If you’re standing in your kitchen right now in panic mode – I feel you. I’ve added way too much of the wrong ingredient to my dishes on countless occasions.
So much so that I decided to conduct an 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.
What’s the best way of reducing mustard taste in a dish? The best way to reduce mustard flavor is to add something sweet to the dish. An excellent addition is apricot jam, which pairs well with mustardy flavors. Other ways of reducing mustard taste include doubling up on all non-mustard ingredients or adding something dairy-based to the dish.
A note on my experiment
I cooked up a load of mustard 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 tested:
- Diluting the sauce with a new batch of mustard-free sauce
- Adding something sweet (apricot jam and honey)
- Adding something fatty (creme fraiche)
- Adding something acidic (lemon juice)
- Adding something starchy (grated potato)
- Diluting the sauce with some stock (chicken stock)
- Cooking the sauce for longer
- Adding salt (avoid this!)
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 I recommend are adding something sweet or fatty, and mixing in a new batch of mustard-free sauce. The worst options were cooking the sauce for longer, diluting the sauce with extra stock, and adding extra salt.
I go through each method in more detail below.
I also considered how to cut mustard flavor from non-liquid dishes like deviled eggs and potato salad. You can adapt a few of the above methods for this, but I also tested things like rinsing the sauce off and starting again.
Double up on all the ingredients but mustard
If you have enough extra ingredients on hand, an easy option is to make more of your sauce or dish but omit the 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!
Rating: 5 out of 5 (0 out of 5 if you don’t have enough ingredients to make extra)
This worked really well for my sauce, but I would have been stuck if I didn’t have any extra creme fraiche (the base of my sauce).
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.
Solution rating: 5 out of 5
You’re always going to have some sugar in your cupboard so this is a method you can always rely on.
Apricot is something you often see paired with mustard, so I decided to try this in my sauce. I also tried honey.
I really liked the apricot jam addition. The resulting sauce was sweet but delicious! I was less impressed with the honey, it did get rid of the overbearing mustard taste, but the sauce didn’t taste as good as the one with jam in.
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.
But it’s good to be aware that your sauce will become significantly richer as a result of adding dairy, so you should factor this into your portion sizes. The sauce will also be more calorific (which isn’t always a bad thing!).
If dairy isn’t your thing, you can try adding some olive oil. Or avocado.
Avocado isn’t the easiest thing to add on a whim, but it’s got a super creamy flavor that will help to balance out an overwhelming mustard flavor.
It could also be a clever way to get more vegetables into the dish.
Solution rating: 5 out of 5
This is another method that you can always rely on, you’re always going to have some milk in the fridge.
I added some extra creme fraiche to the sauce. It definitely made the sauce more mild and palatable, but it did taste noticeably more creamy.
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 can also help, 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!
Solution rating: 3 out of 5
I added a few squirts of lemon juice to my sauce. The sauce was still very flavorsome but had lost some of the face-scrunching mustard flavor.
Not as much as with other methods, though, which is why this one has a lower rating.
Add something starchy
Starchy foods (potatoes, rice, beans) help offset intense flavors like mustard by adding more ‘blandness’ to the dish.
I haven’t made that sound very appetizing, but something like grated potato can work wonders in a sauce that’s too strong. Grated or pulverized starches will cook/disintegrate very quickly in a hot sauce.
They’ll also make the sauce thicker, so if you don’t want that you might have to add some more liquid to thin the sauce out.
This option will work really well for dishes like salads or Mexican rice.
Adding in some extra beans or rice to a salad will round out the flavor and reduce the amount of mustard in each mouthful. It’s the equivalent of diluting a sauce, but with solid ingredients.
Solution rating: 2 out of 5 for sauces / 5 out of 5 for starch-based dishes
I added some raw grated potatoes to my sauce and heated it until the potatoes were cooked through and fully integrated into the sauce. The mustard flavor had been dulled and the sauce tasted pretty good, but the texture had changed a lot.
The sauce was thicker, and you could feel a slightly grainy texture on the tongue. Nothing offputting, but it’s worth noting. I added quite a bit of potato, so if you add less the changes will be less pronounced.
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.
However, this isn’t my favorite method for two reasons:
- The water will tone down all the flavors in the sauce, not just mustard. Even if you use stock you can end up with a dull sauce
- The water will thin the sauce
You can correct the flavor problem with some extra seasonings like salt, pepper, or garlic powder. But the dish might not taste exactly as you wanted.
And 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.
Solution rating: 2 out of 5
After adding some extra stock, the mustard taste was less prominent which was the goal. But overall I don’t particularly like this method because of how much it thins out the sauce.
Top tip: make sure you use unsalted stock if you’re adding more, otherwise, the dish could end up overly soggy.
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.
Solution rating: 1 out of 5 (only works for sauces)
If you have a sauce where mustard isn’t the main ingredient, simmering it for a bit longer may well make other flavors stronger and allow them to overtake the mustard. But if mustard is the star of the show, this method won’t 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.
Solution rating: 4 out of 5
This worked really well for my mustard potato salad. I would definitely use it again if I found myself in a similar situation. However, I knocked a star off because it’s only going to work in a small number of scenarios.
Don’t add more salt
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.
How to prevent adding too much mustard next time
A trick I learned from my mum to prevent overdoing any ingredient was to always take a little sample of your mixture and add the new ingredient into the sample.
Taste as you go, noting how much mustard you’ve added to the sample.
Then, when you think the mixture tastes good, scale up the ratios and add the same proportion of mustard to your main dish.
If you go overboard on the sample, you’ve only lost a few spoonfuls of the sauce not the whole thing.
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.