Prepared mustard refers to the popular, ready-to-eat condiment that typically comes in a jar or squeeze bottle.

Though there are many varieties, common ingredients include whole or ground mustard seeds, vinegar, water, salt, and other spices.

This article discusses various types of prepared mustard, how to use it, its potential benefits, and recipe substitutions.

Prepared mustard is made using three main types of mustard seeds — Sinapis alba (white or yellow), Brassicar juncea (brown), and Brassica nigra (black) (1).

They vary in potency, ranging from mild to spicy and robust. In general, the darker the seed, the more pungent the flavor.

Though yellow mustard is by far the most popular, several kinds of prepared mustard are available on the market.

Here are five common types:

  • Yellow mustard. White mustard seeds are blended with water, vinegar, salt, and turmeric to form a smooth paste with a mild zesty flavor. Yellow mustard is often used as a condiment for hamburgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches.
  • Honey mustard. Honey and yellow mustard are combined in a 1-to-1 ratio for a sweet and tangy spread often used as a dipping sauce and salad dressing.
  • Dijon mustard. Dijon is typically made with husked black seeds, wine, salt, and spices for a sharp taste. It’s generally used in sauces, salad dressings, and pairs well with mayonnaise.
  • Spicy brown mustard. A high proportion of brown mustard seeds are partially crushed and mixed with spices to create a pungent, grainy paste. It pairs great with deli sandwiches and is frequently used in Chinese and Indian cuisine.
  • Whole grain mustard. Whole and semi-crushed seeds are used to form a thick paste that offers a deep, robust taste and coarse texture. As it’s the least processed, whole grain mustard may retain the most nutrients from the mustard seed (2).

Other types of prepared mustards are popular in certain regions of the world.

For example, sweet mustard, which is typically made with sugar, applesauce, or honey, is commonly used in Germany and other parts of Europe.


There are many kinds of prepared mustards, which vary in flavor depending on the type of mustard seed and other ingredients used.

Prepared mustard is a very low calorie condiment containing several essential minerals, such as iron, selenium, calcium, and phosphorus (3).

Mustard is also rich in glucosinolates, isothiocyanates, carotenoids, and other beneficial plant compounds that may help prevent cell damage and ward off chronic disease (4, 5).

Among the seeds commonly used to make prepared mustard, black mustard seeds have the highest glucosinolate content (6).

Many prepared mustards, especially yellow mustard, also contain turmeric. This bright yellow spice contains a compound called curcumin, which may exert anti-inflammatory benefits according to a number of scientific studies (7, 8).

Keep in mind, prepared mustards may not contribute a substantial amount of these nutrients when eaten in small amounts — for example, when eating 1 teaspoon (5 grams) on a sandwich.


Prepared mustard is low in calories and packed with minerals, plant compounds, and other ingredients beneficial for health. Yet, serving sizes are generally small, so you may not get many nutrients in a single serving.

Reports of using the mustard plant for medicinal purposes date as far back as 530 B.C. Historically, it was believed to treat ailments ranging from scorpion and snake bites to asthma, arthritis, and more (1, 6).

Though the research is limited, some studies suggest that mustard may have potential health benefits:

  • Antioxidant properties. Glucosinolates — the main class of plant compounds in mustard seeds — are potent antioxidants, which may help defend cells against damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals (9, 10).
  • Cancer prevention. When highly concentrated, the glucosinolates and isothiocyanates in mustard have slowed the replication of certain cancer cells in animal and test-tube studies (11, 12, 13).
  • Blood sugar control. In one study involving male albino rats with diabetes, a mustard seed extract increased insulin levels in the blood and lowered blood sugar (14).

However, more human studies are needed. Additionally, many studies were performed using compounds concentrated from mustard. Prepared mustard may not exert the same effects.


Animal and test-tube studies suggest that compounds in mustard may have potential health benefits in concentrated doses. However, prepared mustard itself may not have the same effects.

Prepared mustard is a common ingredient in sauces, condiments, salad dressings, marinades, and other tasty recipes.

If you don’t have any on hand, you can substitute 1 teaspoon of ground mustard for each tablespoon (15 grams) of prepared mustard called for in a recipe.

Keep in mind, prepared mustard contains liquid. For every teaspoon of whole or ground mustard, add 2–3 teaspoons of water or vinegar to help ensure your recipe is the right consistency.

Alternatively, you can make your own. Homemade prepared mustard is surprisingly easy to make.

For a healthy whole grain mustard, simply soak 1 tablespoon each of yellow and brown mustard seeds in 3 tablespoons (45 mL) of apple cider vinegar overnight.

Pulse the soaked seeds with 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of water and a pinch of salt in a food processor to your desired consistency. For a touch of sweetness, try adding 1/2 teaspoon of honey or brown sugar.

Some say homemade prepared mustard tastes best when allowed to rest in the refrigerator for 2–3 days.


Prepared mustard is simple to make at home using mustard seeds, water, and vinegar.

Prepared mustard is simply a ready-to-eat mustard spread. There are various types on the market today.

While some studies suggest that the compounds in the mustard plant may have certain health benefits, prepared mustard itself has yet to be studied.

Nonetheless, prepared mustard is a nutritious, low calorie spread that can add zest to many dishes.