Dry mustard is a fantastic and versatile ingredient used most prominently for delicious rub blends.
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Mix it with some paprika, and sage for some dynamite chicken, combine it with some dill, salt, and brown sugar for some delectable fish dishes, or pair it with thyme, rosemary, and ground black pepper for preparing a juicy cut of beef.
Amazing as it is, though, it’s undoubtedly one of those ingredients that often gets overlooked, forgotten at the bottom of those shopping lists, lost to the black depths of the very back of your dry store.
This is why it helps to know of a few ingredients that can fill its shoes in its absence.
You’re perhaps even less likely to have a jar of full mustard seeds lying around than you are to have the powder itself, but technically speaking, they are the most suitable replacement for their powdered contemporary.
The reason for this is that once they’re ground up, they literally are dry mustard! They’re not the most practical of ingredients.
You’ll need at least a pestle and mortar to grind them up sufficiently, and that will take time and effort, but if you’re dedicated to that unique mustardy kick, you won’t mind.
If you have a spare coffee or spice grinder, you’re in for an easier ride, as they’ll get the job done in no time.
Just remember to give any coffee grinders a thorough clean afterward, otherwise, that morning coffee won’t just shake the dreams off, it’ll set them on fire along with your sinuses.
Before your start throwing any old amount of your expertly ground seeds into your dry rub or meal, you should know that different color seeds have different strengths.
Dry mustard is usually yellow, so that’s probably what you’re used to using. Yellow seeds have the mildest flavor of the three seed types, brown mustard seeds take things up a notch, and black seeds are the spice kings of the mustard world. Black mustard seed, brown mustard seed, yellow mustard seed (really any ground mustard seed) is a viable option for use in mustard recipes.
If you’re using brown or black seeds, make sure to reduce quantities.
Dijon Mustard (French Mustard)
Let me preface this by saying, you may be able to get close to the desired flavor with wet mustard substitutes, but there will always be a distinctive difference to the final product, so don’t expect any miracles.
If you don’t necessarily need your mustard to be dry, the best match for the flavor of powdered yellow mustard is Dijon mustard.
Dijon is perfect for use in marinades, sauces, or as a glaze for veg and meat - carrots, broccoli, and chicken in particular.
While it’s not actually made of yellow mustard seeds, rather brown and black, the dilution with vinegar, white wine, and salt reduces their Scoville level to roughly that of yellow seeds.
It is sweeter than dry mustard, though, so it may be a good idea to reduce the sugar content of the recipe elsewhere. Reducing any lemon or lime juice is a good way to do this.
Dijon is also most likely going to be slightly less potent than dry mustard, so if you’re trying to match it in terms of strength, you could add half a teaspoon more of the prepared dijon than you would dry mustard.
Yellow English Mustard
English mustard is incredibly hot, but that’s not to say it lacks flavor. On the contrary, it’s actually teeming with it.
Mixed with flour, salt, vinegar, and turmeric, it’s slightly more viscous than other mustards, so a little bit goes a long way in a wet recipe.
English mustard cuts through particularly well in cheese sauces but doesn’t pair well with tomato, so if you’re making something like cauliflower cheese, perfect!
It’s going to really lift the sauce and provide that cheesy yellow color. If, on the other hand, you’re making a lasagne, it’s best to use a standard cheesy bechamel.
Used to color and flavor English mustard, turmeric isn’t a total outsider to the mustard game, but it’s a farsight from the dry mustard you’re accustomed to.
It does resemble dry mustard in that it’s yellow and usually powdered, making it perfect for giving a meal the right look, but its taste is starkly dissimilar.
The most significant difference between dry mustard and turmeric is that turmeric isn’t spicy, so if you plan on using it as a substitute, try and up the spice levels in your meal by some other means.
Turmeric also has a very subtle but distinct flavor. Rather than dry mustard’s explosive in your face tang, it’s quite floral, vaguely reminiscent of traditional Turkish Delight.
A neat little trick you can do to light a bit of a fire in your turmeric is to blend it with other more incendiary spices. The idea is that you find one with a fairly transparent flavor and a high Scoville rating.
Cayenne pepper is a great option. It does have a flavor but the spice level far exceeds it. Mix it by degrees to make sure you don’t take things too far.
If you’ve ever had prepared horseradish before, you’ll have instantly noticed its similarity to prepared mustard, from kick to flavor.
So, it’s a long shot, but if you have some horseradish powder lying around, it’s an awesome substitute for use in dry rubs, especially if you’re avoiding mustard due to an allergy.
Horseradish powder has more of a punch than typical dry mustards so perhaps don’t use quite as much in your blend.
If you’re a vegan, you’ll most likely know that you can’t have prepared horseradish, not because it has horse in it, but cream - but the good news is that horseradish itself is a vegetable, so you can have horseradish powder.
Wasabi powder is one of the best replacements for dry mustard because it tastes so similar and even causes the same nasal reaction that mustard does when you put too much in your mouth.
Sometimes dry mustard is even used as an ingredient, so make sure to double-check the label if you have an allergy.
It tends to have a bit more oomph in terms of spice, so be aware, and reduce the amount you use in your recipe
This might make no sense to you, and honestly, it didn’t make much sense to me either, but when you do a little research, you’ll discover that most mayonnaise recipes include a whole bunch of dry mustard.
Now, mayonnaise should really be a last-ditch effort in mustard substitution, but it’s good to know that there’s a common household item up to the task when absolutely necessary.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does Dry Mustard do in a Recipe?
Dry mustard is typically added to recipes in order to enhance the flavor, as opposed to altering the texture or facilitating any binding, stabilizing, or emulsifying processes.
What makes dry mustard so distinctive, even in comparison to other types of mustard, is its extra-strong mustard flavor. While ‘wet’ types of mustard contain other ingredients in addition to ground mustard seeds, high-quality dry mustard should be 100% mustard, and the intensity of flavor will reflect this.
Dry mustard is most commonly used in recipes where flavors tend to get watered down during cooking. Anything dairy-heavy (for example, cream or cheese-based sauces) can often use a stronger kick of flavor to cut through the creaminess. Moreover, if you have a lot of powerful flavors in a recipe but want the mustard to come to the foreground, using dried mustard can help the mustard flavor to stand out.
Can I Use Yellow Mustard Instead of Dry Mustard?
Yes, you can use yellow mustard, or any other form of prepared mustard, as a substitute for dry mustard. Yellow mustard is especially strong, so while it’s not quite as powerful as dry mustard, it’s very close.
If you want to retain exactly the same strength of flavor, you’ll need to use slightly more yellow mustard than the quantity of dry mustard called for by the recipe. This can present a problem in very dry recipes since prepared mustard in general lends moisture to a dish, and yellow mustard, in particular, has high levels of viscosity.
However, most of the recipes that call for dry mustard in the first place are relatively moist since dry mustard needs to absorb into the other ingredients so as not to be too overpowering.
Therefore, when using yellow mustard instead of dry mustard, you should be able to substitute a tablespoon of yellow mustard for each teaspoon of dry mustard.
Can you Substitute Turmeric for Dry Mustard?
Turmeric is a great substitute for dry mustard, both in terms of flavor and appearance. In fact, the presence of turmeric in yellow mustard is partly what makes the latter such a useful dry mustard substitute.
Turmeric has a strong, peppery flavor that is not identical but similar enough to dry mustard that the difference won’t be glaringly obvious when combined with other ingredients.
Moreover, because turmeric is bright yellow in color, it can also stand in for the warm pigmentation of dry mustard. If you mix turmeric into a dairy-based sauce, for example, it should come out more or less the same color as if you’d used dry mustard.
And if that wasn’t enough to convince you to give this easy swap a try, the substitution process couldn’t be simpler! You can use exactly the same ratios when substituting turmeric for dry mustard, so a teaspoon of dry mustard is equivalent to a teaspoon of turmeric.
How do you Make Dry Mustard?
Making your own dry mustard at home is actually surprisingly easy!
All you need are some whole mustard seeds and some form of grinding utensil. If you want to go about this the traditional way, the good old-fashioned pestle and mortar will do. However, if you don’t have the time and energy to grind your mustard seeds by hand (because it does require some elbow grease), you can use a specialized spice grinder or even just a coffee grinder!
If you’re grinding by hand, I recommend wearing goggles and a mask to protect your eyes, nose, and mouth. Inhaling ground mustard or getting it in your eyes is extremely painful.
Keep grinding, either by hand or machine, until the seeds have been ground into a fine powder. Ideally, you want to minimize the presence of lumps or chunks so that the powder blends more easily into your recipe.
You can then add your homemade dry mustard to your recipe of choice or use it as the base for a prepared mustard recipe.
There you have it, mustard masters!
Something about each of these ingredients makes them to a degree a good substitute for dry mustard, but remember, sometimes substitution isn’t the best course of action.
I love mustard as much as the next guy - more even - but sometimes the best thing for a meal is to just let the mustard go.