Mustard VS Wasabi (Similarities, Differences + More)

Many condiments are available nowadays and similar condiments are always being compared. Though it always comes down to preference, people cannot help but compare flavors and quality.

With mustard and wasabi being almost the same, which of them is better, and what is the difference between mustard and wasabi? I did the research, and here is what I discovered!

Mustard VS Wasabi

Wasabi and mustard almost have the same flavor profile and are almost interchangeable as condiments, but they are different. While mustard is enjoyed for heat and flavor, wasabi is used only for spiciness. Both are very popular condiments, but they have differences that sometimes make them irreplaceable in some dishes.

Which condiment tastes better? Which is spicier? Keep reading to know more!

How Do You Use Mustard And Wasabi?

Mustard is a very popular table condiment that is found in almost every home, and mustard is usually a tangy, acidic mixture with a kick of heat.

In the United States, mustard is usually served on top of a hot dog, spread on a meaty sandwich, or used as a dipping sauce for meats and cheeses.

However, with the formulation of new mixtures and flavors, mustard has become more than a basic condiment.

Mustard is now an important addition to other condiments since mustard is incorporated in barbecue sauces, mayonnaise, and ready-made marinades.

Moreover, mustard has also evolved to be the main ingredient of some recipes rather than just a condiment.

Wasabi is a condiment that is very popular in Japan and wasabi has a nasal-clearing heat that is very similar to that of mustard but with more intensity.

Normally, wasabi is served with sushi and sashimi, but wasabi can be used on other foods, making wasabi a staple in Japanese cuisine.

Nowadays, wasabi is also added to vinaigrettes, especially in Asian-style salads for a kick. Some people add wasabi with their noodles to amp up the flavor and add spiciness.

What Is The Difference Between Mustard And Wasabi?

Real wasabi, not the commercial green paste you all see, is actually very herbal in taste, and real wasabi is spicy yet not pungent.

Commercial wasabi is more intense with its heat, like mustard, because commercial wasabi is made from horseradish and other ingredients.

Mustard’s heat comes from mustard seeds, which need to be activated with liquid to release the heat.

On the other hand, wasabi is a root, which is already spicy the moment you grate wasabi on your food.

Historically, mustard is also the older condiment, as mustard has been used since the time of the Roman empire.

Wasabi is a newly developed condiment, only having been around since the 16th century.

Generally, wasabi is perishable, unlike mustard which can stay fresh for quite a long time without growing molds.

This is why wasabi is usually already premixed and made into the commercial stuff before wasabi is shipped out.

What Do Mustard And Wasabi Have In Common?

What Do Mustard And Wasabi Have In Common?

Mustard and wasabi are both used as condiments and seasonings, and they can be added to dishes or stand alone as a plain condiment.

Both are available in powder and paste form. Powders are for when they are used as a spice for food, like black pepper or cumin.

Typically, these condiments in paste form are usually used in glazes or dressings because they are great binders for the other ingredients.

Mustard and wasabi also both have a punch of heat in flavor since both of their spicinesses do not stay on the tongue, but rather felt at the back of your throat and nose.

Is Mustard Or Wasabi Better On Meats?

Depending on the recipe, mustard or wasabi can be better on meat, and it can depend on your preference.

Wasabi is very good with meats, especially beef. Japan is famous for its amazing wagyu, and most people eat wagyu with only a little salt and a touch of wasabi since wasabi cuts through the richness of meat while offering an extra kick.

Mustard is also great paired with meats, especially deli meats like roast beef, hot dogs, pastrami, and more.

Plus, mustard gives the meat a more intense and tangier flavor with an added punch of heat that people love.

Additionally, preparation and the type of dish being served is sometimes what mainly determines which of these condiments you use. Some meat dishes fare better with mustard, and others just shine with wasabi.

Is Mustard Or Wasabi Better On Fish?

Wasabi is better on fish since wasabi is traditionally served with fish and goes with either raw fish or cooked fish, especially on sushi and sashimi.

Every Japanese restaurant and sushi restaurant will give you wasabi if you are eating fish. Since fish is mild in flavor, wasabi offers the extra taste without overpowering the fresh flavor of the fish.

Mustard may be good on fish too, but only in select fish types and select recipes because mustard would not stand alone with raw fish, as mustard can overpower the fish’s flavor.

Since mustard has a lot of variations and added ingredients, the fish will be bland and lose its main character status.

Wasabi makes the fish stand out, only helping the fish shine more while mustard will take over the stage if served with fish.

Although mustard is not great as a condiment to fish, mustard may be great as a rub or a marinade.

Mustard’s consistency will help spices stick to the otherwise slick texture of fish. Some may also benefit from the added flavor of mustard as a crust.

Check out our other articles to learn about mustard versus Dijon mustard, mustard versus horseradish, and if mustard is dairy-free.


Mustard and wasabi both have their similarities and differences. Though they are sometimes used the same way, they have their own pairings they excel at.

Both these condiments have a distinct taste and flavor that make them such a staple in households and home pantries. They are also incorporated in various dishes and recipes that require their unique taste and flavor.

It all comes down to personal preferences with both these condiments. Some love mustard and some love wasabi. If you enjoy both, feel free to use both in your food.

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