Horseradish is known for its rich flavor and pungent taste. It is a popular condiment for many meat dishes, like prime rib and roast beef, but in case you don't have any available, or want a more mild flavor, here are some of the best substitutes for horseradish!
What is Horseradish?
Horseradish is a root vegetable native to southeastern Europe and western Asia. It is a member of the mustard family and known for its pungent, sharp, and slightly bitter flavor.
The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties allow it to treat respiratory and digestive issues. Horseradish is high in vitamin C content and its antioxidants.
You will often use horseradish as a condiment and mix it with vinegar to create a sauce. The sauce is often used as a condiment for meats, particularly prime rib, and is a popular condiment for sandwiches and in sauces for fish dishes.
Prepared Horseradish vs Horseradish Root
Fresh horseradish root has a tough, fibrous exterior that peels to reveal the white, fleshy interior. The horseradish plant is known for its large, white, tapered root. It is grated or ground and used as a condiment or seasoning.
You can find prepared horseradish sauce in jars in grocery stores. Horseradish has a unique flavor profile that is difficult to replicate, but it is has a tangy flavor with a hot and spicy kick. It is related to wasabi and has a similar taste to the wasabi paste that is found with your sushi.
Fresh horseradish is usually more pungent than when you prepare a horseradish sauce. This is because you mix the horseradish with other ingredients to mellow the flavor.
What Does Horseradish Taste Like?
Horseradish has a strong flavor. It is often described as being pungent with a peppery taste that can be sharp and biting. The flavor is similar to spicy brown mustard and wasabi. It is a popular condiment to add a spicy kick to dishes. It's especially good with beef dishes or you can use it to enhance the flavor of sauces, dips, salad dressings, and sandwiches.
The flavor of horseradish can range from mild to extremely hot, depending on the variety and the freshness of the root.
Where to Find it in the Store
You will find horseradish root in the produce section of most grocery stores, usually in the chilled produce, near the squash. They should be firm and heavy for their size, with no soft spots or discoloration. If you can't find fresh horseradish, you can find prepared horseradish sauce in the condiment aisle of your local grocery store.
Some specialty food stores may also carry fresh horseradish root or a wider selection of prepared horseradish sauces, which will come in a variety of flavors and strengths.
6 Best Substitutes for Horseradish
If you're looking for the best substitutes for horseradish, there are several options to consider. Here's a list of the best alternatives!
1. Horseradish Sauce
If you can't find fresh horseradish, it should come as no surprise that one of the best substitutes is prepared horseradish sauce! Just keep in mind that the flavor may be slightly different than using fresh horseradish.
Wasabi or wasabi powder is a great substitute for horseradish as it has a similar flavor profile and pungent flavor and it is considered one of the best horseradish substitutes. This is also true for wasabi paste.
Wasabi is very closely related to horseradish. Look at the ingredients of wasabi and you may be surprised to see horseradish listed high on the list of ingredients. You can substitute wasabi or wasabi paste for horseradish with a 1:1 ratio, depending on the desired spice level.
There are several types of mustard that make a great substitute for horseradish, including spicy brown mustard, or even yellow mustard. While yellow mustard is a good alternative for horseradish, it does not possess the spicy kick that horseradish does.
- If the recipe calls for freshly grated horseradish, you can substitute using brown mustard seeds. You will use a mortar and pestle to ground them and substitute using a 1:1 ratio.
- For horseradish sauce, a good substitute is a creamy mustard, like Dijon mustard, spicy brown mustard, spicy mustard, or even horseradish mustard. Substitute using a 1:1 ratio.
- If you have a recipe that calls for ground horseradish, you will use ground mustard in equal parts instead.
Ginger, including fresh ginger and ground ginger, has a slightly different flavor profile than horseradish, but it is also a great alternative for horseradish in a pinch.
It is a good option for those who don't want the spicy flavor that horseradish gives but want some of the unique flavor it provides. The amount that you should use will depend on the recipe and your flavor preference. Ginger brings more sweetness while delivering a good amount of heat.
5. Hot Sauce or Chili Sauce
If you're looking for heat rather than a specific flavor, you can substitute hot sauce or chili sauce, like Sriracha. It will not provide the complex flavor that horseradish provides but it will definitely provide the spiciness! If you swap hot sauce in for horseradish, we suggest starting with a 1:1 ratio and adjusting based on your desired level of heat. You can always add more but it's difficult to take out!
Radishes are also a great substitute for horseradish. Specifically, sharing looks with beetroot, black radishes are a great substitute for horseradish. The big difference between a black radish and horseradish is where the heat is located. A black radish's heat is in its skin and the horseradish's heat is in its root. This can make it tricky to match the correct level of heat.
Grating black radish will offer the closest heat level but will be a darker color than you might be expecting. We suggest a 1:1 ratio but adjust accordingly based on desired spice level.
Note: It's important to note that while these substitutes can work in a pinch, they will not give you the exact same flavor as horseradish.
Horseradish and garlic have different flavor profiles and cannot be used as a direct substitute for one another.
Dijon mustard makes a great substitute for horseradish. You can use a 1:1 substitute for dijon mustard to horseradish.
Horseradish is not the same as a ginger. It is a great substitute for horseradish but it does bring more sweetness while delivering a good amount of heat. Ginger does not bring the same spicy flavor that horseradish does.
Wasabi is the closest herb to horseradish. You can use wasabi paste or wasabi oil in your recipes to compare with the unique flavor of horseradish.
How to Offset the Taste of Horseradish
Put too much horseradish in your recipe? No worries! Horseradish has a strong flavor and a pungent taste that can be overpowering if not used in moderation.
- Add sweetness: sweet ingredients like sugar, honey, or fruit can help to balance the heat and pungency of horseradish. You can add these ingredients to your dish or serve your dish with a sweet condiment, like a fruit chutney.
- Mix it with fat or dairy: Dairy products like sour cream, oil, butter yogurt, or crème fraîche can help to cool down and balance out the heat of horseradish. This also helps to balance its flavor. You can use these ingredients as a sauce or topping for your dish.
- Add vinegar: Adding a bit of vinegar can help to cut the heat and intensity of horseradish and balance its flavor. You can add vinegar to your dish or serve it with a vinegary condiment, like pickles or a vinaigrette.
- Fresh herbs: herbs like parsley, mint, or basil can help to balance the flavor of horseradish. These will also a add a fresh, herbaceous note to your dish.
Tip: it's always best to start with a small amount of horseradish and adjust to taste! Too much can be overpowering. Additionally, these methods may not completely neutralize the flavor of horseradish, but they can help to balance it and make it more pleasant to taste.
Cooking with Horseradish
We love the spicy flavor that horseradish can provide to a dish! Here are some of our favorite recipes using horseradish (but if you don't have horseradish, use a substitute!):
- This Roasted Roast Beef Tenderloin is a great main dish for any party or family meal. If you don't like prime rib, we suggest to make this instead!
- Horseradish is a main ingredient in cocktail sauce. You can also find it in our remoulade sauce that we love to pair with our Crispy Air Fryer Shrimp!
If you love horseradish and want to add it in to your recipe, we recommend pairing with this Garlic Herb Standing Rib Roast (Prime Rib).
If you are looking to implement horseradish's spicy flavor into other recipes, here are some places to start!
- Try it in a Bloody Mary!
- Mix in with your deviled eggs filling.
- Add ground horseradish to any of your favorite dipping sauces!