The 6 Best Substitutes for Black Mustard Seeds

What can I use instead of black mustard seeds? Brown and white (yellow) mustard seed varieties are the best black mustard seed substitutes. However, you’ll need to increase the ratios as they are less intense than black mustard seeds. Other suitable options include mustard oil, mustard powder, wasabi, and horseradish. 

Black mustard seeds are popular in Indian cooking. They are the most intense and spicy mustard seed variety, packing a punch and nasal-clearing burn. However, when fried, black mustard seeds become sweeter and nuttier. These tiny seeds are only handpicked, making them costly and hard to find. So, here are the best six substitutes if you cannot find black mustard seeds at the store.

The Best Black Mustard Seeds Substitutes

Brown Mustard Seeds

Brown mustard seeds have virtually replaced black mustard seeds in American kitchens. After peppercorns, they are the most popular spice in Western cooking.

Brown mustard seeds offer the same flavors as their black counterpart; however, they aren’t quite as intense.

You can replace black mustard seeds with brown mustard seeds in most recipes. They also lend a sweet, nutty flavor after toasting or frying.

Use the brown mustard seeds in meat rubs, curries, dals, soups, roasted veg, chutneys, sauces, and pickling.

Brown mustard seeds are less spicy than black mustard seeds. So, replace 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds with 1½ teaspoons brown mustard seeds to replicate the same intensity.

White Mustard Seeds (Yellow Mustard Seeds)

White mustard seeds, also called yellow mustard seeds, are a light tan and milder than brown and black mustard seeds. However, they still serve as excellent black mustard seeds substitute.

Another slight difference is that the heat of white mustard seeds primarily remains on the tongue rather than providing a nasal burn.

You can toast or fry white mustard seeds to add to curries, dahls, rubs, roasted vegetable dishes, and pickling.

You can also ground white mustard seeds to make a homemade mustard sauce (add turmeric or yellow food coloring to mimic the yellow mustard at American restaurants.

Replace 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds with 2 teaspoons white mustard seeds to compensate for the milder flavor.

Mustard Oil

Mustard oil is made from pressed mustard seeds. It offers many of the same flavor characteristics as black mustard seeds, making it an ideal substitute if the different textures don’t phase you.

You can use mustard oil in salad dressings or prepare roasted vegetables. The heating will result in a nutty flavor similar to black mustard seeds.

Replace 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds with 2 teaspoons mustard oil.

Mustard Powder

Mustard powder is simply ground brown and white mustard seeds.

On its own, the mustard powder doesn’t have an intense flavor. However, once combined with a liquid, the sweet, spicy, and pungent flavors awaken.

You can use mustard powder in spice rubs, salad dressings, marinades, and meat dishes.

Since the mustard powder is made with brown and white mustard seeds, it has a less intense flavor than black mustard.

Therefore, substitute 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds with 1½ teaspoons mustard powder and gradually increase to mimic the taste.

Wasabi (Japanese Horseradish)

Wasabi is a popular Japanese condiment made from a green root vegetable belonging to the same family as mustard.

The wasabi plant is grated with a studded ceramic grater to form a paste. Wasabi has a short-lived, pungent, and slightly sweet flavor with a nasal-clearing burn similar to mustard.

Wasabi is an ideal replacement for black mustard seed in spicy Asian dishes. In addition, you can use it to season fish, meat, and vegetables.

Replace 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds with ½ teaspoon wasabi to compensate for the intense flavor. You can gradually add more wasabi to suit your palate.


Horseradish belongs to the same family as mustard. This bulbous root has the same flavor as black mustard seeds; however, it can pack a more potent punch than black mustard seeds.

Horseradish is commonly used to make the commercial version of wasabi as it’s easier to access.

Horseradish is the perfect substitute for spicy dishes like curries, dahls, sambars, and spicy chutneys.

You can substitute black mustard seeds with horseradish using a one-to-one ratio. However, keep in mind that horseradish is typically spicier than mustard.