Mild vs. Medium – Which Is Hotter? (With Examples)

When ordering food, do you prefer “Mild” or “Medium” Spice?

We want to find out if “Mild” and “Medium” are the same in regards to food, or what is the difference. We want to know what they mean and how to properly use them to talk about food.

Mild vs. Medium – Which Is Hotter?

“Mild” and “Medium” have different meanings. When it comes to food, “Mild” and “Medium” indicate spices and flavors that are sort of in between hot and spicy, and flavorless. In this spectrum, “Mild” is lighter in spices than “Medium”, which is a bit stronger. Both words are correct.

mild vs medium

Take a look at the examples below:

  • I would like the mild wings, please.
  • I would like the medium wings, please.
  • The pasta flavor was mild, not overpowering at all.
  • The pasta flavor was medium, not overpowering at all.

Both sets of examples are correct and acceptable. The sentences work well with the word “Mild” and with “Medium”, just the same.

Those words aren’t synonyms, but they are adjectives that relate to the same thing – which, in this case, is food. Consequently, you can interchange the words and still have a grammatically correct sentence.

However, changing the word changes the meaning. A food with “Mild” seasoning is lighter in flavor than a “Medium” one. It makes a difference in what’s being conveyed and which word you decide to use. Keep that in mind, when making your choices.

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“Mild” is a word that has many different meanings. It describes something that is not violent, severe, or extreme. When it comes to heat, it indicates something that’s not harsh or too strong – like “Mild” weather, which is not too hot, nor too cold. When it comes to seasoning, “Mild” indicates something that’s not too spicy, but not flavorless either.

The Cambridge Dictionary offers a few different definitions for “Mild”. Concerning food, this is what it says: “used to describe food or a food flavor that is not very strong”.

Take a look at some examples below:

  1. The flavor of the pasta was mild.
  2. I’ll take the mild spicy wings, please.
  3. Where can I find mild cheddar cheese, please?
  4. The mild salsa you prepared yesterday was delicious.
  5. Grab the mild salad dressing, if you can.
  6. If you have any mild Rotel, please bring some.

“Mild” is lighter in flavor than “Medium”.


“Medium”, in general, refers to being in the middle between an upper and lower amount, size, or value. In regards to food, it indicates a flavor that’s in between super spicy and flavorless.

The Cambridge Dictionary agrees with our definition but doesn’t bring any suggestions for “Medium” that directly relate to food and spices.

Take a look at the examples below:

  1. I prefer my steak cooked medium.
  2. The medium spicy option sounds best.
  3. Do you see any medium cheddar anywhere?
  4. Luna brought some medium salsa to the party.
  5. I can’t find any medium Rotel.
  6. The medium seasoned wings are the best in the house.

“Medium” is hotter in flavor than “Mild”.

Which Is Used the Most?

Which one of those forms is used more often, “Mild” or “Medium”? Take a look at the graph from Google Ngram Viewer below.

mild vs medium usage

It’s hard to compare “Mild” and “Medium” because they aren’t synonyms and don’t intend to convey the same message. Still, it’s interesting to see and, perhaps, find out which flavor people like best.

“Medium” is the preferred word, that appears more frequently. It’s been lowering in usage since 1990, but it’s still by a considerable distance the most used word in this comparison.

“Mild” is less used than “Medium”, but still very relevant, as the graph indicates.

You can use both words to describe your food, as long as you keep in mind that “Mild” is lighter than “Medium” and “Medium” is hotter than “Mild”. With that in mind, you’ll be able to make proper descriptions.

Final Thoughts

“Mild” and “Medium” are words that can mean many things. When it comes to food, “Mild” is a lighter seasoning, not very spicy. “Medium” is in between, not “Mild” but not super spicy either. In a spectrum of flavors, “Medium” is hotter and would be closer to spicy than “Mild”.