Are you making a British recipe, but not sure what mixed spice is or where to purchase it? If so, you're in the right place! It's easy to whip up homemade mixed spice to use in sweet (and even some savory) dishes from the UK.
When and where did mixed spice originate?
Mixed spice is a British spice blend with somewhat uncertain origins. Since it was called different names like "sweet spice," it's hard to pinpoint when it was originally created. Historians have been able to trace one of the first published recipes to a cookery book published in 1795.
Throughout the nineteenth-century United Kingdom, mixed spice became very popular in a variety of baked goods, especially figgy pudding, plum pudding, and hot cross buns. Nowadays, it's used in a wide variety of British baking, like Christmas cake, mince pies, traybakes, and biscuits, or simply sprinkled on porridge.
The key spices used in mixed spice are cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, ginger, coriander, and mace. Feel free to tweak the ratios to your taste preferences.
- Cinnamon: Feel free to use Ceylon or Saigon cinnamon here, whichever one you prefer. I personally love the rich flavor of Saigon cinnamon.
- Nutmeg: If you haven't tried freshly grated nutmeg before, you need to; it will change your life! Grab a microplane (affiliate) and grate your own for this recipe for the best flavor.
- Allspice: This spice is not the same as mixed spice; it's actually an ingredient in it. I like to use Jamaican allspice.
- Cloves: This spice consists of the dried flowers of Syzygium aromaticum, a tropical tree. It adds a rich depth of flavor.
- Mace: This spice comes from the covering that is around each nutmeg seed, and has a delicate flavor. Sometimes, it can be hard to find in grocery stores, but you can order it online.
- If you leave out the cloves, coriander, and mace, you'll have pumpkin spice spice.
- If you swap the coriander with cardamom and add white pepper, you'll have speculaas, the spice blend used in Dutch Biscoff-style biscuits.
- If you add cardamom and star anise, you'll have the German gingerbread spice mix called lebkuchengewurz.
How to Make
Gather all the spices for mixed spice.
- If you have whole nutmegs and a microplane, make sure to grate your own nutmeg fresh; it tastes and smells amazing!
- Pour all the spices into a bowl.
3. You should have seven spices in all.
4. Whisk until the spices are well combined, then strain through a mesh sieve to remove any lumps or larger chunks of spices.
5. Use right away in your favorite British baking recipes.
6. Store extra in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.
Unless you're in the UK, it's hard to find mixed spice in supermarkets, and it's expensive to order a bottle online from import grocers. It's definitely much faster and cheaper to make your own.
This British blend really has a distinct flavor, so I'd suggest making your own rather than substituting it. If you're in a real pinch, the closest alternative is pumpkin pie spice, but realize that substituting will definitely change the flavor of your baked goods.
Absolutely! Just whisk everything together until well blended, then store in an airtight container away from light and heat for up to 3 months.
No; they're not the same. Allspice are unripe, dried berries from the tropical plant pimenta dioica (Jamaican pepper), while mixed spice is a blend of several different spices, including allspice. This chart contrasts the differences.
Now, you have a whole bottle of mixed spice to use! Let's explore some delicious ways to use this fragrant sweet spice mixture.
- Mix into pie fillings, such as apple pie.
- Use in traybakes or sweet breads like hot cross buns or cinnamon buns.
- Use in Christmas desserts like plum pudding, figgy pudding, mince pies, and Christmas cake.
- Enjoy in breakfast foods like quiche, French toast, or porridge.
- Sprinkle on a bowl of warm applesauce for a delightfully spicy treat.
- Add a pinch to savory dishes, especially egg dishes like quiche, or casseroles.
Mixed spice will keep in the pantry for up to 6 months. Make sure it's sealed tightly inside of an airtight jar or container, and store it in a cool, dry, and dark place.
- Always use fresh spices. Throw out any expired ones in your pantry.
- Want the best flavor and aroma? Grind your own with a spice grinder.
- Sieve the mixture to remove any large pieces.
- Store away from light and heat for up to 6 months.
- Need a substitute? Pumpkin pie spice is the next closest thing.
Recipes That Use Mixed Spice
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Homemade Mixed Spice
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons ground allspice
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground mace
- ⅔ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅔ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅔ teaspoon ground coriander
- Mix all ingredients together with a wire whisk until thoroughly combined.
- Strain through a mesh sieve to remove any lumps or chunks of spices.
- Keep the mixture in an airtight container or a mini glass jar in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.
Serving sizes and nutritional information are only an estimate and may vary from your results.