Mustard powder delivers a sharp, zesty kick to meats, sauces, and more. But what if you're mid-recipe and realize you're out of this versatile spice?
Don't worry - with the right substitutes on hand, you can still bring that mustard magic.
Mustard powder is made from ground mustard seeds, which come from the mustard plant. There are over 40 types of mustard plants, with 3 main varieties used to make mustard powder:
- Yellow mustard seeds - The mildest mustard powder comes from these yellow seeds. Yellow mustard powder has an earthy, tangy flavor.
- Brown mustard seeds - Slightly spicier than yellow, with a sharp horseradish kick.
- Black mustard seeds - The spiciest type of mustard powder, these bring intense heat.
Dry mustard can also be called ground mustard or mustard powder. It has a concentrated, potent flavor compared to prepared mustard since it contains only the ground seeds. The powder is commonly used in:
- Meat dishes - Mustard powder makes an excellent addition to rubs, marinades, stews and more. It adds flavor complexity.
- Spice blends - A pinch of mustard powder can round out flavor in spice mixes and seasoning blends.
- Sauces - The tangy kick of mustard powder balances rich, creamy sauces and gravies.
- Salad dressings - Mustard powder emulsifies and adds zing to vinaigrettes and creamy dressings.
Now let's explore your options when mustard powder is MIA. Keep reading for the top substitutes.
1. Ground Mustard Seeds
Since dry mustard comes from ground mustard seeds, whole mustard seeds make the best 1:1 substitute. Simply grind them yourself using a:
- Mortar and pestle
- Spice or coffee grinder
Grind until you have a fine powder. Toast the seeds first to amp up their nutty flavor.
Use yellow seeds for the mildest flavor that mimics mustard powder. Brown or black seeds will be quite spicy, so use less when subbing.
Ground mustard seeds can go anywhere regular mustard powder is called for. Their intense flavor comes through whether dry-rubbed on meat or stirred into salad dressing.
Key Takeaway: Grinding your own mustard seeds makes the closest match for flavor and texture. Toast them first for extra flavor.
2. Dijon Mustard
A spoonful of Dijon mustard works perfectly in place of dry mustard. Though it contains vinegar and wine, its sharp flavor resembles mustard powder.
Since Dijon mustard is wet, you'll get a sauce-like consistency rather than dry powder. But it mimics the desired flavor well in:
When using Dijon mustard as a substitute, remember it's milder than ground mustard. Use a ratio of:
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder = 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
So if a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon mustard powder, use 1 tablespoon of Dijon. This ensures you get enough zing.
Key Takeaway: Dijon mustard makes the best prepared mustard substitute thanks to its potent flavor similar to dry mustard.
3. Yellow Mustard
The classic yellow mustard found in most fridges can also substitute for mustard powder.
However, it's much milder than Dijon or mustard powder. So you'll need to use more to get the desired kick. The ratio when subbing yellow mustard is:
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder = 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
So for 1 tsp mustard powder called for, use 3 tbsp yellow mustard. This accounts for its less intense flavor.
Since yellow mustard contains water and vinegar, it works better in wet dishes like:
- Salad dressings
You may want to reduce other liquids slightly to account for yellow mustard's added moisture.
Key Takeaway: Though milder in flavor, yellow mustard can mimic the tang of mustard powder when you use enough. Best for wet recipes.
4. Stone Ground Mustard
Another good stand-in is stone ground mustard, which is coarsely ground from whole mustard seeds. It contains mustard seeds, vinegar, and spices.
It has a chunkier texture and bolder flavor than classic yellow mustard. The flavor resembles dry mustard more closely.
Use a ratio of:
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder = 2 tablespoons stone ground mustard
Stone ground mustard works well in heartier dishes and sauces. Its texture gives a rustic flair.
Key Takeaway: With its coarse texture and spicy bite, stone ground mustard nicely mimics dry mustard's flavor.
5. Horseradish Powder
Sprinkle in horseradish powder when mustard powder is MIA. Horseradish has a similar sinus-clearing, spicy intensity.
However, horseradish powder is much spicier than mustard powder. Use very sparingly at first, and add to taste. The ratio when subbing is:
- 1/2 teaspoon horseradish powder = 1 teaspoon mustard powder
So use just half the measured amount of horseradish powder. Then taste and tweak as needed.
Horseradish powder is best for cold dishes, since heat dulls its flavor. Stir it into:
Horseradish pairs especially well with creamy bases that temper its heat.
Key Takeaway: Horseradish powder adds spicy flavor similar to mustard powder, but use half the amount since it's extra fiery. Best in cold dishes.
6. Wasabi Powder
Wasabi powder is an excellent dry mustard powder substitute when you want extra zing. It provides sinus-clearing spiciness and heat.
Like horseradish, wasabi is much spicier than mustard powder. Use very small amounts at first:
- 1/4 teaspoon wasabi powder = 1 teaspoon mustard powder
Then taste and add more wasabi powder as needed. A little goes a long way!
Wasabi powder has a vibrant green color. Keep this in mind if making a dish where appearance matters. It works well when you want extra bite in:
- Fried foods
Key Takeaway: A small amount of wasabi powder adds spicy heat reminiscent of mustard powder. Adjust the amount to suit your taste.
Turmeric makes a milder substitute for mustard powder. It can't match the zing of mustard, but contributes a vivid golden color and slight earthy bitterness.
Turmeric lacks mustard powder's acidity. For salad dressings and other recipes where you want tanginess, add a squirt of lemon juice when subbing turmeric.
Since turmeric is less potent, you can swap it in a 1:1 ratio:
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder = 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
Turmeric shines in dishes where pungency takes a backseat to other flavors. Use it in:
- Vegetable dishes
Key Takeaway: Turmeric contributes color and subtle bitterness when you want a milder mustard powder substitute. Add lemon juice for acidity.
8. Prepared Wasabi
The wasabi brought with sushi is a paste made from wasabi powder, water and sometimes horseradish. This strong, spicy condiment can also substitute for mustard powder.
Since prepared wasabi is very potent, use it sparingly at first:
- 1/4 teaspoon wasabi = 1 teaspoon mustard powder
Then add more to reach desired spiciness. Wasabi's heat hits quickly but fades fast.
Its vivid green color makes wasabi ideal for:
- Salad dressing
- Deviled eggs
Avoid cooking prepared wasabi, as heat dulls its flavor. Mix it into cold dishes instead.
Key Takeaway: A tiny dab of the spicy prepared wasabi served with sushi can replace mustard powder thanks to its punchy flavor.
Leafy arugula makes an unexpected mustard powder sub. It has a peppery, mustard-like bite when raw.
To use fresh arugula as a substitute:
- Finely mince arugula leaves until moist, almost paste-like
- Add to dressings, dips, sauces, and other cold dishes as you would mustard powder
- Use a ratio of 1 tablespoon minced arugula = 1 teaspoon mustard powder
Arugula's flavor mellows when cooked, so raw arugula works best. It gives an extra nutrition boost to salads, sandwiches, dips and more.
Key Takeaway: Raw, minced arugula provides a mustard-like peppery flavor. Use in cold dishes, not cooked ones.
10. Aleppo Pepper
Their flavor is often described as acidic and fruity, with a raisin-like undertone. Start with a small amount when replacing mustard powder:
- 1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper = 1 teaspoon mustard powder
Then adjust to taste. Aleppo pepper works well in:
Key Takeaway: Aleppo pepper flakes mimic some of mustard powder's tangy spice. Use small amounts at first.
11. Pepper Sauce
Pepper hot sauce offers both acidity and heat for an instant mustard powder flavor replacement. Brands like Tabasco or Cholula work well.
Start with a few dashes when subbing for mustard powder, and add more to your taste preference. Pepper hot sauce shines in:
- Salad dressings
A little pepper hot sauce packs a tangy punch, so use it sparingly. It mixes especially well into creamy bases like sour cream or mayo.
Key Takeaway: Add punches of tangy heat with drops of pepper hot sauce in place of mustard powder.
Can I use regular mustard instead of dry mustard?
Yes, prepared mustards like Dijon, yellow, or stone ground can substitute for dry mustard thanks to their similar tangy essence. Dijon mustard is closest in flavor to mustard powder.
How do ground and dry mustard differ?
Ground mustard and dry mustard are the same thing. They refer to mustard powder made from ground mustard seeds. The powder has a concentrated flavor compared to prepared mustard, which also contains liquids.
Is it OK to leave out mustard powder?
If you're in a pinch, it's fine to leave mustard powder out of rubs, dressings, and other recipes, especially if other strong spices are present. While mustard powder adds a nice zing, dishes will still turn out tasty without it in most cases.
Does ground mustard go bad?
Properly stored in a cool, dry place in an airtight container, ground mustard lasts 2-3 years. If it smells stale or lacks aroma, it has gone bad and should be discarded.
Can I make mustard powder at home?
Yes, by grinding mustard seeds into a fine powder at home using a mortar and pestle, spice grinder, or blender. Toast the seeds first for extra flavor. Store homemade mustard powder in an airtight container.
While nothing quite matches the sharp tang of mustard powder, there are ample ingredients you can use in a pinch.
Prepared mustards like Dijon and stone ground make excellent substitutes, or spice it up with wasabi or horseradish powder.