Whole grain mustard is a prepared mustard made with minimally ground or unground mustard seeds. You can use it like any other mustard; it is great on sandwiches, in potato salad, and on roast beef. That said, it may not be available everywhere and may be expensive when you can find it. Below are some whole grain mustard substitutes that are likely to be easier to find and more affordable.
Your best bet: Make your own whole grain mustard
Whole grain mustard is one of the simplest condiments to make. It is basic enough that you could make it with two ingredients: unground mustard seeds and a flavorful liquid in which to soak them. That liquid is usually vinegar but it is sometimes made with wine or beer. It’s up to you and your preferences.
Of course, an ideal mustard will involve more than just two ingredients. You will need other seasonings like honey and salt, but it rarely ever gets complicated. Add horseradish if you want to increase the spice level. The key will also be to avoid heating it to preserve the flavor of the mustard. It should never rise above room temperature since the compounds that provide flavor are destroyed by excessive heat.
A decent second choice: Stone ground mustard
The main quality that sets whole grain mustard apart from other mustards is its mouthfeel. As the name indicates, the seeds aren’t ground so the texture is coarse and this can help to enhance certain foods. Stone ground mustard is coarsely ground and so will come the closest to replicating whole grain mustard’s distinctive texture.
Because the seeds in whole grain mustard aren’t ground, the sinigrin that must degrade to allyl isothiocyanate to give you mustard’s pungency and heat doesn’t change so you get a relatively mild condiment. Stone ground mustard is partially ground so it won’t be as mild; however, it is still not as hot as fully ground mustards. It offers an excellent compromise between heat and mouthfeel.
In a pinch: Yellow mustard
Yellow mustard is also known as American mustard and is the traditional condiment for hotdogs. Other names for it include ballpark mustard. It is bright yellow because it contains turmeric, and it has a tart flavor profile because it contains a lot of vinegar. The vinegar also has the effect of neutralizing the mustard’s heat resulting in a very mild product. The mildness is what makes it such a good whole grain mustard substitute. Like whole grain mustard, it won’t overpower your food with heat but it will provide a little flavor.
Yellow mustard’s downside is that it is smooth and runny, not a chunky paste. The vinegar flavor may also be too aggressive for some dishes.
Made in Dijon France, Dijon mustard offers a slightly more flavorful alternative to whole grain mustard without being too much more flavorful. Dijon mustard is made with the juice of unripe grapes, which is not quite as acidic as vinegar so it won’t completely neutralize the heat of the mustard seeds.
The result is a prepared mustard with a little more heat and tang than you would get from whole grain mustard. While Dijon mustard provides flavor, it won’t give you a lot in terms of mouthfeel since most versions are completely smooth like yellow mustard.