The Best Mustard Seed Substitutes You Might Have Now!

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Have you ever come across a recipe that requires mustard seeds? Some of you might not find it familiar or have only heard of the ingredient recently, while others rave about mustard seeds.

Even if you have no mustard seeds in the kitchen, you most likely have a bottle of mustard in your fridge, a favored condiment among the household!

We’re getting ahead of ourselves (we LOVE mustard seeds!), so let’s get back to the topic…

What can you do if your recipe calls for mustard seeds, but you have none at home? So, what is a good substitute for mustard seed?

Don’t worry; you can use many mustard seed substitutes, so read on for our comprehensive list! 

What’s Mustard Seed Exactly?

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If you aren’t familiar with mustard seeds, these are tiny, dried seeds that come from three specific mustard plant varieties. While there are more than 40 mustard plants worldwide, only three are made to produce seeds including white, black, and brown mustard seed! (*)

It’s so cool that people cultivated mustard plants for food ever since ancient Roman times, with mustard seeds being mentioned in the Bible’s New Testament. (*)

Many chefs and home cooks love mustard seeds because it offers a unique and distinctive flavor, tasting pungent with an aroma. In fact, it’s a very popular ingredient in different cuisines worldwide.

Expect mustard seeds to have a bit of spice to them, having a hot, peppery taste. If you know what mustard, the condiment, tastes like, then the seeds taste the same, only fresher and sharper.

The tiny seeds have crunchy outer shells that pop once bitten, with a creamy and flavorful interior. When soaked, mustard seeds will soak up the juices and liquids excellently, turning jelly-like.

We can eat mustard seeds raw, incorporating them into our salad dressings or sauces.

You can also fry mustard seeds in oil to add to cooked dishes.

While mustard seeds are common, you may not easily find them in your local supermarket, or you’re in a pinch and have none at home. Whatever the case is, you can find the best substitute for mustard seed, such as:

The 7 Best Substitutes for Mustard Seed

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1. Use Horseradish For A Spicy & Savory Dishes

Horseradish is a popular mustard seed substitute as both ingredients share similar slightly spicy and pungent flavors. If you’re preparing spicy and savory dishes, you can’t go wrong with horseradish when substituting mustard seeds!

This ingredient is from the same botanical family mustard seeds come from, so they have the same flavor profiles.

You can use prepared or fresh horseradish as a perfect substitute for mustard seed, with the former being stored in vinegar with a spicier taste.

2. Caraway Seeds Is A Suitable & Easy-to-find Option

Caraway seeds taste like mustard seeds with a slightly warm, spicy, and pungent mustard flavor.

Just use the same quantity your recipe calls for , and caraway seeds will give that brilliant flavor you want in any dish that calls for mustard seeds.

We recommend adding cumin to your dish for a more enhanced flavor, which intensifies flavors while resembling mustard seeds more.

Learn more: Caraway Seed Substitute (8 Simple Ways to Get Around)

3. Use Wasabi Powder (For Spicer Recipe)

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You probably know what wasabi is, a popular ingredient in Asian cuisine that looks similar to horseradish, a spicy green paste.

Expect wasabi to have a pungent flavor you can find from horseradish and mustard seeds.

Plus, wasabi is pretty spicy, making it a perfect substitute for mustard seeds. However, it might be too spicy, so start with only about half the amount the recipe calls for.

4. Turmeric Powder (For A Milder Taste)

Turmeric powder is an Asian spice having a distinct orange color and remarkable medical properties. It’s very popular in Indian and South Asian dishes.

We love using turmeric powder as a substitute for mustard seed as it offers a peppery and pungent flavor you find in mustard seeds. It’s milder than mustard seeds, caraway, or horseradish, but it still tastes similar.

If you want more spice, then add a bit of horseradish to your recipe as well.

5. Prepared Mustard (When You’re In a Pinch)

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What better substitute for mustard seeds than prepared mustard? Prepared mustard will have a similar flavor profile since it comes from mustard seed.

If you’re in a pinch and have prepared mustard at home, then this is a great alternative. Simply add a few teaspoons to your dish for that kick.

We highly recommend using Dijon mustard for its intense and spicier flavor than regular prepared mustard, but the latter will still work just fine.

6. Cumin

Cumin is a fantastic spice you can find in Indian cuisine, especially in curries. It has a pungent flavor, and while different taste to the mustard seed, it has a citrus flavor, so it still makes a great substitution.

Intensify the flavors by adding a bit of horseradish or wasabi with your cumin. But even without, you get a unique taste to your dish you might appreciate.

7. Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise?! That sounds strange, but you’ll be surprised that it works, as long as you’re looking for a replacement for yellow mustard seeds.

Yellow mustard seeds are the mildest among the different varieties, usually added to recipes for improved consistency.

If you have no yellow mustard seeds around, add a tablespoon of mayonnaise for texture.

That said, you won’t achieve a similar taste. So, only add a little bit of mayonnaise to avoid ruining your dish’s flavor.

8. Make Homemade Mustard Seed

You can’t create your own mustard seed (unless you want to plant), but you can make homemade mustard to replace mustard seeds.

To make smooth, yellow mustard, follow these steps:

  • Mix the mustard powder, garlic powder, paprika, and ground turmeric in a pan, playing around with the amounts until you get your preferred flavor.
  • Whisk in a cup of water and let the mixture simmer until it turns into a thick paste. Then, add half a cup of vinegar and allow it to simmer for another ten minutes.
  • Let it cool and store it in an airtight container, where it can last for up to three months when in the fridge.

Get recipe:

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you left with more questions about mustard seeds and any of the substitutes?

Check out these frequently asked questions to learn more about this ingredient:

Wrapping It Up

Looking for a mustard seed replacement doesn’t need to be so tricky! With many of these alternatives having natural spiciness, you can still enjoy the flavor of mustard seed even without that vital ingredient.

The best spice substitutes for mustard seeds are horseradish, caraway seeds, wasabi powder, or turmeric powder.

Whether you’re trying Indian cooking or other recipes asking for mustard seed, go for any of these alternatives and let us know what you think!

Happy cooking!

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