Get to Know Mustard Flour: A Flavorful Spice

What Is Mustard Flour?

Did you know that the most popular condiment in three states (Delaware, Missouri, and Tennessee) is mustard? And not the fancy kind that you dab on crackers while extending a pinky finger.


Just plain old French’s Yellow Mustard, which was first introduced in 1904. Over a century later and dozens of types later, mustard is a permanent fixture in homes and restaurants all across the country.

Mustard is not only humble in its origins but also in its making, which begins and ends with mustard flour. Simply, mustard flour is derived from pulverizing (or grounding) mustard seeds from the mustard plant into a fine powder.

Yellow Mustard Seeds
Yellow Mustard Seeds

The most commonly used type of seed comes from the yellow mustard plant, but other varieties include black, brown and white. Once the seeds are ground, they are blended with liquid and form the spreadable paste we all know and love.

Flowering Yellow Mustard Plant
Flowering Yellow Mustard Plant

Often, seeds are blended to create varying flavor profiles ranging from mild to spicy. No matter how they are created, mustard’s unmistakable pungent flavor is always present.

Using mustard flour as a spice spans thousands of years of human history and is believed to have its origin as a food seasoning ingredient on the continents of Asia and Africa.

As time passed, the popularity of mustard spread from the warm climes of the middle east to Europe and England. It wasn’t uncommon for mustard seeds to have a place at the table. There, they could be ground quickly using a simple mortar and pestle.

Today it’s used in savory dish preparations of fish, meat and chicken the world over. Mustard’s unique flavor quality of makes it both salty (and sometimes) spicy, without being sweet. 

Is Mustard Flour (or Powder) the Same As Dry Mustard?

In a manner of speaking, yes.

Mustard flour can be used interchangeably with dry mustard. In effect, they are identical since they are both derived from the pulverized seeds of the plant. Ground mustard and ground mustard seed are a couple of other terms that mean the same thing.

Ground Mustard Flour
Ground Mustard Flour

What’s a Good Mustard Flour Substitute?

The most common substitute for mustard flour is tumeric powder. Other spices and subs that work well depending on the cuisine are:

  • Horseradish powder
  • Wasabi powder
  • Prepared mustard

Mustard Flour Uses

If you’ve read this far, it probably won’t come as any surprise that the use of mustard flour is widespread.

The unique pungent flavor profile has found its way into many things we consume daily. Browse the aisle of any supermarket and it’s likely you’ll see it – especially in sauces, salad dressings and pickled foods.

For your own recipes at home, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Here’s a few ideas you might want to try!

  • Salad dressing. Mustard adds zip to vinaigrette and makes the perfect addition to a bed of greens.
  • Roasts of any kind. From leg of lamb to tenderloin and even the humble chicken breast, the use of mustard will add a delectable, light crust that seals in the mouthwatering flavor.
  • Pastas. Add some bite to your favorite creamy sauce with just a hint of the spicy condiment.
  • Seafood like fish and shrimp, or even mussels, will burst to life after a light brushing of mustard. Whether broiling or baking or steaming, the addition of mustard will add pop to your favorites.
  • Sauces or spreads. A no-brainer for the perfect sauce starts with butter, lemon and a healthy dollop of mustard. Creamy, spicy and delicious, it’s the perfect spread.
  • Deviled eggs. Everyone knows that mustard is the key ingredient to give deviled eggs their signature flavor, but don’t be afraid to mix it up and try on other preparations as well – poached eggs are a perfect choice.
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