What can I substitute for sesame oil?

In this brief article, we will answer the question “What can I substitute for sesame oil”? with an in-depth analysis of sesame oil along with the substitutes for sesame oil. 

What can I substitute for sesame oil?

If you don’t have sesame oil in your kitchen or run out of it in stores nearby, then you could use its substitutes which include olive oil, grapeseed oil, walnut oil, avocado oil and peanut oil.

Sesame production has been recorded in the Middle East and India since 4000 years ago. About 60% of the world’s sesame production was from Myanmar, India, China, Ethiopia and Nigeria during 2011 (1).

Sesame oil

Sesame oil is a universal cooking oil that contains lots of nutrients and it adds delicious flavour to the dish. It has many health benefits. It helps lower cholesterol levels and inflammation in the body and helps in reducing blood pressure. Sesame oil contains polyunsaturated fats, which include omega-3 fatty acids. These beneficial fats help to protect the heart from damage and regulate blood pressure (2).

Substitutes for regular sesame oil

Here are the substitutes for regular sesame oil which give the same benefits as sesame oil. 

Olive oil:

Olive oil is used as a substitute for regular sesame oil. It is rich in nutrients. Despite adding flavour to the dish, it is super beneficial for health because it has polyphenol antioxidants and some monounsaturated fats. Polyphenol intake has been associated with low cancer and coronary heart disease mortality rates. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and improvements in endothelial dysfunction and the lipid profile have been reported for dietary polyphenols (3).

If you are replacing olive oil with sesame oil, then you could use an equal amount of olive oil for sesame oil in cooking. It can be used in marinades and some sauces like teriyaki sauce. 

Grapeseed oil:

Grapeseed oil is used in various dishes as a substitute for sesame oil. Grapeseed oil consists of polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E. Purpose of vitamin E is to neutralize the harmful free radicals in our body, so it prevents us from inflammation. It also has neuroprotective and antitumoral properties. The main polyphenols identified in grape seed oil are catechins, epicatechins, trans-resveratrol, and procyanidin B1 (4).

If you want to get the best results, you should use grapeseed oil in 1:1 for sesame oil. You can use it in marinades, stir-fries, and noodle dishes.

Walnut oil:

Walnut oil can be used as a substitute for sesame oil. It is extracted from walnuts. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. The benefit of using walnut oil as a replacement for sesame oil is it decreases inflammation and protects against heart diseases. Walnut oil also contains plant sterols, called phytosterols. Plant sterols help reduce the absorption of cholesterol into the body and can also lower the blood LDL cholesterol. Phytosterols may also help reduce the risk for some cancers (5).

The taste of walnut oil is nutty, which turns into a bitter taste after cooking. So, if you are replacing it with sesame oil other than cooking purposes like salad dressings, then it is the best choice.

To add flavour, you can also sprinkle it over finished meat and pasta dishes.

Avocado oil:

Avocado oil can be replaced with sesame oil. Avocado oil has a high smoke point. Because it has high smoke points, it is mostly used in dishes that are cooked on high heat just like fried rice (6).

It contains antioxidants like lutein. Lutein is a compound that is necessary for eye health. Avocado oil contains vitamin E, which is an essential vitamin and is widely recognized as a powerful antioxidant (6). 

If you want to substitute avocado oil for sesame oil, then you should use it with a ratio of 1:1

Peanut oil:

Peanut oil is the most popular and common substitute for sesame oil. If you are allergic to sesame oil you can replace it with peanut oil (7).

Peanut oil is rich in vitamin E, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats. These fats are healthy for the heart.

It is commonly used because it has a high smoke point and mild flavour. It is used especially for dishes like fried rice, noodles, stir-fries, and chicken.

Substitutes for toasted sesame oil:

Toasted sesame oil has a thick consistency, deep hue, and rich taste. It is used to add flavour to uncooked or finished dishes.

Following are the substitutes for toasted sesame oil:

  • Perilla oil
  • Chinese sesame oil
  • Roasted peanut oil

Perilla oil:

Seeds of the perilla plant are the source of getting perilla oil. It gives a nutty flavour to the dish, which makes it the best substitute for sesame oil. Just like all other substitutes, it also contains omega-3 fatty acids which are super beneficial for mental health.

Perilla oil is a kind of light yellow clear and transparent liquid, with aromatic odor. Major fatty acids of the oil are unsaturated fatty acids like Oleic acid 14–23%, linoleic acid 11–16%, linolenic acid 54–64%. This oil also contains saturated fatty acids 6.7–7.6%. Perilla seeds contain different polyphenols or flavones (rosemarinic acid, luteolin, chrysoeriol, quercetin, catcehin, apegenin and shishonin) (8).

Chinese sesame paste:

Chinese sesame paste is obtained from white toasted sesame seeds. It gives an awesome flavour to the dish. It is mostly used for salads, stir-fries, and noodle dishes.

It gives a nutty taste that is quite like the taste of toasted sesame oil. It has a deep hue.

Due to its thick consistency like paste, it is better for mixing in dishes rather than using as cooking oil. But if you want to get thin consistency then you could mix it with a little oil.

Roasted peanut:

Roasted peanuts can be a substitute for sesame oil. It has fragrance in it, so it is sprinkled over the dishes. It could also be sprinkled over salad dressings and sauces.

If you are allergic to peanuts, then you must avoid this substitute. Just like sesame oil, it contains polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats in its ingredients. These are beneficial for heart health. Peanuts contain lipids and carbohydrates which are en- ergy rich compounds, capable of complementing the ba- sic energy demands of the human body (7).

It also contains fat-soluble vitamin E that has antioxidant properties. So, it protects our body against cell damage and oxidative stress.

Other FAQs about Oils that you may be interested in.

Can you substitute vegetable oil for coconut oil?

Can you use canola oil in a deep fryer?

Can you use oil in an instant pot?

Conclusion

In this concise article, various substitutes for sesame oil are described along with their benefits and quantity to use. These substitutes give the same health benefits as sesame oil.

References

  1. Ayana, Negash Geleta. Status of production and marketing of Ethiopian sesame seeds (Sesamum indicum L.): A review. Agr Biol Sci J, 2015, 1, 217-223.
  2. Vennila, Lakshmanan. Cardioprotective effect of sesame oil: a review. World J Pharmaceut Res, 2017, 6, 331-341.
  3. Covas, María-Isabel, et al. The effect of polyphenols in olive oil on heart disease risk factors: a randomized trial. Ann intern med, 2006, 145, 333-341.
  4. Garavaglia, Juliano, et al. Grape seed oil compounds: Biological and chemical actions for health. Nutr metab insights, 2016, 9, NMI-S32910.
  5. Radu, Oxana, Adelina Fuior, and Tatiana Capcanari. The study of biological and nutritional potential of walnut oil. 2013.Technical University of Moldova.
  6. Woolf, Allan, et al. Avocado oil. Gourmet and health-promoting specialty oils. AOCS Press, 2009. 73-125.
  7. Settaluri, V. S., et al. Peanuts and their nutritional aspects—a review. Food and Nutrition Sciences, 2012, 3, 1644-1650.
  8. Asif, Mohammad. Health effects of omega-3, 6, 9 fatty acids: Perilla frutescens is a good example of plant oils. Orient Pharma Exper Med, 2011, 11, 51.