Prepared mustard is the ready-to-use mustard that you buy in a bottle or a jar in the supermarket, as opposed to the unprocessed mustard seeds or dry ground mustard powder.

Mustard has been a must for centuries. Romans combined crushed mustard seeds with grape juice (called must) to arrive at mustum ardens, or "burning wine." From there, a simple contraction gives us "mustard."

The pungent taste comes from a chemical reaction when mustard seeds are ground. Mixing in an acid like vinegar stops this reaction. So deciding when to add the acid can determine how hot the mustard becomes. Added immediately, the mustard is mild.

International mustards are characterized by exciting variety. American versions are mild and bright yellow with turmeric. English and Chinese mustards tend toward sinus-clearing heat. French mustard is stronger in Dijon, milder in Bordeaux. German mustards range from sweet and sour to hot.

Prepared Yellow Mustard
Credit: Buckwheat Queen

What is Prepared Mustard? What is Mustard Made of?

Prepared mustard is the ready-to-use mustard that you buy in a bottle or a jar in the supermarket, as opposed to the unprocessed mustard seeds or dry ground mustard powder from which all prepared mustard is made.

Types of Prepared Mustard

There are different types of prepared mustard that vary in their ingredients and how they are made:

Whole grain mustard is a thick, coarsely ground prepared mustard where some of the mustard seeds are left whole.

Dijon mustard is a creamy French mustard made from brown or black mustard seeds, white wine or white wine vinegar, unfermented grape juice (verjuice), and seasonings. It has a strong, sharp flavor and light yellow color.

Yellow mustard is the classic American prepared mustard made of finely ground yellow mustard seeds and turmeric power, which gives it its vibrant yellow color. Yellow mustard seeds are the mildest of all mustard seeds, hence prepared yellow mustard is milder than prepared mustard made from brown or black mustard seed.

Brown mustard is a spicy, pungent prepared mustard made of brown mustard seed. It contains less vinegar which makes the mustard hotter, as acid mellows the mustard. Prepared brown mustard has a coarse texture. Often it contains horseradish or wasabi, which makes it even hotter. That's why brown mustard is typically labeled as "Spicy brown mustard".

Honey mustard is a mild, sweet mustard that consists of a combination of yellow mustard seeds and honey.

English mustard is made from yellow and brown mustard seed. This is a particularly hot mustard because does not contain any vinegar. English mustard is sold both as prepared mustard and as a powder, which requires mixing with cold water about fifteen minutes before using.

German mustard is a broad term, as Germany is home to many different prepared mustards. It can mean a moderately spicy yellow and brown mustard from the western city of Düsseldorf, or a Bavarian sweet mustard. For top-rated recipes that go with German mustard, see Our Top German Recipes.

Note that most prepared mustards contain additional ingredients such as modified food starch for thickening, egg yolks, and sugar, so always check the bottle for possible allergens.

What is Prepared Mustard in a Recipe?

Some recipes called for "prepared mustard" which theoretically can be any of the mustard types listed above. It's up to your personal taste and also depends on the dish – two tablespoons of mustard added to a meatloaf blend in much more than a teaspoon of mustard stirred into to a salad dressing.

It's always best to add a middle-of-the line mustard, not too spicy but with enough punch to add flavor to whatever you are making. If in doubt, Dijon mustard is a good fit for most recipes.

What is a Prepared Mustard Substitute?

When a recipe calls for prepared mustard, use 1 teaspoon dry mustard (ground mustard) for 1 tablespoon prepared mustard, and add the same amount of water or vinegar, to make up for the missing liquid.

To substitute a specific prepared mustard, keep in mind that prepared mustards vary greatly in pungency so use less dry mustard depending on which prepared mustard you want to replace.

See how to make DIY Dijon mustard. It's simply wine, vinegar, and seasonings, including mustard seeds. There's no sugar in this. But you can add it if you like: a little honey or sugar are common additions. You can also dial up or down the acidity. Adjust it to your own personal tastes. "I added a little more acidity than called for, since I tend to like things on the sharper side," says Chef John. See how it's done!

More Homemade Mustards and Recipes Using Prepared Mustards

Made with brown mustard seeds, yellow mustard seeds, dark beer, apple cider vinegar, garlic, and brown sugar. "Has a nice mustard flavor, not too hot," says pelicangal. "Good with sandwiches and cold cuts."

Homemade Beer Mustard
Photo by Buckwheat Queen

Bratwurst or knockwurst sausages and onions with a flavorful beer glaze are served over sauerkraut. "We love this dish served on potato rolls with spicy hot German mustard, Swiss cheese, and ice cold beer on the side," says JTk364.

Beer Glazed Brats and Sauerkraut
Photo by lutzflcat

"It's so easy to whip up your very own Chinese hot mustard!" says Lorraine Pierce. "Simple and uncomplicated, with no cooking needed. This can be diluted further with the addition of more water. White pepper is optional, but adds extra kick. Store remaining mustard in the refrigerator."

Chinese Restaurant Style Hot Mustard
Photo by mauigirl

"When it comes to mustard, sweet-hot works amazingly well," says Chef John, "especially as a glaze for chicken. By the time this is done, it doesn't have a super-strong mustard flavor. It gets mellowed out by the brown sugar and spices. The old saying 'The closer the bone, the sweeter the meat' really is true. Leaving in the bones adds a lot of flavor and juiciness." And don't miss Chef John's recipe for Sweet Hot Mustard Chicken Wings

Sweet Hot Mustard Chicken Wings
Photo by Nicolette

"A sweet and tangy pepper mustard that is delicious on hot dogs, pretzels and lots more," says sunnie. "A great way to use up an abundance of hot banana-type peppers grown in the garden."

Hot Pepper Mustard
Photo by lutzflcat

"Mustard is a classic with pork, but when you add the extra zing of horseradish and cayenne, and then smooth it out with a little cream and butter, well, it's devilishly delicious," says Chef John.

Pork Tenderloin Diablo
Photo by France C

"A very old but good recipe," says Mary Ann Benzon. "Use as a dip or salad dressing. If you like, you can use lime juice instead of lemon juice."

Honey Mustard Dressing II
Photo by naples34102

These delicious dogs get the full Coney Island treatment with a meat relish that's slightly sweet, slightly spicy, and slightly salty. Top with plenty of yellow mustard and raw onions.

Coney Island Hot Dogs
Photo by Chef John

Here's a brown mustard potato salad with hard-boiled eggs and sweet relish. "This is a somewhat unique creamy potato salad with the addition of the dill and the tangy spicy brown mustard," says lutzflcat. "This house enjoys potato salad, and this is a good one!

Brown Mustard Potato Salad
Photo by lutzflcat

"This is a great version of the traditional mustard based bbq sauce," says JFREE44. "Most sauces are ketchup based, but in the South we prefer the mustard variation. You oughta try it at least once."

Mustard Based BBQ Sauce
Photo by mauigirl

Hot English mustard mixes it up with apricot jam, honey, and orange marmalade to create a tangy, sweet-and-spicy glaze. "Sooo good," raves Isabel Mickle. "Not too sweet, and there was extra glaze to put on the side -- especially great with the leftover ham. This would be amazing on pork loin, too."

Apricot and Honey Ham Glaze
Photo by Rebekah Rose Hills

Honey and whole-grain mustard chicken is served alongside tender roasted vegetables. "Really easy and sooo good," says cookgirl. "The pan sauce is wonderful and the roasted veggies make it the perfect meal!

Honey-Mustard Chicken with Roasted Vegetables
Photo by mauigirl

Check out our collection of Recipes Using Prepared Mustard.