10 Best Mustard Seed Substitutes

mustard seeds

Mustard seeds are an incredibly popular seed from the mustard plant, used in various cuisines all over the world. It is used for pickling, making mustard, and in various dishes such as curries, soups, and sauces, to give a distinct pungent, slightly spicy flavor.

There are many varieties of mustard seed and they can be used in many different ways. If you don’t have a mustard seed on hand, however, you can find substitutes so that you can still make the recipe you were planning on.

Mustard seed has a unique flavor and can boost the flavor of foods such as curries, pickles, and more. If you want to learn more tips about substituting mustard seeds, keep on reading.

Mustard Seeds Substitutes

The following mustard seed substitutes can successfully replace this ingredient in most recipes. So, scroll down, learn more about each substitute, and make your pick.

1. Horseradish


Horseradish has the same slightly pungent, slightly spicy flavor that resembles a mustard seed. For savory, spicy dishes, horseradish is a great substitute for mustard seed, and you only need a small amount to go a very long way. 

Horseradish also comes from the same botanical family as mustard seeds, giving them a similar flavor profile. You can either buy fresh horseradish or prepared horseradish, which is usually stored in vinegar and is slightly spicier.

If you get prepared horseradish, you may need less depending on how much flavor you want in your dish.

2. Wasabi


Wasabi is popular in Asian cuisine and looks a lot like horseradish. It delivers the same pungent, Sicily flavor that mustard seed and horseradish do.

The natural spiciness of wasabi makes it a perfect substitute for mustard seeds. However, since it’s also very intense, make sure to start by only using half the amount of wasabi as you would horseradish. 

Wasabi is best used to replace mustard seeds in dishes that need a lot of spice. Wasabi will also help add a great flavor to the dish.

3. Caraway seeds

Caraway Seeds

Caraway seeds also have a similar flavor to mustard seeds, are slightly warm, pungent, and spicy, and add great flavor to any dish they are added to.

You can replace mustard seeds with caraway seeds by the same amount, and they will help add brilliant flavor to the dish.

If you want a more enhanced flavor, you can also try adding cumin to the dish. This will intensify the flavor and help it resemble mustard seeds a little more.

4. Turmeric


This is an Asian spice and is known for its distinct orange color and healing properties. It is quite popular in Indian cuisine, as well as a lot of South Asian cuisines. 

Turmeric is one of the best substitutes for mustard seeds thanks to the peppery, pungent flavor that’s similar to mustard seeds but also adds great flavor to any dish.

Turmeric is a lot milder in taste when compared to horseradish or caraway, however, still delivers a great flavor that resembles mustard seed; just not as intense.

If you’re looking for more spice, you can add a little bit of horseradish in as well.

5. Prepared mustard


You may not always have mustard seed in your pantry, but you might have more of a chance of stocking prepared mustard. Prepared mustard has the same flavor profile because it is made from mustard seed, and if you’re in a pinch, mustard is perfect.

You can add a few teaspoons to your dish to give it a bit of a kick. The best mustard to use would be dijon, as it is a little more intense and slightly spicy, but standard American mustard is also fine if you don’t have dijon available.

You can also make your own mustard if you have mustard seeds, and you can store it in your fridge for about a month.

6. Other color mustard seeds

Mustard Seed

There are many varieties of mustard seeds, but the 3 most popular are black, brown, and yellow mustard seeds. The best part? You can easily find them at your local supermarket.

Yellow mustard seeds are the mildest, while black and brown are a lot spicier and potent, so if you’re looking to replace yellow mustard seeds, use about half the amount of black or brown seeds.

You can also use more yellow mustard seeds when substituting black or brown mustard seeds.

7. Cumin


This is another great spice to have and is frequently used in Indian cooking, especially in dishes like curries. Cumin has a pungent flavor as well, and although it doesn’t taste exactly like a mustard seed, it can be used as a substitute because it still has a citrus flavor.

You can use cumin with another substitute such as wasabi or horseradish to intensify the flavor even more, and it will still deliver a great flavor to any dish you make.

8. Mayonnaise


This might seem a little strange, but mayonnaise works as a great substitute for mustard seeds, but the only yellow mustard seeds.

Yellow mustard seed is the mildest and is often added to dishes to help thicken the consistency a bit. If you don’t have a yellow mustard seed, you can add a tablespoon of mayonnaise to achieve the same consistency, but not the same taste.

Make sure to add very little so it doesn’t ruin the flavor of your dish, and use another substitute as well to help with the flavor.

9. Ground mustard powder

Mustard Powder

If you can’t find mustard seed, you can usually find ground mustard powder in the spice section of your local supermarket. This powder will provide the same results as a mustard seed, and will also last a long time.

If you’re making a recipe that needs a whole mustard seed, the powder will not work. So you will need to look for a different alternative such as other types of mustard seeds.

In most dishes, the ground mustard seed will work and will deliver the same unique flavor of mustard seed.

10. More spices


If you cannot find any substitute for mustard seed, then the best thing to do would be to use more of the spices you have that the dish needs to get the best flavor profile possible.

When using more of the spices that you have, you can ensure that the dish will taste the way it’s supposed to. And even if you don’t have a mustard seed, you can still make a good meal.

Mustard Seed Substitute for Pickles

If you’re making pickles, you can use mustard powder instead of mustard seed. However, this might alter the flavor and it will cloud the liquid for pickling.

The best mustard seed substitute for pickles is cumin seed. Or caraway seed, as they both will still give a great flavor to your pickles without clouding the liquid. If you need to, you can also leave the mustard seeds out entirely and replace this with other spices.

Can I Use Mustard Powder Instead of Mustard Seeds?

Yes, in most cases, you can use mustard powder instead of mustard seeds, as it still has the same flavor and will be a good replacement.

However, in recipes where you need whole mustard seeds, make sure to check the recipe to see if it can be replaced with mustard powder.

If not, you will need a different replacement for whole mustard seeds, such as different varieties of mustard seed.

What is the Difference Between Black, Brown, and Yellow Mustard Seeds?

There are 3 main types of mustard seed including black, brown, and yellow. They all come from different areas and have slightly different flavor profiles but can be used interchangeably. 

Black mustard seeds are the most widely used. They are also the spiciest and most intense in flavor, usually being associated with spicy dishes and intense flavors.

If you’re using yellow mustard seeds in place of black mustard seeds, you can use at least twice the amount, as yellow mustard seeds are much milder.

Brown mustard seeds are also spicier, but not as spicy as black mustard seeds. And the two varieties can be used interchangeably.

You can use all 3 mustard seeds in any recipe that calls for mustard seeds. You might just need to alter the quantities to achieve the same flavor.

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