How Different Is Pumpkin Pie Spice From Mixed Spice?

With the autumn and winter months ahead, many recipes will be calling upon pumpkin pie spice and mixed spice. However, a quick glance at the recipes reveals a strong presence of ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon. So, one might wonder whether there's any actual difference between the two.

For Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Fruit Cake, the difference is essentially nonexistent. When one Australian customer asked if they could use mixed spice instead of the harder to find pumpkin pie spice, the answer was that the difference was primarily in the names. "Nigella's Chocolate Fruit Cake (from Feast and on the Nigella website) uses pumpkin pie spice in the U.S. version of the recipe (you may have the U.S. version of the book) and mixed spice in the U.K. version. They are both a mixture of spices and are interchangeable." It's just another instance of different countries having different names for things, like sultanas and yellow raisins.

Lawson's not quite right

An important caveat has to be added to the answer provided by Namely, the two spice blends are not quite interchangeable. They are, however, very similar.

As Irish American Mom noted, pumpkin pie spice is close to mixed spice, but the cinnamon flavor dominates. Baking Envy differentiates the two by noting that mixed spice also includes coriander and mace, which gives it a more savory flavor than pumpkin pie spice. However, both also accept that one could easily stand in for the other in a pinch.

Those details are born out by recipes for the two. Pioneer Woman and Betty Crocker offer a pumpkin pie spice with nutmeg, cloves, ginger, allspice, and 3 tablespoons of cinnamon. The mixed spice recipes supplied by the BBC and The Spruce Eats differ with the inclusion of mace and coriander and the reduction of cinnamon to 1 tablespoon. So, there's a very similar base, but the spices branch off for different profiles.