Difference between: Dijon and spicy brown mustard

…with a glance at yellow mustard and honey mustard as well.

Let’s check out the difference between the two primary hotter versions of one of America’s favorite condiments: Dijon mustard and spicy brown mustard.

Dijon mustard:

  • Was initially created in Dijon, France, in 1865.
  • Is mostly manufactured outside of Dijon today.
  • Original recipe replaced vinegar with verjuice (an acidic juice made from unripe grapes).
  • Is now made with white wine or another low acidity liquid.
  • Is made with brown and/or black mustard seeds.
  • Can be used most places yellow mustard is – with a more mustardy bite.
  • Is great in vinaigrettes, mayonnaise (I LOVE mixing it with mayo), and sauces.

Spicy brown mustard:

  • Has a high concentration of brown mustard seeds, lending to the darker color.
  • Mustard seeds are soaked in vinegar.
  • Bran is left on seeds lending to the coarser, thicker texture.
  • Extremely pungent flavor.
  • Related to arugula, horseradish, and wasabi.
  • Often used in Indian, Chinese, and Japanese dishes.
  • Known as a deli mustard – pairs well with pastrami, roast beef, or corned beef.

Yellow mustard is very widely used and has fewer calories and sodium than the other mustards (but not as much flavor). It gets its yellow color from the yellow mustard seeds and turmeric.

Honey mustard, as the name suggests, combines mustard and honey, usually in a one-to-one ratio. The sweetness of the honey tames the spiciness of the mustard, while still maintaining that complex mustard flavor.

In conclusion, Dijon mustard is not really as hot as spicy brown, but it does have a very sharp mustard flavor. Both are made from brown mustard seeds (or black for spicy brown). Dijon mustard seeds are soaked in white wine or a similar liquid; spicy brown mustard seeds are soaked in vinegar. Dijon mustard is great for adding to marinades or sauces, while spicy brown mustard fits seamlessly with large, meat-filled sandwiches.

If you’re interested in reading about more kinds of mustards, Serious Eats – where I got much of this information – has a more extensive breakdown with Chinese mustard, hot mustard, and more – and The Nibble includes even more variations.