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Looking for Healthy, Organic Sesame Oil Substitute?

Written by Peter Allen on . Posted in food

Where can you find any substitute for sesame oil? Is there anything at all we can replace it with? That’s few of the word I hear often from people who can’t endure anything sesame or when they are out of sesame oil. What we can do, is we look for a suitable sesame oil replacement.

So that next time you ran out on the sesame oil there could be a bunch of other options available for everyone. Together we will do this drill, as I am going to help you discover the fundamentals of finding a good plant-based cooking oil that can substitute sesame oil.

But before we get to that point, I must tell you how I deeply admire sesame oil. It is one thing that I always like to add to my salads, to sauté vegetables and sear some steaks, mainly because it naturally has a soothing taste and aroma.

For the sake of establishing the culinary importance of sesame oil, let me go deeper into its details as not many people are completely known to this oil. Extracted from sesame seeds, the oil comes in several different varieties.

As there are two distinct types of sesame seeds, the oil extracted out of them are the two major types of pale yellow, extracted from white sesame seeds and the darker one, from black sesame seeds. ordinarily, we refer to the pale-yellow type as sesame oil as it is mostly used in households. Other varieties of sesame seeds include red and yellow seeds, which gives different shaded oils but they are not that commonly produced and used.

It is worth mentioning here that oil from the black sesame seeds and the toasted sesame seeds are two different varieties in themselves. Though both seeds can give a darker color to the oil, they taste different and also contain different nutrients plus the caloric value. There is yet another way to differentiate between the types of sesame oil, check if it’s organic or not.

The cold-pressed and unrefined sesame oil is known as the Extra virgin sesame oil, and I always recommend the organic type no matter which brand you are using. It is more nutritional and keeps the food fresh and healthy after cooking. Organic sesame oil is also best for uncooked servings like salads etc.

Despite all its pros, it is not always possible to keep the sesame oil in constant use. Sometimes it is not available in remote places, or there is no good store nearby. Or sometimes people just can’t have it because of its sesame seed origin.

So, if the recipe still says to use the sesame oil, what would you do?

There is one simple solution, take a look around in your house and find the closest match to use instead. The list in this article will be discovering all such possibilities. The substitute should have the sesame oil like properties in order to keep the meal as delicious and healthy. I keep switching between different alternatives to enjoy all sorts of taste and discover all of their different health benefits.

What to seek in a good oil substitute?

When it comes to finding a replacement for cooking oils, it is not all about the taste; you need to seek several different features has to be kept in mind, before opting a substitute consider the density, the color, appearance, aroma and temperature tolerance along with the flavor.

To bring everyone to the same page, we all should be aware of the peculiar traits of a desirable substitute for sesame oil. It should meet the sesame standards if I make it simple. Let me break down those for you before we jump ahead.

  1. Nutty or Neutral Taste:

Sesame oil has somewhat nutty or seed like taste which is not easily available in all of its substitutes, so the best way to opt for a replacement is to find an oil either with a nutty flavor or a neutral taste. In this, you will be able to use that cooking oil in a range of different recipes.

  1. Temperature tolerant:

Temperature tolerance is an important feature of cooking oil; those who are not stable on high temperatures are not good for deep frying or high-temperature cooking. Sesame oil is good both for deep frying and the shallow frying, so its substitute should be serving any of these purposes.  While discussing different sesame oil alternatives, we will also look into the fact that if they are suitable for such mode of cooking.

  1. Monounsaturated:

Sesame oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids; any of its substitutes should be having such composition. Those fats are free from any bad cholesterol, and it is good for health. it also keeps the consistency of the oil very fluid and light. Thus, making it suitable for salads and different healthy meals.

  1. Plant-Based:

All plant-based oils share a similar composition at the core. They all are unsaturated, liquid, lighter in density and rich in minerals, fatty acids, and good cholesterol. Sesame oil has these similar properties, and that’s what we should be seeking into its alternatives. Our search will be therefore confined to plant-based oil categories, with monounsaturated fatty acids and having a high-temperature tolerance and stability.

8 Good Sesame Oil Replacements

Sesame oil is not that commonly used in the western cuisines as it is in Asian ones. Whether it is the Korean dishes or Chinese stir-fries, where drizzling of toasted sesame seeds as a garnish is a culinary norm, using the sesame oil is also one of their centuries-old tradition. In those cultures, not having sesame oil in the kitchen is not considered as a good omen.

That how significant the sesame oil is, but there is always a chance to run out of this oil while cooking, and instead of panic you can turn to other options which are found in every kitchen cabinet.

In the light of the features discussed above, it’s about time that we look around and find something closely related to sesame oil. We need a plant oil which is can not only alter the taste of the sesame oil but also its lighter consistency, peculiar aroma and its nutritional value. Keep the basic traits of sesame oil in mind before we look for the replacement.

It is a light pale colored oil, with a mild and nutty taste, giving a soothing aroma when it is cooked. It is monounsaturated seed extracted oil which is rich in nutrients but does not contain too high of a calorie value. Down below are few of the options which are largely used in place of sesame oil, they include olive oil, avocado oil, peanuts, walnut oil, etc.

Why exactly they are a better substitute?

Let’s find out:

Avocado oil

A good substitute for sesame oil in cooking is Avocado oil. It is one of the highly prescribed monounsaturated fats since they are super healthy and rich in its content. Though it does not have that same nut like the taste as that of sesame because of its consistency and earthy taste, this oil stands close to the sesame oil and can easily substitute it for everyday cooking, especially for grilling, sautéing, roasting and making dressings for the salads.

It can also withstand high temperatures which are a prerequisite of deep frying. Avocado oil has many of the health benefits of its own; it has antioxidants, essential vitamins, and nutrients, free from bad cholesterol.

I used to have avocado oil in my kitchen cabinet, but it never made it to daily use until I went for it as a substitute. It was its mild and soothing taste which first made me opt it. Avocado oil is now finding popularity in many circles because of its endless benefits; it is a rich source of vitamin k, C, folate, and potassium.

Through its culinary uses, it can ensure glowing skin, better moisturization, detoxification of the body cells and maintenance of the metabolism and gut system. As a substitute for sesame oil, start taking avocado oil and tap into its hidden benefits.

Canola oil

Canola is most commonly used in every other household, for everyday cooking from deep frying to searing and sautéing. It is actually extracted from rapeseeds which are found in the canola blooms. You can say that it is a genetically modified form of the rapeseed oil. Plants of mustard, cabbage, turnip, brussels sprouts, and rutabaga all offer these seeds.

Being a seed-based plant oil, the canola offers a good substitute for sesame oil. It is best to use for deep frying.  The great thing about this oil is the neutrality of its taste.

Canola oil was not new to me when I first opted it as a sesame oil substitute for cooking. In fact, I used to add canola use to several recipes even before that. But for Asian recipes, I was always reluctant to use this oil, as I thought it would mess up with the taste. But to my surprise, it greatly replaced the sesame oil without doing much harm to the taste and texture of my recipe. So, I added canola oil also to my list of substitutes.

Olive oil

Using olive oil is always a safe option when you can’t use any other seed or nut oil, substitute sesame oil for olive oil. It has partially neutral flavors and pale yellow in color. It cannot provide similar health benefits or the same taste as the sesame oil, but it is can give the same color and appearance to the food as the sesame oil provide.

It is best to use in salad dressings, shallow frying, searing and sautéing. Olive oil is prescribed to everyone with a heart condition, as it is both preventive and curing in nature. You should always have extra virgin olive oil in your kitchen cabinet. It is rather a more neutral option to seek when you are out of any oil whether its sesame or any other.

Olive oil is both good in content and the taste. Plus, it also keeps the food fresh, and delightful. It is not much of a deep-frying material but excellent for sautéing. It guarantees a unique aromatic flavor to each recipe. Keep some amount of olive oil in daily use to procure all of its various health benefits.

Peanut oil

Peanut oil gives you the best nutty flavor which is good to replace sesame oil. it has great health benefits too and exhibits high heat tolerance. Therefore it is equally for salad seasoning and the frying, be it the searing or deep frying.

Nut oils are usually enriched with a high amount of nutrients which is always plus for healthy food. Naturally, peanut oil has a mild taste, so you can use any amount of it without any worries. The downside of this oil is that can cause peanut allergy to anyone who has the tendency.

Peanut oil is considered analogous to sesame oil; it is extracted directly from peanuts and also known as groundnut oil. Peanut oil has more monounsaturated fats than polyunsaturated ones, and naturally, it is low on saturated fats, which makes peanut oil a completely healthy ingredient for all the diet plans.

Its strong nutty flavor makes it a suitable contestant as a sesame substitute, but it is restricted in culinary uses where you just need a mild taste of oil in the recipe. Use a small amount of this oil to keep the balance of the ingredients. It can be the best substitute for sesame oil in stir fry.

Perilla oil

Perilla is not something you hear about every other day; in fact, you might have not heard about it at all. As this oil is most commonly used in the Korean cuisines and other Asian Food. So, there are chances that you can find it at some Asian store. But if you get your hands on it, it can be good sesame oil replacement.

However, this oil is not free of allergens either. It is also high in calories which makes it not a healthy oil for everyone. Nonetheless, the oil is great to prepare salad dressings and sauté any food. The taste of perilla oil is better suited for Korean dishes.

Roasted peanuts

If it’s the nutty flavor that you seek through the sesame oil, then it can be replaced with roasted peanuts. When the peanuts are added and cooked in the food, it infuses a similar taste to the food.

Toasted sesame oil Substitute:

Sesame oil that is normally used is a regular one with light yellow color and grain like odor. It is made using the raw sesame seeds, so you should not mix up the dark sesame oil with this one. When seeds are toasted before extracting the oil, they give dark colored sesame oil. And this version can also be used to replace the pale colored normal sesame oil.

Both of them have a different aroma and their taste also slightly differs. The dark sesame oil substitute has a strong and intense taste. Where pale sesame oil is used primarily for deep frying and a number of other cooking methods, the dark oil is good for stir fry and Sautee. It also makes good use in salad dressings and marinades.

Walnut oil

Walnut oil is a good substitute for sesame oil because of its natural nutty taste. Moreover, it is a good source of omega 3 fatty acids, which means it is a healthy option. Its nutty taste makes it perfect replacement when used in salad dressings. Walnut oil is drizzled over cooked steaks, mixed pasta, desserts and even in fish marinades. Due to its distinct taste, it infused nice flavors to all the sauces and salads the oil is used for.


Now you have the list of all the oils which can compete for the taste and aroma of the sesame oil. We can’t actually find a parallel to original sesame oil but reaching this close with all these alternatives was a success. I suggest using any of that replacement as per the need of the hour.

If it’s only the salad you are making, I would recommend adding few drops of olive oil, for omelet use the avocado oil, make use of walnut oil for the desserts and canola oil could be best for regular cooking like frying or sautéing.

With appropriate usage, these oil substitutes can bring the same flavors and charm to the food as the sesame oil does. Make sure to look into the nutritional content of each oil before you switch to it. Keep your health preferences in your mind too and then makes your decision. Good oil is essential to prepare a delicious and healthy meal, we can’t move an inch ahead with the cooking, without putting extra thoughts into the selection of the oil.

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Peter Allen

Peter Allen

Peter's path through the culinary world has taken a number of unexpected turns. After starting out as a waiter at the age of 16, he was inspired to go to culinary school and learn the tricks of the trade. As he delved deeper, however, his career took a sudden turn when a family friend needed someone to help manage his business. Peter now scratches his culinary itch on the internet by blogging, sharing recipes, and socializing with food enthusiasts worldwide.

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