Festive Muffins - Healthier than Traditional Mincemeat Pies

Updated on December 18, 2012

These festive muffins are a lighter alternative to the traditional British mince pies and are great for sharing with visitors over the holidays.

Healthy Muffins

Although all muffins tend to be lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than mince pies, these muffins are even lower than most. That's because the recipe uses sunflower oil instead of butter and water instead of milk.

Longer Lasting Muffins

Another advantage of using water is that the muffins keep fresh longer - though these probably won't last long enough for you to find out. I use a pureed dates instead of sugar, but I have also included quantities for sugar should you prefer to use this.

Tasty mincemeat muffins
Tasty mincemeat muffins | Source

This recipe makes 12 standard sized muffins.

Equipment you will need:

A large baking bowl

A small bowl

A glass measuring jug (and, if you have them, some kitchen scales)

A twelve-hole standard muffin tin

Some pretty festive paper muffin cases – or red and green silicone muffin cases

flour, baking powder, and a rounded teaspoon of cinnamon
flour, baking powder, and a rounded teaspoon of cinnamon
Two eggs
Two eggs

Make Your Own “Mincemeat."

If you don’t have any mincemeat, you could get a similar effect by finely chopping one apple, and then put it in a pan, add 2 tablespoons of sultanas or raisins, a teaspoon of mixed spice, and a tablespoon of molasses. To make it even more festive add a tablespoon of cranberries. Cook this gently until the apples are soft and then use in the recipe above in same way as the mincemeat.


  • 9 oz/250g/ 2 cups and 2 tablespoons flour. (I use a mix of half plain and half wholegrain, but you can vary this according to taste - or according to what you have in your store cupboard!)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder (if you are using self-raising flour reduce this to 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch of cloves, or a teaspoon of mixed spice
  • 2 eggs
  • 4fl oz/90ml/half a cup sunflower or corn oil
  • Around 6 – 8 fl oz/60 – 90ml/ ¾ -1 cup water, with some extra if using the dates. (The quantity of water needed will vary depending on the flour used; wholemeal needs more than white flour.)
  • Around 100gram/4 oz of mincemeat – this is about a third of a jar. Mincemeat keeps well in the fridge, so you can store the rest to use another timeEither:
  • 3 oz/85g (of a cup) of sugar


  • 4 oz/110g/half a cup dried dates


1)Line muffin tins with paper cases . Preheat oven to 190- 200c/375 - 400F or 170c for a fan oven. Gas: mark 5 – 6 on middle rack, 4 – 5 on top.

2) If using dates, put them in a small pan, with just enough water to cover them, and boil gently for a few minutes, until the dates look soft and most of the water is absorbed. Then remove from the heat and puree. A hand-held blender is ideal for this. (The photo opposite shows the texture of dates put through a food processor, a handheld blender will get them even smoother, but mine is currently broken!)

3) In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and cinnamon and cloves. (See top photo, opposite the list of ingredients.)

4) In another bowl, beat eggs with a fork. Add the oil and around half of the water.

5) Add pureed dates or sugar to wet ingredients.

6) Pour all of the wet mixture into the dry.

Stir until just combined and no dry flour is visible.

Add more of the water until the mixture can easily drop off your spoon. (How much water you need will vary depending on the type of flour you use. Wholemeal generally needs more than white.)

7) Using a dessertspoon, place a layer of mixture in each muffin case.

This should use about half your mixture.

8) Place a teaspoon of mincemeat on each muffin, as shown in the pictures on the right.

9) Spoon the remaining mixture into the muffin cases, covering over the mincemeat. (This step is shown in the bottom right picture.)

10) Bake for 20 – 25 minutes for standard size.

Press a muffin top gently and if it springs back then the muffins are done.

Let them cool a little before you eat them as mincemeat gets very hot.

A muffin bursting with mincemeat


Questions & Answers


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      • profile image

        BarbaraCasey 3 years ago

        I made mincemeat muffins for the first time last year, after finding myself with leftover mincemeat from a terrific baked apple with mincemeat recipe on a Squidoo lens (now hub). I hadn't seen the "trick" of putting the mincemeat mixture in between two layers of batter before. I'll have to try that.

      • Melovy profile image

        Yvonne Spence 5 years ago from UK

        Oh Kelly, you are missing out, mincemeat is great. (And I don't usually like raisins, but somehow the mincemeat transforms them.) Thanks for your comment and have an awesome holiday and Holidays!

      • Melovy profile image

        Yvonne Spence 5 years ago from UK

        Susan, we used to always make tarts too, but I find these so much quicker to do. And you are right they are delicious.

        Thanks for your kind wishes and Merry Christmas to you and yours too!

      • RealHousewife profile image

        Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

        The muffins look awesome, I've never ever had mincemeat! I'm glad you added the instructions in the blue box so I could imagine:)

      • Just Ask Susan profile image

        Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        I usually make mincemeat tarts at this time of year but I must say I think I'd rather have your Mincemeat muffins. Sound delicious!

        Merry Christmas to you and your family.

      • Melovy profile image

        Yvonne Spence 6 years ago from UK

        Hi alocsin,

        Thanks for reading this hub. I was noticing last night it’s not had many views lately and thought it probably won’t till Christmas is close again, so it’s particularly nice to see you here! And why not! Mincemeat muffins can be eaten at any time of year. Hope you enjoy them! And thanks for the vote up.

      • alocsin profile image

        alocsin 6 years ago from Orange County, CA

        Mincemeat muffins! I love it. Healthier than a full pie, in the sense that instead of gorging on a quarter or half a pie, which I tend to do, I can just have a little muffin. Voting this Up and Useful.

      • Melovy profile image

        Yvonne Spence 6 years ago from UK

        Hi phdast7

        Thanks for your comment. I hope your children enjoy the muffins. They might even enjoy making them!

      • phdast7 profile image

        Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

        Sounds wonderful. I love mincemeat pie, but none of my children care for it. I think I will try this recipe on them. Muffins, especially fruit ones, are always a big hit. :)

      • Melovy profile image

        Yvonne Spence 6 years ago from UK

        Hi Deborah,

        Oh my, you have been missing out! You’d never get through Christmas in the UK without trying mince pies - though I do know one person who doesn’t like raisins and so never eats them. Having said that, I’m not keen on raisins in cakes but I love mincemeat. I hope you enjoy the recipe, and thank you for your comment.

      • Melovy profile image

        Yvonne Spence 6 years ago from UK

        Hi Simone,

        Thanks for your comment, and glad you like the hub and the photos. Hope you enjoy the muffins if you make them.

      • Deborah Brooks profile image

        Deborah Brooks Langford 6 years ago from Brownsville,TX

        Thanks for the recipe.. sounds great. I don't think I have ever had mincemeat.. I think I will try it since you have this wonderful recipe on here.. and pictures. Thanks for sharing.

      • Simone Smith profile image

        Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

        Wow, these look amazing!! Your photos are awesome, and I love the adaptation on a British classic. Thanks for the awesome recipe!

      • Melovy profile image

        Yvonne Spence 6 years ago from UK

        HI grayareas,

        Thanks for your comment; it’s useful to know you found it clear.

      • profile image

        grayareas 6 years ago from Sanford, North Carolina

        Love the clarity of your recipe!

      • Melovy profile image

        Yvonne Spence 6 years ago from UK

        HI Maren, and thanks very much for your comment and vote up. I’m glad the pictures help. Please do let me know which expressions aren’t easy to understand as I am trying to make my recipes as "bi-lingual" as as I can - hence all the different ways for amounts.

      • Maren Morgan M-T profile image

        Maren Elizabeth Morgan 6 years ago from Pennsylvania

        This is a brilliant idea! And, I love all your pictures which help me understand your British expressions for amounts and equipment. VU and more!

      • Melovy profile image

        Yvonne Spence 6 years ago from UK

        Hi Brian,

        I think you will find these easy to do, even if you’re not much of a cake maker! Hope you enjoy them. Glad you like the pictures, I’m trying to include more in my recipe hubs to make them easier to follow.

        Thanks for you comment and the vote up, much appreciated! Hope you are enjoying the festive season.

      • BRIAN SLATER profile image

        Brian Slater 6 years ago from England

        Melovy I'm not much of cake maker myself but I do like trying out new things and these look really yummy. We're always on the look out at Christmas for some alternative cakes from "plain old mince pies", although the first and second ones are nice at the beginning of December. Great pictures btw. voted up.

      • Melovy profile image

        Yvonne Spence 6 years ago from UK

        HI Missolive,

        Glad you like the recipe, and I hope you enjoy making them. I find muffins so easy to make.

        I’m interested to read that your grandmother made mincemeat pies because I wasn’t sure how common they were in the States - what I found when I did a little research suggested they are less common with you than here in the UK.

      • missolive profile image

        Marisa Hammond Olivares 6 years ago from Texas

        These sound great Melovy - I love this variation. My grandmother used to make mincemeat pies for Christmas. How I miss her baking!

        Bookmarking with my HP recipes :)