Mustard Powder vs. Ground Mustard

Mustard is a versatile ingredient used in many cuisines around the world. It comes in many forms, including whole mustard seeds, mustard powder, and prepared mustard.

Mustard Powder vs. Ground Mustard

Two of the most common types are mustard powder and ground mustard. But what exactly is the difference between these two mustard products?

How Mustard Powder and Ground Mustard Are Made

Mustard powder and ground mustard originate from the same place - mustard seeds. However, the processes used to produce them results in some notable differences.

Mustard Powder Production

Mustard powder is made by first cleaning the mustard seeds to remove any residual plant material. Next, the outer hull of the seeds is removed. Finally, the inner seed is ground into a very fine powder.

This finely ground powder allows the natural oils and flavors to be released when liquid is added. It also enables mustard powder to fully dissolve into liquids.

Some mustard powder may contain added ingredients like flour or turmeric for color. But pure mustard powder contains only ground mustard seeds.

Ground Mustard Production

Ground mustard is made by grinding whole mustard seeds. The hull and inner seed are ground together, resulting in a slightly coarse texture.

Ground mustard is not ground into as fine of a powder as mustard powder. It maintains more of the integrity of the whole mustard seed, including the seed coat.

No other ingredients are added to ground mustard. It consists entirely of ground mustard seeds.

Key Differences in Production

Mustard PowderGround Mustard
Very finely groundCoarsely ground
Seed hulls removedWhole seeds ground
May contain added ingredients100% mustard seeds

As you can see, the main difference lies in the texture of the final product. Mustard powder is smooth and powdery, while ground mustard has a coarser, grittier texture from the whole seeds being ground.

Key Takeaway: Mustard powder and ground mustard both start with mustard seeds, but vary in production methods.

Flavor Profiles: How They Taste

The flavor of mustard powder vs. ground mustard also differs quite a bit:

Mustard Powder Flavor

Due to its very fine grind, mustard powder does not have much flavor on its own. But once combined with liquid, strong pungent and tangy flavors are released. The natural oils provide a robust mustard taste.

Mustard powder is much more concentrated in flavor than ground mustard. A little bit goes a long way!

Ground Mustard Flavor

Ground mustard made from whole mustard seeds has a relatively mild flavor. Although you can detect subtle earthy, nutty notes from the whole seeds.

The full mustard flavor does not emerge until ground mustard is combined with liquid. Once hydrated, the natural mustard oils are activated, creating a tangy mustard flavor.

However, ground mustard is less pungent and intense than mustard powder, even when mixed with liquids. It has a lighter, more subtle mustard taste.

Key Takeaway: Mustard powder has a potent flavor, while ground mustard is milder until mixed with liquid.

Common Uses

The different textures and flavor profiles of mustard powder and ground mustard make them suited for different culinary uses.

Cooking with Mustard Powder

Due to its fine texture that dissolves into liquids, mustard powder is excellent for use in:

  • Salad dressings and vinaigrettes: Mix mustard powder with oil, vinegar, and seasonings for a tangy dressing.
  • Marinades: Mustard powder adds flavor to meat, seafood, or veggie marinades.
  • Sauces and gravies: Add a teaspoon of mustard powder to ramp up the flavor in any sauce or gravy.
  • Rubs and spice blends: Mustard powder works well blended into dry rubs for meats.
  • Baking: Add mustard powder to cookies, cakes, breads, and other baked goods for a subtle flavor boost.

Cooking with Ground Mustard

The milder flavor and coarse texture make ground mustard perfect for:

  • Seasoning: Sprinkle ground mustard over meats, potatoes, vegetables, and more before cooking.
  • Condiments: Mix ground mustard with liquids like vinegar or wine to make quick condiments and spreads.
  • Cooking liquid: Simmer ground mustard in soups, stews, braises, etc. to infuse the liquid with mustard flavor.
  • Breading: Add ground mustard to breadcrumbs or flour for extra flavor when breading foods.
  • Pickling: Add ground mustard to pickling brines for pickled vegetables with a mustard kick.

In summary, mustard powder is better for mixing into dressings, sauces, and rubs. While ground mustard is ideal as a seasoning or simmered into cooking liquid.

Key Takeaway: Mustard powder is often used in dressings and marinades, while ground mustard works well as a seasoning or condiment.

Substituting Mustard Powder for Ground Mustard

Because ground mustard has a milder flavor compared to mustard powder, you will need to use more of it when substituting in a recipe.

Here is a simple substitution ratio to follow:

  • Mustard powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Ground mustard: 1 tablespoon

So if a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of mustard powder, use 1 tablespoon of ground mustard instead.

The coarse texture of ground mustard shouldn't cause any issues since most recipes calling for mustard powder also include liquids to form a sauce, dressing, marinade, etc.

Just keep in mind that the mustard flavor will be more subdued and build the flavor as needed by adding more ground mustard to taste.

Substitution Considerations

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when substituting ground mustard for mustard powder:

  • For dry rubs and spice blends, ground mustard may not fully incorporate since it contains some coarse pieces. It's best to use mustard powder only for these types of recipes.
  • If a recipe relies on the bright yellow color of mustard powder, the beige color of ground mustard will provide a different look.
  • Since ground mustard has a less concentrated flavor, you may need to increase the amount to achieve the desired mustard taste.

Key Takeaway: For every 1 tsp mustard powder, use 1 Tbsp ground mustard as a substitute.

Substituting Ground Mustard for Mustard Powder

To swap ground mustard for mustard powder, you'll use less since mustard powder has a much more potent flavor.

Follow this simple conversion:

  • Ground mustard: 1 tablespoon
  • Mustard powder: 1 teaspoon

So if you need to replace 1 tablespoon of ground mustard with mustard powder, use only 1 teaspoon of mustard powder.

The ultra-fine powder will easily incorporate into dressings, sauces, marinades, etc. You just need less due to its concentrated flavor.

Substitution Considerations

Here are some things to keep in mind when using mustard powder in place of ground mustard:

  • Start with less mustard powder than the recipe calls for. You can always add more to taste. Too much may overpower the dish.
  • Mustard powder will add a bright yellow color compared to ground mustard's natural beige hue.
  • For use as a seasoning, the ultra-fine powder may clump differently than coarse ground mustard. Mixing with a bit of water first can help.

By understanding the differences between mustard powder and ground mustard, you can easily substitute one for the other in any recipe. Just follow the simple ratios provided and adjust the amounts as needed based on the flavor you want.

Key Takeaway: For every 1 Tbsp ground mustard, use 1 tsp mustard powder instead.

How to Make Your Own Mustard Powder and Ground Mustard

You can also easily make mustard powder and ground mustard at home if you have whole mustard seeds. Here is a simple process for each:

Mustard Powder

  • Add whole mustard seeds to a dry skillet over medium heat.
  • Toast seeds for 2-3 minutes until fragrant to help release oils.
  • Allow seeds to fully cool after removing from heat.
  • Transfer seeds to a spice grinder or coffee grinder. Process into a fine powder.
  • Use powder immediately or store in an airtight container for later use.

Ground Mustard

  • Dry toast whole mustard seeds as above if desired. Allow to cool completely.
  • Place seeds in a mortar and pestle or clean coffee/spice grinder.
  • Grind seeds to a coarse texture, being careful not to over grind into a powder.
  • Use immediately or store in a sealed container. Refrigerate for longer freshness.

Making your own versions allows you full control over the texture and freshness!

Key Takeaway: To make homemade versions, dry and grind whole mustard seeds using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.

Storing Mustard Powder and Ground Mustard

To maintain freshness and flavor, it's important to properly store both mustard powder and ground mustard. Here are some storage tips:

  • Keep mustard powder in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Avoid humidity and heat.
  • Refrigerate ground mustard to prevent oxidation and preserve its flavor.
  • If storing homemade versions, always keep in air-tight containers.
  • Prepared mustard powders and ground mustards lose potency over time. Use within 6 months to 1 year for best flavor.
  • Look for a use-by date if purchasing pre-made. Use by this date for optimal freshness.

Proper storage helps ensure you get the full flavor of these mustard products once it's time to cook!

Key Differences Between Mustard Powder and Ground Mustard

To recap the main differences:

  • Texture: Mustard powder is a very finely ground powder. Ground mustard is coarsely ground.
  • Flavor: Mustard powder has a concentrated, potent flavor. Ground mustard is milder in flavor.
  • Uses: Mustard powder works well mixed into dressings, sauces, and rubs. Ground mustard is often used as a seasoning or simmered in cooking liquid.
  • Substitution: Use more ground mustard when substituting for mustard powder, and less mustard powder when substituting for ground mustard.

Both products bring that delightful mustard essence to dishes, just in different forms. Understanding their distinct qualities helps ensure you use the right one for the job!


What's the difference between dry mustard and ground mustard?

Dry mustard and ground mustard are two names for the same product - mustard seeds that have been coarsely ground. It has a grainy texture and mild mustard flavor until hydrated in liquid. Mustard powder is made from finely grinding mustard seeds into a smooth powder.

Is ground mustard spicy?

Ground mustard has a relatively mild flavor when dry. Once mixed with liquid, it takes on a tangy, zesty mustard flavor. However, it is not considered spicy. You can make prepared mustard spicy by adding other ingredients like horseradish or hot peppers.

Can you substitute mustard powder for ground mustard?

Yes, you can substitute finely ground mustard powder for coarsely ground mustard. Use a 1:3 ratio, so for every 1 teaspoon of mustard powder, use 3 teaspoons (or 1 tablespoon) of ground mustard. The flavor will be more concentrated so adjust amounts as needed.

What is the yellow mustard powder?

Yellow mustard powder gets its vibrant color from added turmeric, not the mustard itself. It is used in ballpark-style yellow prepared mustard. Pure mustard powder without added turmeric has a tan/light brown color. But the flavor is essentially the same as yellow mustard powder.

Is ground mustard the same as dry mustard?

Yes, ground mustard and dry mustard are names for the same spice - coarsely ground mustard seeds. It can be used to make prepared mustard by combining with vinegar, water, and other ingredients. But on its own, it has a mild mustard flavor.


While they derive from the same source - the mustard seed - mustard powder and ground mustard are distinct in texture, flavor, and uses.

Mustard powder has an intense flavor that is concentrated and potent. Ground mustard starts mild and builds flavor when mixed into liquid.

Sarah Cortez
Sarah Cortez

My name is Sarah and I'm a baker who loves trying out new recipes and flavor combinations. I decided to challenge myself to use a new spice or ingredient powder in my baking each week for a year. Some successes were the cardamom sugar cookies, vivid turmeric cake, and beetroot chocolate cupcakes. Failures included the bitter neem brownies and overwhelmingly hot ghost pepper snickerdoodles. Through this experience I've discovered amazing additions to spice up desserts while learning how to balance strong flavors. Follow my journey as I push the boundaries of baking with unique powders!

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