Sesame oil is extracted from sesame seeds. It is one of the oils traditionally used in various Asian cuisines, but it is best known for its use in Chinese food. The main varieties of sesame oil available on the market are light sesame oil and toasted sesame oil. Light sesame oil is made with unroasted raw sesame seeds, and toasted sesame oil is made from toasted sesame seeds. Which alternative you use depends on which type of sesame oil you are replacing. Here are some of the most effective sesame oil substitutes:
Your best bet: Perilla seed oil
Perilla seed oil or perilla oil is an Asian seed oil that has a flavor that is similar to the sesame seed flavor. The perilla plant belongs to the mint family. The variety used in the production of perilla seed oil is closely related to the shiso herb that is so popular in Japanese cooking. Perilla is cultivated in Southern China, Japan, and Korea. As with sesame seed soil, you can purely use perilla oil for its flavor by drizzling it onto food just before serving a dish. You can also use it as a cooking oil since it has a relatively high smoke point and several health benefits over other conventional cooking oils.
One potential downside of perilla oil is that some people detect a slightly fishy note, possibly the result of its omega-three fatty acid content. It is also more flavorful than untoasted sesame oil, so you may want to use it only as a toasted sesame oil substitute.
A Decent Second Choice: Tahini
If you need a substitute for sesame oil’s flavor, why not use another sesame-seed based product? Tahini is a smooth paste made from ground sesame seeds. It has the flavor and nutrients found in sesame oil because it contains sesame oil. You can use tahini as a sesame oil substitute in many marinades, sauces, and salad dressings that call for sesame oil. It is one of the better options for adding the sesame flavor.
Tahini is a paste, not oil, so you can’t use it for frying or drizzling over stir-fries or fried rice.
In a pinch: Make your own sesame oil
It is possible to make a sesame flavored oil in your kitchen. To do it, you will need some toasted sesame seeds and a little cooking oil (canola and vegetable oil are good options) as well as a blender. First, heat the oil and seeds together for about 2 minutes, but be careful to avoid burning. Let the two ingredients cool. Blend the sesame seeds and oil then strain out the seeds. Homemade sesame seed oil will provide some of the same flavors that you would get from regular sesame oil.
Homemade sesame oil will not have precisely the same flavor as commercial sesame oil and won’t have the same nutritional profile.
Olive oil can work as a sesame seed oil substitute. It is widespread and, therefore, affordable in addition to being useful as a cooking oil and can provide a nutty, pleasant flavor to foods.
Olive oil does not taste like sesame oil, which may be a problem in many of the dishes that traditionally require sesame oil. Where olive oil does make an exceptional sesame oil replacement is in the area of health benefits. Olive oil is beneficial for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of developing diseases like cancer.