DIY Food

Mustard From Scratch

December 24, 2013

It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.

Today: Molly Yeh from my name is yeh explains how she got hooked on mustard and shares a recipe for a homemade version that's good enough to eat with a spoon. 

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There was a time in my life -- we'll call it my early early twenties -- when the only thing that could cure a bad day, or make a great day better, was a trip to the Zabar's mustard section. Like an artist gets lost in a painting, I'd get lost in the dijons, the honeys, and the weirder flavors like fig and walnut. 

Over time, and with the help of a membership to the National Mustard Museum's Mustard of the Month Club, I accumulated more than 80 jars. I'd often spread four types onto one sandwich, and occasionally, I'd just eat it with a spoon. 

It was an obsession of the not-too-unhealthy type -- Google "health benefits of mustard" and you'll get a day's worth of reading. Eventually, though, I started to pick favorites. Today my mustard collection exists in a paired down manner: only my favorites, and those with sentimental value or cool jars. And now that I live very far from Zabar's, adding to my collection often requires making it from scratch. 

Making mustard is quite easy and it's fun, too. There are a million twists that you can put on it. By definition, mustard consists of mustard seed (I like yellow) blended with a liquid (often vinegar). I like adding a pinch of salt, some kind of sweetener, and then cooking it down a bit to reduce the hotness.

More: Learn how to make your own ketchup, too. 

This is a very basic honey mustard recipe, but I encourage you to experiment with different vinegars or other liquids; adding spices (I like curry!); and subbing out the honey for other sweeteners like molasses, sugar, or maple syrup. The kitchen is your mustardy oyster! Just make sure you've got enough hot dogs on hand. 

Homemade Mustard

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 cup ground yellow mustard seed
2/3 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup honey
1 pinch salt

Combine all your ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium to medium-low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often, until it thickens. Remove from heat, let it cool, and then store in an airtight container.

The fridge will preserve its hotness, while storing it at room temperature will let it mellow out. Many people like to let it sit for a night before eating it because the flavors will develop more, but I'm never that patient.

Feel free to experiment with different ingredients. Replace the white wine vinegar with red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or straight up wine. You can also add a bit of hard booze. Sweeteners like molasses, maple syrup, jam, sugar, or a combination are fun as well. Add a bit of turmeric for a bright yellow color and even more health benefits. And spices like curry, paprika, or even wasabi powder are super tasty to add, too.

Happy mustarding!

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Molly Yeh

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  • Damien
  • chris
  • Paige
  • Egl?
  • Teressa Pence Morris
    Teressa Pence Morris
molly yeh recently moved from brooklyn to a farm outside of grand forks, north dakota, where her husband is a fifth generation farmer. she writes the blog my name is yeh.


Damien October 26, 2017
How come my mustard always comes out bitter. I have tried boiling the seeds. Letting them sit for several days in the fridge, let them sit overnight in room temperature in water only, in water and vinegar etc etc etc. Always comes out odd tasting. Blending them and then cooking them like you have. I have tried about 25 different combinations of techniques to no avail! I see some say to boil some say not to. Some say the seeds will soak up the liquid before blending if you let the, sit (which mine do not!?). Help!
chris September 19, 2015
This is a great all-purpose mustard recipe, and I use it in a variety of dishes ... but my favorite homemade mustard is uncooked: 6 T yellow mustard seeds, 2 T brown mustard seeds, 3 T brandy, 2/3 C ACV, 2 - 4 T honey, 1/2 t sea salt. Combine all ingredients with 1/3 C water, cover and let sit (the recipe says room temp, but I refrigerate) for 3 days. Blend till thick, then store in refrigerator. With brandy and ACV in the mix, I'm guessing that this would last for at least 3 months.
Paige July 22, 2014
I'm thinking about making some of this mustard as a gift, how long will it stay good?
Egl? April 3, 2014
So this washy my first time ever making mustard from scratch. I'm not a mustard fan, but my husband loves it! The recipe was easy to follow. And it came out pretty tasty. However, the texture was a tad weird. It kinda feels like rubber - kinda stretchy like that. Is that normal? Or did I mess it up? :)
molly Y. April 3, 2014
Hi Eglé! Thanks so much for your comment. For the texture, I would recommend mixing in a bit more liquid to thin it out, either more vinegar or honey, depending on your taste.
Teressa P. December 28, 2013
OMG - Molly Yeh - you are my mustard soul mate!! I can't wait to try this recipe and start experimenting. I believe right now I have at least 8 different mustards in my fridge - one more can't hurt, right?
Sarah|PickledCapers December 26, 2013
I have heard of many foods to send bad spirits fleeing, but mustard has never made that list. I can certainly see the appeal though with its infinite varieties and textures. We have been into homemade mayo and aioli for a while now, so mustard certainly seems like the next logical step.
Rkelly3042 December 24, 2013
Making mustard-fun-who knew?