Health & Fitness

Substitute For Sesame Oil: 10 Best Alternatives!

Imagine the tantalizing aroma of toasted sesame oil wafting through your kitchen as you prepare an authentic stir-fry or drizzle a nutty vinaigrette over a ...

by Kendra Reed

Substitute For Sesame Oil: 10 Best Alternatives!

Imagine the tantalizing aroma of toasted sesame oil wafting through your kitchen as you prepare an authentic stir-fry or drizzle a nutty vinaigrette over a fresh salad. Sesame oil is a kitchen staple, adding depth, richness, and a distinct nutty flavor to a wide range of dishes. However, what happens when you run out of this versatile ingredient or need to accommodate dietary restrictions? Fear not, as numerous delicious substitutes for sesame oil can seamlessly step in and elevate your culinary creations.

In this article, we’ll dive into the world of sesame oil substitutes, exploring their unique flavors, applications, and how they can become your secret weapon in the kitchen. Get ready to embark on a flavorful journey that will expand your culinary horizons and ensure your dishes never lack that coveted nutty essence.

What Is Sesame Oil?

What Is Sesame Oil?

Before delving into the alternatives, let’s briefly explore what sesame oil is and why it’s such a cherished ingredient in cuisines around the globe. Sesame oil is extracted from sesame seeds and is available in two distinct varieties: toasted (dark) and untoasted (light).

The toasted version, also known as Asian sesame oil, undergoes a roasting process that unlocks its rich, nutty aroma and deep, complex flavor. This variety is a staple in many Asian cuisines, lending its signature taste to stir-fries, marinades, dressings, and more. On the other hand, the untoasted variety has a milder, more neutral taste and is often used for frying or baking purposes.

Toasted Sesame Oil vs. Untoasted Sesame Oil

When it comes to finding the perfect substitute for sesame oil, it’s essential to consider whether you need a replacement for the toasted or untoasted variety. Toasted sesame oil boasts a distinct, bold flavor that can be challenging to replicate, while untoasted sesame oil’s milder taste makes it easier to substitute with other neutral oils.

10 Best Substitutes For Regular Sesame Oil

1. Peanut Oil: If you’re looking for an affordable and readily available sesame oil substitute, peanut oil is an excellent choice. With its mild nutty flavor, it can seamlessly complement Asian dishes without overpowering other ingredients. Peanut oil also has a high smoke point, making it suitable for stir-fries and high-heat cooking.

2. Grapeseed Oil: Prized for its neutral taste and high smoke point, grapeseed oil can be a fantastic substitute for sesame oil in stir-fries or any dish that requires high-heat cooking. While it may lack a distinct nutty aroma, it won’t impart any unwanted flavors and can be a versatile option for various cuisines.

3. Avocado Oil: Rich in healthy fats and boasting a mild, nutty flavor, avocado oil can step in as a substitute for sesame oil in dressings, marinades, and even baking. Its smooth texture and subtle taste make it a versatile addition to your kitchen arsenal.

4. Walnut Oil: For a nutty flavor that mimics the richness of sesame oil, walnut oil is an excellent option. Its distinct aroma and taste work exceptionally well in salad dressings, marinades, and even drizzled over roasted vegetables or pasta dishes.

5. Perilla Oil: Derived from the perilla plant, this oil shares a similar nutty aroma and flavor profile with sesame oil, making it an ideal substitute for sesame oil in Korean and Japanese cuisines. Its bold taste can add an authentic touch to dishes like bibimbap, sushi rolls, and marinades.

6. Toasted Nut Oils: If you’re craving that distinct toasted flavor, consider using toasted nut oils like toasted almond or hazelnut oil as substitutes for sesame oil. These oils can lend a rich, nutty essence to dressings, marinades, and even baked goods.

7. Tahini (Sesame Paste): For a sesame-forward flavor, tahini, a paste made from ground sesame seeds, can act as a sesame oil in dressings, sauces, and marinades. Its creamy texture and intense sesame flavor can add depth and richness to your dishes.

8. Olive Oil + Toasted Sesame Seeds: Combine extra-virgin olive oil with toasted sesame seeds to achieve a similar flavor and aroma to toasted sesame oil. This combination can be drizzled over salads, used for stir-fries, or even as a dipping sauce for bread.

9. Vegetable Oil + Sesame Seeds: For a budget-friendly substitute for sesame oil that still delivers that nutty essence, mix vegetable oil with toasted sesame seeds. This versatile blend can be used for various cooking methods, from sautéing to baking, and can add a subtle sesame flavor to your dishes.

10. Coconut Oil: While coconut oil has a distinct flavor, it can be a suitable substitute for sesame oil in baking or dishes where you want a subtler nutty taste. Its high smoke point also makes it a good option for stir-fries or any high-heat cooking method.


Sesame oil is a beloved ingredient that adds depth, richness, and a distinct nutty flavor to a wide range of dishes. However, when you find yourself running low or needing to accommodate dietary restrictions, there’s no need to panic. The sesame oil substitutes listed above offer a wealth of options to elevate your culinary creations, each with its unique flavor profile and versatility.

From the mild nuttiness of peanut oil to the rich complexity of toasted nut oils, and the creamy sesame essence of tahini, these alternatives can seamlessly step in and provide a delightful twist to your favorite recipes. Embrace versatility and let your culinary creativity shine through as you experiment with these substitutes, discovering which one best suits your taste preferences and cooking needs.

Remember, the key to successful substitution lies in understanding the nuances of each ingredient and how they can complement or enhance the flavors in your dish. Don’t be afraid to experiment and blend different oils or incorporate toasted seeds for an added depth of flavor.

So, the next time you find yourself in need of a substitute for sesame oil, embrace the opportunity to explore new flavors and techniques. Your taste buds (and your guests) will thank you for the culinary adventure.


  • Kendra Reed

    Dr. Kendra Reed is a dedicated general medicine physician with 7 years of clinical experience. After graduating from medical school, she completed her residency in internal medicine, developing a well-rounded skillset in diagnosing and treating a diverse range of conditions. Patients appreciate Dr. Reed's warm bedside manner and commitment to providing comprehensive, personalized care. In addition to her clinical work, she is actively involved in community outreach programs, educating the public on important health topics. Dr. Reed is known for her ability to establish trusting relationships with her patients and help them achieve their wellness goals.

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