With just 5 minutes of prep, you can make copycat Starbucks Peppermint Syrup for coffee, mocktails, teas, and even ice cream! Not only is this peppermint syrup recipe easy to follow, but it can be made with either fresh mint leaves or mint extract.
- ⭐ Why this recipe is great
- ❓ Are peppermint and mint the same?
- 🌿 Ingredients
- 📋 How to make homemade peppermint syrup: step-by-step
- 🥣 Substitutions and variations
- 💡 Storage and freezing
- 👨🏻🍳 Expert notes & tips
- 🙋🏻♂️ Frequently Asked Questions
- 🌟 Other easy simple syrups
- ✔️ Peppermint syrup uses
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
⭐ Why this recipe is great
Preserve Garden Mint: though it has a relatively long season, if you live far enough north, your peppermint bush will eventually dry up for the winter (as mine does). This homemade peppermint syrup recipe will allow you to preserve some of that delicious peppermint flavor in a jar.
Long-Lasting: this peppermint simple syrup recipe makes just over 1 cup of syrup, and keeps for up to 6 months in the freezer.
Easy to Make & Batch: with just 3 ingredients and ten minutes, making this copycat Starbucks peppermint simple syrup couldn't get much simpler. It's also very easy to make a thicker version for sweetening whipped cream or ice cream.
❓ Are peppermint and mint the same?
Mint and peppermint are not the same plant. For one, 'mint' is more specifically known as spearmint. Although both mint and peppermint are members of the mint family, they have distinct differences in flavor, aroma, and uses.
Spearmint, known scientifically as Mentha spicata, has a sweet and mild flavor with a hint of freshness, making it a versatile herb in culinary applications. It contains the compound carvone, which contributes to its characteristic taste, suitable for both savory dishes and beverages, from fried cauliflower to herbal teas.
On the other hand, peppermint, or Mentha piperita, has a more intense and sharp flavor profile with a pronounced cooling effect, due to its high menthol content. This makes peppermint a go-to for confections, toothpastes, and medicinal products like balms.
Its bold taste stands out in sweets, and here in the States it's most commonly associated with Christmas. However peppermint is actually a hybrid of spearmint and watermint, so you can think of spearmint as the original mint, known as hierba buena in Spanish.
In terms of cultivation, spearmint is more common in home gardens, as it's hardier and spreads easily, while peppermint can be more temperamental. But both herbs do offer plentiful health benefits, including being digestive aids and offering relief from symptoms like nausea.
Fresh Peppermint: you can use peppermint extract, peppermint oil, or fresh peppermint leaves (I used some from my garden!), but make sure that they're clean before adding them to the water.
Sugar: you can really use any granulated sweetener that's a 1-to-1 swap for white cane sugar, but here I use an allulose & monk fruit blend that acts the same as cane sugar, making it possible to make fresh peppermint syrup that's diabetic- and histamine-friendly.
Water: this helps to make this homemade peppermint coffee syrup liquid enough to pour.
See recipe card for quantities.
📋 How to make homemade peppermint syrup: step-by-step
Step 1. If using peppermint oil, skip to step 2. Pick and wash your peppermint leaves and then pluck them off the stems (if applicable).
Step 2. Heat the water and sugar in a metal-bottom pan until just simmering and the sweetener has fully dissolved.
Step 3. Then pour in the well-cleaned peppermint leaves, and stir everything together. If using peppermint oil, don't add it yet.
Step 4. Heat this mixture on low for five minutes (set a timer), never letting it get above a simmer, stirring occasionally. When your timer goes off, remove the mixture from the heat, add the peppermint oil now (if using) and stir well, then let it sit on a cool burner for 20-30 more minutes (to infuse further).
Step 5. Then strain the mixture and preserve your homemade peppermint syrup in a closed container in the fridge for up to 10 days, or the freezer for 6 months.
🥣 Substitutions and variations
No Fresh Mint: if you can't get your hands on fresh peppermint leaves and don't want make syrup with spearmint, you can alternately use 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract or ¼ teaspoon of food-grade peppermint oil.
Sweetener: while you can use almost any granulated sweetener in this recipe, I've made it with regular sugar and more recently with allulose-monk fruit sweetener, a sugar-free FDA-approved sweetener that's a direct swap for sugar. But other great sweetener options include honey, brown sugar, coconut sugar, or even erythritol.
- Chocolate Peppermint Syrup - yes, seriously! If you swap the peppermint for chocolate mint, ginger mint, lemon mint, or really any other kind of mint, it will produce a flavorful variation that makes a truly delicious homemade soda, or adds a flavorful kick to mocktails and cocktails.
- Peppermint Vanilla Syrup - you can create a more complex peppermint syrup for drinks by adding either one whole split vanilla pod, the vanilla seeds from one pod, or ¼ teaspoon vanilla paste to the infusion when you take it off the heat to steep. Alternately, adding ½ teaspoon high-quality vanilla extract after it stops bubbling to make a delicious vanilla peppermint syrup.
- Sugar-Free Peppermint Syrup - make peppermint syrup sugar-free by using either xylitol, erythritol, or my favorite allulose-monk fruit blend.
- Peppermint Cream - mix 2 parts heavy cream and 1 part peppermint syrup for a creamy peppermint syrup that stays good in the fridge for up to 5 days if kept airtight. I've only tried this with high quality organic dairy cream.
See the basil version of this recipe on my website!
💡 Storage and freezing
Fresh peppermint simple syrup will stay good in the fridge for up to 7 days, but will stay good frozen for 6+ months without losing any flavor (if stored in an air-tight bottle). For low histamine readers, freezer storage is recommended after a few hours cooling air-tight in the fridge or an hour at room temperature.
👨🏻🍳 Expert notes & tips
Peppermint Extract vs Oil: peppermint extract is almost always preserved in alcohol, which can be a problem for those with histamine issues, while peppermint oil can be prepared only for cosmetic eating, not consumption.
So if you're not using fresh mint to make peppermint syrup, then be sure that you tolerate and enjoy the aroma of your chosen peppermint flavoring.
Make it Red: if tolerated, you can add a candy cane to the syrup for color - you could even use candy canes as a substitute for peppermint extract by crushing them and dissolving them into the sugar water as a sweet peppermint flavoring.
If you do this, be sure to heavily lessen the amount of sugar you use. The result will be milder and sweeter than using peppermint extract, but it will give peppermint syrup a light pink color.
Fully Cool: make sure your syrup is fully cooled before putting it in the fridge or freezer.
Water Type: use filtered water rather than tap water, to ensure no minerality or other stange clarity or flavor issue in your final syrup.
🙋🏻♂️ Frequently Asked Questions
Peppermint syrup is not the same as peppermint extract; the syrup is a sweetened liquid flavored with peppermint, often used in beverages and desserts, while the extract is a concentrated flavoring made from peppermint oil and alcohol, used in small amounts to impart a strong peppermint flavor and scent.
Peppermint extract is not the same as peppermint oil; the extract is a diluted form of the oil, typically using alcohol as a base, and is used for flavoring food. In contrast, peppermint oil is a highly concentrated essential oil used for various purposes (look for food-grade oil if baking with it).
Starbucks peppermint syrup is a sweet, mint-flavored syrup used to add a sweet seasonal flavor to their beverages, such as the Peppermint Mocha. The exact ingredients are proprietary, but almost certainly include sugar, peppermint flavoring, water, and likely preservatives.
There's about ¼ to ½ ounce of syrup per pump, with 3-5 pumps in a typical drink. So to make a Starbucks Peppermint Mocha at home, you would typically use about 1 to 1.5 tablespoons of peppermint syrup for a 12-ounce (tall) drink. Adjust the amount to suit your taste preferences.
Yes. Peppermint syrup typically does need to be refrigerated after opening to maintain its quality and extend its shelf life. Keeping it in the fridge can also prevent fermentation and mold growth, ensuring the syrup stays fresh and safe to consume, though you can keep it in the freezer for even longer storage.
🌟 Other easy simple syrups
✔️ Peppermint syrup uses
- Mix into milkshakes or smoothies
- Use it to soak a freshly-made cake
- Flavor your morning coffee or latte
- Stir into tea for a soothing beverage
- Sweeten and flavor homemade frosting
- Drizzle over more plain ice cream flavors
- Drizzle it with cut fruit onto flax seed pudding
- Drizzle over fresh fruit for a refreshing dessert
- Make sweet peppermint-flavored whipped cream
- Add to hot chocolate (if tolerated) for a minty twist
- Create a peppermint martini or other cocktails and mocktails
Homemade Peppermint Syrup (2 Easy Ways)
- 1 Cup sugar or other granulated sweetener
- ¾ Cup water
- ¾ Cup packed fresh peppermint leaves alt. 1 teaspoon peppermint extract or ¼ teaspoon peppermint oil
- If using peppermint oil, skip to step 2. Wash your peppermint leaves and then pluck them off the stems (if applicable).
- Heat the water and sugar in a metal-bottom pan until just simmering and the sweetener has fully dissolved.
- Then pour in the well-cleaned peppermint leaves, and stir everything together. If using peppermint oil, don't add it yet.
- Heat this mixture on low for five minutes (set a timer), never letting it get above a simmer, stirring occasionally. When your timer goes off, remove the mixture from the heat, add the peppermint oil now (if using) and stir well, then let it sit on a cool burner for 20-30 more minutes (to infuse further).
- Then strain the mixture and preserve your homemade peppermint syrup in a closed container in the fridge for up to 10 days, or the freezer for 6 months.