What Can I Use in Place of Sesame Oil?

Someone who is about to cook, holding a bottle of sesame oilAlthough essential in a lot of Asian recipes, sesame oil is an infamous source of allergies. That’s why most people are looking for substitutes. It may be because of its distinctive flavor, too—we can never know for sure! If you’re asking yourself, ‘what can I use in place of sesame oil?’ You’ve come to the right place! Our list will provide you with all the substitutes you may need for different recipes.

What Can I Substitute for Sesame Oil?

There are a lot of things you can use in place of sesame oil. Vegetable oils, nut oils, and some seed oils are suitable options. Here’s a list of some good alternatives for the oil.

Olive Oil

Olive oil being pours into a container, with fresh olives next to it.

Well, olive oil doesn’t need an introduction! It’s the most popular oil for cooking and dressing. Besides, it helps with weight loss, which is a huge bonus. The thing about olive oil is it has a distinctive flavor. So, you’ll need to be prepared for the taste it’ll leave in your food.

It tastes delicious, though, so no worries!

Olive oil is especially good in place of regular sesame oil, which is untoasted, in other words. Bear in mind that you should opt for light olive oil, though.

Virgin oil’s taste is too tangy to go unnoticed. Its taste will appear vividly in your recipe, which some people don’t want. It also tastes pretty different from sesame oil.


A bowl of hummus

Although tahini doesn’t have the same consistency, it can very well be used in place of sesame oil. You can use it for recipes that don’t necessarily require oils. Sesame seeds are the main ingredient of the paste, so its flavor shouldn’t differ much from that of sesame oil.

To use tahini, add a small amount of the paste. Put less than the required amount of sesame oil, because tahini is much thicker.

Grapeseed Oil

Grapeseed oil has a somehow neutral taste, which is why it works well for a number of recipes without affecting their final taste. In addition to that, it has a high smoke point—similar to that of sesame seed oil. That’s why grapeseed oil is one of the best alternatives for the popular seed oil.

Aside from cooking uses, grapeseed oil is also suitable for skincare use. It has anti-inflammatory qualities, and it’s considered an efficient antimicrobial. Add to that the antioxidative abilities, and you get a highly versatile cooking oil.

Flax Oil

Flax oil is best known for its high omega 3 fatty acids content, which is mostly present in fish products. These acids are popular for their effects on cardiovascular health.

Flax oil has a subtle nutty flavor that’s not too obvious, but it does the job. You can use it for uncooked recipes that require sesame oil, such as salad dressings and dips. It’s preferred not to use it for cooking because it has a lower smoking point than sesame oil.

If you’re willing to try other seed oils, you can go for pumpkin seed and hemp oils. Hemp oil provides nearly the exact same benefits as sesame oil, and it’s known for its nutty, seedy flavor.

As for pumpkin seed oil, it’s more expensive than sesame oil, which is why most people don’t prefer using it. But it works well for a lot of recipes.

Peanut Oil

Peanut oil has the same nutty flavor as sesame oil, so it’s a perfect alternative. Besides, it has almost the same health profile. That being said, its smoke point is higher than that of sesame oil, which is okay.

When choosing an alternative for sesame oil, you should opt for a higher or a similar smoke point, so peanut oil will work well for you.

On top of that, peanut oil costs less than sesame oil, which is great for people who want to stop using sesame oil for its high price.

The good thing about peanut oil is that it can be used for all uses of sesame oil, contrary to tahini. That’s because it’s similar in both consistency and taste. You can add it to both cooked and uncooked foods.

If you like the idea of nut oil, there are a couple more you can use. Almond oil, for example, has high health benefits. However, it has a different flavor, which may affect some recipes.

You can use hazelnut or macadamia oils instead. Both have delicious tastes, and they’re a bit creamy, which improves the texture and overall taste of some recipes.

Coconut Oil

Fresh coconut and coconut oil in a jar

Coconut oil is known for its vast health benefits. Not only that, but it also has a lot of uses in the cosmetics field.

When it comes to substituting it for sesame oil, coconut oil will work well for regular sesame oil recipes, thanks to its high resistance to heat. However, it’ll still leave a coconut taste in your food, which is expected.

If your recipe calls for toasted sesame oil, don’t use coconut oil. The recipe will be aiming for a nutty flavor, but the coconut will leave a sweet taste. You can use it for uncooked foods, instead.


Cubes of butter

Butter has a different nutritional value from sesame oil, but its neutral flavor makes it ideal for substituting the oil. It won’t affect your recipe’s taste, and it’ll leave a creamy texture that’ll add a fresh touch to the final result. If you want to reach a taste similar to that of sesame oil, you can leave the butter to brown; it’ll develop a rich flavor.

Your best butter option to use instead of sesame oil is ghee butter. It’s not as heavy as regular butter, so it’s closer to the oil’s consistency. Plus, it’s highly nutritional, which is a bonus.

DIY Toasted Sesame Oil Substitute

Fresh sesame seeds and homemade sesame oil substitute

If you happen to have a bag of sesame seeds in your kitchen, you can use it to make a substitute for toasted sesame oil. You’ll be basically making a sesame-flavored oil that’s not sesame oil. The concept is weird, but it works brilliantly!

If you desperately want the sesame flavor in your recipe without using the oil, this solution will be perfect for you. Firstly, toast the sesame seeds well over low heat. You can use any pan for that.

While they’re over the heat, keep stirring the seeds to avoid burning them. When they have a light brown color, it’s time to add your oil of choice. We recommend using an oil with a neutral flavor, so its taste goes well with the sesame seeds.

You can choose either sunflower oil or light olive oil. Add about one oil cup for every quarter a cup of sesame seeds. Afterward, let them simmer on low heat for half an hour. Then, pour the mixture into a jar to cool down.

After it cools down, it’s ready to use. It’s the best toasted sesame oil substitute you can ask for!

Vegetable Oil

There are a lot of vegetable oils available that can substitute for sesame oil. To name a few, there’s palm oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, safflower oil, canola oil, and soy oil. The thing about vegetable oils is that they have high nutritional values, and they have pretty good heat resistance.

There are a few things to take care of when using vegetable oils, though. For example, canola oil is healthy, but its nutritional value isn’t as high as the other options. On top of that, palm oil drives some controversies due to its effect on hormones. If you’re going to use it, make sure to get an organic version.

The best vegetable oil to use instead of sesame oil is sunflower oil because it has a neutral taste. It won’t affect your recipe in the slightest.

Perilla Oil

Perilla’s qualities are pretty similar to sesame since it’s also an Asian-grown seed. The oil tastes strikingly similar to sesame oil, making it one of the perfect alternatives for frying recipes.

Perilla oil, too, has an earthy, nutty flavor that’s hard to come by in seed oils that aren’t sesame. That’s why it’s safe to use for stir-frying, and it’s an ideal dark sesame oil substitute. It won’t change the taste of your recipe. Plus, it is suitable for drizzling over salads and dips. You can use it for both cooked and uncooked foods.

Those aren’t the only properties to love about perilla oil. It’s highly healthy as well. For example, it has a high omega 3 fatty acid content, which improves brain function and maintains cardiovascular health.

Closing Thoughts

There’s no need to limit yourself to sesame seed oil when there are so many substitutes. You won’t have to ask yourself, ‘what can I use in place of sesame oil?’ again. Our list has all the healthy alternatives you can use in your recipes!

For your next Asian recipe that requires sesame oil, try one of our options and tell us what you think!