9 Best Substitute For Whole Grain Mustard

Whole Grain Mustard Substitute

Whole grain mustard, the heartier, full-bodied cousin to conventional mustards, is beloved for its robust, tangy flavor and distinct grainy texture. This condiment, comprised of whole or partially ground mustard seeds, water, vinegar, salt, and sometimes additional flavorings, is an essential element in countless recipes, providing a punch of spiciness that can effortlessly elevate a dish.

However, finding an apt substitute for this specialty mustard when it’s unavailable or when you’re in the throes of culinary creativity can be daunting. This comprehensive guide is designed to be your rescue, offering nine reliable alternatives that can not only save your dish from blandness but also expand your flavor palette. From the sophisticated Dijon to the vibrant turmeric, each of these substitutes comes with its own unique flavor profile and texture, allowing for a level of versatility that makes them invaluable in a variety of culinary applications.

What is Whole Grain Mustard?

Whole grain mustard, also known as coarse mustard, is a type of condiment made from whole or partially ground mustard seeds. These seeds are mixed with water, vinegar, salt, and sometimes other flavorings to form a thick, coarse paste. The mustard seeds offer a rich and pungent flavor with a slight heat that varies depending on the type of mustard seed used. The intact seeds provide a texture that is unique to whole grain mustard and a visual appeal that sets it apart from its smooth counterparts.

A Glance at the Mustard World: Substitutes for Whole Grain Mustard

  • Dijon Mustard
  • Yellow Mustard
  • Brown Mustard
  • Honey Mustard
  • Homemade Mustard Paste
  • Horseradish
  • Wasabi
  • Turmeric
  • Ground Mustard Seeds

Best Substitutes For Whole Grain Mustard

Let’s delve deeper into these substitutes, exploring what each brings to the table, their flavor profiles, and how best to incorporate them into your dishes.

Dijon Mustard

Dijon mustard is a smooth and creamy mustard variety that originated in the Dijon region of France. It offers a sophisticated, sharp, and tangy flavor profile, making it a great substitute for whole grain mustard. Dijon is made from finely ground white mustard seeds, water, salt, and an essential ingredient — white wine, which gives it its distinct and elegant flavor.

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The fact that Dijon mustard is more widely available and versatile in recipes can make it an attractive alternative. Its smooth texture can blend seamlessly into sauces, marinades, and dressings, where you might otherwise use whole grain mustard. Though you won’t have the same texture as whole grain mustard, the flavor punch Dijon brings can more than compensate for that.

While Dijon mustard is ideal for gourmet recipes and French cuisine, it can also be used in everyday cooking. For instance, a dash of Dijon in your homemade vinaigrette or a smear on a sandwich can elevate the flavor profile.

Yellow Mustard

Yellow mustard, also known as American mustard, is a common condiment found in many households, especially in the United States. It’s made from white mustard seeds, turmeric, water, vinegar, salt, and other spices. The addition of turmeric gives it a bright yellow color, hence the name.

The flavor of yellow mustard is milder compared to whole grain mustard, with a slight tanginess. While it lacks the robustness of whole grain mustard, it can still provide a similar kick to your dishes. The advantage of yellow mustard is its widespread availability and familiarity.

Although yellow mustard is most associated with classic American dishes like hot dogs and burgers, its potential extends far beyond that. It can be used in marinades for poultry, fish, and vegetables or incorporated into barbecue sauces. Even in salad dressings, yellow mustard can add a pleasant tang and spice.

Brown Mustard

Often overlooked, brown mustard is a compelling substitute for whole grain mustard. It’s made from brown mustard seeds, which are hotter and more pungent than their white counterparts. The flavor of brown mustard is strong and spicy, closer to that of whole grain mustard, making it an excellent substitute.

Brown mustard is generally less refined than Dijon or yellow mustard, giving it a slightly coarser texture that can somewhat mimic the texture of whole grain mustard. This makes it suitable for recipes where the grainy texture of whole grain mustard is desired.

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You’ll find brown mustard frequently used in Indian and Asian cuisines. However, its intense flavor can also work wonders in Western dishes, from roasts to sandwiches, and of course, in homemade barbecue sauces.

Honey Mustard

Honey mustard, as the name suggests, is a blend of mustard and honey, resulting in a sweet and tangy flavor. While it doesn’t have the heat of whole grain mustard, honey mustard’s unique flavor profile can be an interesting variation in many dishes.

Honey mustard can be a perfect substitute if you’re preparing a dish that benefits from a touch of sweetness. It works exceptionally well in dressings, glazes, and dips, adding a sweet, tangy twist to your recipes. Remember, when using honey mustard as a substitute, consider the sweetness it brings and adjust your recipe accordingly.

Homemade Mustard Paste

Creating your own mustard paste at home allows you to control the flavor and texture, making it a fantastic substitute for whole grain mustard. You can use a mixture of mustard powder and water, or you can experiment with whole mustard seeds. The latter will provide a texture closer to whole grain mustard.

Adjusting the ingredients to your liking, you can add vinegar for tang, honey for sweetness, or even wine for a touch of sophistication. Letting the paste sit for a few days will also intensify the flavors. This homemade paste can be used in any recipe that calls for whole grain mustard.


Horseradish is a root vegetable known for its pungent aroma and heat, similar to the spicy undertones of whole grain mustard. Although it lacks the distinctive mustard flavor, it can bring the necessary heat and tang to your dishes.

Horseradish is best used as a substitute in recipes where the mustard isn’t the star player, but rather a component that contributes to the overall flavor. Its potency can enhance sauces, roasts, and seafood dishes, much like whole grain mustard.


Wasabi, a Japanese horseradish, provides a strong heat that quickly dissipates, leaving a sweet aftertaste. This makes it an interesting substitute for whole grain mustard, especially for those who enjoy a good kick in their food.

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Wasabi is excellent for recipes that appreciate a brief, intense heat. Use it sparingly due to its potency. Wasabi can be an intriguing alternative in dressings, marinades, and sushi, offering an exotic flavor twist.


Turmeric, while not a direct substitute, can replicate the yellow color of mustard and add a mild, earthy flavor to dishes. Turmeric is a common spice used in Indian cuisine and is famous for its health benefits.

It’s important to remember that turmeric cannot mimic the heat or tanginess of mustard. It is more suited as a color substitute in recipes where the absence of mustard’s vibrant yellow wouldn’t go unnoticed. Always pair it with a spicy element to bring a hint of mustard’s heat to your dishes.

Ground Mustard Seeds

Ground mustard seeds are essentially mustard in its purest form, offering a strong, spicy flavor. They lack the vinegar and water found in prepared mustards, which results in a more concentrated flavor.

Ground mustard seeds can be used in any recipe that calls for whole grain mustard, particularly when you’re looking for a stronger mustard flavor. They are perfect for dry rubs, spice blends, and even in cooking processes where the moisture of prepared mustard could be a hindrance.

Substitutes for Whole Grain Mustard: Nutritional Profile

Let’s examine the nutritional profile of these substitutes. Here is a rough estimate of the nutrients found in a ¼ cup of each:

Dijon Mustard803.4g6.7g3.1g4.2gNo
Yellow Mustard563.2g5.2g2.7g3.5gNo
Brown Mustard843.6g7.4g3.4g4.6gNo
Honey Mustard1403.6g28g0g0gNo
Homemade Mustard PasteVariesVariesVariesVariesVariesNo
Ground Mustard Seeds1287.2g15g3.2g6.3gNo

Final Thoughts

In a culinary pinch, knowing your options can make all the difference. Each of these substitutes for whole grain mustard brings unique flavors and characteristics to your dishes. Whether you’re looking for a similar taste, an intriguing twist, or a homemade touch, these alternatives have got you covered. Remember, the key to great cooking is not just following recipes to the letter but also the ability to adapt, experiment, and explore. Happy cooking!

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