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18 Best Mustard Seed Substitutes You Can Use In Any Dish 

When it comes to imparting food with rich aroma and flavors, mustard seeds are a key spice most people often use in all kinds of delicious dishes.

However, sometimes you run out of seeds or can’t find them at your grocery store, which is why having a substitute on hand is essential.

Up ahead, we’ve put together some of the best mustard seed substitutes you can use on any occasion.

What Are Mustard Seeds?

Mustard seed small rounded seeds removed from the mustard plant. They often come in different varieties, which can include black, brown, and yellow. However, most people are probably more familiar with the bright yellow ones. 

Mustard seeds have been used for different health and skin benefits since ancient times. However, in cooking, they are typically used for making soups, stews, sauces, and, most notably, prepared mustard. 

These little seeds are a staple in Indian cooking, and they possess a rich flavor that is a little bit nutty and slightly spicy. When added to most dishes, they provide a lovely boost of spice and a pungent aroma. 

However, they are not always available on hand. So we’re going to highlight the best substitutes you can use to replace them. Ready?  Let’s dive in.

Nutritional Value Table

Mustard Powder27
Whole Grain Mustard20
Caraway Seeds22
Prepared Mustard3
Nigella Seeds7
Mustard Oil124
Harissa Paste17
German Mustard10
Wholegrain Mustard20
Stone Ground Mustard20
Creole Mustard7
Chinese Mustard20
Dijon Mustard7
Cumin Seeds38
Pickling Spice30

1. Turmeric

Turmeric is a potent spice commonly used in Indian cooking. However, it is most known for its health benefits and medicinal properties, which help boost the immune system, fight off inflammation, and even help maintain the heart’s health. 

This spice has an intense golden yellow color and an earthy and mildly spicy flavor that resembles that of mustard seeds.  It is a great substitute to use in place of mustard seeds as it delivers the same spicy kick. 

It also works well in the same kinds of dishes mustard seeds are typically used for. You can use the powdered form or the freshly ground paste to get a stronger flavor.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when substituting turmeric for mustard seeds.

However, keep in mind that turmeric has the tendency to slightly change the color of some dishes, so it may be best to only use it in making sauces and soups.

2. Wasabi

Wasabi is a root plant of the Brassicaceae family of plants. With its distinct green color and pungent aroma, wasabi is a common condiment used in many Japanese cuisines. In fact, it is sometimes called Japanese horseradish. 

It has a flavor profile similar to mustard seeds, and it is spicy but not so hot that it overwhelms the palate. Instead, its flavor fills the nose with a sharp aroma and kick of flavor, making it an ideal mustard seed substitute. 

Since it often comes in a grounded paste, wasabi is a great ingredient to add to dishes like soup and stews or as a condiment for sushi.

How To Substitute

Use half a tablespoon of wasabi for every tablespoon of mustard seeds.

3. Mustard Powder

Mustard powder is a spice made from ground mustard seeds. Since its majorly composed of mustard seeds, it is probably one of the best substitutes for the seeds.

Mustard powder possesses a sharp, spicy, and pungent flavor that is identical to that of seeds, so you can use it in any dish that calls for mustard seeds. 

Just like seeds, you can use mustard powder in making savory soups, stews, and salad dressing or use it as a dry rub for meats.

Mustard powder is a common staple in Indian cuisines, but its distinctive flavor can be incorporated into dishes from all around the world.

How To Substitute

When replacing mustard seeds with mustard powder, use half a teaspoon of mustard powder for every teaspoon of mustard seeds required.

If the recipe calls for more than that, simply divide whatever amount is needed by half and use that amount of mustard powder.

4. Horseradish

Horseradish is another root vegetable from the same Brassicaceae family that wasabi belongs to. It is known for its many health benefits. It is rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants and has been shown to have cancer-fighting properties. 

Horseradish has a pungent and spicy flavor that matches that of mustard seeds. It also leaves a slight mustard-like taste on the palate, so it is an excellent substitute for mustard seeds. 

Eating horseradish raw might leave you overwhelmed with a sensation of heat, but incorporate it with other ingredients, and you’ll get a truly worthy replica of mustard seeds. 

While it is commonly used as a condiment, horseradish can actually be used for a wide variety of different dishes.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing mustard seeds with horseradish.

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5. Whole Grain Mustard

Whole grain mustard is a type of prepared mustard made from mustard seeds that have ground to form a paste.

Since the seeds are not ground into a completely smooth texture, this prepared mustard is much thicker and grittier than regular mustard. 

In terms of flavor, whole grain mustard is a great substitute for mustard seeds as it packs the same strong nutty, and spicy flavor of mustard seeds. 

It is commonly used as a condiment, but as a mustard seed substitute, you can use it for just about anything, from pickling to sauces and even salad dressing.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 measurement ratio when substituting mustard seed with whole-grain mustard.

Although you can find whole-grain mustard at your local grocery store, you can also make them from scratch if you prefer. Here’s a video to help you with the steps-

6. Caraway Seeds

Caraway seeds are the dried fruit of the aromatic caraway plant. They have been used in many parts of the world throughout the years for their medicinal properties, but they also make a great addition to different cuisines.

They have a nutty flavor with a sharp, bittersweet citrus aroma that often creates a flavor profile similar to mustard seeds. 

The flavor of these seeds intensifies during cooking, so they are an excellent substitute for mustard seeds if you’re looking for something to add to sauces and soups.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when substituting caraway seeds for mustard seeds. However, if you find that the seeds alone do not deliver the right amount of heat and pungent flavor, then combine them with some freshly ground cumin.

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7. Prepared Mustard

If you’ve ever looked at the bottle of your favorite store-bought mustard, you’ll notice it is made from mustard seeds, vinegar, and a few other ingredients.

This makes it a great substitute to use in place of mustard seeds when you run out of options. 

Prepared mustard has a mildly spicy and pungent aroma similar to that of mustard seeds and could easily impart the same flavors into any dish.

How To Substitute

The amount of prepared mustard needed will depend on the recipe. However, a good rule of thumb is to use two teaspoons of prepared mustard for each teaspoon of mustard seeds.

Since they are combined with other ingredients, most prepared mustards are often quite mild in comparison to mustard seeds. So, if you want to get the same strong flavor of mustard seeds, a little modification will be required. That might mean combining it with some horseradish or wasabi.

8. Nigella Seeds

Also known as black seeds, nigella seeds are another group of seeds known for their medicinal and culinary properties.

They are rich in antioxidants and have been shown to reduce inflammation in the body, regulate blood sugar, and have potential cancer-fighting properties. 

When it comes to flavor, these seeds have a smokey flavor and a warm, pungent aroma that makes them a great substitute for mustard seeds. They go well with savory dishes of all kinds and can be added to salad, meat, fish, and rice dishes.

 They also bring a rich flavor to curries and soups, so if you’re making an Indian dish that requires mustard seeds, nigella seeds are the perfect alternative to try.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing mustard seeds with nigella seeds.

9. Mustard Oil

Mustard oil is a pressed cooking oil derived from mustard seeds. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and other nutrients that are essential to the body. 

This oil also has the same pungent flavor and spicy aroma that mustard seeds possess, making it an excellent substitute for mustard seeds.

It is an ideal replacement to use when you can’t get your hand on any other spices we’ve mentioned, as cooking with this oil will ensure the main base of your dish has a robust mustardy flavor.

It is commonly used in Asian cuisines but can be incorporated into any kind of cuisine as long as you add it in moderation.

How To Substitute

Use two tablespoons of mustard oil for each tablespoon of mustard seeds required when substituting.

10. Harissa Paste

Harissa paste is a North African chili paste made from a blend of chilis, caraway seeds, and a host of other different species. It has a smoky, peppery flavor that adds a lovely kick of spice to different foods. 

If all you’re looking for is something to deliver that spicy mustard seed flavor, harissa is a great substitute to try. This paste works best as a marinade for meats and veggies, but it can also be added to sauces and stews.

How To Substitute

Use half a tablespoon of harissa for each teaspoon of mustard seeds.

11. German Mustard

If your recipe calls for a milder flavor, then german mustard will work great as a replacement for mustard seeds. It is prepared with mustard seeds, vinegar, spices, etc.

It has a strong and intense flavor and can use in sausages and meats, providing a thick and creamy texture.

How To Substitute

Use german mustard to replace mustard seeds in a 1:1 substitution ratio.

12. Wholegrain Mustard

To substitute for the mustard seed, you can use Wholegrain Mustard. It is made with water, mustard seed, salt, vinegar, and spices.

Wholegrain mustard is easier on the stomach and has fewer calories than regular mustard.

Wholegrain mustard is rich in nutrients such as calcium, iron, fiber, mineral, vitamins, etc.

How To Substitute

Replace mustard seeds with wholegrain mustard in an equal recipe.

13. Stone Ground Mustard

Stone Ground Mustard is a popular and versatile condiment that is great for everything from hot dogs to a classic tuna sandwich. It has a slightly more peppery taste than other mustards and a somewhat grainier texture.

Stone ground mustard will be a good alternative for coating your meat or fish. Apart from these, you may replace mustard seeds in various recipes such as sausages, rubs, barbecue sauce, etc.

How To Substitute

Replace one teaspoon of mustard seed with one teaspoon of stone ground mustard.

14. Creole Mustard

Mustard seeds are an excellent spice to use in many different dishes. However, in some cases, you might want to substitute the mustard seed with a store-bought Creole mustard, which is easy to find in most grocery stores.

The creole mustard is prepared with whole mustard and has a grainy texture. It has a sweeter and spicier taste since it is prepared with vinegar.

You can use it as a dipping or flavor your recipes, such as sauces, dressing, marinades, etc.

How To Substitute

Use creole mustard in an equal ratio to replace mustard seed in your recipe.

15. Chinese Mustard

Chinese Mustard is a key ingredient in Asian cuisine, and its use is a staple in many Chinese households. It is commonly used as a condiment and can be added to marinades, soups, stir-fries, and sauces.

It is made from black, brown, or white seeds that are typically toasted before being ground into a powder. Chinese mustard is similar in taste to horseradish. However, they are robust, spicy, and intense in flavor.

How To Substitute

Use it in a 1:1 ratio to substitute mustard seeds in your recipe.

16. Dijon Mustard

Dijon mustard is a type of mustard that has a sweeter and spicier flavor than regular mustard. Dijon mustard is commonly used in dishes such as salad dressings, meat marinades, and sauces. In addition, you can use it to substitute mustard seeds in a recipe.

Dijon mustard is one of the most common staples used in Asian cuisines and adds a unique and intense flavor to the recipe.

How To Substitute

You can use dijon mustard to replace mustard seeds in an equal ratio.

17. Cumin Seeds

Cumin seeds and mustard seeds have two different taste profiles, but still, cumin seeds will do great as an alternative to mustard seeds. So, if you are comfortable with a distinct taste, try using cumin seeds in your recipe.

Cumin seeds have a citrusy and intense flavor. They are an everyday staple in Indian cooking and will do great in curries.

How To Substitute

Use cumin seeds to replace mustard seeds in an equal ratio.

18. Pickling Spice

If your recipe calls for a tablespoon of mustard seed, you may try pickling spice. Without mustard seed, the recipe can be adapted to use a teaspoon of pickling spice. 

The substitution is not a noticeable difference and will not alter the dish’s flavor significantly. Therefore, you may use it in stews, casseroles, meats, and vegetables to add flavor to your recipe.

How To Substitute

You may use the pickling spice in an equal substitution ratio to replace mustard seeds.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Spicy Are Mustard Seeds?

Mustard seeds are actually not all that spicy. Although they deliver a kick of heat to the tongue, the taste is pretty mild and doesn’t last long enough to travel up the nose or overwhelm the entire palate.

The spiciest variety is the black mustard seeds, so if you want a milder and less spicy taste, you might want to opt for the brown and yellow ones.

Where Can I Find Mustard Seeds?

You should typically be able to find mustard seeds in the spice section of your local grocery store. However, if you can’t find them there, then the best place to get them is at either Asian/Indian stores or spice specialty stores.

Can I Use Dijon Mustard Instead Of Mustard Seeds?

Dijon mustard is made from mustard seeds and a few other ingredients. So yes, you can absolutely use dijon mustard in place of mustard seeds if you prefer.

How Much Ground Mustard Equals Mustard Seeds?

Mustard seeds and ground mustard essentially have the same amount of flavor. So they both have the same quantity. One tablespoon of ground mustard is equal to one tablespoon of mustard seeds.

Can I Use Yellow Mustard Seeds Instead Of Black Mustard Seeds?

You can substitute yellow mustard seeds for black mustard seeds since they are essentially the same type of seeds. 

However, the black ones usually have a stronger and more pungent spicy flavor. So, it may help to increase the amount of yellow mustard seeds you use in order to get the same intensity of flavor as the black variety.

Do I Need Mustard Seed For Pickles?

Mustard seeds are added to pickles to impart some heat and a nice crunchy texture, but they are not completely necessary.

If you don’t have them, you can still go ahead with your pickling or simply use a mustard seed substitute like the ones we highlighted in this post.

What Can I Use Instead Of Mustard Seeds For Pickles?

When pickling, the best substitutes for mustard seeds include caraway seeds, turmeric, horseradish, and nigella seeds.

18 Mustard Seed Substitutes You Can Use In Any Dish 

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Mustard seed substitutes come in a range of flavors that will satisfy your tastes. Try it now!


  • Turmeric

  • Wasabi

  • Mustard Powder

  • Horseradish

  • Whole Grain Mustard

  • Caraway Seeds

  • Store-Bought Mustard

  • Nigella Seeds

  • Mustard Oil

  • Harissa Paste

  • German Mustard

  • Wholegrain Mustard

  • Stone Ground Mustard

  • Creole Mustard

  • Chinese Mustard

  • Dijon Mustard

  • Cumin Seeds

  • Pickling Spice


  • Choose your favorite substitute from the list given above
  • Follow the directions given in the recipe after having substituted the ingredient in the correct ratio

Recipe Video

Jess Smith

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Saturday 6th of May 2023

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