Homemade Thin Mints — These homemade Thin Mints require just 4 ingredients, and no one ever guesses what the “secret ingredient” is! Perfect for cookie swaps and potlucks!

Homemade Thin Mints stacked

Copycat Girl Scout Thin Mints

Thin Mints are those Girl Scout Cookies that I can eat an entire tube of in a sitting. Oh, you too?

Since my cravings for mint in the middle of the summer continued, I decided to try my hand at a homemade, no-bake, vegan version of Thin Mints. They should be called Thin Mints Cheater’s Mints. No-bake and so easy.

What’s the catch, you’re wondering? Ritz Crackers.

I promise these homemade Thin Mints don’t taste like crackers. The crackers provide a neutral base layer, nice crunch, and are a dead-ringer in size and shape for what will become cookies. When they’re drenched in mint-flavored chocolate, you won’t know it’s a cracker or care that it started out as a cracker.

These copycat Girl Scout Thin Mints taste incredibly close to the real thing and take all of 15 minutes to make!

Homemade Thin Mints in half

What’s in Homemade Thin Mints? 

These homemade Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies call for just four ingredients: 

  • Ritz crackers
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Peppermint extract

Sleeve of ritz crackers opened

How to Make Thin Mints at Home

Melt the chocolate and shortening. I highly recommend a tablespoon of shortening for any chocolate dipping projects because it keeps the chocolate smooth, viscous, and much less likely to get that hard-before-you-want-it-to and clumpy consistency.

Add peppermint extract to the melted chocolate and get ready to dip. Place dipped crackers, which I now think of as cookies, on parchment paper. (Food goes from cracker status to cookie status the minute chocolate is involved.)

Wait for the chocolate to solidify and firm up before digging in.

Stack of Homemade Thin Mints

Because of the shortening, it could take a half hour or more at room temperature for the chocolate to solidify, especially if you decide to do this project on an 80-degree day in the middle of summer without running your air.

Pop the tray in the refrigerator or freezer to speed things up. I like homemade Thin Mints better chilled anyway and store them in the freezer.

The minute I took these out of the freezer, the condensation on the chocolate began. It reminded me of Christmas Crack in Aruba. Nothing you can do when it starts.

It was a hot day in San Diego the day I made these and as the 3pm sun was shining in on my photography table, both me and the cookies began to sweat. The cool mint was perfect! 

Stack of Homemade Thin Mints

Homemade Thin Mints in half

Can I Use Peppermint Essential Oil Instead of Peppermint Extract? 

I’ve never made these copycat Girl Scout Thin Mints with anything other than peppermint extract, so I can’t say for sure. 

Do I Have to Use Vegetable Shortening? 

I’ve only made this recipe as written, but some readers have reported success using coconut oil or vegetable oil in place of the shortening. 

Ritz crackers, peppermint flavoring, and chocolate chips

Homemade Thin Mints in half

Can I Use Another Type of Chocolate Chip? 

Yes, although semi-sweet chocolate chips are a must if you want to make true Thin Mint copycats. 

Can I Make These Gluten-Free? 

I’m sure you could easily make these gluten-free by using a gluten-free Ritz Cracker alternative. 

ritz cracker sleeve and bowl of chocolate sauce

What Type of Mint Extract Should I Buy? 

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.

homemade thin mints on baking sheet

How to Store Homemade Thin Mints

Store leftover Thin Mints in an airtight container in the refrigerator for many weeks. In the freezer, I estimate that these could be kept for 3 to 6 months successfully.

Stack of homemade thin mints

Stack of homemade thin mints

Tips for Making Homemade Thin Mints

Be sure to place the chocolate-dipped crackers onto a parchment paper- or wax paper-lined baking tray. If you don’t line the tray, these cookies will never come off cleanly! 

If desired, you can omit the shortening from this recipe. However, you may want to melt the chocolate in batches otherwise it may harden up before you can dip all the crackers into it. 

Lastly, note that mint extract is much, much more 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 it’s added so be very, very careful to not over do it and end up with a bottle of Listerine-tasting food.

homemade thin mints

Can You Taste That It’s A Ritz Cracker?

In a word, no. No one who has ever tried these ever guesses that it’s a Ritz Cracker.

The only thing that may give it away is that it’s of course golden in color rather than chocolate-colored like real Girl Scout Thin Mints. So after biting in and examining, yes, there are some clues, but if you did it blindfolded, no clues at all.

It’s actually so amazing that the cracker has an extremely similar texture to Thin Mints, and even though you’d think it’s too buttery tasting or too salty, after being dipped in the mint chocolate mixture, the crackers work amazingly well. 

I have always made these with the original version of Ritz although now they have a reduced sodium version you could try. The salt content in the regular crackers I find though is perfect with chocolate. Chocolate always tastes better to me with a hint of salt. 

Homemade Thin Mints

Homemade Thin Mints
Yield: 18

Homemade Thin Mints

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cooling Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

These homemade Thin Mints require just 4 ingredients, and no one ever guesses what the "secret ingredient" is! Perfect for cookie swaps and potlucks!

Ingredients

  • 18 Ritz Crackers
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening, optional but recommended
  • 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract*

Instructions

    1. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or wax paper; set aside. Clear out a spot in your refrigerator or freezer to accommodate baking sheet.
    2. In a shallow microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips and shortening (the shortening helps the chocolate stay smooth when using it for dipping; it prevents that thick and gloppy, chocolate getting hard before you want it to phenomenon) and heat for 1 minute on high power to melt. Stir and heat in 10- to 15-second bursts until chocolate can be stirred very smooth.
    3. To the melted chocolate add 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract* and stir. If you prefer it mintier, add another 1/4 teaspoon. I used 3/4 teaspoon in total, but because all brands and taste preferences differ, taste your chocolate and add peppermint to taste.
    4. Add 1 cracker to the chocolate, coat it, and remove it by lightly scooping it up from the underside with a fork, allowing excess chocolate to drain off through fork tines. Place cracker on parchment and repeat with all remaining crackers. If necessary, re-heat the chocolate in 10- to 15-second bursts if it starts getting too firm for smooth dipping.
    5. After all crackers have been dipped, place baking sheet in refrigerator. Although these will solidify at room temperature, the shortening in the chocolate lengthens the amount of time that will take; the fridge or freezer helps speed it up.
    6. Store extra Thin Mints in an airtight container in the refrigerator for many weeks. In the freezer, I estimate that these could be kept for 3 to 6 months successfully.

Notes

  • *Note: Mint extract is much, much more 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 inspiration from Kraft.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

18

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 70Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 30mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 1g

More Mint Dessert Recipes: 

Peppermint Patty Chocolate Cookies — These cookies are fudgy and full of rich chocolate flavor thanks to both cocoa powder and chocolate chips. There are peppermint patties on the top for a burst of minty fresh flavor.

Peppermint Patty Chocolate Cookies

The Best Peppermint Chocolate Cake — I love this cake because it’s a fast, easy, one-bowl, no-mixer recipe that delivers amazing results every time without being fussy or complicated. The cake is soft, moist, decadently chocolaty, and perfectly pepperminty! 

The Best Peppermint Chocolate Cake

Fudgy Mint Chocolate Brookies — Chocolate and mint are a match made in holiday baking heaven. Especially when the result is a brookie: part rich, fudgy brownie with chewy edges; part soft and chewy chocolate cookie.

Fudgy Mint Chocolate Brownie cookies

Andes Mint Brownies — The brownies have a box of 28 Andes diced and stirred into the batter, and another box of 28 mints that are diced on top. If you like mint, you’re going love these! 

Andes Mint Brownies

Chocolate Chip Andes Mint Cookies— These quadruple chocolate Andes mint cookies are big, bakery-style cookies that are rich, not overly sweet, and loaded with chocolate and mint chips.

Chocolate Chip Andes Mint Cookies

Candy Cane Blossom Sugar Cookies — We’ve all had Peanut Butter Blossoms and these cookies are the holiday version The cookies are soft, chewy, covered in red sprinkles and there’s a Candy Cane Hershey Kiss in the center.

Candy Cane Blossom Sugar Cookies

Triple Layer Fudgy Mint Oreo Brownies — These layered brownies are loaded with rich textures and flavors, from the dense fudgy brownies layer, to the soft, fluffy minty layer, with oodles of crushed Mint Oreos throughout.

Triple Layer Fudgy Mint Oreo Brownies

Originally published July 29, 2012 and republished March 4, 2020 with updated text.

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