An Introduction to Homemade Mustard

August 17, 2011(updated on August 16, 2022)
Homemade dijon mustard

Enjoy this guest post from Kaela Porter in which she shares her expertise on the topic of homemade mustard. She wrote the blog Local Kitchen and during its active period, focused on canning, preserving and eating locally. Kaela also happens to be my mustard mentor and so I’m thrilled to host this tutorial.

Chances are, if you’re here, you can. Maybe you’re a pickle girl, with a love of all things briny; maybe you’re a guy who really kicks out the jams. But I’m here to tell you, if you haven’t tried homemade mustard yet, you are missing out.

Of all the things I make: jams & preserves, chutneys & pickles, salsas and tomatoes galore; mustard is the shining star. The “wow” factor, the double-take, the “you really make mustard?” Friends and family are invariably impressed, even more so when they taste the goods. The paradox is that this most impressive of home-canning treats is by far the easiest one to make.

No slicing or dicing, no blanching or peeling, no running to the store for pectin, no worrying about the set. At its simplest, mustard is simply ground mustard powder + water. That hot mustard you love at the Chinese restaurant near work? Nothing but ‘Oriental’ mustard powder mixed with water: you could make it at home in the blink of an eye.

Homemade Dijon mustard is not much more effort: wine is infused with some onion and garlic for flavor, then whisked with mustard powder and boiled until thick. Pop it in the fridge and in under 30 minutes you’ve got a fancy French mustard, better than most anything you can buy, for only a couple of bucks. No wonder everyone is so impressed by homemade mustard.

Various packages of mustard seeds and powders.

Mustard-making at home is comprised of two basic techniques: 1) combining ground mustard powder with liquid for a smooth, thin mustard, that usually has a more subtle flavor (white wine, fresh herbs, and floral infusions are good here); and 2) soaking whole mustard seed in liquid, then puréeing in a food processor for a hearty, grainy mustard (strong flavors shine here, whether it is acidic fruit, a favorite liquor or spicy chiles).

Mustard, both whole seeds and ground, can be expensive at the grocery store, but is quite economical at Penzeys and other spice merchants. And once you have the mustard on hand, the world is your oyster (or pretzel, or sausage, as the case may be). For mustards destined to go straight to the fridge, flavor options are limited only by your imagination: most mustards contain either vinegar or some form of alcohol and as such are acidic enough, even with added herbs or vegetables, for long-term refrigerator storage.

To can mustards for shelf-stable storage, we must, as in all other canning, take into account canning safety: for processing in a boiling water bath, it is best to rely on trusted recipes, or to make substitutions that you are confident will not adversely affect the pH or density (thickness) of the final product.

The canning itself can be a little tricky, simply because the grainier mustards can be thick and viscous, and it is sometimes challenging to keep the mustard boiling hot while filling the last jars. If you’ve ever made a fruit butter, you’ll know what I mean; just make sure to be diligent in bubbling your jars, leave yourself a generous headspace, and do your best to make sure the mustard is piping hot when it goes into your jars in order to prevent siphoning during processing.

Personally? I hate mustard. Loathe it, actually; so the hardest part of mustard making for me is the “adjust to taste” part (because, well, ew). Luckily, my husband, a certified mustardophile, is happy to step into the role of taste tester. And as my mustards have developed quite a following among friends & family, I make a lot of mustard. After the jump, I offer up two basic recipes: a classic Dijon and a sweet & boozy Bourbon Brown Sugar. If you, or someone you love, is a mustard fan, you owe it to yourself to give this a try: you (like me) may never buy mustard again!

Homemade mustard
5 from 1 vote

Classic Dijon Mustard


  • 1 and ½ cups white wine ideally a white Burgundy, or a crisp Chablis or sauvignon blanc*
  • ½ cup white wine vinegar**
  • 1 medium white onion chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic chopped
  • 4 oz dry mustard powder ground yellow mustard seed, about 1 cup + 2 tsp
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Dash or two of Tabasco or cayenne pepper optional


  • Prepare canner, jars & lids.
  • Combine wine, vinegar, onion and garlic in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow aromatics to steep in the wine for 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Strain vegetables from the infused wine, pressing on solids to release all the juice. Return wine to the saucepan and add salt, honey and Tabasco, if using. Over medium heat, whisk in the mustard powder; continue whisking and heating until the mustard comes to a boil. Stirring constantly, boil mustard until it reduces to your desired thickness, remembering that it will thicken further upon cooling (I cooked mine for about 10 minutes). Taste and adjust seasonings.
  • Fill hot jars to a generous 1/4-inch headspace (more like 1/2-inch), tamping down the mustard into the jar. Thoroughly bubble by passing the handle of a wooden spoon along the edges and middle of the jar. Wipe rims, affix lids and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Allow to rest for 5 minutes in the hot water prior to removing from the canner.


*I read somewhere that most traditional Dijon mustard is made with both red & white wines. Feel free to experiment with half red:half white wine, or maybe red wine vinegar with white wine.
** If storing in the fridge, you may omit the vinegar and simply use 2 cups of wine.
Adapted from Homemade Dijon Mustard at Devoid of Culture and Indifferent to the Arts and Oktoberfest Beer Mustard in The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, J. Kingry and L. Devine, eds.
Homemade bourbon mustard
homemade mustard in a small bowl
5 from 1 vote

Bourbon Brown Sugar Mustard

Servings: 3 cups


  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons dry yellow mustard powder
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • Combine bourbon, water and mustard seed in a small bowl. Mix to wet all seeds, and then allow to steep until nearly all of the liquid is absorbed, about 4 hours, or overnight. Alternatively, heat bourbon, water and seeds until mixture just comes to a boil; remove from heat and steep for about 2 hours.
  • Prepare a boiling water bath canner and enough jars to hold 3 cups of product.
  • Transfer soaked seeds to the bowl of a food processor; process until smooth, or leave grainy, as you prefer (my mini Cuisinart will not get the mustard entirely smooth). Add vinegar, mustard powder, sugar, and salt and process briefly to mix. Transfer to a medium saucepan.
  • Over medium heat, stirring constantly, bring mustard to a boil; continue to boil mustard until it reduces to your desired thickness, remembering that it will thicken further upon cooling (I cooked mine for about 3 minutes). Taste and adjust seasonings (add additional water if you need to tinker with the flavor and the mustard is getting too thick).
  • Funnel the finished mustard into the prepared jars, leaving a generous ¼-inch headspace (more like ⅓-inch). Remove air bubbles with a bubbling tool or chopstick (wood or plastic only). Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
  • When the time is up, remove the lid from the pot and turn off the heat. Let the jars rest in the cooling water for five minutes. When that time is up, remove jars and set them on a folded kitchen towel to cool.
    When the jars have cooled enough that you can comfortably handle them, check the seals. Sealed jars can be stored at room temperature for up to a year. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.

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78 thoughts on "An Introduction to Homemade Mustard"

  • Wow! This is outrageously cool! So, if I can figure out the right ingredients, I can stop bringing mustard back from France…

    Broken jars in the suitcase are Not. Fun.

      1. LOL. I do that…Last spring was the first time it ever happened, and we’ve brought home a lot of good mustard over the years.

        BTW, there’s no way to get the smell out of the socks…ewww. Had to trash them.

  • Oh what fun! I love a little specialty mustard on a grilled cheese with tomato sandwich or a sweet and hot mustard on turkey. I’m off to Penzey’s on my lunch hour today!

  • This looks amazing! The photos are lovely.
    I’ve always wanted to try making mustard from scratch. This post is inspiring me to do just that!
    I have a Penzey’s nearby too!

  • I love to give homemade mustard around the holidays! My favorite is stout mustard – especially great a few months later with some St. Paddy’s corned beef.

  • Great post! I love mustard and have been thinking about making some of my own for a while now. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • ahhhh I love mustard so much! therefore I adore this post – all you need is a follow up post of homemade pretzels – I’m thinking of doing both. Thank you for the tips and for the awesome photographs too!

  • Amazing timing! My hubby and I have been seeking out instructions for making/canning mustard for the past two weeks. Thanks for cracking the code. We can’t wait to give it a try.

  • I am a Pickle MAN, as are
    Many of my fellow readers!!

    Once you get my pickle in your mouth, you will never make that mistake again 🙂

    Nice recipes by the way, can’t wait to try the bourbon one!

  • Yum, that bourbon mustard sounds (and looks!) amazing. Might have to make some soon and add it to my list of homemade Christmas presents!

  • I love mustard (do people really eat a hot dog or a burger without it?), and the next time I go to Penzeys, I’m going to buy lots of the powder and seeds, and do some serious mustard making which will involve some experimentation. Being on a low sodium diet means I’m always looking for a flavor booster, and being a Penzeys fan means I always find it. Now I can add mustards of every kind to my repetoire, and very likely to my gift list. Yum! My mouth is watering now! Thank you for bringing this to our attention!

  • Marisa, I haven’t tried mustard yet but will soon. I love Pensey’s spices and have been purchasing from them for a long time.

  • Wow, make your own mustard! I’d never even though about it…but the fact that I don’t like mustard might have done it! Will need to find someone to share the mustard love with!

  • Mustard making is the next project on my list (I bought the seeds and powder a couple of weeks ago and have been feeling guilty every time I walk past the kitchen counter and see them staring sadly and slightly accusingly back at me) so I’m thrilled to have this guide. Thanks!

  • Oh my gosh! I’m going to become a mustard superstar now! I’ve never even thought of making homemade mustard before, this is so awesome. My dad loooves mustard, this could be an amazing Christmas present…

  • You know I’m with you on the mustard-hating, but damn, you make it look so tasty! I’d really surprise everyone if I made them their beloved mustard for gifts!

    1. Hi Danielle,

      The Dijon recipe can easily be doubled. The bourbon brown sugar will be a bit more difficult, simply because it will be hard to can that big a batch while keeping the mustard near boiling, but not drying it out too much before the last jar. You could always make one big batch, then at the cook-it-down stage, separate into two equal portions and cook them down, one after another.

  • These are keepers! My first batch of mustard was a DISASTER — the recipe sounded so fun with beer in it that I made a HUGE double batch and ended up tossing it. I hate when that happens. My second attempt was much better although the recipe seemed to be poorly written and I had to adjust the amount of mustard as the consistency was way soupy. These look wonderful — can’t wait to make. Especially the Bourbon one. Thank you sooo much. Can’t wait to try.

  • These look great! I’ve made whole grain mustard, but these look wonderful! Can’t wait to try them!

  • I will definitely have to try this. I’ve always wished I could make homemade honey mustard for dipping as I like it in some restaurants, but then when I buy the bottled stuff, it’s not as good. I may be off to search for a good homemade recipe to can. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Honey mustard and the dipping sauce are two very different things. You may wish to look up a dipping sauce recipe for that purpose

  • Homemade mustard is the best. I’ve adapted that same Oktoberfest recipe into a few perennial favorites around here.

    Thanks for sharing. These are awesome.

  • I don’t like mustard very much either, except I love a grainy one in vinaigrettes so much–I just don’t want it on a sandwich! Thanks for the recipes and instructions!

  • Oh oh oh, you have no idea how happy I was to find this blog. I can everything I get my hands on and am always looking for something to “put up” to use as Christmas gifts. This is going on my list right now!

  • This is great! I’ve been intending on making mustard for awhile (and have decided that I’m going to give gifts of homemade ketchup, mustard, and relish this year at Christmas) but while I’ve read many mustard recipes, I’ve never come across one that has water bath canning instructions. Thank you! Now I know that I CAN process it as long as I have a reliable recipe. Hurray!

  • It’s nice to see that I’m not the only one that makes foods that I don’t enjoy but I know how much the people around me do! Thanks for the great recipes I can’t wait to try them.

  • I tried the Dijon recipe and my mustard turned out really bitter. My husband keeps trying to blame the wine. (The onions cooked in it still taste yummy.) I think it may have been the mustard seeds.

    Does anyone have any suggestions why?

    1. Hmm. Did you use whole seeds instead of ground mustard powder? Just wondering if you pre-soaked the seeds; if not, that could be one reason for bitterness. Another reason could be if the seeds or powder were quite old, although I think they generally just lose flavor rather than develop bitterness.

      I haven’t had that happen in all of my mustard adventures but we make a lot around here: the seeds/powder never sit around for much longer than 6 months.

    2. Oh thankfully It wasn’t just me. I have a cold and thought that maybe it was just me up front tastes good but then a screaming bitter aftertaste. (my husband tested and said wow bitter). I even added more honey and cayenne pepper to see if that helped. Had to trash it, way gross and I love all kinds of mustard. Might have to try the grainy though.

  • My Dijon turned out great, but I had a problem with the Bourbon variety. Quite bitter, with an almost horseradish taste. I added more brown sugar and am hope the flavors calm down after a few weeks.

  • I know I’m a bit late, but I just tried this yesterday. I let my seeds soak in a honey water mix (my hubby doesn’t like bourbon), and for some reason when I put them in the food processor, they did nothing. They didn’t break up, they just swirled around as happy little black seeds and refused to turn into mustard. Any thoughts? Is the alcohol necessary to tenderize the seeds before processing? I was super bummed about this…. I really want to make mustard!

  • I tried this today. I also had a bitterness problem and added quite a bit more brown sugar. It also only yielded about half of what the recipe says (1.5 cups) even though I added water to keep the consistency right as I cooked and tasted. Not sure what I did wrong, but maybe it was just too intense of a mustard for me. I will continue to experiment!

  • Just to chime in on the Bitterness, Thickness, and seeds not blending properly: Mustard, when boiled, turns bitter. It’s the main reason mustard is usually added to any sauce near the end of a recipe.

    The best way I’ve found to avoid bitterness is to cook the mustard (and I stole the idea out of a book entitled, oddly enough, The Mustard Book) at a constant temp just below boiling for a longer period in a slow cooker. I’ve used low-range heat settings with stovetop and pan methods but you have to watch it carefully to avoid overheating or burning on the bottom of the pan.
    The “thickening” should actually occur during the mixing process. If you soak seeds for 48 hours prior to processing them in a food processor for about 5 – 6 minutes you’ll find that the mustard achieves the proper thickness.
    Dry mustard seeds are hard and tiny and are like mini-ninjas: soaking the seeds for 2 days prior to mixing/blending will make the seeds stop skipping around the blades.

    I’m on the fence about the heat processing: Mustard is actually one of the most amazing anti-microbials all by itself (think “mustard plaster”): adding vinegar or strong alcohol just adds to that property but a mixture of water and mustard powder is already one of the least attractive places for pathogens. Once you add anything non-acidic to it, though, you have to store it in the fridge for it to be 110% safe or, as mentioned, process it in a canner.

    I have a batch of Dijon-style mustard in the works now: I’ll split the batch and heat-process half to compare biterness.

    1. Hey Alex,

      What was the result of this experiment? (half heat processed and half non-processed?)

      Also how long does mustard last if it is not processed?


  • I was so eager to try out this bourbon mustard to pair with a mushroom pate and pickled green tomatoes on crostini. It was excellent! Although I will say my mustard too seemed a touch on the bitter side. Next time I will try to soak 48 hours instead of 12 so that the thickening may happen during mixing, because it certainly didnt thicken any when I did it. Still, it was certainly a crowd pleaser!

  • I just made homemade mustard for the first time (using whole mustard seed) and it is FAB. It’s also strong, no joke that it needs some time to mellow out. I’m loving throwing it in vinaigrettes!

  • I just made the bourbon mustard – holy cow that’s good! I love mustard, and maybe love bourbon a wee bit too much. I’ve made mustard before, but never would’ve thought to put them together. This is going to be fabulous slathered on the xmas ham, and the leftover sandwiches, and maybe on everything I eat til it’s gone…yum.

    1. Hey Beth – do you remember the method you used to create this, IE did you soak the seeds ahead of time? Did you process the mustard at all? I want my post to look like yours after I try this recipe again.

  • The original dijon mustard used was on my blog, of which I’m glad to share. Your homemade mustard will change substantially in a few weeks. Calm down is a good way to describe it. The flavours meld together is another. I have a couple other excellent mustards on as well as the Dijon (a thyme/beer and a grainy cognac).

  • I have been making this mustard vinaigrette dressing for my salad for a couple weeks now and I have been eating up mustard like crazy.
    Not to mention that it is extremely hard for my to find nice herd mustard in hong kong.
    I would love to try making this!
    Thanks for sharing

  • Thanks so much for sharing my Dijon mustard recipe. If you take the link you posted back to the Dijon page you’ll find links to four more mustard recipes: Porter Beer Mustard, Oktoberfest Mustard, Cognac Mustard and the old standby Yellow Hot Dog Mustard. I’m making a Dijon variation in the next couple of days, too. – Docaitta

  • Thanks for sharing these ideas. I would definitely classify myself as a mustard fan and also quite fancy a little bourban. Sadly, like many others, I also had trouble with the bourban mustard. I found it extremely strong and bitter, but maybe it was due to my preparation. I used 1/4 yellow mustard seed and 3/4 black mustard seed and I did not soak the seeds ahead of time, I used the quick cook method described above. I also used 1/2 the bourban as recommended. I think I also cooked the mustard for a little longer than directed (maybe 5-10 mins). Can anyone tell me if any or all of these things contributed to the bitterness? I would like to try this again, but not until I learn more about what I did wrong.

  • How about a recipe for cranberry mustard? Made some a few years back, but would like a version that can be processed to send to family for the holidays. Any ideas?

    1. K, there is a cranberry mustard recipe in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, p. 273. There is a cranberry ketchup as well.

  • I have a recipe I use for a spicy mustard soaking the whole seeds in beer and vinegar for a day or two then put in food processor. Wondering if I have to cook this recipe before I can with a hot water bath?

  • Why does the m&m commercial take over the first page of your dijon mustard recipe?I cannot remove it and if I reboot, there it is again . I don’t mind a commercial but this mm is so disgusting, I will never ever buy them again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Nancy, the ad only takes over if you hover over it. The one that appears on the bottom can be gotten rid of if you click the ‘x’ in the corner. So sorry that you’re frustrated by them!

  • Hmmm, I don’t do mustard, but Hubby likes spicy brown mustard. How would I modify the Dijon recipe to approximate that? He says Dijon’s usually sweeter…..

  • I have a mustard recipe that uses eggs. Can that be canned? I want to store on shelf, then refrigerate after opening.

  • If I were to add dried tarragon to this recipe would that give it an off flavor when combined with the onion and the garlic?

  • I am a canning novice, but I have read that you are supposed to can according to the lowest acid food item in the recipe. Onions are not recommended for canning (although you find recipes everywhere). I wondered if the added vinegar raised the PH enough to make the Dijon Mustard safe to waterbath can?

    1. You can typically include a small amount of low acid foods in a preserve, as long as the majority of ingredients are high in acid. If you followed the rule of thumb you quoted, you’d never even be able to process pickles in a water bath, because they are low acid vegetables (they are safe because they are suspended in a highly acidic environment).

  • I mixed up a batch of the bourbon brown sugar mustard about a week ago, but ran out of time to boil it down and can it. Is it too late to can this mustard or should I just cook it down and use it as refrigerator mustard?

    1. You should be able to heat it and can it now, provided that you added a goodly amount of acid to the mustard, so that is safe for canning.

      1. Thanks Marisa! I followed the recipe here so it has 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar. If I was unsure could I test food to be canned with something like ph strips to make sure it was acidic enough?

  • I just made the bourbon recipe but had to can it in batches I was limited by the size of my canning pot (Kuhn Rikon 4th burner). This means that I let the boiled mustard sit open for about 30 minutes before canning the second batch. Is it possible that enough acetic acid vaporized so as to make the mustard too alkaline and a risk for botulism? Thank you so much.

  • Hi there.

    Last year, as my very first attempt at mustard-making, I used the original Oktoberfest Beer Mustard recipe available here:

    I followed the directions exactly, and as three other commenters found, it was bitter. Awful. Wretched.

    My family loves mustard and I made the full batch–maybe even double–to give as gifts. The entire batch, after sitting for 1-2 months and still tasting yuk, went down the drain.

    Any thoughts on went so terribly wrong? I’d love to make either of the recipes you have here but I’m extremely hesitant at this point, particularly since this is based on my original failed recipe.

    1. I don’t really know why that mustard was terrible. I’ve found that mustard does get better over time, but it should have been pretty good after a couple months.

  • I made the recipe and my mustard looked thick enough when j put in hard but after processing and even sitting overnight, it is very runny. Can I reprocess it??

  • I just made this and it’s bitter. Not sure I’m going to can it. I added more sugar but it’s still quite bitter!

  • Help! Why was the bourbon mustard part of the post removed? I did write it down, but I’d like to know if it was a safety issue for canning purposes. I want to make it this week.