14 Best Sesame Oil Substitutes: Enhance Your Cooking with These Substitutes

14 Sesame Oil Substitutes
21 min reading time

Sesame oil is one of those amazing ingredients that add a certain sparkle to any dish, whether it be salty, sweet, or savory. Not only does it have its own distinct taste and flavor profile, but sesame oil also has a wealth of nutrition and health benefits. Unfortunately, not all pantries can stock delicious ingredients either because of cost or availability. If you are amongst those who find themselves in this boat – fret not! There are lots of other excellent options out there which can substitute for sesame oil just as effectively with their own unique flavors and benefits. In this blog post, we’ll explore some great sesame oil substitutes so that you don’t have to miss out on your favorite recipes next time your local store is out of stock!

What is Sesame Oil?

Sesame oil is a type of vegetable oil that is derived from sesame seeds. It has been used in many cultures for thousands of years, due to its numerous health benefits as well as its culinary use.

In terms of nutrition, sesame oil is full of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins such as zinc, magnesium, and vitamin E. It also contains healthy fatty acids like oleic acid (omega-9), stearic acid (Omega-6), and linoleic acid (omega-3). These nutrients have numerous benefits for the body including improved hair growth, lower blood pressure levels, and enhanced metabolism. 

Sesame oil also has a range of therapeutic properties that can help with skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. Studies have shown that topical application of this oil helps reduce inflammation while repairing the skin’s surface layer simultaneously. Additionally, it helps protect against UV radiation thanks to its antioxidant activity – making it popular among natural sunscreen products. 

Another benefit associated with sesame oil relates to its culinary uses; mainly stir-frying food or adding flavor into dishes like salads or dips. This makes it an increasingly popular choice among chefs around the world due to its relatively mild taste compared to pricey alternatives such as sunflower seed oils or extra virgin olive oils which are much more expensive yet offer little nutritional value in comparison. 

Overall, sesame oil comes with plenty of amazing benefits that should not be ignored! Whether you’re looking for a healthier cooking alternative or simply want something with therapeutic properties – this could certainly be the option for you!

Toasted vs. Untoasted Sesame Oil

Toasted and untoasted sesame oil both stem from the same source – sesame seeds – but their uses, flavors, and production methods differ significantly. Untoasted sesame oil is made from raw, pressed sesame seeds. It carries a clean, delicate taste with subtle hints of sesame, making it versatile in cooking as it doesn’t overpower the other flavors in a dish. Its flavor can be described as barely noticeable, nutty, or completely neutral.

On the other hand, toasted sesame oil is made from toasted or roasted sesame seeds, a process that vastly changes the oil’s flavor profile. This oil is known for its rich, nutty flavor, which is at once delicate and deeply aromatic. Commonly referred to as Asian sesame oil or dark sesame oil, it has an ember to dark-brown color and is often used as a finishing oil to add a burst of flavor to dishes right before serving. The bold, assertive flavor of toasted sesame oil makes it less suitable for general cooking purposes but ideal for enhancing the taste of a dish.

Why Look for Substitutes for Sesame Oil?

There are several reasons why one might need to look for substitutes for sesame oil. First and foremost, sesame oil has a distinct flavor that might not be to everyone’s liking or suitable for all types of dishes. Secondly, it can be a bit pricey compared to other oils, which might not make it the best choice for those on a budget. Additionally, some people might have allergies to sesame seeds and therefore cannot consume sesame oil. Lastly, it may not always be readily available in every grocery store or in every region. For these reasons, having a list of potential substitutes for sesame oil can be incredibly helpful for both novice and experienced cooks alike.

14 Best Sesame Oil Substitutes

Trying out new flavors in the kitchen is always exciting, and finding substitutes for ingredients can be both fun and challenging. One substitution to consider is sesame oil, which has a nutty, earthy flavor that is popular in Asian cuisine. However, there are alternatives to sesame oil that can be used in recipes without sacrificing taste. For instance, peanut oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, and olive oil are a few options that can replace sesame oil in certain recipes. Additionally, ingredients like tahini, and butter, also offer similar notes of nuttiness and umami that sesame oil brings to the table. Let’s have a look at the different sesame oil substitutes and discover new flavors in your dishes.

1. Sunflower Oil

sunflower oil- sesame oil substitutes

Sunflower oil is a popular substitute for sesame oil due to its similar yet slightly milder flavor profile, as well as its lower cost of production relative to sesame oil. Sunflower seed oil is extracted from sunflowers and contains omega-6 fatty acids, including linoleic acid which makes it an excellent choice for cooking. The light color of the finished product means that it won’t darken foods like sesame oil may do when used in larger quantities.

Unlike some other vegetable oils, sunflower seed oil has no strong flavor so it works well to enhance the flavors in a dish without overpowering them. It can be used just like any other cooking oil, for sautéing or roasting vegetables or proteins, baking cakes and quick breads, and even stir-frying dishes with bold spices and intense flavors such as garlic or fish sauce.

Furthermore, while both sunflower and sesame oils are known for their high smoke points (the temperature at which fats break down), sunflower has an even higher smoke point than sesame at around 450°F/232°C making it perfect for high-heat cooking methods such as deep frying.

Replacement: Use it in a 1:1 ratio as a straightforward swap in your recipes.

2. Olive Oil

olive oil- sesame oil substitutes

Olive oil is one of the popular sesame oil substitutes due to its availability, affordability, and health benefits. While sesame oil has a unique nutty flavor, olive oil can approximate this flavor with the addition of several other spices and ingredients.

The reason that olive oil is used as an alternative to sesame oil when cooking lies both in its characteristics and in the way we use it. For instance, while sesame oils are mostly used as finishing oils or for marinating ingredients before cooking them, extra-virgin olive oils offer more functionality when cooking such as sautéing vegetables at higher temperatures due to their lower smoke point compared to virgin or regular (light) olive oils. This means that you can achieve better results with dishes that require high heat without having to worry about compromising the taste or aroma of your food.

Another reason why people opt for using extra-virgin olive oil instead of sesame oil is that it offers a bevy of health benefits thanks to its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). MUFAs are not only healthier than saturated fats but they have also been shown by research studies to contribute towards cardiovascular health by reducing bad cholesterol levels while raising HDL cholesterol levels.

Replacement: Substitute it at a 1:1 ratio, just be aware that its distinct flavor may slightly alter the taste of the dish.

3. Grapeseed Oil

grape seed oil- sesame oil substitutes

Grapeseed oil has seen a surge in popularity in recent years, mainly due to its high levels of beneficial fatty acids and antioxidants which are believed to have health benefits – it is considered to be the “healthiest” type of cooking oil. The light, nutty flavor makes it suitable for both savory or sweet dishes – it doesn’t affect the taste like some other types of oils can.

When used as a substitute for sesame oil, grapeseed oil offers some important advantages. Firstly, it is much more affordable than sesame oil since the price per unit volume is lower; this makes grapeseed oil a great option if you need higher amounts but don’t want to pay top dollar. Secondly, grapeseed oil has a higher smoke point (420°F/215°C) compared with sesame seed which has an approximate smoke point of 350°F/176°C; this means that when using grapeseed oil instead there’s less likelihood of burning or smoking at high temperatures while cooking your food.

Furthermore, thanks to its neutral flavor and mild aroma he uses when cooked with heat is described as quite pleasant compared with that produced by other oils plus it adds no additional flavors to your dishes making them tastier while adding some nutritional value such as vitamins E & C plus linoleic acid and oleic acid (depending on the exact brand used).

Replacement: Use it in a 1:1 ratio for most recipes.

4. Canola Oil

Canola Oil- sesame oil substitutes
Source: prod.healthline.com

Canola oil is a widely used cooking oil that has been gaining popularity in recent years due to its low cost and health benefits. It is made from rapeseed, which is a member of the mustard family of plants, and the process involves heating, crushing, and then pressing the seed until it releases its oils. Its mild flavor makes it a great substitute for sesame oil because you can still enjoy the nutty flavor of sesame without overpowering your dish with its strong aroma.

Canola oil contains less saturated fat than other cooking oils like olive or coconut which helps reduce bad cholesterol levels in your body. Due to its lower smoke point compared to other oils (around 400°F), it’s best used in recipes that require moderate heat such as sautéed vegetables or stir-fries. This also means that canola oil is better suited for lighter styles of cuisine where delicate flavors need preserving rather than heavier dishes like deep frying foods or creating thick sauces.

In terms of health benefits, canola oil also packs more Omega 3 fatty acids than many other popular cooking oils. In addition to this, studies suggest consuming monounsaturated fats instead may help reduce inflammation throughout our bodies.

Replacement: It can be substituted at a 1:1 ratio for sesame oil.

5. Walnut Oil

Image with walnut oil chefd.com.

Walnut oil is becoming increasingly popular as one of the sesame oil substitutes due to its numerous health benefits. Walnuts are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, including linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid. These fatty acids can help reduce LDL (the bad kind of cholesterol) and triglycerides while increasing HDL (the good kind of cholesterol). Studies have also shown that walnut oil can help promote healthy skin by decreasing sensitivity to touch and reducing redness associated with conditions such as eczema.

Walnut oil has also been found to be high in antioxidants, which may help protect cells against damage caused by free radicals. It is also an excellent source of minerals like magnesium, potassium, manganese, and phosphorus which all contribute to the overall health of our body. Last but not least, walnut oil contains anti-inflammatory properties that may aid in relieving joint pain associated with arthritis or other chronic illnesses.

Overall, walnut oil is gaining traction because it provides many nutritional benefits when compared to traditional sesame seed oils which lack polyunsaturated fats and minerals needed for proper metabolism functioning.

Replacement: Substitute it in a 1:1 ratio.

6. Avocado Oil

avocado oil- sesame oil substitutes

Avocado oil is a healthier alternative to sesame oil as it contains more monounsaturated fats, which are beneficial for overall health. It also has a milder taste and deeper green color than sesame oil, making it an ideal ingredient for a variety of dishes. Compared to other oils, avocado oil is rich in vitamins A and E, potassium, lecithin, and many other nutrients.

Avocado oil also has natural anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the symptoms of various skin conditions. Besides this, it’s high in oleic acid which helps bolster the immune system while protecting your heart from disease by reducing cholesterol levels. Furthermore, avocado oil is known to have anti-bacterial properties that can help fight against infections caused by bacteria including E. coli or Salmonella. Lastly, due to its light texture and flavorless nature when compared with other oils like olive or coconut oil, avocado oil makes an ideal base for salad dressings or marinades without changing the flavor of the dish too much!

Replacement: Use it in a 1:1 ratio.

7. Perilla Oil

Image with perilla oil.
Source: 5.imimg.com

Perilla oil’s flavor and aroma are often compared to those of sesame seed oil since they share similar properties. The chief nutritional difference between the two oils is that perilla contains alpha-Linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid not found in sesame seed oils.

Due to its superior flavor profile, perilla oil can be used as a substitute for sesame seed oils when cooking certain dishes such as edamame dishes or sushi rolls. Additionally, its unique nutty flavor makes it ideal for salads and salad dressings to give your food an extra kick!

Furthermore, due to this high content of ALA fatty acids perilla oil boasts several health benefits including; improved cardiovascular health by reducing bad cholesterol levels in the bloodstream; prevention against inflammation associated with arthritis; heart disease protection; increased energy levels due to metabolism-boosting effects; cancer prevention potential due to anti-oxidants present in the mix; increased cognitive function associated with its mind boosting effects among many other claimed health benefits backed by science or traditional medicine practices alike. Thus making it a great choice (especially if you are vegan) for daily consumption along with our regular diet plans!

Replacement: Substitute it at a 1:1 ratio.

8. Hemp Seeds Oil

hemp seeds oil

Hemp seed oil is a great substitute for sesame oil because of its high content of both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. It is incredibly versatile, making it suitable for use in cooking, baking, salad dressings, as well as topical applications. Hemp seed oil contains an optimal 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids which helps to keep your body balanced and healthy. Unlike other oils such as coconut or sunflower that are usually available in the supermarket, this ratio has virtually no saturated fat. Hemp seed oil is rich in antioxidants including vitamins A & E that help your body process fats more efficiently.

Additionally, hemp seed oil contains naturally occurring amino acids like lysine and arginine which promote healthy skin and hair. The unique combination of these compounds makes hemp seed oil an ideal choice when looking for a natural alternative to sesame oil with similar benefits. One important aspect to consider when choosing between sesame or hempseed oils is the flavor profile offered by each option – while sesame will offer more traditional flavors associated with Asian cuisines, hempseed offers a mild nutty flavor that complements different recipes from various cultures around the world.

Replacement: Use it in a 1:1 ratio.

9. Coconut Oil

Image with coconut oil chefd.com.

Coconut oil is often used as one of the sesame oil substitutes because of both its flavor and its health benefits. Compared to other cooking oils, coconut oil has a distinctive flavor that enhances the overall taste profile of many dishes; it has a pleasant nutty aroma and subtly sweet taste. It also contains lauric acid, which helps fight bacteria, fungi, and viruses while contributing to healthy skin and hair growth.

When compared with sesame oil, coconut oil is much healthier due to its composition. Coconut oil is rich in healthy fats called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). These MCTs are more easily digested than those found in most vegetable oils because they break down more quickly into energy. Furthermore, when compared with sesame seed oil’s omega-6 fatty acids content which can aggravate inflammation issues if consumed too frequently or excessively (as it adds up over time), coconut’s saturated fat composition does not have such an effect on the body.

In addition to these positive attributes, coconut oil is generally cheaper than sesame seed oil making it an attractive choice for home cooks who want to save money on their ingredients.

Replacement: Substitute it at a 1:1 ratio.

10. Peanut Oil

peanut oil

Peanut oil is often used as one of the sesame oil substitutes because it has a similar flavor and texture. It is also much less expensive than sesame oil, which can be cost-prohibitive for some people. Additionally, peanut oil has a high smoke point of about 450°F (232°C), making it the perfect choice for sautéing and stir-frying.

The taste of peanut oil is mild and somewhat nutty, with similarities to that of olive or vegetable oils. When compared to sesame oil, however, it does not have the same intense nuttiness that sesame can bring to dishes. Nonetheless, when used in combination with other ingredients such as soy sauce or garlic and ginger, its flavor can still come through nicely in recipes like stir-fries or marinades.

In terms of nutrition content, both oils are comprised mainly of unsaturated fats — primarily monounsaturated fatty acids — but peanut oil offers more vitamin E than sesame does (2mg per tablespoon vs 0.6 mg). Peanut also contains more polyunsaturated fat (about 14% by weight) compared to the polyunsaturated fatty acid content in sesame (about 8%).

Replacement: You can use it in a 1:1 ratio.

11. Pumpkin Seed Oil

pumpkin seed oil

Pumpkin seed oil has been used as a substitute for sesame oil for several reasons. First, pumpkin seed oil is relatively inexpensive compared to sesame oil, making it an attractive alternative to those looking to save money without sacrificing quality. Second, the flavor of pumpkin seed oil is much milder than that of sesame oil and has a more pleasant nutty taste. This makes pumpkin seed oil perfect for seasoning salads or light dishes like fish or chicken where you don’t want too strong of a flavor in the dish.

Third, pumpkin seed oil contains omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E which are essential nutrients that can help protect against heart disease and boost immunity. Finally, due to its high antioxidant content, pumpkin seed oil can be beneficial for skin health when applied topically and the vitamins it contains can help promote healthier nails when consumed internally. Ultimately, with its affordability and health benefits combined with its delicious nutty taste, it’s easy to see why many people prefer using pumpkin seed over sesame as their cooking oil of choice!

Replacement: Substitute it in a 1:1 ratio.

13. Flax Seed Oil

flax seed oil

Flaxseed oil and sesame oil both originate from the seeds of different varieties of plants—flaxseeds come from an herb native to temperate regions of Europe and Asia, while sesame seeds come from a plant mainly found in tropical parts of Africa and Asia. Both oils are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) like linolenic acid (omega-3), oleic acid (omega-9), alpha-linoleic acid, and palmitic Acid. In terms of nutritional value, however, flaxseed oil contains significantly more omega-3s than sesame oil, making it potentially healthier for your heart when consumed regularly. Additionally, research has suggested that consuming these PUFAs may reduce inflammation throughout the body as well as lower one’s risk for developing certain cancers and coronary artery disease (CAD).

In terms of taste profile, flaxseed oil has a slightly nutty flavor while sesame seed oils tend to be much stronger with more bite to them; this makes flax a better option if you want something milder on your palate. Another difference between the two oils is their smoke points; when heated above their respective smoke points they start to turn rancid quite quickly so it’s important to use the appropriate one depending on what type of cooking or baking you plan on doing.

Replacement: Use it in a 1:1 ratio.

13. Butter


Butter is a widely available and affordable substitute for sesame oil in many recipes. The flavor profile of butter closely compliments that of sesame oil, which makes it an ideal replacement in dishes where the flavors must be kept intact.

In addition to its flavor characteristics, butter has several advantages over other replacements for sesame oil. It does not break down easily like some oils do when exposed to heat, meaning that it can stand up better to cooking temperatures. Furthermore, butter contains fats that help bind ingredients together and retains moisture in foods as they cook – this makes butter a great binder for dishes such as casseroles or baked goods. Finally, there is some evidence that the saturated fat content in butter can help increase the absorption of certain nutrients including vitamins A and E when consumed with vegetables or other healthy foods.

Replacement: Use 3/4 tablespoons of butter for each tablespoon of sesame oil.

14. Tahini Paste

tahini paste

Tahini paste is a great substitute for sesame oil because it offers many of the same benefits. It contains high levels of calcium, protein, and healthy fats. Additionally, tahini has more antioxidants than sesame oil which helps to protect against oxidation and cell damage. The nutty flavor of tahini complements savory dishes like hummus or falafel and can be used as a condiment or dip in a variety of recipes. As an added bonus, it adds much-needed texture to dishes that don’t usually contain oils such as green salads or vegetable soups.

Tahini is also easier to store than liquid sesame oil since it won’t break down over time. Sesame oil can quickly go rancid when stored at room temperature for too long which isn’t necessary with tahini paste since there aren’t any volatile compounds that will degrade with heat or light exposure. This makes it great for longer-term storage at home if you don’t need large quantities all at once. Because tahini is made from ground-up seeds it also contains anti-nutrients which are beneficial compounds that help reduce inflammation in the body while boosting immunity such as phytosterols and polyphenols (antioxidants).

Replacement: Use a ratio of ¾ tablespoon of tahini to 1 tablespoon of sesame oil.

Table for Ratio of Substitution

Sesame Oil SubstituteRatio of SubstitutionDescription
Sunflower Oil1:1Neutral flavor and high smoke point make it suitable for cooking and frying.
Olive Oil1:1Rich flavor, best used for low-heat cooking or in salad dressings.
Grapeseed Oil1:1Neutral taste and high smoke point, good for frying and sautéing.
Canola Oil1:1Very neutral taste, versatile for many types of cooking.
Walnut Oil1:1Nutty flavor, best used in cold dishes or added at the end of cooking.
Avocado Oil1:1High smoke point, good for frying and sautéing.
Perilla Oil1:1Similar to sesame oil with a nutty, slightly minty flavor.
Hemp Seeds Oil1:1Nutty flavor, best used in cold dishes or added at the end of cooking.
Coconut Oil1:1Distinct flavor, high smoke point, can be used in baking, frying, and sautéing.
Peanut Oil1:1Neutral flavor and high smoke point, good for frying and sautéing.
Pumpkin Seed Oil1:1Rich, nutty flavor, best used in cold dishes or drizzled over finished dishes.
Flax Seed Oil1:1Nutty flavor, best used in cold dishes or added at the end of cooking.
Butter1:1Rich flavor, but lower smoke point than oils. Good for sautéing and baking.
Tahini Paste1:1Made from ground sesame seeds, similar flavor but a thicker texture.
Sesame Oil Substitutes and Ratio of Substitution

Remember that while these substitutes may have similar cooking properties to sesame oil, the flavor profiles can vary significantly. Depending on the dish, you may need to adjust the quantity or consider adding other flavor components.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can the substitutes be used interchangeably for light and toasted sesame oil?

Not necessarily. Some oils like almond oil, walnut oil, and roasted peanut oil are recommended as substitutes for toasted sesame oil because of their distinctive flavors. For a lighter flavor, oils like virgin olive oil, canola oil, or sunflower oil might be more suitable.

Are there any nut-free substitutes for sesame oil?

Yes, there are several nut-free options available such as olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, and avocado oil.

How does the flavor profile of the substitute affect the dish?

Different oils have different flavor profiles. For instance, walnut oil has a strong flavor and should be used sparingly, while peanut oil has a mild taste making it a great substitute for light sesame oil.

Are there any oils that should not be used as a substitute for sesame oil?

Fish oil is typically not recommended as a substitute due to its distinct flavor that may overpower the dish.

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