, you can! Use a grated hard white fat such as Trex and coat with a couple of tablespoons of rice flour to replace the suet. It’s best to freeze Trex before grating, you’ll find it so much easier.
Can I make it gluten free ?
Replace suet with homemade suet made with grated butter or Trex coated with a couple of tablespoons of rice flour.
If you’re adding alcohol, make sure it is gluten free.
How long can you keep Christmas mincemeat ?
Your Christmas Mincemeat will keep in its sealed jar for up to a year. If you make your mincemeat without the alcohol, it will keep for two months. Once a jar is opened, use within 4 weeks.
Store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
More Christmas food gift ideas……
Slow Cooker Christmas Mincemeat
- A 4 to 6 person slow cooker – I used a 4.7 litre Crockpot
- A ladle.
- A jam funnel
- 6 x 450g (1 lb) clean sterile jam jars with lids
- Adhesive jam jar labels
- 500 g Bramley cooking apples
- 250 g sultanas
- 250 g raisins
- 250 g currants
- 100 g dried cranberries
- 100 g dried blueberries
- 150 g mixed peel
- 75 g chopped walnuts
- 50 g stem ginger
- 240 g vegetable suet
- 300 g soft dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons mixed spice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ whole nutmeg approx 2 teaspoons
- 2 lemons
- 2 oranges
- 6 tbsp Optional: Calvados apple brandy or other liqueur
- Peel, core and chop apple into small pieces.
- Zest and juice oranges and lemons.
- Add all the ingredients except the apple brandy to your slow cooker and stir well.
- Pop the slow cooker lid on and cook on low for 3 hours until the suet has completely melted.
- Stir in the Calvados if using.
- Ladle into sterilised jars and seal with a lid.
- Wipe the jars with a warm damp cloth. Label when cold.
- Makes approx 6 x 450g jars. A serving is 1 tablespoon (20g) plenty enough to fill a mince pie.
- Store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
- Your Christmas Mincemeat will keep in its sealed jar for up to a year. If you make your mincemeat without the alcohol, it will keep for two months. Once a jar is opened, use within 4 weeks.
- Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.