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What is Mustard Seed Spice?

Mustard Seed Spice


A culinary seasoning from tiny round seeds that come from the mustard plant and range in color from yellow to black. The potency of the spice varies depending on the color of the seeds.

What does mustard seed taste like?

Yellow seeds are mellow with a slight spice and sweetness while brown and black seeds are hot and sharp with bitter elements. The aroma is similar to curry leaves with a delicate spice.

Where does mustard seed come from?

The seasoning comes from three different plants, black mustard or brassica nigra, brown Indian mustard or brassica juncea, and yellow mustard or brassica hirta.

The word mustard comes from mostarda meaning condiment.

Common Uses

In Indian cooking, mustard seeds are used as a base flavor, roasted until they pop at the start of cooking, used as a seasoning, fried in oil with curry leaves and garnished atop a dish. 

The seeds are pressed to produce mustard oil, which is a popular cooking oil in India and Pakistan. Another use for mustard seeds is after it is ground to a powder. 

Mustard powder is produced by toasting then grinding whole mustard seeds. The powder can then be added to recipes for spice and color or diluted to produce the popular mustard condiment. 

As a condiment, mustard comes in many forms with most countries having their own version.

Examples of mustard condiments include wholegrain, dijon, american and english. 

The whole mustard seeds can also be used in pickles, oils, condiments, dressing, curries, daals, sauces, and chutneys. 


  • Horseradish: add horseradish as a substitute to dishes that require complex spice.
  • Wasabi: replicate the heat and spice felt throughout the sinuses produced by mustard.
  • Turmeric powder: turmeric is generally the coloring ingredient in yellow mustards so can replace mustard in recipes that require the coloring.

Compliments and Pairings 

This seasoning is extremely versatile and can pair with almost any ingredient including rice, potatoes, cabbage, cheese, pork, poultry, fish, shellfish, coriander, garlic, chilli, honey, yoghurt, ginger, coconut, and pulses.

Expiration and Storage 

  • Powder: grind seeds fresh or use store-bought powder, store in an airtight container away from direct light for up to two years.
  • Seeds: store in an airtight container away from direct light for up to two years.
  • Oil: store in the refrigerator and use within six months.

Fun Facts About Mustard Seasoning

  • National mustard day is August 5th. 
  • There are over 40 species of the mustard plant.

Popular Mustard Seed Recipes

  • Paturi
  • Mustard raita
  • Dijon mustard
  • Pickled mustard seed
  • Cabbage and mustard
  • Spiced mustard seed potatoes
  • Kaduku saadam
  • Bengali mustard fish
  • Honey and mustard glazed ham

Chef Max

Michelin trained professional chef with a passion for recipe writing and all things food. I have worked for over five years at top restaurants across the UK and have gained an ability to create any recipe you desire, from comfort food recipes to fine dining recipes. My experience in food writing includes a placement at Delicious Magazine which involved feature writing, recipe testing, article research, and content creation.

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