Stone ground mustard and Dijon mustard are both prepared mustards, which means that they are very similar to each other in terms of their main ingredient. They are also different enough to have a better understanding of each before using either of them. Let’s see how they compare in the SPICEography Showdown below.
How does stone ground mustard differ from Dijon mustard?
While stone ground mustard has likely been around since the Neolithic period, Dijon mustard is a relatively recent invention. Mustard-making in Dijon began in the 13th century, but Dijon mustard became a distinctive condiment in the 19th century with the use of verjuice, which is the juice of unripe grapes.
Stone ground mustard is made with coarsely ground brown mustard seeds. The traditional version is ground between two millstones resulting in a mix of fully ground, partially ground, and whole mustard seeds. Stone ground mustard has a thick, coarse mouthfeel. Dijon mustard is made only with completely ground seeds, which gives it a smooth and creamy consistency.
Like all prepared mustards, stone ground mustard needs a liquid that is also a source of acidity. The common option is vinegar — often white wine vinegar — but wine is used in some French stone ground mustards. Dijon mustard is typically made with white wine and vinegar or verjuice if you want a traditional flavor profile.
Stone ground mustard is typically milder than Dijon mustard even though both are made with the same kind of mustard seeds. The reason is that not all of the seeds in stone ground mustard have been ground. All of the seeds in Dijon are ground. Grinding releases the compounds that create the heat. Also, stone ground mustard is sometimes more acidic than Dijon mustard. The addition of acid helps to cut the heat down. Dijon’s comparatively low acidity maximizes the heat from the mustard seeds.
Can you use stone ground mustard as a substitute for Dijon mustard and vice versa?
Stone ground mustard can work as a substitute for Dijon mustard in most applications. A stone ground mustard made with white wine will make an even better substitute than one made with vinegar. Because of the increased thickness and coarse grind, some might consider it an improvement. It won’t be ideal in dishes where you need a smooth consistency or the more intense flavor profile that Dijon brings, but it should still do a decent job of providing the strong mustard notes.
You can use Dijon mustard to replace stone ground mustard in most applications as well. If you like heat, you may find the spicy bite preferable to the relatively mild stone ground mustard. Because of its smoothness, Dijon mustard may have a less enjoyable mouthfeel for some. If the heat is a problem, try toning it down with a little extra acidity or a sweetener. Sugar and honey are good options.
When should you use stone ground mustard, and when should you use Dijon mustard?
Stone ground mustard works best on hearty sandwiches, where the coarse grind complements rich meats like beef or ham. The coarse grind may also be a benefit when it is added to a vinaigrette. Stone ground mustard is an excellent addition to wet rubs and barbecue sauces.
Dijon mustard is excellent in glazes and sauces, especially those where you want a mustard flavor without seeing whole mustard seeds. It can also be mixed into eggs or added to soups.