Is Mustard Vegan? (Yes, But Beware of These Weird Exceptions…)

Wondering if mustard is vegan? How about dijon mustard and whole grain mustard? In this article, we'll answer all of the questions you have about the vegan status of this condiment.

We'll also tackle questions about the mustard at some of the biggest restaurant chains.

Let's begin...

Is Mustard Vegan?

Almost always, mustard is vegan. One big exception is honey mustard. Many who follow a plant-based diet prefer to abstain from honey as it's an animal byproduct (though not all do). The other exception is mustard sauces like those from McDonald's which have eggs.

One other thing we do want to address is that some mustards are made with white wine. The reason there is a debate about whether these mustards are vegan is that some white wines are filtered with animal products.

In the interest of making vegannism as accessible as possible, we would encourage you not to worry about the possibility of trace ingredients like these. Without clearly marked non-vegan ingredients, mustards are widely accepted as vegan.

Mustard dates all the way back to 1800 BC. Usually made with mustard seeds, vinegar, salt and spices, it can showcase a wide range of flavors from spicy to sweet and everything in between. It also comes in different textures, from smooth, to gritty, to whole grain. 

It goes great with all sorts of vegan cuisine including veggie burgers, sweet potato wedges, mashed chickpea salad and much more.

Read Next: List of Vegan Staple Foods to Buy

Dijon Mustard

It's vegan. A condiment in originating in Dijon, France, Dijon mustard is one of those white wine mustards we mentioned. 

However, many of the Dijon mustards you'll see at the store don't have white wine at all, instead opting for vinegar or wine vinegar.

As for homemade Dijon mustard, it's pretty likely that it will be made with wine. But whether a Dijon mustard has wine in it or not, it is indeed vegan.

Maille Dijon Originale

Ingredients: Water, Mustard Seeds, Vinegar, Salt, Citric Acid, Sodium Metabisulfite (Used To Protect Quality).

In case you're wondering, sodium metabisulfite is a salt compound, which has no effect on the vegan status. Overall, this is a pretty typical ingredient list for store-bought Dijon mustard.

French's Dijon Mustard

Here's one with white wine that you'll easily find in the store.

Ingredients: Distilled Vinegar, Water, No. 1 Grade Mustard Seed, Salt, Chardonnay Wine, Citric Acid, Tartaric Acid, Spices And Turmeric.

French's Dijon Mustard is just as vegan as Maille Dijon Originale!

Brown Mustard

It's vegan. Brown mustard is a term used to describe a mustard that's more brownish in color than yellow and has a deeper, spicier flavor. It's often made with whole mustard seeds, giving it a slightly crunchy texture.

If you love spicy, grainy mustards, go for a brown mustard. They're easy to locate in grocery stores big and small, and you'll probably see multiple choices as they're so popular.

Here are a couple of brands to be familiar with...

Nathan's Spicy Brown Mustard

Ingredients: Select Mustard Seeds, Vinegar, Salt, Turmeric and Spices

As you can see, the ingredients in Nathan's Spicy Brown Mustard are not dissimilar from those in Maille's Dijon Mustard, and all the ingredients are vegan.

Gulden's Spicy Brown Mustard

Ingredients: Vinegar, Water, Mustard Seed, Salt, Less Than 2% Of: Spices, Turmeric.

The ingredients in Nathan's Gulden's Spicy Brown Mustard are essentially the same. 

Woeber's Simply Supreme Superior Brown Mustard

Here's one with sugar to tone down the spiciness:

Ingredients: Distilled White Vinegar, #1 Mustard Seed, Sugar, Salt, and Spices.

Still vegan!

Stone Ground Mustard

It's vegan. Stone ground mustards are some of the more rustic mustards available. They've had their mustard seeds crushed to release all the flavor essences, but the texture is still coarse as the seeds aren't blended or extracted.

Let's see what's in these types of mustard.

Woodstock Organic Stone Ground Mustard

Ingredients: Organic Grain Vinegar, Water, Organic Mustard Seed, Salt, Organic Spices.

Nothing out of the ordinary in Woodstock's Stone Ground Mustard, just plant-based ingredients.

Great Value Stone Ground Mustard

Ingredients: Water, Mustard Seed, Vinegar, Salt, Citric Acid (Preservative), Turmeric.

Great Value is a Walmart brand, so Walmart is where you'll find this one. The turmeric is probably for color, which is common.

Other than that, the ingredients are about the same as those in the Woodstock mustard and generally the same as the other mustards we've examined so far. 

English Mustard

It's vegan. English mustard is smooth and spicy with a combination of white, brown and black mustard seeds (white seeds are mild and slightly sweet while brown and black seeds are hot and super hot respectively).

One of the key characteristics of English mustard is an ingredient called mustard flour (a.k.a. mustard powder).

Mustard Flour, or Mustard Powder

Mustard flour is just ground dried mustard seeds. Sometimes turmeric is added for coloring. The resulting powder is peppery and easy to turn into prepared mustard with lots of pep.

Coleman's English Mustard

Coleman's is a well-known English mustard brand with mustard flour as well as wheat flour in its ingredient list.

Ingredients: Water, Mustard Flour (21%), Sugar, Salt, Wheat Flour, Turmeric, Acid (Citric Acid).

Wheat flour is not typical in other mustards, but it would certainly thicken this one. It sure does have a kick, and it's all vegan.

Marks and Spencer Hot English Mustard

Ingredients: Water, Dried Mustard (32%), Salt, Concentrated Lemon Juice, Turmeric.

Marks and Spencer Hot English Mustard has an even higher percentage of mustard powder, and it's said to be a doozy. It also gets its tang from lemon instead of vinegar, one of the many vegan ingredients that show up in ready-made mustards.

Horseradish Mustard

It's vegan. Horseradish flavor is a type of spice you'll feel in your sinuses rather than on your tongue. It comes from the pungent European and Asian horseradish root and is often added to wasabi to get an extra intense kick.

We'll check out some horseradish mustards to verify their vegan status...

Annie's Organic Horseradish Mustard

Ingredients: Apple Cider Vinegar*, Water, Mustard Seed*, Sea Salt, Horseradish Root*, Garlic*, Natural Horseradish Flavor, Clove*. *Organic.

The clove will deepen the flavor of this mustard, which is usually located in the the condiment aisle of your local supermarket. All the ingredients are vegan as well as organic, if that's something you appreciate.

Stonewall Kitchen Horseradish Mustard

Ingredients: Mustard (Water, White Distilled Vinegar, Mustard Seed, White Wine, Garlic, Salt, Sugar, Xanthan Gum, Spices, Natural Flavor, Citric Acid, Celery Seed, Turmeric, Tartaric Acid, Annatto), Horseradish (Horseradish Roots, Vinegar, Salt), Pure Cane Sugar, Dried Minced Garlic, Spices.

There are a few ingredients to go over in this one. First, you'll see white wine (which we addressed earlier). This is not usually in horseradish mustard, but Stonewall Kitchen is known for artisanal creations. But so far, so vegan.

If you haven't heard of xanthan gum, it's quite a popular thickener in mustard, salad dressings and all sorts of pantry staples. It's not derived from animal products, but rather from sugar that's been fermented with a type of bacteria (which is vegan).

And annatto is frequently used as a natural red dye. It comes from the seeds of a tree called the achiote tree from Mexico and Brazil.

Though this mustard has so far had the longest ingredient list, it's still vegan.

Honey Mustard

It's NOT officially vegan. This is the one type of mustard that can't be officially called vegan due to the addition of honey, which makes it sweet instead of tangy or spicy (check out a homemade vegan honey mustard recipe below).

There's also honey mustard dressing for salads, which has the same status as the mustard, though it's a bit of a moot point if you're not eating products with honey in them.

Let's see what the ingredients in honey mustard look like.

Boar's Head Honey Mustard

Ingredients: Honey, Mustard Seed, Vinegar, Sugar, Molasses, Salt, Horseradish, Spices, Guar Gum.

This universal deli brand blends sweet molasses into its Honey Mustard, but not in place of honey. In fact, honey is the first ingredient, so this is mostly honey and therefore avoided by many vegans.

Sir Kensington's Honey Mustard

Ingredients: Water, Distilled Vinegar, Fair Trade Organic Honey, Mustard Seed, Fair Trade Organic Cane Sugar, Salt, Turmeric, Allspice, Cinnamon, Cloves, Coriander.

Again, in Sir Kensington's Honey Mustard we see another sweet ingredient (cane sugar), but honey is still present.

No matter what other ingredients are used, honey mustards don't leave the honey out, so homemade vegan honey mustard it is!

French's Mustard

It's vegan. This brand is known for its yellow mustard, the kind you'll probably see most frequently in restaurants and diners. It's smooth and mellow with neither bite nor sweetness. It's tangy with a gentle mustard seed flavor.

If you abstain from honey, as long as you don't go for French's honey mustard, you should be safe with this brand.

1. French's Classic Yellow Mustard

Ingredients: Distilled Vinegar, Water, #1 Grade Mustard Seed, Salt, Turmeric, Paprika, Spice, Natural Flavors And Garlic Powder.

French's keeps this recipe to the standard plant-based ingredients of a classic mustard. The paprika doesn't make it hot—it just makes the flavor more well-rounded.

2. French's Spicy Brown Mustard

Ingredients: Distilled Vinegar, No. 1 Grade Mustard Seed, Water, Salt, Spices, Turmeric, Natural Flavors.

This recipe is similar, though it probably contains picante spices to give French's Spicy Brown Mustard zing.

Beer Mustard

It's usually vegan. Beer mustard generally takes your average mustard recipe and introduces beer, whether it's stout, pale ale or Belgian beer. This creates a more nuanced tasting experience.

A regular beer mustard is not going to be problematic for vegans. However, it's possible to see beer and honey mustard hybrids, which are really their own type of thing. 

But these hybrids are not standard. Unless you see the word "honey" in the title, your beer mustard should be unequivocally vegan. That being said, to be on the safe side, it's not a bad idea to check ingredient lists for all specialty mustards.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale & Honey Spice Mustard

Ingredients: Distilled Vinegar, Water, Mustard Seed, Honey, Cane Sugar, Salt, Pale Ale, Spices, Turmeric.

Sierra Nevada offers a few different beer mustards, but Pale Ale & Honey Spice does indeed contain honey. Since this is not your common beer mustard (it's more of a type of honey mustard), we won't hold it against the beer mustard category.

Sierra Stout & Stone Ground Mustard

Now we'll check out a Sierra Nevada beer mustard that is vegan.

Ingredients: Distilled Vinegar, Water, Mustard Seed, Salt, Stout, Spices.

Like typical beer mustards, the Stout & Stone Ground Mustard simply adds beer. In this case, it adds deep, dark stout beer. And yes, it's vegan.

Stone Pale Ale Stone Ground Mustard

Ingredients: White Distilled Vinegar, Water, Mustard Seed, Stone Pale Ale (Water, Malted Barley, Hops, Brewer's Yeast), Chipotle Puree, Salt, Sugar, Natural Smoke Flavor, Spices, Garlic, Turmeric, Xanthan Gum, Oleoresin Turmeric (Color).

If you're not sure what oleoresin turmeric is, it's an extract of turmeric root that can enhance flavor or color. In this case, it enhances the latter. Stone Pale Ale Stone Ground Mustard has many ingredients, but none of them are animal-derived. It's totally vegan and delicious.

Heinz Mustard

It's vegan. The name Heinz is more often associated with tomato ketchup, but the company also makes several types of mustard, most of which are vegan.

Which one is in question? The honey mustard. But that's it. Since the honey mustard is so clearly marked, it's easy to pick out the vegan Heinz mustards (every other type).

Heinz Organic Yellow Mustard

Ingredients: Organic Distilled Vinegar, Water, Organic Mustard Seed, Salt, Organic Turmeric, Organic Spice.

This is the organic version of the brand's yellow mustard. It's pretty basic, as are most of Heinz mustards. And it's 100 percent vegan.

Heinz Spicy Yellow Mustard with Jalapeño

This is a smoky, spicy option with jalapeño peppers.

Ingredients: Distilled White Vinegar, Water, Mustard Seed, Jalapeño Peppers, Salt, Turmeric, Natural Flavor, Smoke Flavor, Natural Extractive Of Paprika.

The extra ingredients in this mustard are vegetables and spices, making Heinz Spicy Yellow Mustard with Jalapeño vegan.

Chinese Hot Mustard

It's vegan. Have you ever heard that drinking water after eating something spicy will make it burn even more? The secret to Chinese hot mustard is the chemical reaction between the water and the sulphur compounds in the mustard seeds, intensifying the heat.

Chinese hot mustard can be found in powdered or prepared form. Recipes will often start with an English-style mustard like Coleman's and add water and oil.

Ka-me Chinese Style Hot Mustard

Ingredients: Water, Mustard, Vinegar, Salt, Spices, Turmeric.

You'll notice that the ingredients for Ka-me Chinese Style Hot Mustard are still very simple and plant-based.

Roland Chinese Hot Mustard

Ingredients: Water, Mustard Flour, White Vinegar, Salt, Modified Corn Starch, Mustard Oil, Potassium Sorbate (As A Preservative), Spice, Turmeric.

Roland Chinese Hot Mustard looks quite a bit like Coleman's, swapping wheat flour for corn starch and mixing in a few other (vegan) ingredients. Like Coleman's, its primary ingredients are water and mustard flour to make it extra hot.

McDonald's Mustard

Some McDonald's mustard products are vegan and some aren't. The regular yellow mustard appears to be vegan-friendly, but the same can't be said for the Hot Mustard Sauce, which has animal products in it.

McDonald's Mustard Package

Ingredients: Distilled Vinegar, Water, Mustard Seed, Salt, Turmeric, Paprika, Spice Extractive.

This is the standard yellow mustard available at McDonald's. It'll be tangy and mild, and it's plant-based like other yellow mustards.

McDonald's Hot Mustard Sauce

Ingredients: Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Distilled Vinegar, Soybean Oil, Mustard Seed, Salt, Spices, Egg Yolks, Modified Food Starch, Turmeric, Paprika, Xanthan Gum, Annatto Extract, Caramel Color, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Spice Extractives, Calcium Disodium EDTA (To Protect Flavor).

Since the Hot Mustard Sauce is made with egg yolks, it's definitely not vegan. But it's worth noting that this is a sauce rather than an average mustard. 

Sauces can have all types of ingredients in them, so they're more likely to be incompatible with vegan diets. Even if it's a mustard sauce, as you see here, it can't be taken for granted as a vegan item. 

Grey Poupon Mustard

It's vegan. Grey Poupon is a highly recognizable brand of whole-grain (grainy) Dijon mustard. There is white wine in this mustard, as you're about to see. But again, it's not worth worrying about potential offending ingredients. Being 99.9% vegan is just as good as 100%

Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard

Ingredients: Distilled White Vinegar, Mustard Seed, Water, Salt, White Wine, Citric Acid, Tartaric Acid, Fruit Pectin, Sugar, Spices.

Grey Poupon follows a very similar recipe procedure to French's for its Dijon mustard. Like French's, this one is vegan, but the flavor is a little richer.

Subway Spicy Mustard

It's vegan. Subway's Deli Brown Mustard contains no animal ingredients. However, you have to specify that you want the spicy brown mustard and not the honey mustard if you're ordering a veggie sandwich. 

1. Subway Deli Brown Mustard

Let's see what's in the spicy mustard at Subway.

Ingredients: Distilled Vinegar, Mustard Seed, Water, Salt, Spices, Turmeric, Natural Flavor.

Everything looks vegan here. You can download a PDF of all the ingredients in Subway's mustard and other products here.

2. Subway Yellow Mustard

Just for the sake of exploring our options, we'll take a look at Subway's regular yellow mustard.

Ingredients: Vinegar, Water, Mustard Seed, Salt, Turmeric, Paprika, Spice, Natural Flavor, Garlic Powder.

As expected, these ingredients are vegan, too. Again, just specify that you want the yellow or brown mustard if you don't do honey mustard.

How to Make Vegan Honey Mustard

Ready to make your own vegan honey mustard that'll please every palate? It's super simple. All you need to do is mix your favorite vegan mustard with a liquid sweetener like maple syrup, agave or...vegan honey!

This video will show you how to make "honey" out of apple juice and sugar. The result looks and acts just like drizzly honey but has a delightful apple essence. 

Just mix this vegan honey into some mustard a little bit at a time and keep tasting until you reach your desired level of sweetness. Use spicy brown mustard for a zesty honey mustard or yellow mustard for a more traditionally sweet condiment. 

Wrap Up

The only mustard types you'll really need to watch out for are honey mustards and their subtypes, including beer-and-honey mustards. 

Steer clear of mustard sauces, too, unless you find out for sure that they don't have extra ingredients of the unvegan variety. These exceptions aside, mustard is absolutely vegan.

We also want to wrap up with a statement about honey for consideration. Honey is a controversial and highly debated topic in the vegan community. If you’re trying to transition to veganism, we don’t recommend getting caught up in some of the more debated vegan topics, such as honey, or even nit-picking products that don’t blatantly state that they contain animal products.

Opposing honey as an ingredient without understanding the complexities of the debate is never a good way to go about things. You should always be learning, understanding, and then acting.

Focus on giving up all obvious animal products such as meat, dairy, eggs and fish. After that, you can explore some of the more nuanced topics and make your own decisions. 

Once you’ve fully adapted to the lifestyle, consider your side of the debate on honey and do your best to find the more deeply hidden ingredients that may require manufacturer outreach and digging.

Leave a Comment