11 Best Sesame Seed Substitutes That You Can Try

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Let me guess. You are here for the best sesame seed substitutes, which could be due to many reasons. You heard from your friend that sesame seeds could totally buck up the taste of the bagel you are baking. Wanting to try it, you reach for your pantry, but alas! You are out of it.

Sesame Seeds

What can possibly replace sesame seeds and help you finish baking? Let us talk exactly about that – the substitutes for sesame seeds. Some of the best sesame seed substitutes are black/white sesame seeds, poppy seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, and chia seeds.

Sesame seeds are those crunchy tiny tots that can amazingly buck up your bagels, buns, or sandwiches. These are some of the oldest oilseeds known to man and have been a prominent ingredient in many cuisines. Shall we delve more into details about this oil-rich seed and its substitutes? Tag along!

Sesame Seeds and Their Role In The Culinary World

Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are edible seeds that are grown in pods of the sesame plant. It is also called benne. They have a nutty, sweet flavor with a crunchy texture. Their taste is even more enhanced when toasted.

There are three types of sesame seeds; white, black and golden brown. Black sesame seeds have their hulls intact and are crispy, while white sesame seeds are unhulled with a mild flavor. Golden sesame seeds are also unhulled and have a rich aromatic flavor.

Uses of Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are well known for the oil extracted out of them; sesame oil. Sesame oil is a popular condiment used extensively in Middle Eastern and Asian cuisines. The famous Schezwan sauce makes use of sesame oil.

Sesame seeds can be utilized for a crispy texture on stir-fries and salads. Ground sesame seeds are an excellent, healthy addition to your oatmeal recipe. Sesame seeds can be added to cakes, pastries, bread, or even muffins for an intensely fresh, nutty flavor.

Sesame Seeds On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope

When it comes to their nutritional benefits, sesame seeds are an excellent source of fiber, Vitamin B, and plant proteins. They help in reducing cholesterol and inflammation. They are vital in boosting bone health and help in blood cell formation.

In 100g of sesame seeds, the following values are observed:

Energy563 Kg Cal
Carbohydrates25 g
Dietary Fiber16.8 g
Fats43.3 g
Protein18.3 g
Calcium1450 mg
Iron9.3 mg
Phosphorous570 mg
Copper2.29 mg
Zinc12.20 mg

Why Should We Substitute Sesame Seeds?

There can be many reasons why you might want to find a substitute for sesame seeds. You are probably out of them and are too lazy to pull yourself to go to the store.

Some might not like their nutty flavor and wish to include the seeds in the recipe just for the sake of the recipe. Some people are allergic to them. These reasons necessitate the need to find the best substitutes for sesame seeds, which we will talk about right away.

Other Food Substitutes You Can Try

11 Best Sesame Seed Substitutes 

Now that you know everything you need to know about sesame seeds let us discuss the eleven best substitutes for sesame seeds.

1. Black/White Sesame Seeds

Black/White Sesame Seeds

If you are out of white sesame seeds and looking for a replacement, readily go with black sesame seeds. What can possibly replace sesame seeds other than their varieties? Sesame seeds are basically a very good source of healthy fats, protein, B vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.

Black, white, and golden sesame seeds can be used interchangeably in recipes. There might be a slight difference in the flavor profiles. Nevertheless, they work as the best substitutes for each other.

2. Poppy Seeds

Poppy Seeds

Poppy seeds are nutritious seeds obtained from opium poppy plants. They have a crunchy texture along with a nutty flavor. These are used to make cakes, pastries, glaze, and porridges. These are good sources of protein, fiber, calcium, and magnesium.

Poppy seeds are the best substitutes for black sesame seeds in terms of taste and texture. That said, poppy seeds are mildly bitter, unlike sesame seeds. They also look smaller, and you may need more of them while replacing sesame seeds in your recipes. Here is how you can make poppy seed paste at home.

3. Flax Seeds

Flax Seed

Flax seeds or linseeds are a rich bunch of nutritional oil seeds. They are sometimes called ‘functional food.’ They are a rich source of fiber, protein, and several other beneficial plant compounds. These are extremely useful for weight loss.

Flax seeds may not be the preferable alternative for sesame seeds as they have a slightly bitter flavor. They are larger than sesame seeds with a chewy texture. While replacing sesame seeds, you will have to grind flax seeds for use in recipes.

4. Hemp Seeds

Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds (or fondly called hemp hearts) are actually nuts. A relative of the cannabis plant, they have a sweet, nutty taste with a velvety texture. These seeds are actually nuts that can be eaten raw and used to make milk, oil, and protein powder.

Hemp seeds can be good substitutes for sesame seeds in baking recipes and garnishing purposes. They are similar to sesame seeds with respect to flavor and texture but are a little hard to find.

5. Chia Seeds

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are highly nutritious black or white seeds. They are now popularly known as the source of Omega-3 fatty acids. They have a mild taste. As a matter of fact, they don’t contribute an aroma or flavor of their own in recipes.

Also, chia seeds swell in size when subjected to moisture, and therefore you have to be mindful of the amount you use. Chia seeds can be used to replace sesame seeds by sprinkling them on top of bread, pastries, or sandwiches.

6. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds

Rich in nutrients like vitamins and minerals, pumpkin seeds are edible seeds of the fruit pumpkin. Deemed to be the powerhouse of nutrition, they have a nutty, savory flavor and fibrous texture. 

Pumpkin seeds are bigger than sesame seeds but can work as a good replacement. They can be used in dishes, noodles, soups, and bread. They can also be used as a coating for fried dishes and snacks. Pumpkin seeds are also brain foods. Here is a list of some other brain foods that help you study better.

7. Chopped Nuts

Chopped Nuts

What more do you need to get a nutty flavor of sesame seeds other than nuts? Nuts are a great source of vital nutrients. They are high in beneficial fiber and help in reducing inflammation. They also help deal with Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome.

Choose a variety you like (walnuts, almonds, and peaches are frequently used), chop them, and mix them into muffins, desserts, or cookies to replace sesame seeds. You are sure to enjoy a flavor close to that of sesame seeds. Here is the recipe for Hershey’s nut barfi for you.

8. Sesame Oil

Sesame Oil

Sesame oil is an edible vegetable oil obtained from sesame seeds. The seeds can either be toasted or untoasted. Untoasted oil has a light color, while toasted oil has a dark color. It has a strong, nutty flavor. 

If you are okay with not seeing sesame seeds on top, you can use sesame oil for a close flavor in your recipes. It works as a fine substitute for sesame seeds with a promise of a rich aroma and flavor. However, it can’t be used in baking recipes since it gets burned easily. Here is the recipe for spicy tuna rice.

9. Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds actually refer to the fruits of the sunflower plant. Linoleic, high oleic, and sunflower oil seeds are the various types of sunflower seeds. The differences in the fat content distinguish them from each other. They have a nutty flavor and a firm texture.

Sunflower seeds can be used to replace sesame seeds in baking recipes, salads, and savory dishes. They are a bit larger than sesame seeds. For no alteration in the taste of your recipe, go for unsalted sunflower seeds.

10. Pine Nuts

Pine Nuts

Pine nuts are obtained from the pine tree. These are nutritious and delicious seeds and not nuts. They have a sweet, buttery flavor and a crunchy texture. Did you know that the consumption of pine nuts can reduce the risk of heart diseases and diabetes?

Pine nuts can be roasted, mashed, or ground to substitute for sesame seeds. The biggest downside is that they are expensive and not easily available. They can be used to make pesto, hummus, parfait, and pasta dishes.

11. Tahini Paste

Tahini Paste

Made using processed sesame seeds, tahini is a type of paste. It is a staple condiment in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. It can be made using both hulled and unhulled sesame seeds.

Tahini paste has a nutty, savory, and creamy flavor, and since it is made using sesame seeds, it works as a good sesame seed substitute. Go for tahini which is devoid of other ingredients such as palm oil while substituting for sesame seeds. 

Short Recap Of Best Sesame Seed Substitutes

That must have been an exhaustive read on the best sesame seed substitutes, right? Let me make it easy for you to remember the details with the help of some points.

Flavor: The best sesame seed substitutes for flavor are black/white sesame seeds, sesame oil, and tahini paste.

Texture: The best sesame seed substitutes in terms of texture are black/white sesame seeds and poppy seeds.

How To Use Sesame Seed Substitutes In A Recipe

Sesame Seeds

Sesame Seed Substitutes

Sesame seeds are those crunchy tiny tots that can amazingly buck up your bagels, buns, or sandwiches. These are some of the oldest oilseeds known to man and have been a prominent ingredient in many cuisines. Thus, finding a substitute for sesame seed is pretty important!
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  • Black/White Sesame Seeds
  • Poppy Seeds
  • Flax Seeds
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Chopped Nuts
  • Sesame Oil
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Pine Nuts
  • Tahini Paste


  • Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
  • Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
  • Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Final Musings

There you go, you have successfully added the best substitutes for sesame seeds to your cooking expertise. Opt for a substitute that fits in well with your recipes, and let me know what worked out for the best! See you soon with another article!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are black sesame seeds the same as nigella seeds?

Black sesame seeds are not the same as nigella seeds although they look similar. The former has a nutty flavor while the latter has a pungent flavor.

What is a substitute for sesame seed oil?

Olive oil, walnut oil, avocado oil and grapeseed oil are good substitutes for sesame seed oil?

What is a sesame seed substitute in baking?

Black/white/golden sesame seeds, poppy seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds and sunflower seeds are good sesame seed substitutes in baking.

Can I substitute pine nuts for sesame seeds?

Pine nuts can be used to substitute for sesame seeds. For a tablespoon of sesame seeds, use half a tablespoon of pine nuts.

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