Old Fashioned Mincemeat Oat Squares Recipe (2024)

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Old Fashioned Mincemeat Oat Squares Recipe (1)
Fancy the flavour of mince pies without all the work of rolling pastry? Then my Old Fashioned Mincemeat Oat Squares are for you! A recipe from my late Mom’s recipe box, the smell of these yummy squares cooking always reminds me of my childhood.Perfect for Christmas, they are quick and easy to make and full of all the flavours of the season.

I like to think of this recipe as an amalgamation of Canadian and British traditions. A British Christmas doesn’t typically involve the cookies and squares we so enjoy in Canada and the US. It’s more about Christmas Pudding and Mince Pies over here. However this recipe combines a traditional British ingredient – mincemeat – with a delicious North American Christmas dessert – squares. It’s a very satisfying combination!

What is Mincemeat?

Mincemeat is a very traditional ingredient here in the UK. Today it is a mixture of dried fruit, sugar, candied peel, spices and fat all cooked together. Sometimes brandy or rum is added for flavour. Mincemeat may contain nuts as well. Despite its name, mincemeatdoesn’t actually contain any meat.

In the Tudor era, and even up to Victorian times, mincemeat did contain meat. While it was usually served encased in pastry, mincemeat was thought of more as a main course than the dessert it is today, and was served all year round, not just at Christmas.

Today in the UK, we mostly eat mincemeat in ‘mince pies’, little sweet pastry tarts served as a snack or as part of dessert.

While I can buy jars of mincemeat easily in any grocery store, it can be harder to source elsewhere. Even if you can buy it locally, homemade mincemeat really is lovely and if you have the time it’s well worth trying. You can click here for a very straight-forward recipe. I also found a suet and sugar free recipe here on Vicky’s wonderful Gluten Free SCD and Veggie Blog. However, rest assured I almost always use ready made mincemeat in this recipe.

Old Fashioned Mincemeat Oat Squares Recipe (3)

Top Tips for Making Mincemeat Oat Squares

Use ordinary oats, never the instant variety.

The texture of these squares means it’s important they are cold before they are cut. Use a sharp knife. I cut the whole pan up into squares at once as it’s easier.

The squares will keep in the fridge for three or four days. Be sure to store them in a container with a tight fitting lid so they do not dry out.

If possible, bring the cut Mincemeat Oat Squares to room temperature before serving.

My Mom’s Mincemeat Oat Squares give the flavour of mince pies without all the work of rolling pastry and the crumble topping really is scrumptious. Theyare delicious served as part of a cookie tray or just on their own with a nice hot cup of tea or coffee.

Mincemeat Oat Squares Printable Recipe

Old Fashioned Mincemeat Oat Squares Recipe (4)

Created by: April J Harris

Mincemeat Oat Squares

Prep Time 30 minutes mins

Cook Time 25 minutes mins


  • ¾ cup rolled oats not instant oats
  • ¾ cup all purpose (plain) flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda baking soda is also known as bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup cold butter, cut in small cubes
  • cups mincemeat store bought is fine, but choose a good brand
  • 2 tablespoon rum, brandy, Cointreau or Grand Mariner If you need an alcohol free option, you can substitute orange juice here.


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F or about 170°C (160°C for fan ovens).

  • Grease a 7-inch square pan and line the bottom with baking parchment.

  • Put the mincemeat in a small bowl and stir in the rum, brandy, Cointreau or Grand Mariner. Set aside.

  • Combine the flour with the butter in a medium bowl and cut the butter into the flour until mixture resembles fine crumbs. You can use a food processor for this or do it by hand with an old-fashioned pastry blender.

  • Add the oats, baking soda, salt and sugar to the butter and flour mixture and mix thoroughly.

  • Press half of this mixture into the prepared pan.

  • Put the pan in the freezer and the remaining oat mixture in the fridge.

  • After 15 minutes, remove the square pan from the freezer and the remaining oat mixture from the fridge.

  • Carefully spread the boozy mincemeat over the top of the oat mixture in the square pan.

  • Gently sprinkle the remaining oat mixture evenly over top of the mincemeat.

  • Bake in the oven for about 25 to 30 minutes or until the squares are lightly golden brown.

  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then place the squares in the pan in the fridge for about half an hour or so before cutting.

  • Once the squares are cut, it's best to allow them to come to room temperature before serving.

  • Leftovers will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for several days.

did you make this recipe?

Make sure to tag #apriljharris on Instagram and follow @apriljharris for more.

More Delicious Squares and Cookies

Aunt Dorothy’s Butterscotch Squares

Aunt Irene’s Christmas Squares

Orange Gingerbread Crinkle Cookies

Old Fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookies

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    Comments & Reviews

  1. Old Fashioned Mincemeat Oat Squares Recipe (5)Pauline Wiles says

    I’ve never been a huge fan of mince pies, but the substitution of oats for pastry is really appealing. I’ll be sharing this!


    • Old Fashioned Mincemeat Oat Squares Recipe (6)April Harris says

      Thank you so much, Pauline!


  2. Old Fashioned Mincemeat Oat Squares Recipe (7)Miz Helen says

    Hi April,
    I am going to make these bars hopefully before Christmas, they just look amazing! Thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and enjoy your weekend!
    Miz Helen


  3. Old Fashioned Mincemeat Oat Squares Recipe (9)Jess Tull says

    About to try to make these why is amounts only in American cups please can it be in metric as well .


    • Old Fashioned Mincemeat Oat Squares Recipe (10)April Harris says

      I’m so sorry, Jess, I have only ever made this recipe in cups (my late Mom was Canadian and it’s her recipe). I really don’t know the metric measurements for it. I bake in both metric and imperial measurements depending on the recipe but tend to fall back on cups in most cases as I’m originally from Canada. I’m not sure where you are based but cup measures are a lot more widely available internationally now. In England they are available in most grocery stores and also online. I’m sorry not to be able to be more helpful.


      • Old Fashioned Mincemeat Oat Squares Recipe (11)Drew458 says

        Volume equivalents online everywhere. A more precise recipe would use mass, but baking is often done by feel; a little more if this or that.


  4. Old Fashioned Mincemeat Oat Squares Recipe (12)Kay says

    Do you think this recipe would work if I used gluten free flour, such as Bob’s Red Mill “1 to 1” GF baking flour? I would use gluten free oats.


    • Old Fashioned Mincemeat Oat Squares Recipe (13)April Harris says

      I would hope that it would, Kay. I like Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 very much, although I’ve never experimented with it in this recipe. I always use gluten free oats, but I’ve never tried this recipe with gluten free flour. If you do try it, please let me know what you think. I am pretty sure it would work well. Merry Christmas!


  5. Old Fashioned Mincemeat Oat Squares Recipe (14)Kay says

    This was delicious, but I have to say, the squares did not hold together. They just crumbled. I followed the directions to the letter. After I made this, I found an old family recipe that had been handed down. I thought I had lost it, so that’s why I tried this one. That old recipe called for 1/2 cup of Crisco (which I never use anymore), double the flour, quick cooking oats, more mincemeat, and more baking soda. I’m wondering if I would have had more success with that. At over $8 a jar for mincemeat at the grocery store, on sale, I’m reluctant of give this another try. Maybe next yr. For grins, I made a gluten free version for my family using Bob’s Red Mill GF 1 to 1 flour and GF oats. That was an epic fail, which I anticipated. Just crumbs. Tasted good though!


    • Old Fashioned Mincemeat Oat Squares Recipe (15)April Harris says

      Oh Kay, I’m so sorry it didn’t work for you. It has always worked for me, and for other members of my family, but of course there are differences in flour sometimes or just the circ*mstances. Did you keep refrigerate them before cutting? That is the only thing I can think of, and it is vital. But if you did refrigerate them, I honestly don’t know what happened. I’m comforted that the crumbs tasted good, but I’m truly sorry you didn’t have a good experience. Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!


  6. Old Fashioned Mincemeat Oat Squares Recipe (16)Jeanne says

    Old Fashioned Mincemeat Oat Squares Recipe (17)
    The squares are very rich in flavor. I do think the flour/oatmeal ratio to butter is not adequate. The squares are much to fragile. The recipe says to bring to room temperature before serving. The squares fell apart much too easily. 1 1/2c of dry product to 1 cup of butter just doesn’t work. I may try again adding flour and oats.


    • Old Fashioned Mincemeat Oat Squares Recipe (18)April Harris says

      I’m sorry you struggled with the recipe, Jeanne. We have always eaten them cold from the fridge with no issues, but of course, humidity, fridge temperature etc can all vary, especially as we all live in different places around the world. The recipe is meant to be rich and to be cut in very small squares, however you should definitely alter any recipe to suit your requirements. As this is a treasured family recipe passed down for 4 generations, I won’t be altering it myself. My family and friends would complain as it’s a real part of our holiday traditions. I’m interested in what temperatures or humidity levels you might have where you live – are you based in North America? I first had the recipe in Ontario, Canada when my late Mom made it and as you probably know I’m based in the South of England. Do let me know how you get on. Best wishes 🙂


  7. Old Fashioned Mincemeat Oat Squares Recipe (19)Michelle Brown says

    Old Fashioned Mincemeat Oat Squares Recipe (20)
    The best recipe for mincemeat bars I’ve used. Amazing!


    • Old Fashioned Mincemeat Oat Squares Recipe (21)April Harris says

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Michelle! It means a lot to me when people are pleased with my recipes – and especially in this case as this is one of my late Mom’s recipes. Thank you for letting me know. Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy New Year!


  8. Old Fashioned Mincemeat Oat Squares Recipe (22)Drew458 says

    A jar of mincemeat is typically 29oz, 2 3/4 cups. So if you double your recipe and use a 9×13 pan it should work for the whole jar. Might have to add a bit more sugar and flour and oatmeal and butter once doubled to get enough. You need enough oats to soak up the juices.


  9. Old Fashioned Mincemeat Oat Squares Recipe (23)Jim Dunlevy says

    Old Fashioned Mincemeat Oat Squares Recipe (24)
    None Such does list beef as an ingredient. I’m glad to see oats among your ingredients.


    • Old Fashioned Mincemeat Oat Squares Recipe (25)April Harris says

      I have just looked up the None Such mincemeat Jim and beef is definitely in the ingredients as you said. Here in the UK, recipes generally call for suet, which is shredded beef fat, however there is no actual minced beef in the recipe. As you can now buy vegetarian suet, it is even possible to make or buy vegetarian mincemeat.

      Back in the Middle Ages, mincemeat definitely contained beef or mutton along with the dried fruits. Mincemeat was served in large pies, not unlike the meat pies we enjoy today. The dried fruits and spices were good at hiding meat that was a little past its best.

      Another thing that adds to the confusion is that here in the UK, we refer to ground beef simply as ‘mince’ (It’s short for minced beef, but it’s rare to hear anyone say ‘minced beef’. They just order a pound (or 454 grams) of “mince”. This would make definitely one would think that ‘mincemeat’ contained mince, even though it usually doesn’t. I find language fascinating!!

      Thank you so much for your comment. I like the oats in this recipe too. It’s a nice change from traditional pastry, although I confess I enjoy mince tarts as well. Wishing you and yours a very Happy Holiday season.


  10. Old Fashioned Mincemeat Oat Squares Recipe (26)Esme Slabbert says

    I will have to give this a try as it’s so up my alley and sounds awesome
    I visited you via Full Plate Thursday, 672
    I linked up this week with = 36+37. I hope you will join us M-S SeniorSalonPitStop and W-S #WordlessWednesday. You will find both under BLOGGING.


    • Old Fashioned Mincemeat Oat Squares Recipe (27)April Harris says

      Thank you so much, Esme! I’m so glad you found me through Miz Helen – what a lovely lady she is! Will pop over and visit as soon as I can. I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season.


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