The Difference Between Yellow, Brown & Dijon Mustard

By Cate Girone

Mustard is a popular condiment that got its name because it was made by grinding the seeds of what was originally named the senvy plant into a paste and mixing it with must, or unfermented wine. Mustard is one of the oldest and most widely used spices. The ancient Chinese, Greeks and Romans were using mustard thousands of years ago as an everyday spice. Modern world consumption of mustard tops 400 million pounds. There are several varieties of mustard, including yellow, brown and Dijon.

Yellow mustard is the most popular type.

Yellow Mustard

Yellow mustard is the most widely used mustard in the entire United States. Known as American Mustard in other countries, yellow mustard is a mild condiment that is perfect on several foods. Its vivid yellow color comes from the inclusion of turmeric. This type of mustard features a mere 56 mg of sodium in each teaspoon serving, along with tiny amounts of carbohydrates, fat, dietary fiber, sugars and protein.

Brown Mustard

Brown mustard has a higher concentration of brown mustard seeds. This gives it its darker brown color and spicier taste. It is frequently used in Indian, Chinese and Japanese cuisines. Brown mustard has an extremely pungent flavor and is usually enjoyed by people who like hot, spicy food. It comes from a flowering plant in the same family as arugula, horseradish and wasabi.

Dijon Mustard

Dijon mustard, despite its name, is mostly manufactured outside the French city of Dijon. It was developed in 1865 when Jean Naigeon replaced vinegar with verjuice in the traditional mustard recipe. Wine is also included in Dijon mustard; typically burgundy wine and white wine are used. One teaspoon of Dijon mustard contains 5 calories and 120 mg of sodium, which is much higher than yellow mustard.

Other Mustard Flavors

There are several ways to alter standard mustard flavors to make them spicier or taste different. Purchase a powder mix which can be found at a grocery store and mix it with cold water and your favorite mustard to create a new condiment. Chinese mustard, because of its intense spiciness, is only for the bravest mustard connoisseurs. Jamaican and Bahamian mustard-based sauces are a little less fiery, but still have a kick. These mustard mixes can be high in sodium or contain eggs, so read the labels carefully if you have dietary restrictions.