Is Mint Extract the Same as Peppermint Extract?

The term “mint” is an umbrella term for the Mentha species, when it comes to mint flavors in cooking and baking, you may have seen both “mint extract” and “peppermint extract” listed as ingredients. While they may seem similar, there are some important differences to understand between these two extracts. In this article, we’ll explore the similarities and distinctions to help you choose the right one for your cooking needs.

What is Mint Extract?

Mint plant include spearmint, peppermint, orange mint, apple mint, pineapple mint and more. The mint extract can be made from any of these varieties, generally referred to as spearmint, which is a concentrated flavoring derived from the leaves of the spearmint, using a process that extracts the essential oils and flavors from the spearmint leaves.

Pic left: Mint extract

Pic above: Pure mint extract oil

What is Peppermint Extract?

Peppermint is more common and its leaves are bright green, slightly curved in shape, and a strong aroma. It is a hybrid mint variety that results from crossing watermint and spearmint. Peppermint extract contains menthol( L-piperitol), which gives it a stronger and refreshing flavor and aroma making it a popular choice for many culinary applications. Peppermint extract is specifically made from the peppermint plant (Mentha x piperita).

Pic above: Menthol Powder

Key Differences

While both mint extract and peppermint extract share a minty flavor profile, there are some notable differences:

  1. Flavor Intensity: Peppermint extract typically has a stronger, more intense minty flavor compared to general mint extract, which can be more subtle and delicate.
  2. Aroma: Peppermint extract has a distinct cool, menthol-like aroma that comes from the high concentration of menthol in peppermint leaves. The mint extract may have a more varied aroma, depending on the specific mint variety used.
  3. Color: Peppermint extract often has a slight green tint, while mint extract can range from pale green to almost clear, again depending on the mint variety.
  4. Uses: Peppermint extract is commonly used in desserts, candies, beverages, and other sweet applications where a pronounced minty flavor is desired. Mint extract, being more versatile, can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, adding a subtle minty note without overpowering other flavors.


While mint extract and peppermint extract share some similarities, they are not exactly the same. Peppermint extract is made specifically from peppermint leaves and has a more potent, cool minty flavor, while mint extract can come from various mint varieties and may have a more delicate minty taste.

If a recipe specifically calls for peppermint extract, it’s best to use that to achieve the intended cool, refreshing peppermint taste. However, if a recipe simply calls for “mint extract” or doesn’t specify, you can use either peppermint extract or a general mint extract, depending on your desired flavor intensity. Understanding the differences can help you choose the right extract for your recipe and achieve the desired flavor profile.