9 Best Mustard Seed Substitutes

Mustard is a versatile condiment that adds flavor and spice to any dish. It is used as a marinade, as a sauce, and as a condiment.

There are many varieties of mustard seed and depending on the region they may be called ‘yellow’ or ‘black.’ Mustard seeds can also be ground into powder to make your own recipe.

If you love mustard, as I do, it’s easy to run out of seeds at the most inopportune time! Luckily for us, there are plenty of alternatives that we can turn to when we’re in need of some good ol’ mustard seeds.

I’ve found 9 great substitutes for mustard seeds that will help you get back on track without breaking the bank.

9 Best Mustard Seed Substitutes

The best substitutes for mustard seed are horseradish and wasabi. You can also use caraway seeds, prepared mustard, and turmeric as mustard seed substitute in most recipes.

These are all easy-to-find ingredients that will help you make delicious meals with little fuss or muss. 

1. Horseradish


Horseradish is a root that has been made into a condiment. It’s often eaten with seafood, meats, and other dishes. The color of the horseradish will depend on how it was processed, but most will turn out an off-white or brownish color.

Horseradish is a great substitute for yellow mustard seeds. It adds a spicy kick to anything that doesn’t have too many other spices in it.

This would be great for any roast or meat dish that you want to spice up without overwhelming the other flavors in the dish.

2. Wasabi

Wasabi Substitutes

Wasabi is often used as an accompaniment to sushi. It has a spicy, green taste that is usually associated with Japanese cuisine.

Wasabi can be used as a black mustard seed substitute because it also has a distinct flavor and can add spiciness without overwhelming the dish you want to use it in.

Just remember to only use the wasabi if your meal includes Japanese flavors, as it can also be used as a spicy condiment on its own.

3. Caraway Seeds

Caraway is a plant that produces a seed that is often ground into a spice. These seeds have been known to have many medical uses and are frequently found in recipes from Europe and Central Asia.

Caraway seeds can be used in place of yellow mustard seeds. They are often used for pickling and will add their own flavors while also acting as a substitute.

This spice is milder than many others, so it’s great if you’re looking to reduce the heat in your meal slightly without sacrificing any flavor.

4. Prepared Mustard

Prepared mustard is mustard that has been combined with various spices to make it last longer. It is frequently found in American grocery stores and can be used as long as there are no other added ingredients like vinegar or sweeteners.

Prepared mustard is often milder than many yellow mustard seeds, so you may want to adjust the amount you use if using it as a substitute.

This is a great way to keep your favorite recipes intact, but with a different taste and an easy swap if you find yourself running low on supplies.

5. Turmeric

Turmeric Powder

Turmeric is a root that comes from the ginger family. It has been used in many cuisines over the years for its intense color and distinct flavor.

It’s usually used in smaller amounts because it can overpower the dish you are using it with if there isn’t enough liquid or other strong flavors in the dish.

Turmeric is a great substitute for yellow mustard seeds because of its color and distinct taste, but may not be a good alternative if your recipe is going to have many other spices or liquids because it can often overwhelm other flavors.

6. Cumin

Cumin is a spice that comes from the seeds of the cumin plant. It is most commonly used in Mexican, Indian and European cuisines.

Ground cumin seeds are frequently used as an alternative to yellow mustard seeds because they have similar flavor profiles.

They are commonly used as a base for chili powders as well, so they can help add a little kick to your next pot of chili.

7. Ground Mustard Powder

Ground mustard powder is just what it sounds like – the seeds have been ground into a fine powder that can be stored for longer periods of time and mixed into other dishes as needed.

It is commonly used as a condiment for meats and will vary in heat depending on the brand that you buy.

Ground mustard powder can easily be substituted for yellow mustard seeds. Just remember to adjust the amount that you use, since some powders may be hotter than others, and using too much can make your dish more difficult to eat.

8. Other Color Mustard Seeds

While yellow mustard seeds are most common, you can find other options such as brown and black. If you cannot find yellow seeds or prefer a different color, there is no harm in substituting them with another seed.

Other types of mustard seeds may not have the same flavor that yellow ones do, but they will still provide a similar texture and spiciness.

Be sure to check the substitution chart above before you swap them out so that your dish doesn’t end up being too strong.

9. More Spices


If you are having difficulty finding a substitute for mustard seed, it may be best to try something else.

Spices like paprika, ground coriander, or chili powder can all provide similar flavors without taking away from the dish you are preparing.

If none of these spices work as an alternative to mustard seeds, another option is to use prepared mustard instead.

While it is not made from seeds, it can be very similar in flavor and provide some of the same texture while also giving your meal a longer shelf life.

What is Mustard Seed?

Mustard, or Mustum Ardens as the Romans would have called it, is a condiment that is derived from the seeds of a mustard plant. Mustard seeds come from a plant that has small yellow or white flowers.

The seed itself is small, round, and is either yellow or brown in color. It comes in many varieties and can be made into a paste with a liquid to make a smooth sauce.

Mustard is used in many cuisines around the world including Asia, Europe, and America. It pairs well with any dish that you would use olive oil for or butter.

It often has a kick of heat which can be toned down by adding more liquid such as water or broth.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does mustard seed taste like?

Yellow mustard seeds have a sharp and slightly bitter taste, but when they are mixed into other liquids or dishes this flavor can be very mild.

They create the classic “hot dog” taste that we all know and love, but can also add some heat to your favorite salads and sauces.

Black mustard seeds are much more pungent than regular yellow mustard seeds are. They have a very strong, sharp taste that can be almost acidic. They are commonly used in Indian cooking to provide a distinct flavor to traditional dishes like curries.

Brown mustard seeds are milder than black seeds but stronger than yellow ones.

Similar to black seeds, brown seeds are pungent and offer a nutty taste that can be very sharp if used in excess. Brown mustard can also provide some spiciness to dishes, though it is not as hot as black seeds can be.

What is the difference between black, brown, and yellow mustard seeds?

The three colors of mustard seeds – black, brown, and yellow – each have their own distinct flavor. Black mustard seeds are the most pungent, followed by brown mustard seeds. Yellow mustard seeds are the mildest and are often used in Indian cooking.

How long do mustard seeds last?

Whole yellow mustard seeds can last for up to 2 years when stored in a cool, dry place. On the other hand, the ground mustard powder will stay fresh for about a year when stored in a cool, dry place.

Can I use mustard powder instead of mustard seeds?

Yes, you can use mustard powder instead of mustard seeds. Just keep in mind that the two spices will not have exactly the same flavor or spiciness, so you may need to play around with the amount until it tastes right for your liking.

How do you get the bitterness out of mustard seeds?

To get the bitterness out of mustard seeds you need to soak them in warm water for about 10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and pat them dry before using them in your recipe.

Final Words

I hope this article has been helpful, and it’s given you some ideas for what to use as a substitute for mustard seed if you find yourself in a pinch.

The next time you enjoy your favorite hot dog, take a moment to think of mustard and how delicious it really is!

I’m a passionate food blogger on a journey to become a go-to person who can help others prepare delicious foods. I share recipes, food substitutes, and other cooking tips. Read more about my journey...

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