Sesame oil is a type of vegetable oil that’s derived from the seeds of sesame plants. It has a uniquely fragrant nutty aroma and slightly bitter taste. Besides being used as cooking oil, sesame oil also adds some earthiness to a dish.
Some of the most popular recipes that use sesame oil include soups, salads, noodles, condiments like tahini sauce, Chinese cuisine like beef teriyaki skewers, and chicken-lo mein.
But, if you’re allergic to sesame seeds or just run out of sesame oil, here is a curated list of all the ingredients you can substitute for sesame oil without affecting the flavor.
#1. Olive Oil
There must barely be any dishes on this planet that olive oil doesn’t improve. It’s a highly versatile ingredient that you can swap for most cooking oils in every recipe. One of the best features of sesame oil is that it’s a good source of healthy fats. Olive oil is an excellent substitute because it’s equally rich in monounsaturated fats.
Olive oil has a slightly lower smoke point than sesame seed oil, but the difference in most cases is negligible. The only downside to using olive oil as a substitute for sesame seed oil is the loss of nuttiness.
But it has a neutral flavor, so you don’t have to worry about it changing the final flavor of your dish. If you’re more concerned about the cooking process than flavor, olive oil is easily the best substitute for sesame seed oil.
1 Tbsp. Sesame Oil = 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil.
#2. Peanut Oil
Peanut oil has several health benefits. It contains cholesterol-breaking compounds that reduce cholesterol absorption from foods and help lower the risk of heart disease. It’s also rich in vitamin E, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats, both of which are known to promote heart health.
Unlike olive oil, peanut oil brings some nuttiness to the table. If olive oil is the best swap for sesame oil for cooking, peanut oil is the best swap for achieving a similar flavor. It’s not as bold as sesame seed oil but certainly offers the same nuttiness and has a similar smoking point. Peanut oil is ideal for cooking dishes like fried rice, noodles, stir-fries, and chicken.
1 Tbsp. Sesame Oil = 1 Tbsp. Peanut Oil.
#3. Flaxseed Oil
Flaxseed oil is an excellent substitute for vegans because it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a vital nutrient used by our bodies to reinforce the structure of the cell walls. Omega-3 fatty acids are also an important energy source for the heart, blood vessels, and lungs. Vegan diets usually fall short on omega-3 fatty acids because they’re predominantly found in animal products like fish.
Flaxseed oil has a similar nutty flavor to sesame oil, but it has a unique earthiness that only works with certain dishes like salads, dips, and sauces. It also has a lower smoking point, so it’s not the best substitute for sesame oil in cooking applications. This oil works best as a dressing.
1 Tbsp. Sesame Oil = 1 Tbsp. Flaxseed Oil.
#4. Walnut Oil
Walnut oil is another nut oil that mimics the earthiness and savory depth of sesame oil. However, it has a low smoking point, so you don’t want to use it for cooking. But if you’re looking for a substitute to drizzle lightly over your vegetables, pasta, or soup, walnut oil is a flavorful option.
Walnut oil works best when you substitute it in recipes for uncooked sauces and dressings that call for toasted sesame seed oil. Sesame and walnut oils both share a similar depth, so you can swap them evenly.
1 Tbsp. Sesame Oil = 1 Tbsp. Walnut Oil.
#5. Canola Oil
Canola oil, a type of vegetable oil derived from crushed canola seeds, is another excellent substitute for sesame oil. It has a neutral flavor, so using it as a substitute will not alter the final taste of your recipes. Canola oil has a high smoking point, which means you can use it for frying or baking.
One of the biggest benefits of using canola oil is that it’s relatively low in saturated fats and helps cut down your cholesterol levels. You could say canola oil is the healthiest cooking oil for your heart.
1 Tbsp. Sesame Oil = 1 Tbsp. Canola Oil.
#6. Grapeseed Oil
Grapeseed oil, as the name implies, is derived from grape seeds. It has a clean and neutral taste. Two things make grape seed oil an excellent substitute for sesame oil. First, it is high in healthy fats, vitamin E, and antioxidants. Second, it has almost the same, if not slightly higher, smoking point, making it a good cooking oil substitute.
The only downside is that if you’re seeking a low-calorie substitute, grapeseed oil may not be the best alternative for cooking. For the best results, use grapeseed oil with dishes like stir-fries, noodles, or marinades.
1 Tbsp. Sesame Oil = 1 Tbsp. Grapeseed Oil.
#7. Avocado Oil
Avocado oil has a slightly earthy, grassy, and nutty but fresh taste that is much like avocado. Some people even describe the taste as buttery, but once it’s cooked, avocado oil tastes more neutral than olive oil. Avocado oil boasts a high smoking point, so you can use it for deep-fried recipes and dishes that require high heat to cook.
Avocado oil won’t contribute to the flavor as much as sesame oil does, but it still adds richness to stir-fried vegetables, chicken, and fish. It’s also rich in omega-9 fatty acids that help to curb cholesterol build-up and heart diseases.
1 Tbsp. Sesame Oil = 1 Tbsp. Avocado Oil.
#8. Perilla Oil
Perilla oil is another nutty-tasting oil that is derived from the seeds of the perilla plant. It’s most commonly used as a flavor enhancer, condiment, or cooking oil in Korean and Chinese cuisine.
The nuttiness and richness make it an excellent substitute for toasted sesame oil. Perilla oil will give you the same results as sesame oil. It’s also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and provides some beneficial antioxidant properties.
1 Tbsp. Sesame Oil = 1 Tbsp. Perilla Oil.
A Middle-eastern condiment, Tahini or Tahina is a smooth paste made out of ground sesame seeds. It can be used as a salad dressing, falafel or sandwich filling, or as a dipping sauce. Tahini has a mildly nutty, savory, and creamy taste that boosts the flavors of raw foods.
If you want to use tahini for cooking, you may need to add some regular oil, but you can expect results similar to sesame oil. Tahini is weaker in taste than sesame oil, so if you’re using it as a condiment, you may need to add some more according to your taste preference.
1 Tbsp. Sesame Oil = 2 Tbsp. Tahini.
#10. Sunflower Oil
Sunflower oil is derived from the seeds of sunflower plants. Like Canola oil, it’s both neutral in flavor and highly nutritious while being low in calories. Sunflower oil is high in polyunsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, and antioxidants that will help boost your energy levels.
It’s available in most supermarkets and costs less than the average cooking oil. Sunflower oil has a very high smoking point and doesn’t go bad for a long time, so you can use it to deep fry several dishes.
1 Tbsp. Sesame Oil = 1 Tbsp. Sunflower Oil.