Sesame oil is commonly used in many Asian dishes. It’s made from sesame seeds, as the name suggests.
A few different kinds of sesame oil are made from pressed plain seeds and another from toasted seeds. Depending on which type of sesame oil you have, it will be used in different dishes.
Light sesame oil is often used for regular cooking oil purposes, while toasted sesame seed oil adds flavor to sauces and soups.
You can tell how intense the taste of the oil is going to be based on its color. The darker, toasted variety has a more distinct flavor, while the lighter type has a less noticeable flavor.
If your recipe calls for sesame oil and you’re all out, you can always go for a sesame oil substitute.
Here are eight of the most excellent swaps that you can use.
1. Perilla oil
Perilla oil is also made from seeds. These perilla seeds taste similar to toasted sesame seeds; hence, it works as an ideal replacement for sesame oil.
Perilla oil also has the nutty, earthy taste like sesame oil, so you can rest assured that your Asian dishes won’t lose their appeal if you use this oil instead.
2. Walnut oil
Another oil that boasts a nutty flavor, walnut oil, works great in sauces and dressings that don’t require cooking.
Walnut oil can be used as a replacement for toasted sesame oil - thanks to its strong, flavorful taste.
Keep in mind, though, that under high heat, walnut oil can start tasting a bit bitter, which is why you should avoid it for frying purposes.
3. Canola oil
Canola oil works as a sesame oil substitute for frying and deep drying purposes.
And because it doesn’t have a distinct flavor, it’s best for dishes where you don’t use sesame oil as the main component of the dish’s overall flavor.
Canola oil is also one of the most readily available oils and can take the place of light sesame oil because of its neutral taste.
4. Avocado oil
Avocado oil tastes more earthy and plant-like, but its flavor becomes milder as it is heated.
Avocado oil also works well as a sesame oil alternative, although it doesn’t have a similar nutty taste. It also has a high heating point, which means that you can use it for the same cooking purposes as sesame oil.
5. Olive oil
Another oil you can use when you run out of sesame oil is olive oil. It is made from olive pulp and has a different flavor than sesame oil, but it can be used for frying and grilling and dressings and in sauces because of its strong flavor.
This is also known as sesame seed paste and has the same nutty flavor as sesame oil.
You can use it in recipes that call for sesame oil spread on raw ingredients for its taste.
If you want to get the same liquid texture, you can mix it with a neutral-tasting oil such as canola. Keep in mind that you can’t use tahini paste for frying or cooking.
7. Peanut oil
Peanut oil has the same heat tolerance and nutty flavor as sesame oil.
Although its nutty flavor is milder than sesame oil, you can add a bit more to your recipe for it to replace sesame oil for cooking purposes, especially Asian stir-fry’s.
But as peanut oil can be potentially averse to those with an allergic reaction to it, it’s also best that you’re equipped with the right substitutes just in case.
8. Make your own sesame oil
If you don’t want to use an alternative for sesame oil, you can try and make your own sesame oil at home.
All you have to do is get ¼ cup of toasted sesame seeds and add them to one cup of any neutral-tasting oil, such as canola or vegetable oil.
Combine the two ingredients in a skillet over medium heat until the seeds become brown. Don’t cook them after they’ve turned brown because you risk burning them.
Once you’ve taken the mixture off the stove, let it cool. Blend it once more and then let it sit for around two hours before you strain the unblended seeds out of the mixture.
This homemade oil can be used for frying and marinating.
The bottom line
By now, you may have finally appreciated the versatility your resident sesame oil offers in the process.
And as flexible as it is most often sought in the kitchen, this very oil can also be swapped with a variety of exciting options out there, from the goodness of avocado oil, down to the reliably nutty flavor of tahini.