Secret Sauces: Unveiling the Mysterious Battle between Dijon

Dijon has developed a reputation among many consumers as a “fancy” version of regular mustard. And to some extent, well, it is. Of course, there’s a bit more to know about this nuanced condiment.

What Is Dijon Mustard?

Dijon mustard is a type of mustard that originated in Dijon, a town in Burgundy, France. And it gets its distinctive flavor from white wine.

Though it was first used as a condiment as early as 1336 (by King Philip VI, no less), it didn’t become widely popular until the 19th century. The mustard was originally made with vinegar, but Dijon resident Jean Naigeon replaced that particular ingredient with verjuice (the juice from unripe grapes) in 1856.

Even if you’re not a mustard connoisseur, you’re may be familiar with Grey-Poupon. The brand, which was created in 1866 buy Maurice Grey and Auguste Poupon, is now the most recognizable Dijon mustard brand in the world.

Once upon a time, Dijon mustard that was not actually made in France was called Dijon-style mustard rather than Dijon mustard. These days, however, the rules surrounding mustard naming conventions are more relaxed.

Dijon vs. Yellow Mustard

There are a couple of notable differences between yellow and Dijon mustard:

  1. Color: The most immediate distinction between Dijon and yellow mustard is color. Yellow mustard is typically a bright yellow. Dijon mustard, meanwhile, is a less vibrant shade of yellow tinged with brown.
  2. Flavor and Ingredients: Yellow mustard, which is made of powdered yellow mustard seeds, a spice blend, and vinegar (or even water), has a milder taste compared to its French counterpart. Dijon definitely has a distinctive mustard flavor, and is more intense, sharp, and complex than yellow mustard. It is made with brown and/or black mustard seeds and white wine.

Although you can generally use Dijon mustard and yellow mustard interchangeably, most mustard consumers prefer one over the other for different applications. If a recipe (such as a salad dressing or baked chicken) calls for Dijon, yellow mustard will not deliver quite the same dynamic flavor and may not emulsify quite as well in a vinaigrette.

Dijon Recipes

Even if you’re not a huge fan of mustard on your sandwich, Dijon mustard is an excellent flavor boosting ingredient to keep on hand. Here are some of our favorite dishes that highlight Dijon:

  • Baked Dijon Salmon
  • Dijon Pan Sauce
  • Dijon Chicken Thighs
  • Poulet a la Moutarde
  • Dijon Crusted Halibut
  • Dijon-Tarragon Cream Chicken
  • Mustard Vinaigrette