What is the Best Substitute for Black Mustard Seeds?

by Charlie
Black mustard seeds

Black mustard seeds are regulars in different cooking recipes – especially those originating in India. They help to add a spicy punch to every meal, and they are also ideal options for people who want to preserve food. 

Like it is with every ingredient, there are times when you will need something else to stand in for black mustard seeds. 

What is the best substitute for black mustard seeds? Brown mustard seeds are the most impressive substitute available for black mustard seeds, thanks to their incredible similarities. While brown mustard seeds are less spicy than the black ones, you could easily adjust your quantities. With so many similarities, brown mustard seeds have become the best substitute available. 

An Overview of Black Mustard Seeds

As the name suggests, black mustard seeds are tiny seeds obtained from mustard plants. They measure between 1 mm and 2 mm in length, and they come with a strong, pungent flavor that immediately makes its presence known.

Black mustard seeds have a strong color, although there are some of them that might look a bit reddish. These seeds are used across the world in different types of cooking. They work for different dishes, including salad dressings, dry rubs, and much more.  

When it comes to cooking, black mustard seeds are usually applied as spices and flavor additions. The pungent and spicy taste of these seeds makes them ideal for different dishes, and you even get to enjoy a wide array of health benefits from them as well. All in all, black mustard seeds are incredible. 

Why Replace Black Mustard Seeds?

  • Taste differences: You could be in the market for something spicier or less spicy. Whatever you want, there’s a substitute for you.
  • Lack of availability: If you can’t find any black mustard seeds around you, a substitute will come in handy. 

Options for Black Mustard Seeds Substitutes

Best Overall Substitute for Black Mustard Seeds: Brown Mustard Seeds

Brown mustard seeds have become especially popular in Western cooking. They are also from the mustard family, and they provide the same taste as black mustard seeds. Their color profiles are quite similar, although they aren’t exactly the same. 

Before we go further, you should know that brown mustard seeds don’t have quite the same taste intensity as black mustard seeds. The brown seeds are less spicier, although you could easily introduce more quantities to make up for that – or add something like pepper to jack up the spice a little bit. 

Brown mustard seeds serve as ideal substitutes for black mustard seeds in just about every application. However, note that toasting or frying them will erode the seeds’ heat a bit. You also get a nutty flavor when you’re done with frying and toasting. You can even use brown mustard seeds to preserve things like chutneys and pickles. Just remember that you will need to change the proportions if you want to maintain the same spice levels. 

Best Substitute for Spicy Dishes: Horseradish 

Horseradish and mustard seeds are quite similar. For one, they come from the same botanical family. So, they share a lot of equal characteristics. 

While they look and taste different, horseradish and black mustard seeds work as ideal substitutes. However, where horseradish shines the brightest will have to be with spicy dishes. In recipes for things like braised zucchini, horseradish works as the perfect black mustard seed substitute.

You will be able to adjust the flavor of horseradish when you ground it. Also, if you feel that you need more horseradish, all you have to do is add more to your preparation. 

Another benefit of horseradish is that it tends to be more readily available than black mustard seed – or even the top substitute, brown mustard seed. You can find horseradish in your local store or a nearby market, although you might have some difficulty with getting the fresh horseradish version. 

You could also try prepared horseradish. This is essentially fresh horseradish with vinegar. Whatever you choose, just take your proportions carefully as you apply it. 

Keep in mind that horseradish is a great one-for-one substitute for black mustard seed. However, horseradish tends to have a higher spice profile than mustard. So, you want to be careful when you use it in your recipe. 

Best Substitute for Asian Recipes: Wasabi Powder

If you’re a fan of sushi, then you probably know about its lovely spies. Well, a lot of that spice packet comes from the wasabi powder content. Wasabi is a green spice with a very intense flavor. Its use in Asian recipes is encompassing, and it can be the ideal substitute for black mustard seeds when you’re considering Asian recipes.

You can make a paste out of wasabi powder when you’re cooking. Like horseradish, you should keep in mind that wasabi powder is spicier than black mustard seeds. This is why most people will always recommend that you use it in recipes that need that extra heat and spice. 

If you want to boost its flavor, even more, you can add wasabi powder to horseradish and see how the combination works out. That spicy and flavorful seasoning will do wonders for your dish. 

Remember that when it comes to quantities, you will be best served if you take things slowly. You don’t want to rush the wasabi and end up spoiling the dish. Start with small quantities, then you can add more wasabi powder from there. 

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