Known for its nutty taste and aroma, sesame oil gives many dishes — like salad dressings, noodles, and chicken recipes — their signature sesame flavor.
However, if you’re allergic to sesame seeds or find yourself fresh out of sesame oil, you’ll be looking for an alternative.
Here are 9 of the best substitutes for sesame oil.
1–5. Substitutes for regular sesame oil
Regular sesame oil is made from raw sesame seeds, and it’s often used as cooking oil or added to marinades to impart a nutty, earthy flavor.
Here are some substitutes that you can use in a pinch.
1. Olive oil
Olive oil is an excellent alternative to sesame oil, thanks to its ability to be used in many different ways and impressive nutrient profile.
Olive oil is renowned for its many potential health benefits. This is because it provides polyphenol antioxidants and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
You can use an equal amount of olive oil in place of sesame oil for cooking and in marinades and sauces like teriyaki sauce.
Be sure to opt for light olive oil, which has a milder, more neutral flavor than regular olive oil.
2. Grapeseed oil
Grapeseed oil is popular vegetable oil with a neutral taste, making it an excellent addition to various recipes.
It’s exceptionally high in polyunsaturated fatty acids and packs a hearty dose of vitamin E in each serving. Vitamin E may help prevent inflammation by neutralizing harmful compounds called free radicals.
For best results, use grapeseed oil in a 1:1 ratio for sesame oil in marinades, stir-fries, and noodle dishes.
3. Walnut oil
As its name suggests, walnut oil is extracted from walnuts.
It’s a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been studied extensively for their ability to decrease inflammation and protect against heart disease.
Walnut oil has a rich, nutty taste that becomes slightly bitter when cooked. So, it’s best as a swap for sesame oil in recipes that don’t require cooking, such as sauces or salad dressings.
For added flavor, you can also drizzle it over finished meat and pasta dishes.
4. Avocado oil
Avocado oil boasts a light flavor and high smoke point, the temperature at which a fat begins to break down and produce smoke.
It’s rich in many antioxidants, including lutein, a compound essential for eye health.
Because of its high smoke point, avocado oil is suitable for dishes cooked on a higher heat, like fried rice. It can replace sesame oil in a 1:1 ratio.
5. Peanut oil
Peanut oil is a common substitute for sesame oil, especially for people with a sesame allergy. (However, if you have a peanut allergy, you may want to avoid this oil and try a different one instead.)
In addition to providing a good amount of vitamin E, peanut oil is high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, both of which support heart health.
Its mild flavor and high smoke point make it ideal for cooking dishes like fried rice, noodles, stir-fries, and chicken.
Summary: Substitutes for regular sesame oil include olive, grapeseed, walnut, avocado, and peanut oils.
6–9. Substitutes for toasted sesame oil
Toasted sesame oil is made from seeds that have been toasted, giving it a deeper hue, thicker consistency, and richer, more pronounced taste.
Unlike regular sesame oil, it isn’t suitable for high-heat cooking methods. Instead, it’s typically used on finished or uncooked dishes to add flavor.
Here are a few replacements for toasted sesame oil.
6. Toasted sesame seeds with a neutral oil
Combining toasted sesame seeds with a light, mild oil, such as canola or avocado oil, is an excellent alternative to toasted sesame oil.
These seeds are a great source of fiber and protein and rich in micronutrients like thiamine, niacin, magnesium, and zinc.
Suggested read: The 4 healthiest cooking oils (and 4 to avoid)
Generally, you should use about 1 part sesame seeds with four parts oil to closely match the flavor of toasted sesame oil in dishes like dumpling sauce.
Still, you can adjust the ratio or skip the oil altogether if you want to use the toasted seeds alone as a garnish for certain dishes, including chicken, tofu, or sautéed vegetables.
7. Perilla oil
Perilla oil is made by pressing the seeds of the perilla plant.
Its rich, nutty flavor makes it a fantastic substitute for toasted sesame oil.
Moreover, it’s a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and has been shown to support several aspects of health, including mental health.
8. Chinese sesame paste
Chinese sesame paste is a flavorful condiment often featured in salads, stir-fries, and noodle dishes made from toasted white sesame seeds.
It has a deep hue and nutty taste, similar to toasted sesame oil.
Because of its thick, paste-like consistency, it works best mixed into dishes rather than used as a cooking oil. However, you can also combine it with a bit of oil to thin it out and achieve the consistency of sesame oil.
9. Roasted peanut oil
Roasted peanut oil is a fragrant finishing oil that’s often drizzled over dishes or added to salad dressings and sauces. (However, if you’re allergic to peanuts, you may want to avoid roasted peanut oil.)
Like sesame oil, it contains a balanced mix of heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in each serving.
Plus, it’s rich in vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin that also acts as an antioxidant to protect against cell damage and oxidative stress.
Summary: You can swap perilla oil, toasted sesame seeds, Chinese sesame paste, and roasted peanut oil for toasted sesame oil.
Sesame oil is a versatile cooking oil that’s highly nutritious and associated with several health benefits.
However, if you don’t have any on hand or are allergic to sesame seeds, several other oils make suitable substitutes.
Suggested read: 18 flavorful salt alternatives
Try using some of the ingredients above for an easy way to boost the flavor, nutritional value, and antioxidant content of your favorite dishes.
Try this today:
Using other oils in place of sesame oil can slightly alter the taste and texture of your dish. Try experimenting with other ingredients, such as roasted nuts, tahini, or pine nuts, to enhance the flavor of your favorite recipes.