Dijon Vs. Yellow Mustard: SPICEography Showdown

Dijon mustard and yellow mustard have been marketed in terms of social class for many years. The most famous Dijon mustard is Grey Poupon, which was once marketed as a fancy mustard. Yellow mustard is seen as the working man’s mustard with fewer pretensions and a lower price. The two have more in common than the ads would have you believe. They also have some important differences. Let’s see how Dijon mustard compares to yellow mustard in this SPICEography Showdown.

How do Dijon mustard and yellow mustard differ?

There are three main differences between Dijon mustard and yellow mustard: color, flavor, and place of origin.

Let’s start with the color. Dijon mustard is a dull yellow color similar to the color of dry mustard. In comparison, yellow mustard has the striking yellow color that it gets from turmeric. Turmeric is the same spice used to color curry powder.

Another difference in appearance has to do with the consistencies. Dijon mustard has a thicker and closer to being a paste since it doesn’t have as much vinegar in it as yellow mustard does. Yellow mustard is runnier and has a consistency like ketchup.

The high vinegar content results in the main flavor difference: Dijon mustard is noticeably less tart than yellow mustard. Dijon mustard is also a little spicier than yellow mustard since it is made with brown mustard seeds; yellow mustard is made with white mustard seeds, which have a milder taste. Lastly, there is a difference in origin. Dijon mustard is a French mustard from the city of Dijon. Yellow mustard was created by the R.T. French Company for the St Louis World’s Fair in 1904. 

Can you use Dijon mustard as a substitute for yellow mustard and vice versa?

It is true that Dijon mustard and yellow mustard are different products, but they are not so different that you can replace one with the other in most cases. If you do need to use one as a substitute, you will need to take the differences above into account.

You can use Dijon mustard in place of yellow mustard if you want something a little less acidic, or you can add extra acid to compensate if your recipe needs that acidity. If you want the bright color of yellow mustard, you can get it by adding a little turmeric to some Dijon mustard. 

If you want to use yellow mustard in place of Dijon mustard, you will need to use it in recipes that can benefit from the extra acidity. For example, it will work well in anything that has additional vinegar. Use yellow mustard and reduce some of the other vinegar in the dish. Keep in mind that yellow mustard will give paler dishes a more noticeable yellow color.  

When should you use Dijon mustard and when should you use yellow mustard

Dijon mustard is an all-purpose condiment that you can serve with roast beef, use in your salad dressings or add to a marinade. Combine it with mayonnaise to make a flavorful spread for sandwiches or with honey to make honey mustard.

Yellow mustard is the traditional ballpark mustard that you see used on hotdogs at baseball games. It’s a traditional topping for hamburgers as well. Use it to flavor the yolks of deviled eggs and in the dressing for mayonnaise salad, macaroni salad, or egg salad. Dip your pretzels in it or use it to give a pleasant tang to your macaroni and cheese.