Substitutes for Sesame Oil: Top 10 Sesame Oil Alternatives in 2020

Used by ancient Babylonians, Greeks, and Egyptians, sesame oil is said to be one of the oldest vegetable oils. It has been used over centuries for its great medicinal and culinary values. Just a quick glimpse into our past will reveal that sesame seed was a symbol of immortality in Chinese culture!

Now you are here because you are either allergic to sesame oil or your local shop does not have it in stock. No worries, we have gathered the top 10 substitutes of sesame oil for you to choose from.

Whether you are looking for a quick way to add that sesame flavor to your dish or a reliable alternative to add to your daily diet, we have it all covered for you!

This article takes a detailed look at sesame oil alternatives to help you make the right decision!

Quick Facts:

 

  • Cuisines: Asian and Middle Eastern
  • Smoke Point: 450 F
  • Rich in: Vitamin E & Magnesium
  • Flavor: Strong toasty and nutty smell
  • Storage: Cool and dark place

What is Sesame Oil?

Sesame oil or zhīma yóu (芝麻油) is a cooking oil derived from sesame seeds. It is a staple in Asian cuisine.

This is one of those oils that have gained popularity around the world due to its unique flavor and fragrance. The oil is the simplest method to add an “Asian twist” to any dish!

There are mainly two different types of sesame oils readily available in the market:

  • Light Sesame Oil: Light Sesame oil is made from untoasted sesame seeds. The oil has a mild golden color with no strong fragrance or taste. It is used as a neutral cooking oil in countries like China, Japan, South India, and the Middle East.
  • Toasted Sesame Oil: Toasted sesame oil is also known as dark, black, or deep sesame oil. The color varies from light brown to dark reddish-brown. It is made from toasted sesame seeds.

Usually, toasted sesame oil has a strong nutty aroma and is used as a flavoring in sauces, soups, and other dishes.

Even though it is used as cooking oil, this century-old oil has many medical purposes. In traditional Chinese medicine, sesame oil is used to treat arthritis, diabetes, wounds, burns, and to improve blood circulation. It is rich in Magnesium and Calcium which helps to prevent blood clots and increases bone density.

Including sesame oil in your daily diet is a great way toward a strong and healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, a lot of us are allergic to it or need a better alternative.

We have gathered the top ten sesame oil alternatives that contain the same if not more health benefits.

Top 10 Alternatives to Sesame Oil

You may be looking for a substitute either because sesame oil is not available in your area or you are allergic to it. Either way, we have gathered the top 10 best substitutes you can find in the market based on the flavor, health benefits, and overall convenience.

Substitute Name

Total CaloriesSaturated FatSmoke Point

Omega-6: Omega-3 ratio

Olive Oil

40/4.5g14g405°F13:1

Peanut Oil

39.8/4.5g17g440°F

32:1

Canola Oil

40/4.5g8g400°F

2:1

Sunflower Oil

40/4.5g13g440°F

40:1

Avocado Oil

40/4.5g12g520°F

12:1

Walnut Oil

40/4.5g9g320°F

5:1

Perilla Oil

40/4.5g6g372°F

~1:5

Almond Oil

40/4.58.2g420°F

Omega-6 only

Tahini

89/15g8g

58:1

Homemade Sesame Oil40/4.5g12g410°F

138:1

01. Olive Oil

Olive oil is one of the most versatile and healthy cooking oils filled with numerous antioxidants. It is the natural oil extracted from the fruit of olive trees. In the Mediterranean diet, extra virgin olive oil is considered one of the most crucial components.

Though olive oil does not taste the same as sesame oil, it is by far the best substitute due to the similar health benefits. Both of these oils are full of polyunsaturated fats. These fats help to control cholesterol and blood pressure.

Health Benefits of Olive Oil:

  • It is filled with monounsaturated oleic acid. This fatty acid is believed to have many beneficial effects on our body.
  • It contains a large amount of vitamin E and K. It is also loaded with powerful antioxidants that help to reduce your cholesterol level. If you suffer from heart diseases, this is a great cooking oil for you!
  • Olive oil is filled with nutrients that fight inflammation.
  • Studies believe olive oil helps to prevent strokes.
  • As olive oil has a low amount of saturated fat, it is great if you are trying to lose weight.

Why We Chose Olive Oil as a Substitute?

The primary reason why it is a good substitute for sesame oil is because of the health benefits. Both olive oil and sesame oil contain healthy fats that do wonders for your body.

If you want a strong flavor like toasted sesame oil, you should go for extra virgin olive oil. It is rich, strong, and vibrant in food. It is also readily available anywhere you go. So a bonus point for convenience!

Best for:

Olive oil has a lower smoke point compared to other oils so it is best for low and medium heat cooking. It can be used for frying, grilling, or roasting.

You can use it as a dip for your bread or can drizzle it over a fresh bowl of pasta. Either way, you are going to enjoy the refined taste of olive oil in your daily diet.

Not Recommended for:

If you are specifically looking for that roasted nutty flavor of sesame oil, this is not the one for you.

For your convenience, we have selected the best olive oil available on Amazon so that you can purchase from the comfort of your home.

02. Peanut Oil

Peanut oil, also known as groundnut oil is a popular cooking oil that is derived from peanuts. Depending on the processing, peanut oil has a range of flavor from mild and sweet to strong and nutty.

Peanut oil comes in various qualities from cold-pressed to gourmet and is widely used in Chinese, South Asian, and Southeast Asian cooking. It became popular in the United States after World War II due to food scarcity and shortage.

Health Benefits of Peanut Oil:

  • Peanut oil contains monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which are considered as the “good” kinds of fats crucial for your body.
  • Peanut oil is cholesterol-free. That means it is great for people with heart disease. It can reduce your current cholesterol level up to 15% due to the presence of plant sterols.
  • Monounsaturated fatty acids increase the levels of good cholesterol called HDL. This lowers the risk of strokes.
  • Studies show that peanut oil contains phytosterols that can protect the body from colon, prostate, and breast cancer.
  • It lowers blood pressure levels in the body.
  • Peanut oil is believed to boost the immune system as it stimulates the white blood cells in your body.

Why We Chose Peanut Oil as a Substitute?

The reason we picked peanut oil as an alternative to sesame oil is due to its nutty flavor. Peanut oil has the same kind of nutty, smokey taste that can alleviate any dish you are making.

The strong nutty flavor is delicious and makes you crave any food you add it to. It is one of the most appetizing oils on our list!

Best for:

Peanut oil has a high smoke point of 437F or 225C making it an ideal choice for frying foods. It is hugely used for stir-fry in Chinese cuisine.

Not Recommended for:

As the oil is high in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids, it is prone to oxidation. This makes it risky for certain diseases. So try it in moderation before adding to your daily intake.

As peanut oil is not the most common oil for cooking, we have selected the best one we could find on amazon. You don’t have to worry if it’s not available in your grocery store anymore.

03. Canola Oil

Extracted from the seeds of the canola plant, canola oil is said to be one of the most popular choices for the kitchen. Canola oil is a type of vegetable oil. Its neutral flavor makes it ideal for everyday cooking.

Canola oil is a popular oil for vegan recipes and is very popular as a healthy alternative to butter, lard, and vegetable oil. Canola oil is also used to make “spreadable butter” by adding it to real butter.

Health Benefits Of Canola Oil:

  • Canola oil is high in unsaturated fats. Among all the cooking oils, it has the highest content of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Canola oil has alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which is really important to have in your diet as your body can not make ALA by itself.
  • Canola oil helps to lose weight as it reduces cholesterol levels on your body.
  • Canola oil is rich in vitamin E and K. These vitamins are great to reduce skin problems like fine lines, blemishes, wrinkles, acne, and spots.
  • Among all the cooking oils, canola oil has the lowest amount of “bad fats” aka saturated fat.
  • Just like all plant-derived oils, canola oil is 100% cholesterol-free.

Why We Chose Canola Oil as a Substitute?

We chose canola oil as an alternative to light sesame oil. Of course, it does not have all those nutty, strong flavors of sesame oil but as a healthy option, it is really convenient for anybody.

Best for:

Canola oil is liquid at room temperature. The neutral taste makes it ideal for any type of food you want to make. The high smoke point makes it ideal for deep frying as well as roasting.

Not Recommended for:

If you are looking for that strong nutty flavor, canola oil is not the one for you.

To make your shopping experience easier, we have selected the overall best canola oil on amazon.

04. Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil is made from the seed of sunflowers. This is a very popular oil used in cooking all over the world in every cuisine.

Sunflower oil has no particular taste to it. There are many different health benefits of using sunflower oil in your daily diet.

Health Benefits of Sunflower Oil:

  • It contains phytochemicals such as chlorine and phenolic acid which are great for your heart. It prevents the risk of developing heart disease.
  • Due to the high monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, it is a great energy source for your body.
  • Sunflower oil is rich in antioxidants that strengthen your cells and prevent bacteria and viruses from entering your body.
  • Due to its light texture, sunflower oil is easy on the stomach. It improves digestions and prevents constipation as it acts as a mild laxative.
  • Sunflower oil prevents dryness and damage to your skin and hair due to its extreme nourishing qualities. The oil has vitamin E  and omega-6 fatty acid which can repair skin cells quickly.

Why We Chose Sunflower Oil as a Substitute?

Sunflower oil has a very high smoking point. It can handle upto 440F. This makes it an ideal substitute for sesame oil. The high smoking point means it can be used for cooking in the wok on high heat just like sesame oil.

Best for:

Sunflower oil is good for deep frying and roasting. It is an ideal oil to use in stir-fry or pan-searing.

Not Recommended for:

If you want the nutty, strong flavor of sesame oil, this is not the option for you. It is more like light sesame oil for everyday cooking. It can not be used by itself to enhance flavors.

In case sunflower oil is not available in your local supermarket, we have selected the best option on amazon for you.

05. Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is made from the pulp of ripe avocados. Even though it is not common cooking oil, it is slowly getting popular in the US due to its unique taste and flavor.

It tastes different from other nut oils like peanut or walnut oil. It has an earthy, grass-like tone that adds an interesting twist to different dishes. The flavor gets mellow down when heated.

Health Benefits of Avocado Oil:

  • Avocado oil contains 70% oleic acid, a monounsaturated omega fatty acid.
  • Avocado oil is found to increase HDL which is the “good” cholesterol. It reduces the cholesterol levels in your body much more effectively than most cooking oils.
  • Due to its healthy fat content, avocado oil helps to absorb certain important nutrients such as carotenoid antioxidants.
  • Studies have shown that mixing avocado oil with other cooking oil can help relieve the pain of arthritis; specifically, osteoarthritis.
  • Avocado oil can help to prevent gum diseases as it blocks a protein called IL1B. The anti-inflammatory properties can highly reduce periodontal disease.
  • Avocado oil can enter cell mitochondria and decrease the production of harmful free radicals.

Why We Chose Avocado Oil as a Substitute?

Avocado oil is not the most common oil in cooking. Some of us did not even know it exists. But recently we have been seeing the use of avocado oil in a healthy diet and cooking.

It has a mild nutty taste to it but the reason we picked avocado oil was for its versatile cooking use and numerous health benefits.

You can use avocado oil for deep frying to light cooking. It is great for your body and is a great substitute for sesame oil.

Best for:

Avocado oil is ideal for stir-frying and deep frying. You can use it for sauteing, grilling, roasting, or as a salad dressing. It’s versatile and very tasty.

Not Recommended for:

We do not recommend avocado oil if you are looking for that eastern flavor and strong punch. It is nutty but the flavor is very mild and light.

Avocado oil is rather uncommon. So shopping online is the best way to go. Here’s a link to the best avocado oil available on amazon.

06. Walnut Oil

Walnut oil is made from walnuts and is filled with healthy fatty acids. We think walnut oil is a great substitute for sesame oil due to its numerous health benefits.

It is one of the healthiest oils you can use for cooking. Walnut oil is a light, flavorful oil. It has many good properties that help our body.

Health Benefits of Walnut Oil:

  • Walnuts are rich in omega-3 ALA and omega-6 LA fatty acids. They are vital for skin health.
  • Walnut oil may reduce chronic inflammation which has been connected to heart disease, cancer, and other health issues due to the ALA fatty acids.
  • Consuming walnut oil through your daily diet can improve blood vessels and lead to lower blood pressure.
  • If you suffer from type 2 diabetes, consuming 1 tablespoon walnut oil daily can significantly reduce blood sugar and hemoglobin level. It improves blood sugar control.
  • Walnut intake has been linked to a decreased risk of certain cancers. This is due to a content called uolithins found in walnut.

Why We Chose Walnut Oil as a Substitute?

Walnut oil is one of our top picks for sesame oil substitutes for its strong nutty flavor. It is an ideal companion to use in asian dishes as an alternative to toasted sesame oil.

The oil is rich, vibrant, and enhances the flavor of the spices in cooking. Despite the difference in composition, it is the perfect substitute for sesame oil.

Best for:

Walnut oil is great to use as a seasoning in asian cuisine. You can use it in uncooked sauces and dressings to add dimension.

Not Recommended for:

Walnut oil has low heat tolerance. If you use it for recipes that require high heat, it will turn bitter. Due to this, it is not ideal for deep frying or stir-frying.

We have found the best walnut oil available on Amazon for you.

07. Perilla Oil

Perilla oil is a seed oil made from roasted perilla seeds. It is by bar the closest to sesame oil in terms of flavor and taste. The oil is nutty, earthy, and has a powerful presence in any dishes.

Perilla oil is mostly found in Chinese and Indian dishes. This is why most of us have never heard of it!

Health Benefits of Perilla Oil:

  • Perilla oil has more than 50% fatty acid compared to most other cooking oils.
  • It contains omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3 in perilla oil is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which can also be found in flaxseeds.
  • Perilla oil can help with allergies as the anti-inflammatory properties in the oil is very strong.
  • This oil is ideal for people with asthma. Perilla oil can improve airflow and helps to inhibit the compounds that lead to asthma.
  • The omega-3 and omega-9 found in perilla oil are known to improve cardiovascular health and prevent rheumatoid arthritis.
  • The high omega-3 in perilla oil can help reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Why We Chose Perilla Oil as a Substitute?

The great thing about perilla oil is, its flavor profile is like roasted sesame oil and can also be used for deep frying thus making it a perfect substitute for sesame oil. It is versatile and has that rich, earthy, nutty tone we love about sesame oil.

Best for:

Perilla oil has high heat tolerance, You can use it for basically anything you want. From roasting to deep frying, you do it all with this oil. It is also great as salad dressings.

Not Recommended for:

Perilla oil is not the healthiest type of oil. It is rich in allergens and calories. So if you are looking for a healthy alternative to sesame oil, perilla oil is not suitable.

Perilla oil is really uncommon and rather unknown to a lot of people. So it is highly unlikely to find it in supermarkets. Many asian stores carry perilla oil. In case there are no asian shops available in your area, we have selected the best one on Amazon.

08. Almond Oil

We had to add almond oil on the list. No doubt, this is one of the most delicious and exquisite oils ever created.

Made from both roasted and unroasted almonds, this oil is rich, nutty, sweet, and creamy. Used by royals in ancient times, almond oil is one of those oils that can enhance any dish you add it to.

Health Benefits of Almond Oil:

  • Almond oil is a great source of vitamin E and K. These vitamins help to reduce the risk of heart failure.
  • Almond oil lowers the level of “bad” cholesterol-like LLD from your body. It helps to fight obesity and blood sugar level.
  • One tablespoon of almond oil contains 26% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K. That means it is rich in antioxidants that protect cells from free radicals.
  • For a lower-calorie diet, almond oil is the perfect companion as it is rich in unsaturated fats. Studies have shown that a diet high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats leads to a severe reduction of body weight.

Why We Chose Almond Oil as a Substitute?

Almond oil is not an obvious choice as a substitute for sesame oil. We added it to our list because of its smooth, buttery, nutty flavor.

The health benefits of almond oil are similar to sesame oil as both contain monounsaturated fats and high levels of vitamins. This is a good substitute for sesame oil if you are looking for an easy alternative!

Best for:

Refined almond oil is best for cooking due to its high smoke point. You can use it for stir-frying or deep frying. Unrefined almond oil is better to use as a finishing oil for salads, fish, soup, and vegetables.

Not Recommended for:

If you have a nut allergy, we suggest avoiding this one! Test it on a smaller portion before adding it to your daily diet. If you have dietary restrictions, we suggest consulting your doctor.

If you do not feel like going outside to purchase one bottle of oil, you can buy it online. Amazon has many different options from different brands to choose from. Here is the most recommended one we found.

09. Tahini

Tahini is a popular Middle Eastern ingredient that is widely used in their cuisine. You know tahini best when it’s mixed with delicious hummus! But there are so many more ways you can experience this coveted ingredient.

Tahini is basically sesame seed paste. It is made from mildly roasted sesame seeds by grinding it with water.

Health Benefits of Tahini:

  • Tahini is rich in nutritious values. Just one tablespoon of tahini provides more than 10% of the daily value for certain nutrients.
  • Tahini is a great source of phosphorus and manganese which plays a vital role in bone density and strength.
  • It is high in vitamin B1 aka thiamine and vitamin B6 which are important for energy production.
  • Tahini is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids that fight against inflammation.
  • Tahini is filled with an antioxidant called lignans. Lignans help prevent free radicals from damaging your cells.
  • Tahini is very good for digestion. Addin tahini to your daily diet can decrease the risk of liver and kidney damages in the long run.

Why We Chose Tahini as a Substitute?

Tahini is very easy to make. You just need to grind some sesame seeds and add seasoning. If you have run out of sesame oil and are looking for a quick substitute that can add the same nutty flavor to your dish, tahini is the best option for you.

We chose tahini because it adds the same kick to any dish as sesame oil does!

Best for:

You can use tahini to marinate, in dipping sauces, and salad dressings. If you are making homemade ramen or pho, adding one tablespoon of tahini to the warm bowl of noodles can instantly alleviate the flavors.

Not Recommended for:

You can not use tahini as an alternative to oil in cooking. It is not oil therefore can not be used as one.

Tahini is really easy to make at home. Homemade tahini is inexpensive but making it is a hassle in itself. You can purchase it online for convenience. Here’s the best quality tahini we have found on Amazon for you.

10. Homemade Sesame Oil

Nowadays many people make their oils at home in order to get the healthiest oil. In the past, making sesame oil was a long and tiresome process that was strictly done by the experts. Now due to modern technology and accessibility, you can easily make your own DIY sesame oil at home. It is risk-free, reliable, and fun!

Health Benefits of Homemade Sesame Oil

  • Sesame oil is well renowned for being a source of both mono and polyunsaturated fats. These fats fight off heart diseases and blood pressure.
  • Sesame seeds are rich in vitamins and minerals. They are a great source of Vitamin B and E.
  • Iron, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus are all available in sesame oil. It is good for your red blood cells and helps with blood circulation and metabolism.
  • Sesame oil is rich in zinc and copper. Zinc is fundamental for collagen production and immune function. Copper works as an anti-inflammatory agent.
  • The nutrients in sesame oil fight off free radicals from entering your body and prevent major diseases from affecting you.
  • Diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s patients are recommended to use sesame seen in their daily diet.

Why We Chose Homemade Sesame Oil as a Substitute?

Sesame oil is expensive to buy. It is a delicacy and like all delicacies, it comes with a big price tag. It is quite easy to make sesame oil at home.

The plus point is, you know exactly what is in the oil. There is no fear of unwanted chemicals or a duplicate product. It is much healthier than any store-bought ones.

Best for:

Sesame oil is incredibly versatile. You can use it for any kind of cooking. As it is homemade, the smoke point is lower than the store-bought ones.

Usually unrefined sesame oil has a smoke point of around 350F. This means you can basically do most high heat cooking without the worry of burning your oil.

Not Recommended for:

It is not recommended for those who have an allergic reaction to sesame seeds or any store-bought sesame oil. If you have nut allergies, we would recommend testing a small amount safely before adding it to your diet.

You can easily make sesame oil at home using any of the available directions online. But to make sesame oil, you need good quality sesame seeds. We found a really good quality, reliable brand that sells sesame seeds on Amazon.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Are The Substitutes For Toasted Sesame Oil?

Perilla oil is one of the best substitutes for toasted sesame oil due to its strong nutty flavor. Other oils like avocado oil, walnut oil, peanut oil also carry the same nutty taste.

If you are looking for a substitute to use in your daily cooking, olive oil and sunflower oil are the best alternatives out there. Toasted sesame oil has a very bold, nutty flavor that can enhance any dish.

If you like that toasty, nutty fragrance then you should pick one of our recommended nut oils. But if you just want an alternative for daily cooking, we would suggest going for olive oil. You can use tahini as your salad dressing instead of sesame oil.

What Are The Substitutes For Sesame Oil In A Stir-Fry?

Stir-frying is one of the most common techniques used in Chinese cooking. The core of making a good stir fry is to pick an oil that has a very high cooking temperature.

Since stir-frying involves high heat, if you pick a cooking oil that has a low smoke point, the oil will burn and your dish will be ruined. The best alternative of sesame oil for stir-fry is peanut oil.

Peanut oil has a smoking point of 440F which is much higher than any regular cooking oils. Other substitutes are canola oil and sunflower oil. Canola oil is a healthy option if you are on a strict diet.

What Are The Substitutes For Sesame Oil In Fried Rice?

Sesame oil is used in fried rice because it enhances the flavor of other ingredients. You can basically use any neutral oil for fried rice. Canola oil is used by the majority for fried rice all around the globe.

Can I Substitute Olive Oil For Sesame Oil?

Yes, you can. Olive oil is a healthy alternative and can be used for most dishes as a substitute for sesame oil. If you need an alternative for only everyday cooking you can definitely use olive oil.

But if you are looking for a substitute for deep frying or high-temperature cooking, we would recommend picking something else. Check out our list to find out the best options for you.

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