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Best Substitutes for Mustard Seed

Lisa Price
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by Lisa Price

When preparing your favorite dish and realize you’re out of mustard seed, there are certain things you can use instead.

A meal can have spectacular portions of proteins and vegetables, but it loses its value without mustard seed. That’s why you should know the best mustard seed substitutes just in case you run out of the spicy yellow or brownish-yellow sauce.

mustard seeds
Mustard Seed

What Is Mustard Seed?

Mustard seed is a yellow or brown, hot-tasting paste that’s made from the crushed seeds of certain plants. It is often used as a cooking ingredient or eaten with meat. There are three types of mustard seeds: yellow mustard seeds, black mustard seeds, and brown mustard seeds.

The beauty of using mustard seeds for cuisines is how it manages flavor. The problem is these tiny seeds are usually rare to find. Consequently, at times you will have to use a substitute for mustard seed.

Beaver Horseradish Extra Hot
Horseradish Is Our Top Mustard Seed Replacement

Need an on-the-spot replacement for mustard seed in your recipe? Here are some of the top suggestions for a substitution for mustard seed:

1. Horseradish: When Making a Spicy or Hot Dish


Horseradish can be the ultimate rescue when you run out of mustard seed. There’s not much difference between horseradish and mustard seeds because they’re part of the same family. The two ingredients may differ slightly in appearance and taste, but they’re perfect substitutes.

If you decide to use horseradish in place of mustard, ensure you use the same portion. However, if you don’t want your meal spicy, add half the intended amount and taste to ascertain if it attained the desired flavor.

To flavor-boost your dish, consider grinding horseradish beforehand. It is easy to purchase horseradish from the market or local store. Nonetheless, depending on your locality, it might be hard to get fresh horseradish. In such a situation, homemade horseradish is a perfect choice.  Prepared horseradish is made from horseradish root, apple cider vinegar, and kosher salt.

2. Use Caraway Seeds to Attain Similar Flavor to Mustard Seeds

Caraway Seeds
Caraway Seed

Caraway seeds are a suitable and easy-to-find option if looking for a mustard seeds substitution. The seeds quickly provide a flavor similar to mustard when heated, warmed, or used as a spice.

You will substitute the same amount of mustard seed with an equal portion of caraway seeds in this case. If you’re looking for a spicier taste and caraway seeds do not cut it, you can add cumin to make your dish a little hotter.

Related Article: Best Caraway Seed Substitutes

3. Prepared Mustard an Ultimate Homemade Solution

Prepared mustard
Prepared Mustard

That bottle of already prepared mustard lying in your fridge will work the same magic as mustard seeds. Prepared mustard contains mustard seed, water, and vinegar. It will be a perfect substitute when preparing wet recipes such as sauces, stews, and marinades.

Most prepared mustards are not as strong as ground mustard. Therefore, if you do not want a mild taste, you will have to adjust the quantity to attain the intended flavor.

 For instance, if your recipe calls for a single teaspoon of ground mustard, use a full tablespoon of prepared mustard. More importantly, consider reducing the amount of liquid in the recipe for the extra fluid in prepared mustard will compensate for it.

Although prepared yellow mustard is the most effective option, any prepared mustard can serve as an excellent substitute for mustard seed, such as spicy brown or Dijon. Darker mustards tend to have a stronger flavor than yellow mustard, so be sure to add that Dijon slowly and taste the sauce as you go.

4. Use Wasabi Powder to Make Your Recipe Spicier

Wasabi Powder

If you are a fan of Asian dishes like sushi, you have probably tasted a meal that contains wasabi. It is a flavorful spice that chiefs often use as an essential spice to enhance flavor in Asian dishes. Wasabi powder has a natural heat and spiciness factor that makes it an effective replacement for mustard seeds.

Nevertheless, just like horseradish, wasabi’s spice strength surpasses the spice of mustard seeds. Therefore, it would be best to start with half the proportion you had intended to use in your recipe. You can always taste the recipe and add more.

All in all, wasabi powder is an ideal mustard seed replacement when preparing meals that require extra heat and spice. However, if you intend to boost flavor and seasoning, you can combine horseradish and wasabi. A combination of the two will offer a unique spice and flavorful seasoning.

5. Turmeric to Enhance the Nutritional Value

Turmeric Root
Turmeric Powder

Apart from turmeric being a typical spice in Asian cuisine, it is also popular globally due to its flavor and nutritional value. When you consider that it has the same peppery taste and yellow color as mustard seeds, it is an exceptional substitute for mustard seed. Turmeric is a good option if you hope to achieve a milder taste because it is not as spicy as wasabi or horseradish.

Health specialists recommend turmeric due to its remarkable medical properties, such as boosting immunity and reduced inflammation. Additionally, its taste is similar to mustard. For best results, substitute mustard with turmeric for soups.

Related Article: How To Freeze Turmeric Root

Substitution for Mustard Seeds With Various Seed Colors

As highlighted earlier, there are three kinds of mustard seeds. Although they all belong to a similar family, they all contain different flavors. What should you do if you intend to use a type of mustard seed and do not have it?

It is possible to substitute a single mustard seed with a different kind of mustard seed. Here are some ideas.

  • Use half of black or brown mustard to substitute white seeds: typically, black and white seeds are more potent and Spicer than white mustard seeds. Therefore if you intend to substitute white mustard seeds, you should only use half the amount of black and brown seeds.
  • Substituting brown seeds with less black and whiter mustard seeds. Although brown mustard seeds are more potent than white ones, they are milder than black seeds. Therefore, when substituting, you should use fewer black seeds and more white ones to attain a perfect brown seed flavor.
  • Use four times the intended amount for white mustard seeds and double black to substitute black seeds. As mentioned before, the black seeds are the spiciest, therefore to attain their flavor, you have to use double brown seeds and four times white seeds.

Mustard Seeds Substitution Ideas

Love cooking with mustard? There are tons of ways to work this delicious spice into your favorite recipes. Here are some easy substitute ideas for mustard seeds:

Swap the Desired Mustard With a Different One

You may not have the specific mustard your recipe calls for, but you have some mustard in your fridge. Depending on what you are preparing, you can make a swap. For an ideal choice, consider the flavor and taste of the mustard in the original recipe. For instance, if you do not have yellow mustard, you need to look for a mild option such as Dijon since it has a relatively mild taste.

Prepare Your Mustard at Home

You may intend to use prepared mustard at times, but you have dry or ground mustard in your pantry. Therefore, you can substitute by using a teaspoon of vinegar, water, and dry mustard. After that, mix the two for around fifteen minutes to allow the flavor to develop. Once it is set, you can use it on the similar ratio you intended to use the prepared mustard.

What if you are out of dry mustard? In this case, mustard seeds can also serve the purpose. Take the mustard seeds and grind them to come up with the dry mustard that you can use to substitute in the recipe above.

Remember that black mustard seeds have a strong flavor. That means they will be suitable when making a dish with a hot flavor. On the other hand, yellow or white mustards are mild, so they effectively substitute yellow mustard.

Replace the Mustard With Something Else

At times you may not have the required ingredients to prepare your mustard. In this case, you can replace the mustard with something else and maintain the intended flavor. Here are some suggestions.

  • Use mayonnaise to replace yellow mustard. Although you may not attain the mustard flavor, you will still maintain the thickness
  • Use prepared wasabi or horseradish to replace spicy brown mustard. In this case, ensure you use small amounts unless you intend for the two very spicy
  • Use oil and vinegar in salad dressing instead of mustard. It will maintain the good taste

Final Thoughts

Mustard seed is a vital ingredient that enhances various food flavors. When it is not available, you shouldn’t ignore that step in your recipe — it’s best to replace mustard seed with another spice or ingredient.

We have highlighted some suggestions above, but you have to consider the best mustard seed substitute. Be sure to choose the amount and type of mustard seed substitute depending on how spicy you want your food.

About Lisa Price
Lisa Price
Lisa is Food Champ's resident fitness enthusiast and nutrition expert. She holds a nutrition degree in her home state of Florida and works for a large health system to ensure sound nutrition and dietetics information is passed on to all members.
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