Not all mustard is the same! Mustard comes in several varieties but they are all derived from mainly three types of mustard seeds: black, yellow, and brown – and knowing the differences between them can allow you to easily substitute any mustard for your daily needs.
What are the best substitutes for brown mustard? Brown mustard is grainy and has a sweet, tangy, and pungent flavor that can be substituted with Dijon, yellow mustard, mustard powder, honey mustard, and even non-mustard alternatives like rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
Read below to learn more about mustard seeds, how they are made, and what you can use to replace brown mustard at home!
Types of Mustard
Mustard has been a part of the human diet for a very long time. It is believed that it was popularized in ancient Rome and was then introduced to what is now France.
From there, mustard production switched into high gear, especially after the 9th century.
Today, there are several types of mustard condiments and each can provide varying flavors and textures depending on how they are prepared and the spices used to flavor the condiment.
Brown mustard is specifically made using either black or brown mustard seeds. This type of mustard has a pronounced flavor and a thick texture that can be used in sandwiches, hotdogs, hamburgers, and more.
Unlike yellow mustard, which is sweeter and made using yellow mustard seeds, brown mustard is distinctly tangier and provides an excellent mouthfeel due to the presence of coarsely ground mustard seeds.
Some brands may also prepare brown mustard using a combination of brown and black seeds which provides a more balanced flavor profile – this cross combination is why brown mustard can also be substituted using other types of mustard too!
Why Substitute Brown Mustard?
There are several reasons why one might want to substitute mustard, let’s go over a few of them:
While mustard is naturally gluten-free, some brands may add wheat to thicken the mixture. If you are trying to cut back or avoid gluten, then you might want to use a close substitute to get more or less the same flavor.
It is also important to note that some types of mustard may also be prepared using non-vegetarian ingredients. The good news is that most of the alternatives on our list below are readily available in gluten-free and vegan varieties!
The flavor of mustard can either be overpowering or subtle depending on its type. In most cases, brown mustard is known to have a more prominent flavor which can impact the overall balance of flavors in your dishes.
If you are looking for a subtle flavor of mustard with or without its signature grainy mouthfeel, then we suggest that you go with non-mustard alternatives.
Another, more innocuous reason to substitute brown mustard may just be that you have run out of it in your pantry or you want to try a different alternative to explore new ways to enjoy your favorite food.
In any case, you will find our recommendations below to fit all your mustard needs!
Best Substitutes for Brown Mustard
Here are some of the best substitutes for brown mustard:
Mustard powder is a highly versatile ingredient and is perfect for people who are looking for the same great mustard flavor but without the added texture.
Using mustard powder can also provide you the opportunity to make your very own mustard condiment too!
By mixing mustard powder, vinegar, sugar, and spices, you can make a highly customized condiment that can be used in virtually any recipe.
Mustard powder can also be used to make a variety of dressings. Just add a pinch of mustard to a dollop of mayo to create a thick and delicious mustard sauce that can be used with meat recipes.
Keep in mind that mustard powder can be prepared using black, yellow, or brown mustard seeds. If you are looking for a milder mustard flavor then we recommend going with yellow mustard powder.
You can also combine yellow and black mustard powder for a more balanced flavor profile.
Usage: To substitute, use a cup of prepared mustard powdered mixture for every cup of brown mustard.
If you are looking for a commercial mustard flavor without the accompanying coarse texture then we suggest that you try Dijon mustard.
This condiment is also prepared using brown mustard seeds, but it has a smoother texture and a rounded flavor which makes it the perfect brown mustard substitute.
Dijon mustard is easier to spread and can be used in salad dressings, marinades, and even as an all-purpose condiment in everyday cooking. Depending on the recipe, you can also add a dash of honey to Dijon mustard to give it a sweeter flavor profile.
Usage: Go with a 1:1 ratio. Use a cup of Dijon mustard for every cup of brown mustard.
This is perhaps the safest option in the mustard family. Yellow mustard has a mild flavor with sweet notes that make it the default choice for many foods in North America.
It has a smooth texture and a balanced flavor profile that makes it suitable for various types of recipes.
Whether it’s hamburgers, hotdogs, salads, or even marinades; yellow mustard can easily provide more or less the same flavor as brown mustard.
Usage: We recommend going with a cup of yellow mustard for every cup of brown mustard. You may also add additional spices like paprika to enhance its overall flavor.
Looking for the perfect ingredient to make delicious dips? Then try honey mustard! Not only is this substitute healthier, but it is also a great substitute for brown mustard.
It has a sweeter flavor profile than brown mustard and the consistency of yellow mustard.
Honey mustard can be used to add not just flavor but also a glaze to meat. As the sugars in the condiment caramelize, they will add an accentuated flavor that may even surpass brown mustard!
Usage: To substitute, use a cup of honey mustard for every cup of brown mustard.
Want a bolder flavor? Then try wasabi! Wasabi is a great substitute for brown mustard because it provides the same pungent and spicy flavor notes of brown mustard but with an added kick that can take your recipes to the next level.
You can even prepare a wasabi powder mix at home using just four ingredients: Horseradish, yellow or black mustard powder, tapioca or corn starch, and wasabi.
Usage: Wasabi can be quite strong so it should be used in moderation. We suggest trying this condiment in increments until you get the desired flavor in your recipe.
If you love wasabi then you might also enjoy this brown mustard substitute! Wholegrain mustard is an excellent choice for people who are looking for a bold flavor and a thicker texture than brown mustard.
Wholegrain mustard is prepared with mustard seeds that are lightly ground to make a thick paste. This means that you get a coarser condiment with a pungent flavor!
Keep in mind that whole-grain mustard can be prepared using yellow, black, and brown mustard seeds.
We recommend going with yellow wholegrain mustard seeds for a balanced flavor or black wholegrain mustard seeds for a distinctly pungent condiment!
Usage: Just as wasabi, you should use wholegrain mustard in increments until you get the right flavor. But you may be able to use a 1:1 ratio when using yellow wholegrain mustard to substitute brown mustard.
Best Non-Mustard Substitutes for Brown Mustard
If you are out of mustard at home, then we have the perfect substitutes that you can use to get more or less the same flavor.
Technically speaking, horseradish belongs to the same family as mustard but provides a serious kick in terms of flavor and spiciness.
It’s also similar to wasabi so you can get an idea of how strong this root can be! Horseradish can be creamed and mixed with mayo or other ingredients to make a very delicious condiment.
Usage: Use horseradish in moderation to get the most out of its flavor. You may require to tweak its quantity to get a similar flavor as brown mustard.
White Rice Vinegar
If you want to use brown mustard to prepare sauces, dips, or marinades, then we recommend that you go with white rice vinegar.
It won’t provide the same mouthfeel or flavor but it will offer more or less a subtle mustard-like flavor when mixed in sauces or other recipes.
White rice vinegar has a mild and tangy flavor but you can also pair it with a dash of apple cider vinegar for a tangier flavor.
Usage: Go with 2 parts of vinegar mixture and 1 part of water for a cup of brown mustard.
Now that you know the best brown mustard substitutes, here are some related questions:
Can you make mustard at home from mustard seeds?
If you have mustard seeds at home then you can prepare homemade mustard by first grinding the mustard seeds into powder and then cooking it with water, vinegar, and spices like turmeric, paprika, garlic, etc. You can also find several recipes for homemade mustard too!
Can you use beer mustard as a substitute for brown mustard?
Beer mustard is a mixture of flat beer or pale ale, mustard seeds, vinegar, and spices. You can use beer mustard as a substitute for brown mustard but the flavor of beer mustard can vary depending on the type of beer used. We recommend tasting the condiment before adding it to your recipes.