Substitute for English Mustard

Substitute for English Mustard (Image: Olesia Shadrina/iStock/GettyImages)

The first time you ever saw mustard, it was probably a line of yellow on a hot dog alongside tomato ketchup and fried onions. What a great introduction to this tasty condiment. English mustard is a little hotter than regular American mustard used on hot dogs and burgers, and you might see the Brits' version of mustard listed as mustard powder in recipes. If you're all out of this tangy spice whether ready prepared or as a powder, there are plenty of substitutes from which to choose.

What Is English Mustard?

English mustard gets its special pepperiness from the combination of mustard seeds it contains. While American mustard is made from mild, yellow mustard seeds, the variety from across the pond also contains spicier brown mustard seeds. What's more, ready-prepared English mustard contains a different liquid as a mixing agent. American mustard is mixed with vinegar, which reduces the burn effect of the seeds, but English mustard is prepared with water, producing an explosion of spiciness.

Need a substitute for prepared mustard of the English variety? Comparable products include a German mustard called Mittlescharf, which means medium hot, Dijon mustard and spicy brown mustard. Dijon mustard is a step up from American yellow mustard in the spiciness stakes, and spicy brown mustard is called deli mustard due to how the strength of its flavor can stand up to strong meats like roast beef and pastrami. These three mustard varieties contain brown mustard seeds, giving them the desired pep.

Yellow mustard and honey mustard don't make very good substitutes for English mustard due to their sweetness and mildness. Also avoid hot mustard, which goes too far the other way in comparison to the English version, overpowering the senses and the taste of other ingredients. Whole-grain mustards and beer-and-spirit mustards are made from whole mustard seeds and mixed with alcohol-based liquids, delivering an entirely different palette of flavors from English mustard.

Mustard Powder Substitute

One of the best substitutes for mustard powder is to create your own from mustard seeds. You can control the heat by adjusting the proportions of yellow and brown mustard seeds, but remember that freshly made mustard powder is twice as spicy as ready made. Grind half a teaspoon each of yellow and brown mustard seeds in a spice grinder or coffee grinder, mix the resulting powder with water and dab a tiny bit on your tongue to assess the level of spiciness. Add more yellow or brown seeds to decrease or increase the heat.

If you're only looking for an ingredient that gives a similar kick to English mustard, try horseradish. Though horseradish is a root rather than a seed, its parent plant is in the same family as mustard, and boy can you taste it. Delivering twice the spiciness, this alternative ingredient requires some caution when using it as a mustard substitute. Use half the amount of horseradish powder as mustard powder, and bear in mind that horseradish's spiciness fades when it's heated.

On the other hand, if you're after the yellow coloring and bitterness of English mustard but don't require a strong spiciness in your dish, turmeric is an effective substitute. Turmeric is only mildly spicy, but it's deep yellow and somewhat bitter in flavor. Replace the amount of mustard powder in your recipe with an equal amount of turmeric. This spice retains its flavors no matter how much it's heated or for how long.

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