One bite of horseradish and you’re bombarded with a smorgasbord of flavors: heat, a spicy kick, and a tinge of sweetness (if you bothered to notice).
Whether in a sauce, grated, or powdered form, horseradish kicks the spice up a notch. If you love that chili sensation (minus the burn), that’s the reason why this white root is hot stuff.
If you do happen to run out of this hot stuff, there’s no need to turn a cold shoulder on your favorite Bloody Mary. There are substitutes available to help you keep the heat.
- Horseradish Sauce
- Wasabi or Wasabi Paste
- Wasabi Root
- Wasabi Oil
- Wasabi Powder
- Spicy Brown Mustard
- Dijon Mustard
- Mustard Seed or Powder
- Mustard Oil
As the list is just too long, read on if you are keen to find out the full list of spicy horseradish substitutes below.
Before that, let’s learn a bit more about the history and benefits of this ingredient commonly used in meats.
18 Best Horseradish Substitutes
The history of Horseradish went as far as Egypt in 1500 BC. Both its root and leaves were used as a medicine during the Middle Ages.
The root was used as a condiment on meats in Germany, Scandinavia, and Britain. It was brought to North America during Colonial times.[Source]
Horseradish brings fire to your mouth (in a good way), and once that settles in, you’ll realize its many applications such as a culinary condiment, spice, or Bloody Mary staple.
Some of the best Horseradish Substitutes include horseradish sauce, wasabi and mustard.
Check out the following 18 best substitutes for horseradish list because prime rib is not prime rib without the kick:
Before you call us a cheat, let us clarify that you can consider this option in case you run out of fresh horseradish. We just want to exhaust all possibilities of sourcing horseradish from your cupboard, and this includes the cream-based horseradish sauce.
After all, its primary ingredient happens to be horseradish!
Horseradish sauce also includes other ingredients like salt, vinegar, and a creamy base such as mayonnaise.
It may not be a direct substitute for everything that calls for horseradish, but it can be acceptable for sauces and condiments that do not require the intense kick of fresh horseradish.
Wasabi or Wasabi Paste
That’s right, our favorite Japanese condiment is a perfect substitute for horseradish. Did you know that the green wasabi paste we buy in stores is mainly made from horseradish? And that wasabi can also be referred to as Japanese horseradish?
No wonder wasabi paste and horseradish have the same kick and strong smell that bring tears to our eyes. They’re almost like twins, with the former exuding a green hue.
This is because the wasabi paste sold in American stores has a higher horseradish concentration with green coloring added.
The flavor of wasabi is an ideal match to replace horseradish for prime rib and Bloody Mary.
The paste can also be added with a base cream if you wish to replace horseradish sauce.
If you’re not comfortable with the green shade of the wasabi paste, you can switch to wasabi root to replace horseradish. If any, it’s an even better replacement since they’re both roots.
Aside from their root commonality, they have the same heat character. When you reach out for a tissue while eating sushi—that’s what we’re talking about! That’s the power of the root.
In terms of taste, you can say that wasabi root is a bit sweeter than horseradish, but there’s nothing that a little seasoning can’t fix. Wasabi root is usually carried in Japanese or Asian speciality stores.
If there’s anything we learned from wasabi paste, it’s that horseradish is the primary ingredient. The same follows for wasabi oil, of course. Why change a proven concoction? Wasabi oil is canola or vegetable oil that’s immersed with horseradish.
Since this is in oil form, it has a few constraints as a replacement for horseradish. Wasabi oil delivers a milder spice profile. It’s still spicy and pungent, but minus the sting you get when you sniff on the oil.
What’s great is that it is ready to use on anything that needs drizzling: mayonnaise-based dishes, meats, sauces, and condiments. Add a few drops more to get the kick you want.
Tip: Wasabi oil would make a friendly substitute for those who aren’t too fond of spicy food.
Wasabi powder ends the wasabi series as a horseradish substitute. Since it’s a dehydrated form of wasabi paste, adding water to this mixture creates a very saturated and intense flavor.
Some recipes ask you to add mustard or spices to give wasabi paste a more palatable profile. Don’t worry, this won’t temper the heat profile at all.
Wasabi powder is more difficult to find than other wasabi products. If you happen to visit Japan, remember to buy stocks of wasabi powder.
Spicy Brown Mustard
Spicy brown mustard, also known as Chinese brown mustard, is another fiery alternative to horseradish—and the good news is that it’s available in supermarkets and probably in your mom’s fridge.
The name alone is a testament to its credentials: brown color, pungent aroma, and a spice level similar to horseradish.
Spicy brown mustard may be preferred over wasabi if the green color clashes with your recipe’s aesthetics. Mustard is also a component of the wasabi in American stores so the flavors are generally similar.
Use Dijon mustard only if spicy brown mustard is not available. Though both are types of mustard, Dijon mustard lacks the spicy punch.
Dijon mustard has a creamy base and is made by soaking mustard seeds in an acidic ingredient (like vinegar) or white wine, so the result is smooth and mildly pungent mustard.
The flavor profile of Dijon is subtle and refined, and this can be a substitute for horseradish sauce or any creamy or saucy application of horseradish.
Mustard Seed or Powder
Mustard powder comes from ground mustard seeds so it makes sense to mention them in the same number. It’s a pretty much DIY task to grind the seeds with a mortar and pestle.
Mustard powder is highly potent as a horseradish alternative due to its concentration and spiciness level—which you can adjust, depending on how much water you add.
If you are planning to substitute grated horseradish that requires a more pungent flavor, use a 1:1 ratio of powder to liquid.
Mustard oil is still worth mentioning as a horseradish substitute. Like wasabi oil, mustard oil is easy to use and mirrors the flavor of horseradish one notch down.
As a condiment, you can just add drops to your dishes, soups, and sauces.
Pure mustard oil may not be sold in the United States because it contains a harmful ingredient (erucic acid), but mustard essential oil is widely available and safe to ingest.
Ginger is a common sight in supermarkets and most homes. It’s a vegetable that also belongs to the root family, so the texture is fairly similar to horseradish.
Ginger does not mirror the exact taste and heat level of horseradish. It has a unique tang on its own: pungent with a mild spice that hints of sweetness and lemon.
After all, don’t we just love ginger tea after a big meal?
With the subtle sweet spice and earthiness present, the best tip is to use ginger sparingly as a horseradish replacement.
Adding too much will not add to the kick and will just hamper the flavor of your dish and turn it into a gingery sauce!
Black radish comes from the same family as horseradish, so they share a lot of similarities as fellow root vegetables.
Black radish is nicknamed Black Spanish radish, but it doesn’t matter whose garden this came from. What matters is why this root is an exceptional substitute for horseradish: the thick, dark skin holds the key to that much-anticipated heat.
That skin is the source of the spice and pungent taste that you are looking for. You’ll need to peel and grate this to get hold of that intense flavor.
The white inner section of the black radish resembles horseradish with a milder taste. Don’t let this go to waste, since you can mix the entire black radish with your concoction or use the white portion for a tempered spice level.
If you’re after a remarkable color contrast of your garnishing or toppings, just take note that the skin color of black radish may not achieve the most photogenic award when placed alongside dark-colored dishes.
But, we guarantee that your food will get that authentic horseradish kick.
Unlike black radish, red radish has no close relations with horseradish other than being a root vegetable and the word radish. It is good to note that fresh “radishes” are known for being crisp and juicy.
Red radish also brings that mild spicy flavor that can be identifiable with horseradish.
Add those traits together, and hence, we list another alternative for horseradish that is perfect for dishes that require that garden-fresh taste with a hint of spice.
Daikon is Japanese for “big root” and is often called white radish, winter radish, or—you guessed it—Japanese radish. Commonly served as a side salad or topping, daikon possesses that mild-tangy flavor and aroma to bring zest to dishes.
Daikon can be considered a less spicy alternative to horseradish. What it lacks in the peppery heat department, it compensates as a juicy, slightly pungent, and tasty condiment or topping that bring its own flair to your recipe.
Sauerkraut is German for “sour cabbage,” which sums up what this siding is known for. Sauerkraut is shredded cabbage that is fermented by lactic acid bacteria. The result is a uniquely sour and tart flavor that just goes well with savory dishes like sausages, meats, and broths.
While sauerkraut cannot produce that sinus-clearing effect that you get from eating horseradish, its acidic intensity will be a good substitute flavor for horseradish. That combination of tart and salty may benefit some dishes requiring that strong flavor profile.
Since sauerkraut may be too intense for some (and eating a lot means ingesting more probiotic fiber), always start with small amounts.
Parsnips bring to the table their unique character: they look like a cream-colored carrot with a sweet, almost-licorice, and mildly spicy flavor.
This distinguishable flavor as a root vegetable gives its distinct kind of zest that is worthy of replacing horseradish—minus that fire in your nose.
Rutabaga is also known as the Swedish turnip. It can be considered a cross between a turnip and a wild cabbage.
This root vegetable is rich in a lot of nutrients, but to qualify as a substitute for horseradish, rutabaga also has the same texture, pungent flavor, and a milder spice level than horseradish.[Source]
When cooked, rutabaga yields a sweeter and buttery taste—so it can be a milder and more delectable version of horseradish.
If you are just after that pungent taste and spicy kick of horseradish, whole or fresh peppercorns can do the job for you.
Peppercorns are a kitchen staple too, so you’re sure to find this in your spice rack when an emergency calls for it.
Just to be clear—horseradish sauce is different from prepared horseradish. The latter is in a jar form and is typically immersed with vinegar and spices. Prepared horseradish is usually an ingredient to make the creamy horseradish sauce.
That means if we were to rank the heat intensity level of fresh horseradish and its products from lowest to highest, it would be: horseradish sauce, prepared horseradish, and horseradish.
Prepared horseradish may be milder compared to the fresh root, but there are product variants being sold in groceries that are extra hot and try to mimic the real stuff. With all these selections, you’re sure to find one that will match your spicy criteria.