At its most basic, prepared mustard is made from ground mustard seeds and liquid. But that’s just the beginning. Numerous kinds of mustard can be created by using different varieties of mustard seeds and mixing other ingredients with those seeds. Mustards can be sweet or spicy and creamy or coarse.
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Here are some of the most common mustards you’ll come across.
This smooth, mild condiment is made from sweet yellow mustard seeds, which are not particularly spicy. It’s the standard “American-style” mustard we reach for to add zip without overwhelming other ingredients. Yellow mustard is a favorite for topping hot dogs.
Yellow MustardMild but not dull, this ballpark and backyard classic punches up everything from hot dogs to salad dressing.
Made from smaller, hotter brown mustard seeds, brown mustard packs an assertive, spicy punch. It’s thicker and a little more coarse than yellow mustard, but it is still smooth enough to smear on pastrami or rye bread. And it goes perfectly with Ballpark Pretzels.
Brown MustardProducts awash in vinegar didn’t cut the mustard with our tasters.
Also made from the hotter brown mustard seeds, Dijon mustard packs a wallop of clean, nose-tingling heat. This type of mustard is typically very smooth in texture, making it the ideal choice for salad dressings or creamy sauces.
Dijon MustardWhat traits guarantee a Dijon mustard that packs a wallop of clean heat and balanced acidity? Youth and, surprisingly, a little fat.
Whole-grain, or coarse, mustards have been ground just enough to bind the seeds into a paste, giving them a coarse texture so each bite provides pops of mustard seeds. They can vary in flavor but typically pack sharp heat cut with some acidity. Try it in our Whole-Grain Mustard Chicken Salad.
Whole-Grain MustardFor extra texture and a pleasant crunch, reach for one of these mustards instead of your go-to Dijon or yellow mustard.
A mixture of mustard and honey, this condiment balances the heat with sweet honey notes. Some can be sweeter than others if they have a little sugar added as well. Honey mustard is a great companion for chicken nuggets and ham sandwiches.
Honey MustardThe sweet heat of this popular condiment adds zip to sandwiches and snacks. We also love it as a dip.
This mustard is coarse and grainy, with a texture somewhere between those of whole-grain and spicy brown mustards. It’s “assertively vinegary” in flavor and packs some heat—but not as much as brown mustard or Dijon.
Now that you know all about these different kinds of mustard, be sure to stock up on a few varieties and try them in (or on) your favorite dishes.