What Is Peppermint Frosting?

B. Turner

Peppermint frosting is a creamy dessert topping that can be served with cakes, cookies, and other treats. The cool taste of mint serves as a unique contrast to traditional frosting flavors like chocolate and vanilla. Products iced with peppermint frosting can be found in some bake shops and grocery stores, and pre-mixed containers are also available in some gourmet shops. Many people prefer to make their own version of this frosting at home by adding peppermint flavoring to a favorite frosting recipe. Peppermint frosting is often associated with the holidays, particularly the Christmas season, but can be served year round by those who enjoy its sharp minty taste.


Like other types of frosting, peppermint frosting can be applied to the top of a cake, or to the layers in between. It can also be used to form creative swirls and swoops on cupcakes, or spread over chocolate brownies. This product may be sandwiched between two cookies, or applied to the top for a sweet finish. It is also commonly used atop small chocolate bites, known as tassies, which are made from rounded balls of dough. Some fans of this product may even choose to eat it by the spoonful, though this is a rather indulgent way to consume frosting.

A cake with chocolate peppermint frosting.
A cake with chocolate peppermint frosting.

Most peppermint frosting recipes call for relatively standard ingredients, such as sugar, butter, and oil. The key difference between this and other types of frosting lies in the way it is flavored. Most varieties require chefs to simply add a small amount of peppermint oil or extract for taste, though some may prefer to use spearmint or other mint varieties.

Others skip the peppermint extract and rely on peppermint candies to flavor this frosting. Peppermint discs or candy canes can be crushed up to form a fine powder, then blended in with the other ingredients to form a smooth, sweet topping. Some even leave large chunks of peppermint candy in the frosting to give it both a minty flavor and a slightly crunchy texture.

Peppermint frosting is generally either white or pink in color. When oils or extracts are used for flavor, the frosting remains white. Cooks who wish to add a festive flair may blend in a dash of red food coloring to turn the frosting pink. When candy canes are used for flavor, the frosting may turn pink on its own without the use of food coloring. Crushed peppermint candy or mini candy canes can also be added as a fun holiday garnish.

Peppermint candies may be used to flavor peppermint frosting.
Peppermint candies may be used to flavor peppermint frosting.

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