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Sesame Oil Substitute


Sesame oil is widely used oil that is often incorporated in Asian dishes. It provides a nutty flavor that adds an extra delicious taste to any meal it’s used in. If you don’t have it available on hand or forgot to grab it from the store, there are some options you can use. Below you’ll find a sesame oil substitute for all types of recipes.

measuring dish filled with sesame seed and bottle with brown colored sesame oil

What is sesame oil?

Sesame oil is derived from sesame seeds both for sautéing and frying. The high smoke point allows it to be versatile in its uses. There are two varieties of sesame oil – light sesame oil that has more of a neutral flavor and toasted sesame oil, boasting a smoky flavor. With so many uses in cooking, you’ll want to incorporate it into all of your dishes.

Best Sesame Seed Oil Substitutes

1. Olive Oil

Why is this sesame see oil substitute noted as number one? In large part, to its accessibility. It is one of the types of oil that most people keep on hand for cooking. There’s a high probability there’s a container of olive oil sitting in your cupboard right now. 

Olive oil is also a thicker oil, so you’ll find it similar in that manner to sesame oil. It’s also able to be used for many different dishes. If you use extra virgin olive oil, you’ll find that the taste is much stronger than sesame oil. 

2. Grapeseed Oil

Grapeseed oil is an excellent choice for a sesame oil alternative. It has a subtle flavor so that it can pair well with an array of recipes. It also has a high smoke point, making it an excellent oil for any meal. 

Its subtle flavor may not make it a great contender for drizzling over dishes. However, it will work well for many other applications.

This oil provides a large amount of Vitamin E – much more than olive oil. It also includes healthy fatty acids.

Tip: Grapeseed oil can go bad faster than other oils. One tell-tale sign is the smell. Make sure to check there is no sour smell before using it in a recipe.

3. Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is considered to have a subtle taste, making it great sesame see oil substitute. Like the two above sesame oil alternatives, it also includes a high smoke point. This oil provides similar benefits to olive oil and is relatively easy to find in grocery stores – especially in the past few years.

4. Flax Oil

You’ve probably heard of flax seeds – either in powder form or their original seed form. You may have even had a smoothie or two with a form of flax in it. What about flax oil?

If you enjoy the taste of flax seeds or flax powder, this will be a good choice for you. This alternative will be a great choice if you’re looking to replace toasted sesame oil, which is typically used as a topper/for taste. 

Due to the low smoke point in this oil, it’s advised to avoid cooking with it. It’s instead intended to be drizzled over foods or perhaps added to a healthy smoothie. 

While limited in use, it’s a great flavor booster.

5. Tahini

Tahini may seem like an odd choice for a sesame oil replacement. However, it will provide that same nutty flavor you may be missing from other oils. This oil is not an oil at all. It’s a combination of a paste made from ground-up sesame seeds combined with oil. 

This works well if your focus is solely on flavor and you’re not looking to cook with it. It’s a great alternative to sesame oil for dressings, dips, and sauces that generally would include sesame oil. 

6. Sunflower Oil + Roasted Sesame Seeds

If you’re craving that toasted sesame seed flavor, this combination will provide the perfect toasted sesame oil substitute. On top of that, sunflower oil has a high smoke point, unlike actual toasted sesame oil. This means you can cook with it or drizzle it on top of your food. It is considered a neutral oil, meaning the flavor is quite subtle.

You’ll maintain a similar taste as toasted sesame oil while opening the possibilities of what can be made with it. 

7. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has, in recent years, been hailed as an all-around great oil. You can catch people not only consuming it but also using it for their hair, skin, and nails to provide moisture. Some even use it for oil pulling.

As for the taste, it has a sweet coconut flavor that might not blend well with dishes written with sesame oil in mind. It is able to withstand higher temperatures during cooking, so it is still a good sub for sesame oil.

8. Butter

Butter is last on the list for sesame oil substitutes. It is mainly included as a backup in case the other oils are not available. In terms of taste, it adds quite a lovely richness and sweetness to dishes. However, it does not add the nutty flavor typically derived from sesame seed oil. 

What is the Best oil substitute for sesame oil?

There is undoubtedly one oil that rises above the others. That would be olive oil – especially Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Beyond olive oil, avocado oil is considered the next healthiest oil to consume. Partially, as noted above, because it contains very similar properties to olive oil.

Avocado oil is also known for keeping the quality of its nutrients at all temperatures.

Flaxseed oil is also a top contender due to its large amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These are typically found in fish like salmon. Just make sure you don’t cook with it.

Opt for one of the above choices instead of canola oil and vegetable oil. If you can’t find the noted oils in stores, walnut oil and perilla oil are good options as well.

Now, when you’re hunting around the kitchen for your sesame seed oil bottle, you can save time by choosing one of the above options. They each bring it’s own benefits to the table, so it’s hard to go wrong when picking a cooking oil. Keep in mind, it’s all about moderation. 

As long as you’re keeping your portions in check, you’ll be able to enjoy the flavor that these oils bring to the table.

Recipes Made With Sesame Oil

Easy Sesame Chicken Noodles (made with leftover rotisserie chicken)

plate with noodles mixed with shredded carrots and cilantro

Instant Pot Chicken Fried Rice

two white bowls with fried rice and vegetables

Easy Ramen Broth Bowls

two white bowls filled with ramen broth

Instant Pot Pineapple Chicken

white casserole dish with chicken and pineapple

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