I did experiment to find out the best method of quickly removing too much mustard taste from your dish. Be it deviled eggs, potato salad, mustard sauce, you name it!
In a rush? Here’s the short version.
The best way to reduce mustard flavor is to add something sweet like honey, apricot jam, or apple juice. Another option is to add something fatty like butter, cream, or avocado to mellow out the sharpness from the mustard. For a simple fix, double up the recipe minus the mustard.
Pro tip: for non-liquid dishes like deviled eggs and potato salad, another option is to rinse the mustardy sauce off and start again.
A note on my experiment
I cooked up a load of sauce and purposely went heavy-handed with the mustard.
Then I took some samples and tested nine different ways of cutting the mustard flavor. I tried:
|Diluting the sauce with non-mustard ingredients||Double up the recipe minus the mustard||4/5|
|Adding something sweet||Apricot jam, honey, maple syrup, sugar, apple juice, sweet relish||5/5|
|Adding something fatty||Creme fraiche, butter, milk, yogurt, coconut, avocado||4/5|
|Adding something acidic (lemon juice)||Lemon juice, vinegar, wine, sherry,||3/5|
|Adding something starchy||Potato, beans, rice (good for salads or cold dishes)||3/5|
|Diluting the sauce with some stock||Add extra stock or water to the dish||2/5|
|Cooking the sauce for longer||Cook the sauce for an extra 20 minutes to see if this mellows the flavor||1/5|
|Rinse the sauce off||If you can, rinse the sauce off and start again||3/5|
|Adding salt||Avoid this method||0/5|
When I tasted the new and (hopefully) improved sauce, I noted how much mustard flavor remained, plus any other significant changes to the sauce like texture or consistency.
The methods that worked the best were adding something sweet or fatty, and mixing in a new batch of mustard-free sauce.
The worst options were cooking the sauce for longer, or adding extra salt.
I go through each method in more detail below.
Double up on all the ingredients but mustard
Make a second batch of your dish using all the ingredients but mustard. Then mix the two batches together.
The plain batch will dilute the too-mustardy batch, and everything should be in proportion again.
This method can work for sauces and non-liquid dishes alike.
For example, it’s perfect for deviled eggs. You can quickly and easily make a new egg yolk mixture (minus the mustard) and mix the two. It works well with sauces, salads, and dips too.
Bonus: you get extra food to snack on later!
Pros: this worked really well for my sauce and got rid of the mustard flavor without affecting anything else about my dish.
Cons: this isn’t going to work if you don’t have enough extra ingredients.
Add something sweet
Adding something sweet to your dish can help cut a strong mustard flavor.
Sugar is the most obvious thing to add, but not everyone feels comfortable adding straight sugar to their food.
Also, sugar will only work in hot dishes. If you add sugar to something cold, the granules won’t dissolve, and you’ll end up with a grainy dish.
Other things you can use to add sweetness include honey, maple syrup, and fruit jams.
Sweet relish is another popular additive that works well in a potato salad.
Always add your sweet ingredients slowly because the sauce can become overly sweet pretty quickly.
Pros: you’re always going to have something sweet in your cupboard so this is a method you can rely on. And it works well to cut the sharpness of the mustard.
Cons: nothing really!
Add something rich and fatty
Rich, fatty foods help mellow out intense flavors and most go well with mustard.
You can easily add extra milk, cheese, cream, yogurt, or creme fraiche to a hot or cold sauce.
Adding a dairy product to your dish will help neutralize too much heat as well as weaken the taste of the mustard. It
But it’s good to be aware that your sauce can become significantly richer as a result of adding dairy, so you should factor this into your portion sizes.
If dairy isn’t your thing, you can try adding some olive oil. Or avocado.
Pros: this is another method that you can always rely on, you’re always going to have some milk or butter in the fridge.
Cons: the creamy addition will mellow out all the flavors in your dish, not just the mustard. And you’re adding extra calories.
Add an acidic ingredient
It might sound like a bad idea to add another harsh flavor to try and mask another one, but small amounts of acid can help reduce the ‘bite’ of too much mustard.
Lime juice, lemon juice, and a splash of vinegar can all help. If wine would suit your dish, this will also work, but make sure you let it cook-off.
Definitely go slowly with adding any sort of acidic ingredient. Less is more.
If you overdo it, the dish will have another problem and be too tart!
Related: How to counter too much lemon & how to counter too much lime
Pros: the sauce was still very flavorsome but had lost some (not all) of the face-scrunching mustard flavor.
Cons: it’s easy to go overboard.
Add something starchy
This option will work really well for dishes like salads or non-saucy dishes.
Adding in some extra beans, rice, or potato to a salad will round out the flavor and reduce the amount of mustard you get in each mouthful.
It’s the equivalent of diluting a sauce, but with solid ingredients!
It will also work in sauces, it’s just not the best option.
I added some raw grated potato to my mustard sauce and within a few minutes of heating it, the potato had disintegrated, absorbing some of the mustard flavor.
Mashed beans or pulverized rice would also work.
One watch out is that adding starch will make the sauce thicker, so you might need to add some extra liquid to thin it out.
Rating: 3/5 for sauces or 5/5 for starch-based dishes
Pros: the mustard flavor was definitely duller.
Cons: this method isn’t suitable for all dishes and it gave my sauce a grainy texture (although maybe I added too much).
Dilute a sauce with water or stock
A quick and dirty solution for a sauce that’s got too much mustard in is to dilute it with some water or stock. Of course, this won’t work for non-liquid dishes so skip ahead if you’ve got a potato salad problem.
Everyone has water on hand so it’s great if your cupboards are bare and you don’t have any extra ingredients.
But definitely go for stock if you can. Water can easily lead to a bland sauce.
You can correct blandness with some extra seasonings like salt, pepper, or garlic powder. But the dish might not taste exactly as you wanted.
Top tip: make sure you use unsalted stock if you’re adding more, otherwise, the dish could end up overly salty.
Pros: after adding some extra stock, the mustard taste was less prominent which was the goal.
Cons: it thinned the sauce out significantly and the end result was a bit bland. You can thicken the sauce with a roux or a cornstarch slurry, but this can be quite complicated if you’re not a seasoned sauce maker.
Simmer the sauce for longer
If you’re making a sauce that requires cooking, sometimes all it needs is a bit more time.
As sauces cook, their flavors naturally mellow and you might find that after an extra 20 minutes, the mustard isn’t as strong.
However, this isn’t always the case, and with my sauce, it just ended up making the mustard stronger.
Pros: easy and you don’t need any extra ingredients
Cons: won’t always work
Rinse the sauce off (good for potato/pasta salad)
This one might sound a little crazy, but if you have something like a potato salad where the sauce is coating a relatively sturdy ingredient, you can put the whole thing in a colander and rinse the sauce off.
After rinsing, shake any excess water off and then remake the sauce going easy on the mustard this time!
If you don’t have enough ingredients to make a whole new sauce, only rinse a portion of the sauce off and mix the plain ingredients back into the sauced ones.
This will spread the sauce out over more ingredients, essentially diluting it.
Pros: will definitely fix your mustard problem in certain situations
Cons: it takes time to make a whole new sauce, and this method isn’t suitable a lot of the time
Add more salt [avoid this method]
I decided to try adding more salt because normally helps a flavor disaster, but it didn’t help this one!
The dish just ended up being overly salty, although I wasn’t using low-sodium salt, so that could have also made a difference.
Best way to cut mustard flavor in deviled eggs
To get rid of an overly strong mustard taste in your deviled eggs, make a new batch of the filling mixture but omit the mustard. Then mix the two batches together. Alternatively, you could mix something into the mixture to mellow out the mustard taste like sour cream or avocado.
Best way to cut mustard flavor in potato salad
To get rid of an overly strong mustard taste in a potato salad, rinse the sauce off the potatoes and start again. If you don’t have any extra ingredients to make a new sauce, then you can mix something sweet into the mixture like sweet relish. This will cut through the bite of the mustard.
How To Cut Mustard Flavor From Any Dish [I Try 9 Methods]
- 1 portion overly mustardy dish deviled eggs, potato salad, mustard sauce, etc
- 1 portion sugar based sauce honey, apricot jam, etc
- 1 portion dairy-based ingredient creme fraiche, heavy cream, etc
- 1 portion acidic juice lime juice, lemon juice, vinegar
- 1 portion fatty ingredient olive oil, avocado
- 1 portion starchy ingredient grated potato, rice
- 1 portion stock chicken stock, water
- Add something sweet. Things you can use to add sweetness include honey, maple syrup, and fruit jams.
- Add something rich and fatty. Adding a dairy product to your dish will help neutralize too much heat as well as weaken the taste of mustard. If dairy isn’t your thing, you can try adding some olive oil. Or avocado.
- Add an acidic ingredient. Lime juice, lemon juice, and a splash of vinegar can all help. If wine would suit your dish, this can also help, but make sure you let it cook-off.
- Add something starchy. Starchy foods (potatoes, rice, beans) help offset intense flavors like mustard by adding more ‘blandness’ to the dish.
- Dilute a sauce with water or stock. A quick and dirty solution for a sauce that’s got too much mustard in is to dilute it with some water or stock. Of course, this won’t work for non-liquid dishes so skip ahead if you’ve got a potato salad problem.
- Simmer the sauce for longer. If you’re making a sauce the requires cooking, sometimes all it needs is a bit more time. As sauces cook, their flavors naturally mellow and you might find that after an extra 20 minutes, the mustard isn’t as strong.
- Rinse the sauce off (good for potato/pasta salad). This one might sound a little crazy, but if you have something like a potato salad where the sauce is coating a relatively sturdy ingredient, you can put the whole thing in a colander and rinse the sauce off.