What’s A Good Spicy Brown Mustard Substitute?

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Spicy brown mustard is more intensely flavorful than most other mustards. The intense flavor can make a more enjoyable accompaniment to strong-flavored meats like roast beef or pastrami. If you don’t have any spicy brown mustard on hand, there’s still hope. There are quite a few options that can provide you with at least some of the same flavors. Here’s a look at a few of the best spicy brown mustard substitutes:

Your best bet: Make your own spicy brown mustard

You can make spicy brown mustard from scratch by combining the same few ingredients used in most commercial versions. You will need brown mustard seeds, vinegar, and a few spices to add to taste.

Soak the mustard seeds in the vinegar for about 24 hours, add the other ingredients, and blend until the mix acquires the desired consistency. While you may not be able to perfectly replicate the flavor profile of a specific brand of mustard, you will get a reasonable approximation of this style of mustard. If you want to maximize the heat, use as little vinegar as possible. 

A decent second choice: Dijon mustard

Dijon mustard has been around since the 19th century and is about as prevalent in parts of Europe as spicy brown mustard. It’s popular for the same reason: it has a spicy bite to it like spicy brown mustard. A part of the reason for its heat is that it is made with the same kind of brown mustard seeds. Dijon mustard is considered an excellent addition to sauces and marinades because its smoothness allows it to blend in with them evenly where spicy brown mustard might make it seem grainy. 

The main differences between Dijon and spicy brown mustard are color and consistency. Dijon has a smooth texture and an even color while spicy brown mustard’s consistency is coarser, and it has a speckled look from the whole and partially ground mustard grains it contains. 

The smooth Dijon mustard won’t provide the same rich mouthfeel that you would get from spicy brown mustard even though it will provide a very similar flavor. 

In a pinch: Yellow mustard and cayenne

Yellow mustard is also known as ballpark mustard and is an American favorite. Its most distinguishing characteristic is the bright yellow color that it gets from turmeric. Yellow mustard has the same tanginess that you would get from spicy brown mustard and can provide many of the same flavor notes as spicy brown mustard on sandwiches and in sauces.

Despite having a similar mustard flavor to spicy brown mustard, American mustard has very little of the heat. One reason is that yellow mustard is made with white mustard seeds, which are much milder than the brown ones used in spicy brown mustard. Another reason is that it uses more vinegar, which tones down the heat. You can replace that heat with cayenne pepper. The heat from capsaicin is quite different from the kind of heat in spicy brown mustard, but it can do a reasonable job of approximating it. 

Other alternatives

Horseradish is an adequate substitute for spicy brown mustard mainly because the horseradish plant belongs to the same family as the mustard plant and has a similar level of heat. Most of the wasabi that you get in Western grocery stores will be horseradish with green food coloring added so you can use that as well.


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