Hot Mustard Recipe

Two ingredients and 15 minutes are all you need to make a spicy, full-flavored mustard.

A bowl of hot mustard next to some mustard powder.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Mixing mustard as needed 15 minutes before serving yields an intense, mouth-scorching condiment.
  • You can preserve the sauce by refrigerating it at its peak or adding a little vinegar to stabilize it.

Out of all of the Chinese-American sauces I've made, hot mustard was by far the easiest, yet most fascinating. Just two simple ingredients create a sauce full of flavor with mouth-scorching heat.

So how does this happen? I won't pretend I can pronounce these words or understand the whole science behind it but here's the gist: Mustard has an enzyme called myrosinase which breaks down glucosinolates into isothiocyanates when combined with cold water, producing the characteristic heat of hot mustard. The amount of heat produced in this reaction is dependent on the type of mustard seeds, some being hotter than others.

For this recipe, I tried out two different hot mustard powders—Roland Chinese Hot Mustard Powder and Colman's English Mustard—then tasted them every five to 10 minutes to see how the flavor and heat evolved over time.

Both seemed to reach a peak around 15 minutes after being combined with water. The Roland was the hotter of the two, packing a major heat that had the power to clear even most clogged of sinuses, but the Colman's carried that hefty punch with more flavor to speak of, which, for lack of a better word, was just more mustard-y.

After their peak, they both slowly began to fade, with the mustard flavor lingering longer and longer before the heat kicked in, and that heat gradually became less pronounced but they were still both plenty hot a couple hours later.

That intense heat can be preserved to some point either by refrigerating the mustard at its peak, or adding a little vinegar to stabilize it, but this mustard is so quick and easy to put together; just equal parts mustard powder and cold water. I'd recommend making as much as you need when you need it and forget about trying to store it.

Once you try this at home, you'll have a hard time going back to those little Chinese take-out packets.

January 2012

Recipe Details

Hot Mustard Recipe

Active 1 min
Total 15 mins
Serves 2 to 3 servings

Two ingredients and 15 minutes are all you need to make a spicy, full-flavored mustard.


  • 3 tablespoons hot mustard powder, such as Colman’s

  • 3 tablespoons cold water


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together mustard powder and water until completely combined. Let rest for 15 minutes; use immediately.

    A prep bowl of mustard. A mini whisk resting on the edge of the bowl.

    Serious Eats / Joshua Bousel

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
32 Calories
2g Fat
2g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 3
Amount per serving
Calories 32
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 17mg 1%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 46mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)