British Mixed Spice Is The All-In-One Flavor Addition For Fall Recipes

When you think about British cuisine, your mind might go to fish and chips, Sunday roast, or maybe cottage pie — but there's a spice blend that you probably don't know about that is perfect for your upcoming fall and holiday recipes. What is it? Mixed spice, also known as pudding spice. If you've ever eaten a pastry or bread like hot cross buns across the pond, you have probably tasted this spice blend before.

The origins of mixed spice cannot be directly pinned down, but the first known mention of it was way back in the 1795-published cookbook titled "The Practice of Cookery." During the 19th century in the United Kingdom, the spice blend became popular in baked goods, including holiday cakes and puddings (which is not like the pudding you're used to in the U.S.). Like most things in the 21st century, you can buy bottled mixed spice in supermarkets across the U.K., and while it might be harder to find in the states, you can order it online.

What's in mixed spice?

You're probably wondering what spices go into mixed spice, so let's get into it. A traditional British mixed spice has the following: allspice, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, ginger, mace, and nutmeg. It has similar ingredients to the pumpkin pie or gingerbread spice blends that we use in the U.S. during holiday season. The ratios vary by recipe, but most blends use more allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg than the other ingredients.

As you might imagine, the flavors of this blend combine notes of sweetness and spiciness (again, similar to pumpkin or gingerbread spice). Cinnamon is one of the stronger components, so the cinnamon flavor will come forward in your recipes. That's why it's a great blend to use for pastries and baked goods during the fall and winter months. If you prefer a bit more sweetness, or more of a spicy bite, you can adjust the ratios in your blend by buying additional pots of the individual ground spices and adding them to your mixed spice.

How to use mixed spice

There are many options when it comes to using your mixed spice, especially as the fall and winter months approach. The most common uses in British cuisine are baked goods including hot cross buns, Christmas pudding (a steamed dry-fruit cake that is similar to fruit cake), plum pudding, and mince pies. It's also a great option to sprinkle on top of apple sauce, especially if cinnamon applesauce is your thing.

You can use mixed spice for breakfast dishes like pancakes and French toast. It's a great way to level up pie fillings for apple and pumpkin pies, or any other pie you make around this time of year. It can also be used to sprinkle on top of fresh fruit, or in a savory casserole. Have any leftover mixed spice? Store it in an airtight container for up to three months, and if you bought a store-bought version, check the label for storage instructions.