Sesame oil is a staple in Asian cuisine, especially Chinese, Korean, and Japanese, and adds a distinct nutty flavor to dishes. While it is a very popular ingredient in those cuisines, perhaps it is not frequently used in others, so sesame oil may not be an ingredient in everyone's kitchen cabinet. Being sesame also an allergen, it is not surprising that many look for alternatives. Here are the ones I tried, both for light and toasted sesame oil, which will help you recreate your favorite recipes without compromising on taste!
- What is Sesame Oil?
- Sesame Oil vs. Toasted Sesame Oil
- Substitutes for Light or Regular Sesame Oil
- 1. Peanut Oil
- 2. Extra-Light Olive Oil
- 3. Canola Oil
- 4. Grapeseed Oil
- 5. Avocado Oil
- 6. Walnut Oil
- 7. Safflower Oil
- 8. Almond Oil
- 9. Sunflower Oil
- Toasted Sesame Oil Substitutes
- 10. DIY Toasted Sesame Oil
- 11. Tahini
- 12. Chinese Sesame Paste
- 13. Toasted Pumpkin Seed Oil
- People Also Ask [FAQs]
- Wrap Up: Sesame Oil Substitute
What is Sesame Oil?
Sesame oil has a rich history that dates back to ancient times. It's believed to have originated from tropical regions of Africa and India. The oil is extracted from sesame seeds and has a smoke point of around 410°F, used as a flavor enhancer in various dishes.
It is loaded with essential nutrients, making it an excellent choice for healthy cooking. It's a rich source of vitamin E, a potent antioxidant that helps protect the body from oxidative stress.
Sesame oil also contains healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids, that help to promote heart health and reduce inflammation.
A versatile ingredient, sesame oil is used in various culinary applications. In Asian cuisine, it's a popular ingredient that adds flavor to stir-fries, noodles, and marinades. The oil has a nutty flavor and an aroma that adds depth and complexity to dishes.
Sesame Oil vs. Toasted Sesame Oil
The primary difference between these two types of sesame oil is the way they are processed.
- Sesame oil is made from raw sesame seeds that have been cold-pressed to extract the oil. This oil has a light color and a mild, nutty flavor.
- Toasted sesame oil or dark sesame oil, on the other hand, is made from toasted sesame seeds that have been pressed to extract the oil. This oil has a darker color and a stronger, more robust flavor.
- Toasted sesame oil is often used as a finishing oil to add flavor to dishes, while sesame oil is used as a cooking oil.
Substitutes for Light or Regular Sesame Oil
1. Peanut Oil
Peanut oil is a great substitute for light sesame oil due to its mild taste and high smoke point, which makes it perfect for stir-fries, as well as more lengthy dishes that require sautéing, and deep-frying.
Its smoke point is around 450°F, making it a sturdy oil to use, especially when cooking at high heat.
Peanut oil can be used in Asian-inspired dishes, such as stir-fried vegetables, seared tofu, or chicken satay. However, it can also be used in baked goods, such as fried Chinese doughnuts or scallion pancakes.
Due to its nutty flavor, be mindful when using peanut oil in recipes, as it may drastically change the taste of the dish.
2. Extra-Light Olive Oil
Extra-light olive oil is another substitute for light sesame oil. It has a mild flavor and is perfect for cooking at high temperatures due to its smoke point of around 468°F.
It is ideal for sautéing vegetables, frying chicken, or making dressings for salads. It’s also a great option for Asian-inspired dishes, such as sesame noodles or rice bowls.
Remember that using extra-light olive oil will give your dish a more delicate flavor compared to extra virgin olive oil, so it won’t overpower the dish.
3. Canola Oil
Canola oil is widely available and is a more affordable substitute for light sesame oil. Its smoke point is around 400°F, making it ideal for frying and stir-frying.
Canola oil has a neutral flavor, making it great for baking, cooking, and marinating. It can be used in stir-fried dishes such as beef and broccoli or as a base for dressings, such as a citrus vinaigrette.
This oil has a very delicate flavor, making it a popular substitute for many types of fats, as it won't overpower the other flavors in the recipe.
4. Grapeseed Oil
Grapeseed oil is a great substitute for regular sesame seed oil due to its neutral flavor and high smoke point of around 420°F. It’s perfect for frying, baking, and searing.
Grapeseed oil can be used in dishes such as stir-fried vegetables, salmon, or tofu. It’s also a great option for making salad dressings, especially those that contain vinegar or citrus, as it won’t overpower the other flavors.
5. Avocado Oil
Avocado oil is a great alternative to light sesame oil because it has a mild buttery flavor that won’t overpower your dish.
It also has a high smoke point of about 520°F which means it’s great for high-heat cooking such as stir-frying or searing.
This oil is perfect for Asian dishes such as stir-fry vegetables or tofu. It also pairs well with grilled chicken or fish, as well as cold sauces, such as homemade mayonnaise.
6. Walnut Oil
Walnut oil has a nutty and earthy flavor which may not work with all dishes, but it’s perfect for those looking for a unique taste.
It has a high smoke point (400°F) which makes it versatile for different cooking methods such as sautéing or drizzling over salad. This oil is perfect for dressings or marinades and pairs well with fruits such as apples and pears.
7. Safflower Oil
Safflower oil is great for those who are watching their cholesterol as it is low in saturated fat. It has a neutral taste which means it won’t overpower any dish.
It also has a high smoke point of around 510°F which makes it perfect for stir-frying or deep-frying. This oil is perfect for making tempura batter or any dish that requires deep-frying.
8. Almond Oil
Almond oil is a great substitute for sesame oil. It has a mild and nutty flavor which makes it ideal for baking, marinades, or dressings.
The smoke point is around 430°F making it suitable for high-heat cooking such as stir-frying. Almond oil pairs well with Asian dishes such as fried rice or vegetable tempura.
It can also be used to make sweet dishes such as almond butter cookies or fruit tarts.
9. Sunflower Oil
Sunflower oil has a mild flavor and its smoke point is around 450°F, making it ideal for high-heat cooking such as stir-frying or deep-frying.
This oil is perfect for making mayonnaise or any dish that requires a neutral-flavored oil. Sunflower oil is also great for making dressings, marinades, and baking, although it is most often used in savory recipes that require cooking.
It’s a versatile oil that can be used in many dishes, and many recipes on our website use this fat, as it is easily available, well-priced, and versatile.
Toasted Sesame Oil Substitutes
10. DIY Toasted Sesame Oil
Making your own toasted sesame oil is easy and a great way to replace store-bought sesame oil. The process involves lightly toasting the sesame seeds before grinding them into a paste and then combining it with oil. For a full recipe on how to make toasted sesame oil see the recipe card below.
Tahini, a paste made from ground sesame seeds, is a great alternative to toasted sesame oil. It has a nutty taste and can be used in dressings, sauces, marinades, and even hummus.
Tahini’s flavor will be more intense than the milder flavors of the other oils mentioned here, so be sure to taste as you go. A little bit of tahini goes a long way!
12. Chinese Sesame Paste
Chinese sesame paste is made from toasted sesame seeds and oil. It has a nutty flavor that’s slightly smoky and pairs well with Asian dishes.
It can be used as a condiment or as an ingredient in dressings, sauces, marinades, and even soup. Chinese sesame paste is a great substitute for toasted sesame oil, especially when making Asian dishes that really seek that deep nutty taste.
13. Toasted Pumpkin Seed Oil
Toasted pumpkin seed oil is a great alternative to toasted sesame oil because of its nutty, earthy flavor.
This oil pairs well with salads, grilled vegetables, and roasted potatoes, and a little drizzle really can elevate your dish.
It has a low smoke point (320°F) which makes it suitable for low-heat cooking such as vinaigrettes or drizzling over a finished dish. Toasted pumpkin seed oil is also great for making pesto and adding flavor to risotto or other grain dishes.
People Also Ask [FAQs]
Yes, you can substitute sesame oil for olive oil in some recipes due to its nutty flavor and similar smoking point. It is important to keep in consideration what the other ingredients are to ensure the taste profiles combine well.
Yes, sesame oil is great for deep frying as its lignan compounds remain stable even at high temperatures. Plus, using it in combination with other less stable cooking oils will enhance the flavor of your fried food.
Sesame oil can last up to a year in the fridge if it is plain, while toasted sesame oil should be used within six to nine months. This distinction is made because the heat from toasting changes the flavor and chemical composition of the oil, reducing its shelf life. Additionally, storing sesame oil in the fridge helps keep it from going rancid more quickly.
Wrap Up: Sesame Oil Substitute
- There are many substitutes for sesame oil and toasted sesame oil that can bring delicious flavors to your cooking. Each of these oils has its own unique taste and properties making them suitable for different types of dishes or methods of cooking.
- Use the below recipe to try making your own toasted sesame oil at home! With just a few ingredients and simple steps, you'll have a delicious and unique oil that is perfect for adding flavor to your favorite recipes.
How To Make Toasted Sesame Oil
- ¼ cup white sesame seeds
- 1 cup neutral oil such as canola, grapeseed or vegetable oil
Step 1: Toasting
- Heat a skillet over medium heat, add the sesame seeds, and toast them for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. The seeds should turn a light brown color and become fragrant. Be careful not to burn the sesame seeds, as this will affect the flavor of the oil.
Step 2: Infusing Oil and Sesame Seeds
- In a separate saucepan, pour the oil and add in the toasted sesame seeds. You'll want to heat the oil on medium heat and infuse the seeds for approximately 3 minutes. During this process, use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture frequently. Be careful not to overheat the oil, as it can easily burn and produce a bitter flavor.
Step 3: Blending
- After infusing the sesame seeds and oil, it's time to blend them together. Pour the oil and sesame seeds into a blender and blend on high speed until the mixture is smooth. Be sure to blend well to ensure all the sesame seeds are pureed.
Step 4: Cooling and Straining
- Once blended, let the mixture cool to room temperature. Once cooled, strain the oil using a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth to remove any solids or impurities.
Step 5: Bottling the Sesame Oil
- Finally, pour the sesame oil into a clean glass jar or bottle and store it in a cool, dark place. Your homemade toasted sesame oil should last for up to 6 months.
- Make sure to use a neutral oil to allow the sesame flavor to shine through.
- Use a high-quality sesame seed for the best flavor.
- Store your sesame oil in a cool, dark place to help prolong its shelf life.
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