Sesame seeds are not only popular in Asian cuisine but also around the world. Great as a topping, condiment, additional flavor and so much more!
There’s no denying that these little seeds when added all together, adds that highly umami flavor that you never knew you wanted in your dish.
However, if for some reason sesame seeds are not available in your area or ran out, there are some effective substitutes that you can use such as black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, poppy seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, chopped nuts, and sesame oil.
Looks like we’ve got quite a list down here. With all the choices that we’ve got as a substitute for sesame seeds, let’s figure out how these work with some dishes.
Sesame Seeds Substitutes
1. Black Sesame Seeds
Did you know that you can find different types of sesame seeds in the market? So just in case, you can’t find your favorite regular sesame seeds, you should consider other variants such as black sesame seeds.
This actually is considered as the most nutritious variant out of all that existed. In Chinese medicine, it is said to believe that adding black sesame seeds in your dishes and drinks can cure numerous diseases including anxiety problems.
It’s no surprise why it offers healing properties since black sesame seeds are packed with essential nutrients especially calcium and zinc.
2. White Sesame Seeds
If black sesame seeds are also unavailable, white sesame seeds are your next resort. White sesame seeds are also called natural sesame seeds.
This type of variant has retained 100% of its purest form, unlike the other ones. The flavor itself is stronger than the regular and black ones, which is why this type of sesame seeds is a go-to preference for many cooks.
With a little dash of it as a topping, it can already add such difference to the dish. It’s also a popular topping for burger buns, donuts, bagels, and other pastry goodies. When roasted, the aroma just whiffs through the air making the dish more inviting and appetizing.
3. Sunflower Seeds
If the odds are against you and just can’t find a single variety of sesame seeds, consider other kinds of seeds then. You should try out sunflower seeds instead.
It’s a superfood with plenty of health benefits. If you need more Vitamin E in your diet, this is the way to go since sunflower seeds are one of the best sources that you can get.
Other nutrients you can take advantage of with these seeds are copper, magnesium, selenium, proteins, fiber, and phytochemicals.
You can use sunflower seeds as to how you would use sesame seeds in your dishes. Try adding it as a bread topping, texture for salads, coating for crispy fried meats and so much more. You will like the taste as well as it doesn’t overpower the main dish itself.
4. Flax Seeds
Next on our list are the flax seeds, also a healthy substitute for sesame seeds.
If you’re experiencing some cardiovascular problems or just trying to avoid not having one, try adding this to your diet. Flax seeds are incredibly rich in protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and linolenic acid that fights heart problems and improves heart health.
If you just can’t give up desserts and bread, using flax seeds as an alternative ingredient can make a cut. You can use it as an egg substitute for binding the dough.
Make muffins, bread, bagels, and other baked goods by just using flax seeds. Other than baked dishes, you can add flax seeds in your drinks such as smoothies, juices, and even cereals.
5. Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are like a doppelganger of flax seeds. If you can’t find any flax seeds in the market, your next choice would be hemp seeds. It also offers the same health benefits as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, excellent for taking care of your heart.
For those who are not a fan of sesame seeds’ stronger aroma and taste, hemp seeds would be an ideal alternative for a milder aroma and taste profile.
You can consume it on its own and enjoy its delicious nutty flavor. Perfect for a healthy snack instead of munching on junk foods. Level up your topping game and add hemp seeds on salads, yogurts, breakfast bowls like oatmeal, and even on bread.
6. Poppy Seeds
You can easily get mistaken by poppy seeds over black sesame seeds, however, they are not the same. Poppy seeds are smaller in form and have their own distinct flavor. Just like the rest of the seeds we’ve listed above, poppy seeds are also packed with nutrients. Surprisingly, you can get a dose of calcium without drinking milk. Just add poppy seeds to your dish.
Other than that, it also supplies your body a good amount of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and oleic acid. Ditch poppy seeds in your stir-fried dishes and you’ll achieve a milder aroma but stronger flavor in your dish.
You may also add it to salad dressings, bread toppings, pancakes, and other snack dishes. With just a little bit of sprinkle on top, your dish is sure to level up and impress a lot of taste buds.
7. Chia Seeds
Of course, you can’t miss chia seeds in this list. These seeds might be small but they’re incredible most especially with nutrients and vitamins.
It possesses most of the nutrients that you can find from other seed variants. However, chia seeds boast a good amount of antioxidants, magnesium, and zinc.
To get all the best that it has to offer, you need not add a lot of it but just a sprinkle a day can already make a difference to your health.
When substituting sesame seeds with chia seeds, your uses might be quite limited. Chia seeds tend to double in size when exposed to moisture.
After cooking stir-fried vegetables, add a sprinkle of chia seeds on top in lieu of sesame seeds. You can also use this as a topping for bread and pastries. Just take note that chia seeds do not add significant aroma and flavor.
8. Pumpkin Seeds
One of my personal favorite snacks is pumpkin seeds. It’s just so good to snack on without having to feel too guilty if you had more than a handful for yourself.
Although pumpkin seeds are bigger in size than sesame seeds, it’s still a great substitute for your dishes. For healthier and strong hair, pumpkin seeds offer a dose of amino acids to achieve just that. Other than that, it’s a good source of zinc, magnesium, and protein.
Take a handful of pumpkin seeds and sprinkle them on your favorite stir-fried dishes, noodles, soups, and bread. You can also use it as a coating for fried dishes and snacks. You may also step up its snack purposes by making healthy granolas and protein bars as a post-workout meal.
9. Chopped Nuts
The one thing we liked about sesame seeds is their nutty taste. With that being said, have you ever considered using nuts instead of sesame seeds?
Well, now is the time to do so. Use any kind of nuts and have them chopped into small pieces depending on how you would use them.
I like using almonds, walnut, and peanuts personally but any nut variant will do. You’ll get the same health benefits, nutty taste but a milder aroma in your dish.
Mix some chopped nuts for desserts, like cookies, brownies, muffins, and even bread. You can also use this as a topping for noodles, stir-fried dishes, vegetables and so much more.
10. Sesame Oil
If you can’t really let go of sesame seeds’ flavor and aroma, your best bet would be their oil form. Sesame oil works just the same as sesame seeds just without the extra bite.
A little drizzle on your favorite dishes makes no difference when using this substitution. The only difference is the presentation where you can’t see the sesame seeds on top.
But still, if the recipe doesn’t call sesame seeds the main star of the dish, sesame oil will do just fine. You can add it to soups, stews, stir-fried dishes, and salads. I just don’t recommend it in baked goods since sesame oil burns easily.
Can I substitute chia seeds over sesame seeds?
Yes, you can, but not with all the dishes. Chia seeds tend to double in form when exposed to moisture, so a little sprinkle in some dishes is just enough.
Are flax seeds and sesame seeds the same?
Both might be the same as seeds but technically they’re different. Flax seeds come from wheat kernels while sesame seeds come from a type of flower. Both have their own aroma and taste.
What do sesame seeds taste like?
Sesame seeds have a nutty flavor and strong aroma, especially when roasted. Perfect as a topping for savory dishes and even for hot desserts.
Sesame seeds are aromatic and flavorful but can be substituted easily by so many seed variants in the market. Just consider your recipe and what it needs before you make any substitutions, to ensure that you’ll get the best results all the time.