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Top Substitutes For Horseradish

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Horseradish is a go-to ingredient for adding tanginess and spice to a recipe.

Luckily, even if you can’t use this vegetable, you can easily find a Substitute For Horseradish that will suit your needs. So, no need to panic if you don’t have this ingredient on hand or you have picky eaters.

Fresh and grated horseradish in a wooden bowl with parsley on wooden board.

Keep reading to learn the best alternatives for this spicy vegetable. 

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What Is Horseradish And Its Common Uses

Horseradish is a root vegetable commonly used as a spice or condiment. It is closely related to Japanese horseradish and white mustard, which are vegetables often used to make wasabi and mustard. 

Horseradish is typically served as prepared horseradish, a condiment made with freshly grated horseradish root, sugar, salt, and vinegar. Don’t confuse prepared horseradish with horseradish sauce, though, as the latter is made with prepared horseradish mixed with other ingredients.

This spicy veggie doesn’t only put spiciness on your table, but has health benefits as well. 

Studies suggest that horseradish brings antibacterial properties and improves respiratory health.

Factors To Consider When Choosing Horseradish Alternatives

Here are some of the factors you will need to consider to decide which is the best horseradish substitute for your recipe. 

Fresh and grated horseradish in a wooden bowl with parsley on wooden board.

Flavor Profile

The distinct pungent and spicy flavor of horseradish is used regularly in curries and stews. So, choose a substitute that can offer a rich, hot flavor like horseradish if the recipe highlights spiciness.

Heat Intensity

Take into account how intense you want the heat to be when you replace horseradish. Some replacements can match the intense heat of this root vegetable, while others offer a milder kick. Double-check whether any of your guests can’t handle too much heat, so you can choose an alternative that everyone can enjoy.


Just like a dish or sauce made from horseradish may exhibit a pungent smell, some alternatives also offer a strong, spicy aroma that may not be to everyone’s liking.

Cultural Compatibility

Some horseradish substitutes are more appropriate to use in specific recipes. A Japanese dish, for example, would likely turn out better using wasabi as a horseradish alternative instead of ginger.

However, feel free to experiment and use whatever works for you. Having fun and unlocking new flavors is also a crucial part of your home cooking adventures! 

Best Substitutes For Horseradish And How To Use Them


Wasabi is made from Japanese horseradish (Eutrema japonicum), a plant in the same family as horseradish. The striking similarity between the two vegetables makes wasabi one of the most famous alternatives for horseradish. 

Fresh and grated Japanese wasabi on a black plate.

When using this alternative, you have the choice to use either premade wasabi paste or grate some wasabi root. Always remember to use half the amount when substituting horseradish with wasabi, as the latter can taste pretty intense.

Fun fact: Most wasabi paste brands actually use horseradish as their main ingredient, so they’ll offer a similar type of spiciness and texture to your dish.

However, keep in mind that wasabi does not have as much heat as horseradish. So, it’s best to only use it when the recipe calls for just a slight spiciness.


Mustard, which can come in the form of a sauce, mustard powder, or ground mustard, can also be used as an excellent alternative to horseradish. 

Ground and sauce mustard in a wooden bowl with mustard powder on a wooden spoon on the side.

This ingredient is also in the same family as horseradish and wasabi, making it suitable for dishes that need that distinct mild heat and tanginess. Mustard has more or less the same strength as horseradish, so use a 1:1 substitution.

Despite the similarities between mustard and horseradish, however,  mustard has a distinct yellow/brown color and a unique nutty, earthy aroma that horseradish doesn’t. So, use this substitute gradually if the appearance and smell are one of the main factors you consider when cooking a dish.


As its name suggests, radish can also be used in place of horseradish. Black radish is the best option out of all kinds as it offers a similar pungent and spicy flavor as horseradish, just slightly weaker.

Grated black radish in a small bowl with grater, knife and sliced black radish on the side.

Apart from its flavor, this alternative also has a similar appearance to horseradish, which is perfect for dishes that highlight the visual appearance of your food! 

You can start with a 1:1 amount of this substitute when you’re cooking. Just be prepared to add more of this substitute if you want a spicy dish, as it’s not as hot as horseradish. If you’re intentionally aiming for mild spiciness, though, you can further lessen the heat of black radish by simply peeling the skin, which holds most of the flavor.


The famous medicinal plant ginger is a practical option whenever you need a horseradish substitute, as it’s a common ingredient. Similar to horseradish, ginger can be used in a wide array of recipes ranging from soups to sauces.

Fresh and grated ginger on a wooden spoon on wooden table.

Fresh ginger offers a milder pungent flavor and heat than horseradish, though, so it’s best to only use this alternative when you want to add a slightly sweet flavor and subtle heat to recipes.

You can add in an equal amount of ginger when you’re using it as a replacement for horseradish. But as always, season your dish to taste.

Other Potential Substitutes For Horseradish

Horseradish Sauce

If you can’t find fresh horseradish on your grocery shelves, you can just buy and use horseradish sauce

Horseradish Sauce in a bowl.

It’s typically made by mixing grated horseradish root, salt, some vinegar, and sour cream. So, having horseradish in it, this alternative will bring a similar flavor profile with added creaminess to your dish.

I usually use a 1:1 substitution when using horseradish sauce but feel free to adjust the amount as you see fit. As the cream usually mutes the spiciness, add more horseradish sauce if you’re aiming for that spicy kick.

Keep in mind, though, that using horseradish sauce is not recommended for recipes that won’t benefit from a creamy consistency, as it’ll alter your recipe’s original flavor too much.


Meaning “sour cabbage” in German, sauerkraut is prepared by fermenting finely chopped cabbage in brine with lactic acid. The good bacteria caused by the fermentation give this alternative its unique sour flavor and long shelf life.

Sauerkraut in a bowl on a table.

Thanks to its natural sourness, sauerkraut is perfect to use whenever you’re making a sauce or dish that only requires very mild heat. Start with using an equal amount as the recipe needs and add more if needed.

Remember, though, that sauerkraut has a sour aroma. So, it may not be suitable when you are cooking dishes that don’t have ingredients that can mask the scent of sauerkraut.


For those who are serving kids who can’t handle spicy food, choose parsnips as your horseradish substitute. 

Looking like a carrot but with a white color, parsnips have an earthy and sweet flavor that’s similar and goes extremely well in garnishes or side dishes. A 1:1 substitution is a good start, but you can add more parsnips if you want to.

Parsnips roots on a wooden table.

As mentioned, though, parsnips do not have any heat, so be ready to add some spices for that spicy kick.

Always Enjoy That Refreshing Spiciness

Now you can easily substitute horseradish in your recipes anytime. So, you don’t need to worry when you can’t find it in the grocery store or if you have picky eaters who don’t like this ingredient. 

Chicken soup in a bowl with ginger and lime on the side.

Just remember to consider the flavor profile you’re aiming for and the heat intensity you prefer when choosing a substitute. After all, although these substitutes can all replace horseradish in recipes, they’ll each bring a slightly different twist to your dish.

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