What is the Difference Between Horseradish and Wasabi

The main difference between horseradish and wasabi is the plant parts we consume: the root is the part we usually consume in horseradish, while the stem or rhizome is the main part we typically consume in wasabi.

Horseradish and wasabi are two plants belonging to the same family. Therefore, they share several similarities, like their pungent taste. However, there are some differences between horseradish and wasabi, as well.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Horseradish 
     – Definition, Features, Culinary Uses
2. What is Wasabi
     – Definition, Features, Culinary Uses
3. Difference Between Horseradish and Wasabi
    – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Horseradish, Wasabi

Difference Between Horseradish and Wasabi - Comparison Summary

What is Horseradish

Horseradish is a spicy root vegetable that belongs to the family of mustard. It has long green leaves and is cultivated for its long white root. Importantly, horseradish is usually cultivated in cold environments. It is an aromatic vegetable and has also been used as a medicine over the centuries around the world. Especially, horseradish consists of a chemical composition called sinigrin, which helps to reduce swelling by blocking or changing the parts of the immune system that cause the swelling.

Horseradish vs Wasabi

Concerning the uses, people use horseradish to make a sauce, and it is available in pre-packs. You can use this sauce as a dip for fish sticks and as a substitute for mayonnaise. In addition, you can add it to mashed potatoes to give them a spicy flavor. This sauce is also useful as a dressing for steak. Meanwhile, people also use freshly grated horseradish for vegetables and meat dishes.

What is Wasabi

The wasabi plant belongs to the family Brassicaceae. The flavor of wasabi is quite similar to horseradish and radish. Stems and rhizomes of this plant are mainly used for cuisine. Real wasabi is very expensive. In fact, wasabi has become one of the most expensive spices on the market.  Thus, several cheap substitutes are available in the market with artificial coloring. Wasabi is hard to grow because we need to partially submerge it in moving water. In Japan, wild wasabi grows on rocky surfaces and in riverbeds. But these plants are not good at survival because even minute climate changes can cause their death.

Compare Horseradish and Wasabi - What's the difference?

We also use the name wasabi for the pungent, green paste or spice that we make using these plants. Wasabi paste serves as a condiment to dishes like sushi. Making the wasabi paste involves grating the stem. But the flavor of the paste may disappear within fifteen minutes if the paste is not covered. Wasabi paste enhances the flavor of pork and other meats. Freshly grated wasabi also gives a marvelous taste to any dish. The flavor of wasabi can increase the taste of raw fish and helps to highlight the flavor of the fish.

Difference Between Horseradish and Wasabi


Horseradish is a European plant of the family Brassicaceae with a pungent edible root and long leaves, while wasabi is a Japanese plant with a thick green root that tastes like strong horseradish.


Horseradish is mainly used as a sauce, while wasabi is used as a paste.

Parts of the Plant Used

The root is the part we usually consume in horseradish, while the stem or rhizome is the main part we typically consume in wasabi.


Wasabi has a more intense flavor than horseradish.


Horseradish is easier to cultivate, but wasabi is not easy to cultivate and requires an uncommon farming method for its propagation.


Wasabi is more expensive than horseradish.


The main difference between horseradish and wasabi is that horseradish is a root vegetable that is used as a spice or a condiment, whereas wasabi is a rhizome of the same family that produces a green paste served as a condiment for dishes like sushi.


1. “Horseradish: Health Benefits, Nutrients per Serving, Preparation Information, and More.” WebMD.
2. Naglich, Mandy. “What Is Wasabi.” Taste of Home, 30 Jan. 2020.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Horseradish” By Armoracia_rusticana_03_ies.jpg: Frank Vincentzderivative work: — The Man in Question (gesprec) · (forðung) – Armoracia_rusticana_03_ies.jpg (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “2016-07-03 Daio Wasabi Farm 大王わさび農園 DSCF0373” By 松岡明芳 – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Anuradha

Anuradha has a BA degree in English, French, and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Master's degree in Teaching English Literature in a Second Language Context. Her areas of interests include Arts and Literature, Language and Education, Nature and Animals, Cultures and Civilizations, Food, and Fashion.

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