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Peppermint Oil vs. Peppermint Extract — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on January 9, 2024
Peppermint Oil is a concentrated essential oil extracted from peppermint leaves, used for its intense flavor. Peppermint Extract is a less concentrated solution made by soaking peppermint leaves in alcohol, primarily used for flavoring in cooking.
Peppermint Oil vs. Peppermint Extract — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Peppermint Oil and Peppermint Extract


Key Differences

Peppermint Oil is an essential oil obtained through steam distillation of peppermint leaves, resulting in a highly concentrated substance. Peppermint Extract is made by steeping peppermint leaves in alcohol, producing a solution that is less concentrated than the oil.
The uses of Peppermint Oil include aromatherapy, natural remedies, and as a flavoring in very small amounts. Peppermint Extract is mainly used as a flavoring agent in foods and beverages.
In terms of flavor, Peppermint Oil is much more potent and intense than Peppermint Extract. The extract, while still flavorful, is milder and more suitable for culinary purposes.
Peppermint Oil can also be used in non-edible products like lotions and balms due to its high concentration and therapeutic properties. Peppermint Extract is generally not suitable for these purposes.
When substituting one for the other, it's important to adjust quantities due to the difference in concentration. Peppermint Oil should be used sparingly, while Peppermint Extract can be used in larger amounts.

Comparison Chart


Highly concentrated
Less concentrated

Primary Use

Aromatherapy, therapeutic, flavoring
Flavoring in cooking

Method of Extraction

Steam distillation of leaves
Steeping leaves in alcohol

Intensity of Flavor

Very potent and intense
Milder and suitable for culinary use

Suitability for Non-Edible Uses

Yes, in products like lotions
Generally not suitable

Compare with Definitions

Peppermint Oil

Intensely flavored and aromatic.
Just a drop of peppermint oil is enough to flavor a large batch of cookies.

Peppermint Extract

Used as a flavoring in cooking and baking.
I use peppermint extract to give a minty taste to my desserts.

Peppermint Oil

A concentrated essential oil from peppermint.
Peppermint oil is often used in aromatherapy for its soothing properties.

Peppermint Extract

Made by soaking peppermint leaves in alcohol.
The extract is obtained by letting peppermint leaves steep in alcohol.

Peppermint Oil

Used for therapeutic and medicinal purposes.
Peppermint oil can relieve headaches when applied topically.

Peppermint Extract

A solution of peppermint in alcohol.
Peppermint extract adds a nice flavor to my chocolate cake.

Peppermint Oil

Extracted through steam distillation.
The peppermint oil is produced through steam distilling the leaves.

Peppermint Extract

Less potent than essential oil.
Peppermint extract is perfect for subtle mint flavoring in recipes.

Peppermint Oil

Suitable for topical applications.
Peppermint oil in lotions provides a cooling sensation.

Peppermint Extract

Mainly for culinary purposes.
I added a teaspoon of peppermint extract to the icing.

Common Curiosities

Can peppermint oil relieve muscle pain?

Yes, when diluted and applied topically, it can relieve muscle pain.

Can I make peppermint oil at home?

Making true essential oil at home is difficult due to the distillation process required.

Is peppermint extract alcoholic?

Yes, it contains alcohol as a solvent.

Can peppermint oil be used in a diffuser?

Yes, it's often used in diffusers for aromatherapy.

Is peppermint oil edible?

Yes, but only in very small, diluted amounts.

How much peppermint extract equals peppermint oil?

Generally, use more extract than oil due to the difference in concentration.

Is peppermint extract stronger than mint extract?

Yes, it usually has a stronger, more specific flavor than generic mint extract.

Can peppermint extract be used in aromatherapy?

No, it's not concentrated enough for effective aromatherapy.

Can I use peppermint extract in drinks?

Yes, it's commonly used to flavor beverages.

Can peppermint oil be used for dental care?

Yes, it's sometimes used in toothpaste and mouthwash for its antibacterial properties.

Does peppermint oil help with headaches?

Yes, when applied topically, it can help alleviate headaches.

Is peppermint oil safe for pets?

No, it can be harmful to pets, especially cats and dogs.

Is peppermint extract suitable for making lotions?

No, it's typically not used in topical products.

Does peppermint extract have a shelf life?

Yes, it typically has a shelf life of about 3-4 years.

Can peppermint oil be ingested for digestive issues?

Only under guidance from a healthcare professional.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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