Old-Fashioned Butter Mints

One of the highlights of going to my grandma’s house when I was growing up, in addition to playing Gin Rummy for money at age six, was raiding her candy dish.

She used to have Jolly Ranchers, butterscotch candies, and after dinner mints in that little white dish with the lid. When you’re six,”after dinner” means the minute you can get your sweaty little mitts on the mints, you do.

Old-Fashioned Butter Mints - Easy, no-bake recipe for creamy, smooth mints like your grandma kept in her candy jar or that you'd get in a restaurant!

I decided it was time to make my own meltaway mints since I have such fond memories of them.

Skylar told me the pink mints taste better. But of course.

In actuality, same batter but that concept wasn’t fully registering. All that was registering was pink food.

Old-Fashioned Butter Mints - Easy, no-bake recipe for creamy, smooth mints like your grandma kept in her candy jar or that you'd get in a restaurant!

They are so smooth and just melt in your mouth. Normally with mints, one is all you need. Maybe two. With these, you want at least 17 because they are cool yet sweet, firm yet melty. Plus they’re tiny.

It may not have been the brightest idea to make a recipe that needed to be sliced into 250 little pieces (just a guess) and I am not one for extra steps and monkey business and fussy recipes, but I rolled the dough into long skinny logs in between my hands and it felt like I was playing with Play-Doh.

I lined up the logs and sliced through them with a pizza cutter. Back and forth, back and forth. The whole process took about 20 minutes and wasn’t that bad. I did it after Skylar went to bed (no lighting, no pictures) because I didn’t want her eating gobs of the Play-Doh.

Scooping cookies with a cookie scoop so they’re all uniform can take just as long as Project Mint Roll Out.

Old-Fashioned Butter Mints - Easy, no-bake recipe for creamy, smooth mints like your grandma kept in her candy jar or that you'd get in a restaurant!

Now, instead of just memories of raiding my grandma’s candy dish, I can raid my own.

You will never want a storebought after dinner mint again. If you’ve never had the mints I speak of these or these are the ones but now I can make my own.

Old-Fashioned Butter Mints - Easy, no-bake recipe for creamy, smooth mints like your grandma kept in her candy jar or that you'd get in a restaurant!

These will make a perfect holiday gift and one batch makes enough to gift to a few people.

I used red and green food coloring but you could make these for Easter, Mother’s Day, a baby or bridal shower and use pastels. The un-dyed dough is stark white and a blank canvas.

I also thought about dipping these in melted chocolate for chocolate-covered mints but didn’t know if the dough would hold up as it took a searingly warm chocolate bath, so I skipped the dipping and that little what if.

Old-Fashioned Butter Mints - Easy, no-bake recipe for creamy, smooth mints like your grandma kept in her candy jar or that you'd get in a restaurant!

 

Old-Fashioned Butter Mints - Easy, no-bake recipe for creamy, smooth mints like your grandma kept in her candy jar or that you'd get in a restaurant!

*Note: Mint extract cannot be undone and if you plan to make these, make sure you read my mint cautionary tales in the recipe section. You want to eat mints. Not eat a bottle of Listerine.

Print Recipe

Old-Fashioned Butter Mints

Yield: about 200 bite-sized mints

Prep Time: 15 mintes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Total Time: about 20 minutes

Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter, softened (I used unsalted, but salted may be substituted based on preference)

1/4 teaspoon salt (consider omitting if you used salted butter)

3 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar plus 1/4 cup+, if needed

1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract*

food coloring, optional

Directions:

To the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter and salt and beat for 1 minute on medium-high speed. Add 3 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar, milk, peppermint, and beat on medium-low speed until a dough forms. If the dough seems wet, add additional confectioners' sugar until dough combines (I use 3 1/2 cups sugar). The dough will be crumbly but will come together when pinched and squeezed into a ball.

Taste the batter. If you want a more intense mint flavor, add additional mint extract, to taste.* Be very careful how much mint you add; you cannot un-do this. I repeat, be very, very careful with how much you add. Even 1/8th teaspoon peppermint extract can change flavors, dramatically.

Remove dough from the mixer, separate it into 1 to 4 smaller balls, and add one ball back into the mixer. Add the food coloring of your choice to the ball by squirting the droplets on top of the dough (careful when you turn on the mixer), and paddle on low speed until coloring is well-blended. Coloring will not blend completely into each and every speck of dough if examined extremely closely, but overall, mix until color is uniform. (I separated approximately two-thirds of the dough and made it green using about 15 drops green food coloring and made one-third of the dough red-pink by using about 7 drops red food coloring).

Wash the mixing bowl and the paddle in between each color change and repeat until all the balls are colored. After the dough has been colored, either wrap it with plastic wrap and place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator to be rolled out later or roll it immediately.

Place a golf-ball sized amount of dough in your hands and roll dough into long thin cylinders about 1 centimeter wide. Place cylinders on countertop and with a pizza cutter (or knife - be careful of your counter), slice cylinders into bite-sized pieces, approximately 1 centimeter long. Store mints in an airtight container in the refrigerator where they will keep for many weeks.

*A few notes about mint extracts: They are much more intensely flavored and potent than vanilla extract; 1 teaspoon of mint extract has an extreme amount of potency compared with 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. You cannot un-do mint once added so be very, very careful to not over-do it and end up with a bottle of Listerine-tasting food. There are different kinds of mint extracts available and are labeled as "mint, "peppermint", "spearmint" and more. For this recipe I used store-brand (Kroger/Ralph's) "peppermint extract" sold in a small 1 ounce bottle. Select the version of "mint" you think sounds best as not all types are available in all areas.

Recipe variations and thoughts: I suspect this recipe would be nice with cinnamon extract, lemon or orange extract, or many other specialty-flavored extracts from butter to rum to coconut to coffee extract. I have not tried making the dough first into a ball and then adding the extract after the dough has combined, thereby making it easier to customize the flavors from one big batch of mints into 50 pieces of orange, 50 pieces of cinnamon and so forth. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that extract added after the dough has combined would not disperse well and some pieces would be insanely strongly flavored and others would hardly be flavored at all. Working in an even smaller batch size is an option, although a bit challenging because less than one-quarter cup butter begins to be challenging.

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316 comments

  1. Hi, I am a young cook and I tried to make these mints for my mom as a gift, because they were one of her childhood favorites. I tried to put the dough into shapes and found that it would not keep its shape. It was too runny. Please help her birthday is soon. Thank you

  2. I make mints that are very similar to these, and yes- I have coated them in chocolate. Yum.
    I also switched out the butter for cream cheese once, ooohhh that was good too.

  3. Oh, I remember these! My Mom and aunt would make these, but they used a marble slab and they were called “Pulled Butter Mints”. I remember watching them work – twisting and pulling the “dough”. I have looked high and low for the recipe, so if anyone knows what I’m talking about, please let me know.

    Thanks.!

  4. Did you used to have a recipe on here for making them on the stove? Like boil all ingredients together, then pour out and pull until cool?

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  6. What do you do if your batter if dry? Like a powder dry?

  7. can I use vanilla extract or must I use a different flavor, would the vanilla still taste good?

  8. Super late to the party, but I just found this recipe this morning on Pinterest :)
    I decided to whip these up with my toddler and OH. MY. GOD.
    I’m going to have to make another few batches to give out for Christmas gifts. These are amazing and remind me of the mints my great grandma used to always keep on her coffee table.
    Thanks for the wonderful recipe, Averie!

  9. I haven’t read through all of the comments, so I’m sorry if this is a repeat-idea. If you’re content with one color and/or flavor, mixing the food coloring and extract with the milk before combining it with the confectioners sugar would be an easy and effective way of getting even color/flavor throughout the candy. :)

  10. Do you use salted or unsalted butter in your recipes? I am just going to make some butter mints but I don’t want them to salty!
    Thanks
    Sue

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  12. I really want to make these to gift! How long before bottling them should they be made? Do you know how long they would last/stay fresh?

  13. how long do i let the dough sit in the refrigerator

  14. Thanks for the recipe. This is the closest that I have ever found for my Auntie Julia’s recipe. She and my Great-Grandma Sophia used to make them every Christmas both for their own use and as presents. In addition to the mint version, I seem to remember her making a version with dark molasses and rum extract. Definitely worth trying in the future. She also made ones with orage and lemon extracts.

  15. I made three batches today for the first time. I about fell apart during the first batch thinking this crumbly mess will never amount to anything! Then my husband came into the kitchen, looked in the mixer and said “it’s forming a ball Des’…sure enough! They turned out perfectly! I am looking forward to giving a big container out for a white elephant gift and having a dish sitting on the table so everyone can enjoy!

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  17. I made these with anise extract because I very much dislike mint but love the texture of butter mints. They turned out very tasty but didn’t harden quite like they should. I’m not sure if they need to dry longer in the refrigerator (it’s been over night) or if I should have added more confectioner’s sugar – I used 3 1/4 cups and had a very workable yet slightly crumbly dough.

    • Thanks for trying the recipe and it’s a bit hard to troubleshoot a recipe like this since ingredients and climates vary. I would say that *slightly* more sugar could have worked out better for firming up purposes. Or there could be a difference in the way anise extract stuff vs. mint extract stuff sets up; not sure since I’ve never experimented.

  18. Rochel Beaucage Reply

    These were a pain in the butt to make, and I had to use way more sugar than called for. Then, they kept sticking together, and all in all was a waste of my pantry items

    • Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m sorry you had to use more sugar than called for. Ingredients and climates do matter in baking, especially in candy making, and in this recipe, there’s probably $2.99 worth of powdered sugar. If you feel that’s excessive, I’m sorry.

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  20. Could these be pressed into candy rubber molds?

  21. Tinocha Sterling Reply

    I was thinking of making a batch of the butter mints with each of the different flavorings and giving them as gifts that way I would not have to attempt to make tiny batches.

  22. These taste so good. My question is do they get firm after cutting and refrigerating?

  23. Really want to try these for Christmas but was wondering-after cutting them do you let them “air dry” (dry out a bit to firm up) before putting in the fridge, or put them in the fridge right away?

  24. Penelope Brookshire Reply

    has anyone tried putting the batter through a cookie press? If it works, I’m thinking green buttermint Christmas trees.

    • I haven’t tried it that way but I vaguely remember having a few people comment on doing it or were going to do it, if you have time to glance at the previous comments. Good luck and let me know if you try!

  25. This recipe doesn’t say to dry these mints before storing. So they are soft? Not hard like the commercial ones?

    • They are not soft, but they’re not as rock-hard (i.e. break a tooth kind of hardness) as some of those commercial mints are.

      Leaving a butter-based dough at room temp to ‘dry’ could be a tricky proposition depending on your climate, warmth level of the house, etc. For me just storing them in the fridge as the recipe is written works fine.

  26. Hi there! I used this recipe years ago to make these scrumptious butter mints. At the time I used peppermint extract and they turned out delicious, however I’m wondering if you’ve ever tried Peppermint Essential Oil instead of the extract, and if so, what the ratio of it you could use?
    Thanks for your help!
    Angela

    • Haven’t tried any other way than exactly how I wrote it so can’t give suggestions for substitution quantities. Since they turned out great for you before, I’d be inclined to change nothing and repeat!

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  28. My sister and I were just talking about how one year at Christmas, our Mom made soft peppermint candies. Neither of us are old enough to remember how Mom made them. But I am going to try your recipe and see if I can recreate some Christmas memories.

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  31. Candies like this are meant to “Air Dry” after to harden up so they get firm to the touch not sit in air tight containers and defiantly not in a refrigerator. I worked in a candy store that made all kinds of things like this. From hand dipped Carmel Apples, fudge, cast chocolate, cinnamon candy, hard candy, peanut brittle, too many to many items to list by name, anything that was traditional and specialized in wedding items. I notice some in the comments are confusing theses with the traditional “Wedding” mints made with Cream cheese. I have made millions of those for countless wedding both at the store and for my Grandmother who decorated cakes for weddings. They also need to dry out in an open container the dough can be made ahead and like yours kept in the freezer for at least a year or longer. We would make 10lbs batches at a time freeze then take out what we needed color/flavor and mold it. Once they are air dried then they can be kept in a air tight container especially if you life in an “Wet” climate or you home has lots of humidity, say an area like Washington where it rains a lot of the time. For Christmas Weddings we used to make Red and White peppermint Candy-Cains out of the Wedding mint mix its a lot like working with Fondant. If your mold stick spray with pan spray or dust lightly with powdered sugar the key to getting good molded mints is to keep the dough cold and firm. To only work it in small as need batches so keep the majority in the refrigerator only take out enough to mold a little at a time. If it gets warm your in for a sticky icky frustrating mess.

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  34. could i use coconut oil instead?????

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