Peppermint vs Mint: What’s The Difference?

Mint, peppermint, spearmint, and applemint are all varieties of mint. What’s the deal with all the mint names? Is one the same as the other?

To put it simply, mint is a hypernym for the Mentha plant family, which means there are hundreds of mint varieties, the most well-known of which being peppermint and spearmint.

In reality, spearmint is often what you receive when you purchase mint as a herb at the market. So, when we talk about mint, we’re talking about spearmint since that’s the name under which the plant is often sold.

We’ll also expose you to some of the most well-known mint types. But first, let’s differentiate between mint (spearmint) and peppermint.

Difference Between Peppermint and Mint

The presence of menthol is the primary distinction between peppermint and mint. Peppermint produces 40% menthol, whereas spearmint produces just 0.5%.

Mentha is the scientific name for the Lamiaceae mint family. These evergreen plants originated in Eurasia but have since spread to every continent.

The Mentha family has square stems and leaves that grow in pairs. There are 25 kinds, but botanists estimate that there are numerous cross-breeds, bringing the total to 600!

Peppermint and spearmint are the most popular mint varieties. Let us compare them in depth.

Mentha spicata, sometimes known as spearmint, is a species of mint in the Lamiaceae family. Mentha piperita, sometimes known as peppermint, is a Lamiaceae mint hybrid that is a cross between spearmint and watermint.

Peppermint leaves have bigger leaves with sharper edges. Peppermint is less airy as well. Spearmint features smaller, more spherical leaves, as well as hairier leaves and stems.

Color: Peppermint is usually a deeper green than spearmint. Peppermint flowers are purple, whilst spearmint blooms are blue or pink.

Peppermint is a low-creeping plant that develops to be around 1 3ft tall. Spearmint is a tall, straight plant that may reach 3 feet in height.

Peppermint’s ability to expand is limited to a 3ft spread in the surrounding flora. Spearmint, on the other hand, has nearly unlimited capacity for development over the whole vegetation.

Peppermint is known for having the strongest menthol flavor of any minty species. Spearmint, on the other hand, has a much more delicate taste that is also somewhat sweet.

The perfume of peppermint is strong and minty. The aroma of spearmint is more subtle and fruity.

Cooking: Spearmint is commonly used in savory foods, but peppermint is used in sweet dishes since it pairs well with zesty and chocolaty tastes.

Peppermint vs Mint Comparison Table

Peppermint Spearmint
Botanical Name Mentha piperita Mentha spicata
Type of Mint Hybrid of peppermint and water mint Primal variety
Menthol Percentage 40% 0.5%
Appearance Larger and sharper edges, less fluffy Smaller and more spherical  leaves, as well as hairier leaves and stems
Color Darker green leaves with purple blossoms Lighter green with blue or pink blossoms
Height Low-creeping plant that grows around 1 to 3 ft tall A straight plant that may grow up to 3 ft tall
Ability to Spread 3ft spread Virtually limitless potential for growth
Flavor Rich menthol taste More delicate flavor that is also a bit sweet
Smell Strong and minty Delicate and fruity
Cooking Usage Sweet dishes Savory dishes

Nutritional Content Breakdown: Which One Is Healthier?

Category (100 grams) Peppermint Spearmint
Calories 70 44
Carbs 14.89g 8.41g
Fat 0.94g 0.73g
Potassium 569mg 458mg
Sodium 31mg 30mg
Saturated fat 0.246g 0.191g
Protein 3.75g 3.29g
Fiber 8g 6.8g
Sugars 0g 0g
Vitamins & Minerals
Calcium 243mg 199mg
Iron 5.08mg 11.87mg
Vitamin A 4248IU 1054IU
Vitamin B6 0.129mg 0.158mg
Vitamin B3 1.706mg 0.948mg
Vitamin K 13.3mg
Magnesium 80mg 63mg
Phosphorous 71mg 60mg
Zinc 1.11mg 1.09mg
Copper 0.329mg 0.24mg
Folate 114µg 105µg

Peppermint tea has more vitamin A and vitamin C than spearmint tea. Spearmint, on the other hand, is lower in calories and richer in iron and Vitamin B6. Peppermint compensates for its increased calorie content with higher vitamin and mineral value. Peppermint is the more nutritious alternative, according to the nutritional chart below, although both are equally beneficial.

However, let us look at what the Mentha plants are most useful for:

  • Mint not only reduces congestion in the bronchi, lungs, throat, and nose, but it also helps with hay fever and allergy symptoms.
  • The major element in mint, menthol, has antibacterial and antiseptic properties that assist digestion.
  • Patients suffering from asthma and other respiratory diseases may find that ingesting mint is surprisingly relaxing.
  • Mint leaves include salicylic acid and vitamin A, both of which are proven to alleviate acne and redness.

Both spearmint and peppermint are rich in nutrients, and incorporating them into your diet is simple. Mint leaves taste great in beverages, salads, rice dishes, and, most significantly, teas. Fresh leaves may also be added to water, smoothies, and drinks.

Can I Substitute Peppermint for Mint and Vice Versa?

Peppermint has a far higher menthol concentration, which gives the plant its unique cooling flavor and aroma. Despite having similar properties, peppermint and spearmint are not ideal substitutes for one another due to menthol concentration differences.

Add peppermint to a drink or dessert since its strong menthol concentration complements richer flavors like chocolate. Spearmint’s gentle sweet tones, on the other hand, complement savory dishes like pesto sauce or spring rolls.

Peppermint pairs well with winter-themed cocktails such as Peppermint Chocolate Martinis and Peppermint Mochas, as well as desserts such as Peppermint Cheesecake and Bavarian Mints. Spearmint pairs well with spring and summer dishes such as a refreshing fruit salad with honey and orange juice, tomato soup (with a bonus tip on how to serve it), and minty one-pot spaghetti.

We’ve already met the two most well-known mint plants, peppermint and spearmint, but the mint family doesn’t stop there. As previously stated, there are over 600 types of mint! We’ve included a few of them here.

Ginger Mint

Gingermint offers a traditional mint taste with a hint of ginger. It has a distinct mint taste that is predominantly sweet with a dash of heat near the conclusion.

When used in cooking, it complements both prepared foods such as pasta and soups as well as fresh components like as fresh tomatoes or melons.

Ginger mint is most often used as an antimicrobial and digestive supplement. A tea made from ginger mint leaves may be used to alleviate fever, headaches, and mild stomach difficulties.

Chocolate Mint

Chocolate mint leaves have a delicious minty and chocolaty taste, comparable to the typical Girl Scout cookie.

Chocolate mint, like the other mint family members, offers similar medicinal advantages for treating fever, stomachaches, and other disorders.

It’s often used in minty hot drinks like hot chocolate, tea, or even coffee, as well as desserts like ice cream, chocolate mousse, and brownies.

Pineapple Mint

Pineapple mint, while being a member of the mint family, has a sweeter and fruitier taste.

This plant has a long history of use in medicine, including the treatment of indigestion, respiratory problems, and nausea. These applications are ascribed to the essential oils, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties of the plant.

Lamb and chicken pair well with pineapple mint. It adds a sweet but vibrant taste that complements the flavor of fresh dips like salsas and chutneys.

Basil Mint

Basil mint may be eaten fresh in salads or cooked in meals such as Thai red curry meat or Zucchini pizza.

Basil mint goes well with tomato-based pasta dishes. Remember that while the taste is moderate, the leaves should be added towards the end of the cooking time.

This type, like other mints, has antimicrobial properties. It may be made into tea to aid digestion, ease headaches and fevers, and clean the throat.


This concludes our minty discussion of the differences between peppermint and mint!

Each mint has a distinct taste, but the two most common are spearmint and peppermint. Peppermint, with its minty scent and taste, is a stronger herb in terms of intensity, if not the strongest. This is owing to the fact that it contains 40% mint, while spearmint has just 0.5%.

If you can’t tell the difference and the meal has a strong menthol taste, it’s more probable that the dish contains peppermint.

If a product or recipe asks for mint but does not specify the kind, it is most likely spearmint. Spearmint is more often utilized to compliment rather than overshadow the taste of a food!


What is mint and peppermint?

Mint refers to fragrant herbs produced by mint plant species (Mentha). One such species is peppermint. Other mint plant species include spearmint, apple mint, and watermint. Peppermint has the strongest flavor and the most menthol taste of all of them.

Is peppermint made from mint leaves?

Peppermint is made from a combination of water-mint and spearmint plants. The smooth stem, fibrous roots, dark green leaves, and purple blooms of the hybrid plant. The flavor of peppermint is similar to that of spearmint, however the flavor of peppermint is more prominent because to the greater quantity of menthol.

What’s the difference between mint and peppermint smell?

Peppermint has a significantly stronger taste and scent than spearmint. As a result, it is more prone to overwhelm other components. When most savory recipes call for mint, they generally mean spearmint. Many dessert recipes, on the other hand, employ peppermint – the other sweet, rich components will balance the menthol.

What is the difference between fresh mint and peppermint tea?

The flavors are similar, but our Mint tea has a larger proportion of menthol, making it more powerful and distinct. The menthol in the Mint tea gives it the flavor of a typical crisp mint, but the Peppermint tea has the flavor of a buttery mint.

Does mint and peppermint have the same benefits?

Peppermint has been demonstrated to soothe the respiratory system and relieve disorders like asthma and bronchitis, while spearmint has been used to treat digestive difficulties including gas, indigestion, and nausea.

Are mint and peppermint tea the same?

Mint tea is a herbal tea that is created by steeping mint leaves in hot water. Mint tea prepared from peppermint leaves is known as peppermint tea, whereas mint tea made from spearmint is known as spearmint tea. Teas with peppermint and spearmint leaves are also available.

Which is better mint or peppermint?

The name “mint” refers to a group of plants, the most well-known of which are peppermint and spearmint (also known as “mint”). Peppermint contains 40% menthol, while spearmint has just 0.5%; this makes peppermint a considerably more effective plant in terms of health and culinary uses.

Can you substitute peppermint for mint?

You can easily use peppermint extract for mint extract. But be cautious. Because of the greater menthol concentration, it will have a considerably more powerful and distinct taste. Mint extract is a flavored mix of peppermint and spearmint.

Is peppermint tea just dried mint?

While most dried mint sold in stores is spearmint, the leaves used in tea are usually peppermint. We discovered that the taste components in the two species are not interchangeable.

Does mint taste like peppermint?

Mint has a sweet flavor and a cold aftertaste on the tongue. Peppermint has a stronger flavor with a greater menthol flavor. Fresh mint leaves have the greatest taste and smell, whereas dried mint leaves have significantly less.

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