Homemade Altoids – Is It Worth It?

I started out this week with a post titled 10 Foods Worth Doing Homemade which talked a little bit about whether it’s worth it or not to make certain foods from scratch. So it was rather interesting timing that in this same week I came across a recipe for homemade Altoids. Homemade Altoids ?? Are they serious?? Is there any way that cutting out little teeny tiny mints could be worth it?

Homemade Altoids

In case you’re not familiar with Altoids, they are the “curiously strong” mints sold in the cute little tins. Altoids are my favorite mint, and I am never without those things in my purse. That’s why I could not help myself. I had to check out the recipe for homemade Altoids.

The three main ingredients of this recipe are gum paste, confectioners sugar, and mint flavored oil.  The complete recipe is at the Instructables website. Here’s a link for you:

= = = = = > Homemade Altoids Recipe

Homemade Altoids
Photo from Instructables

You knead the gum paste with the powdered sugar, flavor it with the mint oil (or other flavor of your choice), then roll it out. You then cut them out into little circles. The recipe says to use a bubble tea straw for the cutting part, whatever that is. Never heard of such of thing, have you?

Well I was curious enough that I was going to give this a try. I made a trip to Michaels Craft Store to look for the gum paste. I was able to find it in their cake decorating section, but was quite surprised at it’s high price of $9.99 for a tiny one pound bag! That was the deal breaker for me. And on top of that I did not see any mint flavor oil either.

I happened to have a brand new package of Altoids in my purse that I bought for 99 cents.  It contains 78 mints. (Yes, I actually counted them just now . .).

So I guess I’m going with my first reaction. It’s really not worth it to make your own Altoids. Maybe if you’re into cake decorating and had some gum paste laying around that you didn’t know how to use up, well then you might be a likely candidate to give these a try.

For the rest of us, however, I think we’d be making better use of our time and money to just watch for a good sale.

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10 Comments

  1. Hi there! I decided not to use gum paste as it has a lot more ingredients than real Altoids do. Instead I used a mix of powdered sugar and Gum Arabic, which is cheaper and you only need about two ounces dry weight of that to go with a pound of sugar. Now, that’s a LOT of Altoids.

    Also, a bubble tea straw is just a big straw used for drinking bubble tea – which in turn is a beverage sometimes served at Taiwanese restaurants. Basically it’s a thick straw, and you could use a big milk shake straw instead.

    1. Did you dissolve your gum Arabic before combining with the powdered sugar? I have these ingredients but am unsure how to combine them.

  2. I cannot find gum paste/sugar paste ANYWHERE without paying a ridiculous price. Amazon is too expensive for my taste, and locally is no where to be found. Although, I did find a really easy recipe for gum paste and it was far cheaper than any store-bought gum paste.

    220 g- just shy of 2 cups icing sugar (You can make this yourself as well if you don’t have enough on hand)
    30 ml – 1 ounce water
    1/2 tsp gelatin
    1/2 tsp corn syrup or vegetable glycerin

    Mix the water and gelatin and let sit for 5 minutes-
    add the syrup and microwave for 10-15 seconds until clear. Add to icing sugar and mix until a dough forms. Done! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Here’s a YouTube video explaining and showing you all the steps:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXbFksrqWz4
    Good luck and have fun everyone! Take care ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Also ever hear of Michaels coupons? I would never buy anything at a craft store full price so the usual 40% off coupon so the lb of gum paste is $6, plus when you add the powdered sugar you get more than a lb of altoids. I have plans to make some but using a recipe that does not call for gum paste, I will be using corn syrup and clear gelitan

  4. I've been planning to make these for a while, and homemade Altoids are actually considerably cheaper than buying them at a store.

    Each Altoid can has 50g worth of Altoids, and costs $2 each.

    The bag of gum paste, which contains 450g of gum paste, is equivalent to 9 boxes of Altoids. This costs $10.

    The Instructables recipe calls for a dram of flavoring per 100g. A dram is 1/16 oz. For the whole bag of gum paste, that's less than a third of an ounce. I bought the peppermint oil for $3.11 an ounce, which amounts to about $1 spent on the flavoring.

    Altogether, you spend $11 for nine boxes' worth of Altoids. Compared to store-bought, that's $7 saved.

  5. I note that your math run through is based on weight. I'm wondering if the weight of the homemade Altoids is truly equal to the weight of ready made Altoids. If one tin contained 78 mints, and if you are going to make the equivalent of 9 tins, you would need to end up with about 708 mints. I'm not sure when I look at the size of a 1 lb pkg of gum paste that it would in fact yield 708 mints. Interesting to think about!

  6. Just a quick math run through… According to the label, an Altoids tin contains 1.76OZ of mints. 1 pound of gum paste equals 9 Altoids tins worth of mints. That's $27.00 worth of Altoids at my local Walgreens. The rest of the ingredients should last through multiple pounds of gum paste since they are used in minute amounts. Add in the fact that you can customize the flavor and color and shape… making plans to do some homemade right now!

  7. You're right . . . using a knife would probably be less time consuming. ๐Ÿ™‚ I've seen recipes for homemade mints that are larger and are usually a mix of powdered sugar and butter. That sounds more economical than buying the gum paste.

  8. Great post Bev! You're right. Some things are just not worth it to do homemade.

    A couple of thoughts….I wonder if gum paste could be made home made. Also, I think instead of using a straw to cut the mints I would cut tiny squares just using a knife…..