Honey Mustard vs. Dijon Mustard

When it comes to choosing the perfect mustard for your sandwich or culinary creation, the decision between honey mustard and Dijon mustard can be a challenging one. As you explore the world of mustards, you may discover that each variant has its unique flavor profile and characteristics, catering to different preferences and culinary applications.

Honey mustard, as the name suggests, is a combination of mustard and honey, creating a sweet, tangy, and often mild flavor. This versatile condiment is a favorite for everything from dipping sauces to salad dressings, making it a staple in many kitchens. On the other hand, Dijon mustard, which originates from Dijon, France, is made with brown or black mustard seeds and white wine, giving it a sharp and pungent taste. It is often used to add a sophisticated flair to sauces, marinades, and sandwiches.

As you assess your mustard needs, consider the flavor profile and desired intensity for your dish. Honey mustard offers a more versatile and milder option, while Dijon mustard brings a bold and distinctive taste. Ultimately, the choice between honey mustard and Dijon mustard rests in your hands, allowing you to customize your culinary creations to your palate’s preference.

The Origin and History

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Derived from Ancient Mustards

The history of mustard can be traced back to ancient times. In fact, it is believed that the first varieties of mustard were cultivated more than 5,000 years ago. The name “mustard” is derived from the Latin term mustum ardens, which means “burning wine.” This term was used to describe the spicy mixture of crushed mustard seeds and grape must (unfermented grape juice) that was popular during the Roman era. As you explore the origins of different types of mustards, you’ll find that they have evolved significantly over the centuries.

One notable advancement in mustard history occurred in the 18th century in the city of Dijon, located in the famous Burgundy region of France. A man named Jean Naigeon is credited with developing what is now known as Dijon mustard. Contemporary Dijon mustard is smooth and creamy, with ingredients such as:

  • Mustard seeds
  • Vinegar
  • White wine
  • Seasonings

Naigeon’s innovation was to replace the traditional grape must in the mustard recipe with verjuice, the acidic juice of unripe grapes, which gave the mustard a milder and more delicate taste.

Evolution into Modern Varieties

As mustard traveled through the ages, it continued to evolve into a wide range of varieties adapting to different tastes and culinary demands. Today, one popular type found in kitchens and on dining tables worldwide is honey mustard. This sweet and tangy twist adds an extra dimension to the classic condiment by incorporating honey into the mix.

Honey mustard typically has a more mild and sweet flavor compared to its Dijon counterpart, making it a versatile ingredient that complements many dishes. It is often used as a dipping sauce, salad dressing, and even as a glaze for roasted meats.

In summary, the world of mustard has grown and diversified since its ancient origins, with two noteworthy varieties being Dijon and honey mustard, each bringing a unique flavor profile to the culinary landscape. By understanding their histories and progressions, you can appreciate the rich cultural context that accompanies these classic condiments.

Defining Characteristics

Dijon Mustard vs Yellow Mustard

Primary Ingredients and Flavor Profiles

When comparing honey mustard and dijon mustard, it’s crucial to understand their primary ingredients and flavor profiles. Honey mustard, as the name suggests, combines mustard and honey to create a sweet and mildly tangy taste. It typically uses yellow mustard, which is milder in flavor and heat. Common ingredients are:

  • Yellow mustard seeds
  • Vinegar
  • Honey
  • Spices

On the other hand, dijon mustard originated in Dijon, France, and is known for its strong, sharp, and slightly spicy flavor. It’s made from black mustard seeds that are crushed, which gives it a more intense flavor compared to yellow mustard. Key ingredients include:

  • Black mustard seeds
  • Vinegar
  • White wine (sometimes used instead of vinegar)
  • Spices, such as cloves and allspice

Texture and Color Distinctions

Both honey mustard and dijon mustard have distinct textures and colors that set them apart.

Honey mustard has a creamy, smooth consistency, often with a vibrant yellow color. This comes from the combination of yellow mustard seeds and honey, creating an appealing and versatile sauce that can be easily spread or used as a dip.

Dijon mustard, in contrast, has a coarser, grainier texture, with shades of brown or gray. This is mainly due to the use of black mustard seeds, which give it a richer color. The presence of additional spices also contributes to its distinctive appearance.

When choosing between the two types of mustard, consider the desired flavor and texture for your dish. Honey mustard’s sweet and mild taste pairs well with dishes like fried foods or sandwiches. Dijon mustard’s intense, sharp flavor complements savory recipes like marinades, salad dressings, and meats.

Culinary Uses

Dijon vs Yellow Mustard

Condiment for Meats and Sandwiches

Honey mustard and Dijon mustard can enhance the flavor of various meats and sandwiches. You can use them as a spread on your favorite sandwiches, such as turkey, ham, pastrami, or hot dogs. Honey mustard has a sweeter taste that pairs well with chicken, beef, and even sausages. On the other hand, Dijon mustard adds a sharp, tangy flavor that complements more robust meats like burgers and grilled vegetables.

When deciding on the best condiment for your meal, consider the following:

  • Honey Mustard: This sweet and tangy sauce is perfect for sandwiches, burgers, and dipping sauce.
  • Dijon Mustard: This spicy, sharp mustard has a sophisticated flavor that elevates your sandwiches and meat dishes.

Sauces, Dressings, and Marinades

Both honey mustard and Dijon mustard can be used in various dressings, sauces, and marinades to enhance the taste of salads, vegetables, and meats. A popular application is in salad dressings, where they serve as the base alongside oil and vinegar.

Here’s how you can use these mustards to create delicious dressing and marinade recipes:

  • Honey Mustard Dressing: Combine honey mustard with oil, vinegar, and your choice of herbs to make a delicious and versatile dressing for your favorite salad greens.
  • Dijon Vinaigrette: Mix Dijon mustard with oil, vinegar, and seasonings to create a classic dressing for salads or as a marinade for vegetables and meats.

In addition to dressings and marinades, these mustards can be used to make scrumptious sauces for glazing or dipping. For example, glaze your grilled chicken with a honey mustard sauce for a sweet and tangy taste, or use a Dijon-based sauce for bolder flavors.

Specialty Applications and Recipes

Honey mustard and Dijon mustard can also be incorporated into creative recipes to offer a unique taste and enhance the overall dish. Find inspiration for unique dishes below:

  • Honey Mustard Glazed Vegetables: Roast your favorite vegetables with a blend of honey mustard, herbs, and olive oil for a delectable side dish.
  • Dijon Roast Beef: Create a crust of Dijon mustard and herbs for your roast beef, providing a rich and tantalizing layer of flavor.
  • Honey Mustard Chicken Skewers: Marinate chicken pieces in a honey mustard sauce before threading onto skewers and grilling to perfection.

Experiment with honey mustard and Dijon mustard in your favorite cooking techniques and recipes to discover the flavors that best suit your taste buds.

Nutritional Information

Caloric and Nutrient Content

When comparing honey mustard and Dijon mustard, it’s essential to consider their nutritional content. In terms of calories, honey mustard generally contains more due to the added sugars from honey. A tablespoon of honey mustard has approximately 57 calories, while the same serving of Dijon mustard contains only 15 calories.

Regarding macronutrients, both mustards are similar in protein content but differ in carbohydrates and fat. Here’s a comparison for a 1-tablespoon serving:

NutrientHoney MustardDijon Mustard

In general, Dijon mustard has a lower carbohydrate content and slightly higher fat content compared to honey mustard. It’s important to note that these values may vary depending on the brand and specific ingredients used in each type of mustard.

Health Benefits and Considerations

Both honey mustard and Dijon mustard can offer potential health benefits, primarily when used in moderation.

Honey mustard contains enzymes and antioxidants from the honey, which may contribute to its antimicrobial properties. These properties could potentially help with wound healing, combating inflammation, and protecting against oxidative stress.

On the other hand, Dijon mustard is made with mustard oil, which has demonstrated antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory benefits. It also contains enzymes that can benefit your digestion. However, excessive consumption of mustard oil may have some side effects, such as skin irritation and gastrointestinal issues.

In summary, when comparing honey mustard to Dijon mustard in terms of nutritional information, honey mustard generally has higher caloric and sugar content, while Dijon mustard has lower carbohydrates and slightly higher fat content. Both types of mustard offer potential health benefits, but it’s essential to use them in moderation to avoid any adverse effects.

Production and Manufacturing

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Cultivation of Mustard Seeds

When it comes to mustard production, the first step is the cultivation of mustard seeds. There are three primary types of seeds used in mustard-making: yellow, black, and brown. Yellow mustard seeds are the mildest and are most commonly used in the production of traditional yellow mustard, while black and brown mustard seeds provide a spicier and more pungent flavor, often used in Dijon mustard production.

To cultivate mustard seeds, you’ll need well-drained soil, appropriate sunlight, and adequate water. When they’re ready for harvest, seeds will be dried and then stored for future use.

From Seeds to Spread

Once the mustard seeds are harvested, they need to be processed before they can be used in mustard recipes. The seeds are first ground into a fine powder. For a smoother texture, some preparations may use only the endosperm part of the seed. This results in a milder flavor.

Dijon mustard distinguishes itself from yellow mustard with its ingredients. Classic Dijon mustard uses white wine or white wine vinegar, while yellow mustard often uses distilled vinegar. Here’s a comparison of the primary ingredients in both types of mustard:

Dijon MustardYellow Mustard
Ground Mustard SeedsGround Mustard Seeds
White Wine or White Wine VinegarDistilled Vinegar
(Optional) SpicesTurmeric and other spices

Once the ground mustard seeds have been mixed with the liquid ingredients, the mixture is then heated to fully blend the flavors. Afterward, the mustard is cooled, and either packaged for commercial distribution or stored in a refrigerator if homemade.

Commercial Brands and Homemade Versions

There are countless commercial brands of mustard available in the market. While the most popular form of mustard is yellow mustard, Dijon mustard is favored by those who appreciate a more sophisticated and complex flavor profile.

If you’re interested in creating your own homemade mustard, it’s relatively simple and allows you to customize the taste. Begin by choosing your mustard seeds, either yellow for a milder flavor or black and brown for a spicier kick. Next, decide on your preferred liquid, such as vinegar or wine. Experiment with additional spices or herbs to further personalize your mustard. Finally, combine the ingredients and store the finished product in your refrigerator. Homemade mustards have a longer shelf life if you use vinegar as the liquid base.

Comparison and Pairing

Differences in Taste and Usage

When comparing honey mustard and dijon mustard, it’s important to note that they each have distinct flavors and usage in various dishes. Honey mustard is a blend of mustard and honey, creating a sweet, mild, and slightly tangy flavor. This makes it an ideal choice for dishes that benefit from a mild yet sweet sauce.

On the other hand, dijon mustard originates from Dijon, France, and is known for its sharp, pungent, and slightly spicy taste. Due to its bolder and more intense flavor, dijon is often used to add an extra kick to savory dishes.

Honey MustardDijon Mustard
FlavorSweet, mild, slightly tangyBold, pungent, slightly spicy
Best suitedDishes that require mild, sweet sauceSavory dishes that need an extra kick

Pairing with Foods and Dishes

Choosing the right mustard for pairing with different foods and dishes will help elevate the overall flavor experience. Here are some food pairings to consider when deciding between honey mustard and dijon:

  • Honey Mustard is best paired with:
    • Grilled or fried chicken dishes, as the mild, sweet sauce complements the meat’s flavor without overpowering it.
    • Fish dishes, especially when baked or grilled, as honey mustard adds a subtle sweet-tangy touch.
    • Vegetables, such as grilled or roasted veggies, where the sweetness of honey mustard balances the natural earthy flavors.
    • Apples and other fruits in salads or desserts, as honey mustard’s sweetness pairs well with the fruit’s natural sugar.
  • Dijon Mustard shines with:
    • Rich, savory dishes, such as beef or pork, where the bold flavor of dijon mustard cuts through the meat’s richness.
    • Burgers, providing a tangy and pungent contrast to the juicy meat patty and other toppings.
    • Vegetables that have a stronger, more robust flavor, such as brussels sprouts or kale, where dijon’s bold taste can stand up to the dish’s intensity.

Now that you’re aware of the key differences in taste and usage between honey mustard and dijon mustard, as well as their ideal food pairings, you can confidently choose the right mustard to enhance your meals and explore your palate’s preferences.

Cultural and Regional Variations

Mustard in French Cuisine

In French cuisine, mustard plays a prominent role as a condiment and ingredient. Two popular French varieties include Dijon and whole grain mustard. Dijon originates from the Burgundy region of France and is known for its creamy texture and tangy flavor. Traditionally made from brown or black mustard seeds, white wine, and unfermented grape juice, Dijon offers a distinct taste to various dishes, sauces, and dressings.

On the other hand, whole grain mustard showcases the mustard seeds themselves, delivering a coarser texture and an equally robust flavor. This type of mustard can complement charcuterie boards, sandwiches, and hearty salads.

Global Interpretations of Mustard

As you travel the world, you’ll find that mustard takes on various forms and flavors, each with its unique cultural twist:

  1. Honey mustard – A popular American invention, this sweet and tangy sauce combines mustard with honey, making it an ideal dipping sauce or salad dressing.
  2. Spicy brown mustard – With its coarser texture and bolder taste, this variety is commonly found in American and German cuisine and is perfect for hot dogs and deli sandwiches.
  3. English mustard – Known for its intense heat and vibrant yellow color, English mustard is typically served with roast beef and other traditional British dishes.

While the cultural and regional variations of mustard are vast, each kind brings its unique character and flavor profile to the world of condiments. So next time you find yourself reaching for mustard, consider trying a new variety to experience the diverse flavors that have been developed across cultures and regions.

Consumer Considerations

Selection and Storage Tips

When choosing between honey mustard and dijon mustard, consider your personal taste preferences and the flavors in the specific dish being prepared. Honey mustard offers a sweet and tangy flavor, while dijon mustard provides a more robust, spicier flavor.

To select the best quality mustard, check for the following:

  • Clear packaging with no signs of damage
  • Freshness: Best before date should have ample time
  • Quality ingredients: Mustards without added preservatives and artificial colors are preferred

Once opened, store mustard in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight. It’s also suggested to store it in the refrigerator to preserve the freshness and flavor for a longer period.

Mustard TypeUnopened Shelf LifeOpened Shelf Life (Refrigerator)
Honey Mustard12-24 months6-9 months
Dijon Mustard12-24 months6-9 months

DIY Mustard Making at Home

Making your own homemade mustard can be a fun and rewarding experience. You have the freedom to experiment with different flavors, textures, and spice levels.

Basic Honey Mustard Recipe:

  1. Combine 1/4 cup dijon mustard, 1/4 cup honey, and 1 tablespoon vinegar in a bowl.
  2. Mix until well-blended and adjust the ratios of ingredients to suit your taste preferences.

Basic Dijon Mustard Recipe:

  1. Soak 1/4 cup mustard seeds in 1/4 cup vinegar for 12-24 hours.
  2. Process soaked seeds in a blender or food processor, adding 1-2 cloves of crushed garlic, a pinch of salt, and optional herbs (such as tarragon or dill) for additional flavor.
  3. Continue blending and adjusting the ingredients to reach your desired consistency and taste.

For the best flavor, allow your homemade mustard to rest and mature in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before using. Store it in an airtight container and enjoy it within a few months for optimal freshness.

Environmental Impact

When comparing honey mustard and Dijon mustard, it’s helpful to consider their environmental impact. Both types of mustard are made from mustard seeds, but their cultivation and production processes can affect the environment differently.

Mustard Seed Cultivation

Mustard seeds are the primary ingredient in both honey mustard and Dijon mustard. The main producers of mustard seeds are Canada, Nepal, Hungary, United Kingdom, United States, and Romania. Here’s a brief comparison of the environmental impact of mustard seed cultivation:

  • Water usage: Mustard crops require moderate amounts of water, and their water usage varies depending on factors such as rainfall and irrigation practices.
  • Pesticide application: Mustard plants are relatively resistant to pests and diseases. Thus, mustard seed cultivation typically consumes fewer pesticides compared to other crops.
  • Crop rotation: Mustard crops can benefit soil health through crop rotation, as they help control pests and diseases while adding organic matter to the soil.

Honey Mustard Production

Honey mustard is a creamy combination of mustard and honey. The environmental impact of honey mustard depends on the production of both mustard and honey. Honey production involves beekeeping, which has its own environmental implications:

  • Beekeeping practices: Responsible beekeeping can contribute to biodiversity and pollination. However, improper beekeeping practices, such as overcrowding and extensive chemical use, may lead to colony collapse and a decline in pollinator populations.
  • Honey extraction: The honey extraction process requires energy for heating and cooling, as well as equipment for filtering and bottling. The overall environmental impact depends on factors like electricity sources and transportation distances.

Dijon Mustard Production

Dijon mustard is made from mustard seeds, white wine, vinegar, and various seasonings. The environmental impacts associated with Dijon mustard production stem mainly from the production of these ingredients:

  • White wine production: The cultivation of grapes for wine production involves land and water use, as well as the application of fertilizers and pesticides. Additionally, wine production itself consumes energy and water during processes such as fermentation, clarification, and bottling.
  • Vinegar production: The production of vinegar also requires agricultural inputs, including fruit, grain, or sugar, which have their own environmental impacts. Moreover, vinegar production involves fermentation, filtration, and pasteurization, consuming energy and water.

To minimize your environmental impact, you can choose mustards made with sustainably sourced ingredients and support brands that follow eco-friendly practices. Remember that individual choices can contribute to a more sustainable food system.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the taste differences between honey mustard and Dijon mustard?

Honey mustard has a sweeter taste due to the combination of mustard and honey, while Dijon mustard has a stronger, sharper, and slightly tangy flavor. Although both are mustard-based, their flavor profiles vary, making them suitable for different dishes and preferences.

Can honey mustard be substituted for Dijon mustard in recipes?

While you can substitute honey mustard for Dijon mustard in recipes, the outcome will be different in terms of taste and tanginess. If you’re seeking a milder flavor, honey mustard may work well; however, it’s important to adjust the other ingredients to balance the sweetness it adds.

How is Dijon mustard different from other varieties such as whole grain or brown mustard?

Dijon mustard is made with finer ground mustard seeds, white wine, and other spices, giving it a smooth and tangy taste. Whole grain mustard contains partially ground seeds, creating a coarse texture with a more robust flavor. Brown mustard, often used in spicy mustards, is characterized by a sharp pungent taste and a bit of heat.

What are unique ways to use honey mustard compared to Dijon mustard?

Honey mustard is perfect for salad dressings, marinades, and dipping sauces due to its sweet and mild taste. It also pairs well with chicken, bacon, and pretzels. Dijon mustard, on the other hand, is great for enhancing savory dishes such as stews, sauces, and glazes. It can also add a burst of flavor to sandwiches and vinaigrettes.

How can you make homemade Dijon mustard and how does it compare to store-bought versions?

To make homemade Dijon mustard, you’ll need finely ground mustard seeds, white wine vinegar, salt, water, and other spices to taste. Combine the ingredients and let the mixture sit for a day or two to allow the flavors to meld. Although homemade Dijon mustard can have a fresher taste, store-bought versions may offer a more consistent flavor and quality, especially during the first attempts of making it yourself.

Is there a type of mustard that closely resembles the flavor profile of Dijon mustard?

Stone ground mustard, also known as coarse ground mustard, has a similar flavor profile to Dijon mustard, with a tangy and sharp taste. However, the texture differs, as it contains coarser mustard seeds. When looking for a substitute, adjust the recipe as needed to accommodate the texture and flavor differences.

Homemade Honey Mustard

Here's a simple recipe for homemade honey mustard:
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Seasoning
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 88 kcal


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, honey, and white vinegar until well combined.
  • Taste the mixture and adjust the sweetness or tanginess by adding more honey or vinegar as desired.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Transfer the honey mustard to a sealed container and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld together.


Calories: 88kcal
Keyword honey mustard vs dijon mustard
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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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