What can I do with fresh mint?

Quick Answers

Mint is one of the most versatile herbs and has many uses beyond just garnishing drinks or plates. Here are some quick ideas for using up fresh mint:

  • Make mint tea
  • Use it to flavor water
  • Add it to lemonade or iced tea
  • Toss it into fruit salads
  • Mix into green salads
  • Add to gazpacho
  • Blend into smoothies
  • Mix into dips and sauces
  • Toss with roasted vegetables
  • Garnish desserts


One of the most popular uses for fresh mint is in beverages. The cool, refreshing taste of mint pairs nicely with many drinks. Here are some beverage ideas:

Mint Tea

Mint tea is a classic way to use up fresh mint. To make, bring water to a boil then remove from heat. Add several fresh mint leaves (8-10 leaves for every 1-2 cups of water). Let steep 5-7 minutes then remove mint leaves. Add honey or other sweetener if desired. Mint tea can be enjoyed hot or poured over ice for an iced mint tea.

Mint Infused Water

Infusing mint into water is an easy way to add flavor without calories or sweeteners. Fill a pitcher with water then add several sprigs of fresh mint. You can also add sliced fruit like lemon, lime, or berries to complement the mint. Allow to steep in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or overnight. Remove mint before serving.

Mint Lemonade

For a refreshing twist on classic lemonade, add fresh mint. Start with basic homemade or store-bought lemonade. Remove a few mint leaves and tear to release flavor. Add to lemonade and allow to steep for 30+ minutes before serving.

Iced Tea

No need for sugary powdered mixes! Brew a batch of regular black or herbal iced tea, then add fresh mint sprigs directly to the pitcher or glasses. The mint infuses the tea with flavor and gives it an extra cooling effect.


A mint mojito cocktail is the perfect way to use up a bunch of fresh mint. Muddle mint leaves with sugar and lime juice, add rum and soda water, then garnish with extra mint. Mint balances the sweetness and pairs perfectly with the lime and rum.


Beyond drinks, don’t forget to use mint when cooking main dishes, sides, appetizers and more. Here are some ways to incorporate it into recipes:


Fresh mint livens up boring green salads. Add torn mint leaves to mixed greens, chicken salads, potato salads, and fruit salads. The cooling mint flavor pairs nicely with ingredients like berries, cucumbers, peas, and tomatoes.

Soups & Stews

Add a handful of mint to any chilled soup like gazpacho or cucumber soup. It also complements warmer soups like lentil, tomato, carrot, or potato. Add torn leaves at the end to preserve flavor.


Toss torn mint in with roasted or grilled vegetables like zucchini, carrots, potatoes, eggplant and more. Or mix into rice pilafs and cooked grains for a flavor pop.


For a twist on traditional basil pesto, use mint as the star ingredient. Blend mint, garlic, nuts, olive oil, Parmesan, lemon, and seasonings for a fresh herbaceous sauce. Toss with pasta or use as a sandwich spread.

Marinades & Rubs

Blend mint into marinades and rubs for meats like lamb, chicken, and fish. It pairs especially well with Moroccan, Indian and Middle Eastern flavors.

Yogurt Sauces

Stir chopped mint into yogurt-based sauces and raitas. Try with traditional tzatziki, or use mint yogurt as a dressing, dip, or garnish.


Mint’s cooling flavor makes it a perfect addition to desserts. Here are some sweet ways to use it up:

Fruit Desserts

Toss mint into fruit salads and fruit-based desserts. It goes well with berries, peaches, mangoes, oranges and more. Use torn leaves or thin strips.

Chocolate Mint Puddings or Mousses

Infuse creamy chocolate puddings and mousses with fresh mint. Start by steeping torn leaves in the cream or milk before making the dessert. Strain before mixing in chocolate.

Mint Ice Cream

For homemade mint chocolate chip or mint ice cream, steep torn mint leaves in the cream/milk mixture before churning. Strain before freezing if you don’t want flecks of leaf.

Mint Juleps

A mint julep is a frosted silver cup filled with bourbon, simple syrup, crushed ice, and fresh mint. The quintessential Southern cocktail to enjoy on a sultry evening.


In addition to mojitos and juleps, add mint to other cocktails like mint martinis, rum punch, vodka lemonades, and fruited sangria.


Use fresh mint leaves or springs as a garnish for desserts like cookies, brownies, cupcakes, ice cream, pies, cheesecake, and fruit desserts.

Other Uses

Mint isn’t just for eating and drinking! Here are some other creative ways to use it:


Dry out excess mint to use in potpourri mixes and sachets. The scent helps deter pests while smelling amazing.

Decorative Touches

Use fresh sprigs for decor on cakes, cookies, and dessert platters. Float whole sprigs in punch bowls or clear vases for parties.

DIY Mint Extract

Steep fresh mint in vodka for a few weeks to make mint extract. Use for cooking and baking instead of costly storebought extracts.

Homemade Mint Soap

Infuse mint into your own homemade soaps. Use it on its own or blend with other herbs and floral essential oils like lavender.

Repel Pests

Mint can help deter ants, mice, mosquitoes and fleas. Place crushed mint leaves in problem areas around the home or grow mint plants outdoors.

Mint Tea Bath

Soothe skin and congestion by steeping a strong pot of mint tea, straining, and adding to your bath water. Light some candles and unwind!

Minty Mouth Rinse

Swish mint tea or fresh leaves around in your mouth for a refreshing DIY mouth rinse. The mint helps kill bad breath causing bacteria.

Mint Leaf Facial Spritz

Make a soothing facial spritz with mint tea, rosewater and essential oils. Store in the fridge and mist skin anytime you need a pick-me-up.

Plant Care

As a fast growing perennial, mint may need frequent harvesting to prevent it from spreading where unwanted. Cut often and find ways to use it.

Drying and Storing Mint

Have a mint surplus? Here are some tips for storing fresh mint longer:

  • Refrigerate – Fresh mint lasts about 3-7 days in the fridge. Store in a plastic bag.
  • Freezer – Chop leaves and freeze in an airtight container or ice cube tray. Use within 4-6 months.
  • Air dry – Hang bundles upside down until crispy. Crumble and store in airtight containers.
  • Oil – Pack chopped mint in olive or vegetable oil. Refrigerate and use within 3 months.
  • Vinegar – Steep mint in vinegar for 3 weeks, then strain and bottle the flavored vinegar.
  • Salt or Sugar – Mix fresh mint with salt or sugar to dry it out, then rub off the mint pieces before using the salt/sugar.
  • Herbal Ice Cubes – Blend mint with water and freeze in ice cube trays for adding to drinks.

Properly stored, dried mint can last up to a year, while frozen or oiled mint lasts about 3-6 months.


As you can see, the possibilities are endless when it comes to using up fresh mint! It adds a refreshing pop of flavor and aroma to drinks, dishes, and more. With so many ways to enjoy it, you’ll never need to waste a single mint leaf again. Whether you’re making mojitos, fruit salads, mint tea, or homemade beauty products, embrace mint as the versatile herb it is.

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