Easy Real British Mint Sauce

Roast lamb with mint sauce

 Simon McGill / Getty Images

  • Total: 10 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 Jar (6 Servings)

Some flavor combinations cannot be surpassed as they are simply sublime. One such combination is a real mint sauce, and roast lamb usually served as a traditional Sunday lunch.

Mint is not only a pungent herb but when used in a mint sauce is also particularly good at cutting through any fattiness inherent in lamb being made as it is with vinegar. The sweet lamb, the pungent tang of fresh mint, sweetness from sugar, and the bite of vinegar all come together on the plate to create what is considered a classic British flavor combination.

The other beauty of this sauce is it is so cheap to make; why you would ever buy a jar of mint sauce is a surprise. Fresh mint is abundant across the British Isles growing wild and in gardens. You are sure to know someone who has mint even if you don't grow it yourself.


  • A large bunch of fresh garden mint leaves
  • 5 tablespoons boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar (see note below)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Pull the leaves from the stalk of the mint. Check the leaves to ensure there are no insects or ladybirds hiding anywhere. Unless chemical sprays are used or it is close to traffic fumes, it is not necessary to wash the mint. Roughly chop the leaves.

  3. Place the chopped mint leaves into a heatproof jug, sprinkle over the sugar, then pour over the boiling water. Stir gently, cover with cling film, and place to one side and leave to cool.

  4. Once cold, stir in the vinegar and taste the sauce. If it is too strong, just add a little more water. Too weak, add more mint.

  5. Cover again and leave to one side for at least an hour, longer if you have the time. The mint flavors will seep into the sugar-vinegar.

  6. Serve the mint sauce in a small bowl or jug with a small serving spoon. The fresh mint sauce will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks if you decant into a screw-top jar. However, the sauce is so delicious, I doubt you will have any left after a traditional Sunday lunch. And also it is so quick and easy to make.

  7. The exact pairing of the mint sauce is with roast lamb, but serve it with lamb chops, cutlets, shanks, or add a dollop to an Irish stew. The other love of mint sauce is smothered over a pie. 

What Type of Mint Should be Used for Real Mint Sauce?

There are hundreds of types of fresh mint growing in Britain, but the best one for a mint sauce is a common garden mint. Nothing fancy.

What Type of Vinegar Should I Use for Mint Sauce?

The best vinegar will be a simple white wine vinegar. Flavored kinds of vinegar should be avoided and do not use malt or any dark vinegar as it is too strong and kills the flavor.