How to Make Homemade Mustard – the Basics
Ever wonder how to make your own mustard? It’s actually quite easy to do, with only a few simple steps. Here is how to make mustard at home.
Mustard is one of the world’s most beloved condiments. It is made from the pungent seeds of the mustard plant which are mixed with a liquid to form the basic paste that all mustard is made of.
The Origins of Mustard
Mustard has been around for millennia. The ancient Romans loved the stuff, and the name “mustard” originates from one of their original preparation methods of mixing unfermented grape juice, or “must”, with mustard seeds to create “burning must”, or “mustum ardens”. “Must-ard” it is thus named, and here we are today, enjoying it in so many creative and flavorful ways.
There are discussions of how mustard was originally enjoyed and its typical uses, but I find those irrelevant to making mustard, as I personally enjoy mustard for a huge variety of uses, from using it as a simple spread for sandwiches to making rubs for the barbecue to using it as an ingredient in homemade sauces and so much more.
It doesn’t matter how you want to use your mustard. The point of this article is to break down the very simple process of making mustard so you can make it however you want, and use it however you want. Gone are the days of limiting yourself to what the stores offer you.
Armed with the ability to make your own mustard, you are now free to incorporate all sorts of your preferred ingredients to please your taste buds.
For me, this typically includes some type of chili pepper for obvious reasons, but I also enjoy sweeter elements mixed with pungent flavors and herbs. My wife, Patty, prefers her mustards on the pungent side and not quite as hot. This is not a problem as I can easily make a base mustard, divide it in half, then season each half differently for our divided preferences.
So, are you ready to make some mustard?
The Basics of Making Homemade Mustard
A very basic mustard includes mustard seeds and a liquid. The seeds are sometimes ground before liquid is added or the mixture is processed afterward. There are 3 types of mustard seeds:
- Yellow (or White) Mustard Seeds: These are the most widely available and most popular.
- Brown Mustard Seeds: These are more pungent that yellow mustard seeds and are quickly gaining popularity.
- Black Mustard Seeds: These are more popular in Indian, Asian and Middle Eastern cooking, though they are also gaining popularity in the U.S. They are also quite pungent and personally recommended.
A basic ratio for making a grainy mustard is to mix 1 part mustard seeds to 2 parts liquid. Let the mixture soak overnight to allow the seeds to absorb the liquid. Another basic recipe for making smoother mustard is to grind mustard seeds into a flour, then mix it with a liquid until you achieve the consistency you prefer.
NOTE: When letting the mixture soak overnight, you can leave it out on your counter top or set it in your pantry. Do not refrigerate it, or the absorption process may not work. One reader did this and her mustard would not mix.
These are just the basics, and as you’ve probably already figured, there are certain variables which allow you to make a nearly infinite variety of mustards. They are:
You can use any combination of mustard seeds to make mustard.
Mustard Seeds vs. Mustard Powder
Starting with mustard seeds will result in a grainier mustard. After the initial soaking, you can serve the mustard as is, with plump, heavy grains, or process it to your preference of smoothness. You will still have some whole seeds most likely, even with lots of processing. Using mustard powder will result in a very smooth mustard, more akin to the yellow stuff you find in store bought squeeze bottles.
You can make mustard with water, though other options include wine, beer, fruit juice, cider, whiskey, vinegar, and many others. Of course you can include a mixture of liquids as well with your own preferred ratios.
The temperature of your added liquids make a difference on the potency of the final mustard. Hot liquids disable the enzymes that produce the overall pungency, so if you prefer a milder mustard, use hot or warm liquids. If you prefer a strong, pungent mustard, use cold liquid.
Here is where you can get REALLY creative. Add in a diversity of flavors, such as roasted chili peppers, roasted vegetables (onion or garlic are great), honey or sugar, salt, seasoning blends, fresh herbs, nuts, berries, fruits, smoked peppers, you name it. If you love the taste of it, consider adding it to a mustard.
The addition of salt and vinegar will help keep your mustard longer if you’re using many ingredients. I almost always use vinegar and a bit of salt, though for me, it’s mostly about the flavor with those ingredients.
A Simple Mustard-Making Formula – Step by Step
Here is a breakdown of how to make a whole grain mustard at home.
- 1 cup mustard seeds (yellow, brown, and/or black)
- 2 cups liquid of choice
- Extra ingredients/flavorings – amounts are variable
Mustard Making Method – How to Make Homemade Mustard
- Add the mustard seeds and liquid to a large glass jar. Give it a solid shake and seal it up.
- Set into a dark place like the cupboard for a day or 2 to allow the seeds to absorb the liquid.
- Process the mixture in a food processor with your extra ingredients. Adjust with a bit of salt, if desired. You can add in a bit of water if you feel the mustardis too thick.
- Return the finished mustard to the jar and seal.
The flavors will be quite pungent at first, though they will mellow out over time as the mustard ages.
I personally like to keep the mustard in the fridge for safe keeping in a sealed glass jar. Properly prepared mustard is impervious to harmful bacteria, but flavors can become bitter and it can dry out, so for me, the refrigerator it is.
If you prefer to not refrigerate your mustard, keep it in a cool, dark place, like the cupboard.
How Long Does Mustard Last?
Prepared mustard can last for years if properly made, though you will experience loss of flavor and pungency. Using an acid, like vinegar, will keep the mustard for longer. Just be sure to keep it properly sealed. Refrigeration is a best practice.
Here are some links to the different mustards I enjoy making.
- Roasted Hatch Chile-Beer Mustard – Recipe
- Homemade Whole Grain Spicy Beer Mustard
- Homemade Habanero Mustard
- Beer-Honey Mustard Recipe
- How to Make Yellow Mustard
- Pickled Mustard Seeds
See the list of mustard recipes in our Homemade Condiments Recipes.
Here are some links to purchase mustard seeds from Amazon. These are affiliate links, my friends. I buy them in bulk for making mustard whenever I want. Great stuff!
Let me know how your mustard turns out! Send pics! Enjoy!
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Here is a breakdown of how to make a whole grain mustard at home. This is a base recipe that you can use to start your own mustards. Add in other ingredients to make a unique combination.
- 1 cup mustard seeds yellow, brown, and/or black
- 2 cups liquid of choice Try a mixture of beer or water and vinegar
- Extra ingredients/flavorings – amounts are variable
Add the mustard seeds and liquid to a large glass jar. Give it a solid shake and seal it up.
Set into a dark place like the cupboard for a day or 2 to allow the seeds to absorb the liquid.
Process the mixture in a food processor with your extra ingredients. Adjust with a bit of salt, if desired. You can add in a bit of water if you feel the mustardis too thick.
Return the finished mustard to the jar and seal.
The flavors will be quite pungent at first, though they will mellow out over time as the mustard ages. Serve it as is, or process it for a thicker consistency. Vary up the liquids and add additional ingredients to make your own unique mustard recipes. Refer to the post above for ideas and suggestions.