9 Best Substitutes for Sesame Seeds To Try

If you have ever used sesame seeds in cooking or baking then you should know how good it is for your health. You can eat them both raw and toasted. 

We use sesame seeds as a condiment and topping for stir-fries, salads, soups, sushi as well as for tahini paste, baked goods, sweet and savory dishes.

If you use sesame seeds in your diet then take a look at these substitutes for sesame seeds to reach whenever you run out of sesame seeds. Some people are allergic to sesame seeds and these substitutes are right for them. 

The best replacers for sesame seeds are white or black sesame seeds, sunflower seed kernels, flax seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, roast nuts, sesame oil and pine nuts. 

1. White or Black Sesame Seeds

Tan and golden-hued sesame seeds are the most popular of all. If you don’t have them, there are also white and black sesame seeds to use instead. Lighter sesame seeds have a subtler flavor than black ones. 

Sometimes black sesame seeds come with the hull, that’s why you may also notice a difference in the texture. 

Overall, the taste of all kinds of sesame seeds is nutty and they can be used interchangeably in many cases. 

2. Sunflower Seed Kernels

Sunflower seed kernels are larger than sesame seeds, but they have a similar color and flavor as sesame seeds. They are also good for your health and contain vitamin E and healthy oils like sesame seeds.  

You can use them mostly in baked goods such as breads, muffins, cakes, cookies, crackers as well as in bars. Add them to salads and fried dishes as a topping just like sesame seeds. 

3. Flax Seeds

Bright brown-colored flax seeds are the next good choice for you. They look like sesame seeds and have a mild nutty flavor. These seeds have a crispy texture.

You can add them both to sweet and savory dishes. They contain Omega 3 and some think that it has a fishy flavor and is suitable for savory dishes. 

Use them as a topping or add to baked goods such as muffins, cookies, crackers, bagels and breads. You can even add flax seeds to smoothies and fresh juices to make them healthier. 

4. Poppy Seeds

Poppy seeds look like black sesame seeds and they both carry that mild nutty flavor. Poppy seeds are often seen in pastry recipes, salads, snack dishes and sweets.

They come with a high amount of vitamins and protein and you can consider them as one of the most nutritious seeds out there.  

Compared to sesame seeds, they are smaller in size and may carry some bitterness. 

5. Hemp Seeds

Another nutritious substitute is hemp seeds. These are small, dark-colored seeds with a nutty flavor. 

They are sometimes referred to as nuts and can be used the same way as nuts in many dishes. You can use them both raw and toasted. However, raw hemp seeds are better for your health. 

6. Pumpkin Seeds

If you are looking for an easy alternative then choose pumpkin seeds. They are available almost in all supermarkets like sunflower seeds. 

Compared to some other substitutes, pumpkin seeds offer a more pleasant flavor and they go well with baked goods, salads and breakfast bowls, and can be used to replace sesame seeds in many dishes.

Pumpkin seeds are also good for the health of the body and skin. They are rich in manganese, vitamin K, phosphorus and zinc. 

7. Roast Nuts: Almonds, Pistachios, Peanuts

Do you have nuts in hand? Roast them, chop and use in place of sesame seeds as a topping. You can add them to bread doughs, cakes, cookies and crackers, muffins, desserts and not only. Roast nuts go well with savory dishes too such as noodles, vegetables, stir-fries and even sauces. 

Decide where else you can use a mixture of chopped nuts to replace sesame seeds and please your taste. 

8. Sesame Oil

If you want to have the exact taste of sesame seeds in your dish then use sesame oil. It is more suitable for savory dishes like stir-fries, salads and cooked meals. In this case, however, you’ll only get the flavor and won’t have a crispy texture in the dish. 

Although, as a substitute, the usage of sesame oil is limited, it’s is still 

one of the healthiest alternatives. It’s rich in vitamins and is good especially for the health of the skin. 

9. Pine Nuts

The edible seeds produced by pine trees are called pine nuts. These are light-colored seeds with a soft, buttery and sweet flavor when raw. When you roast them they bring out their nutty flavor and taste like nuts. You can then chop them and use instead of sesame seeds.

Pine nuts are actually expensive alternatives to sesame seeds, but if you live in a place where they are available, then you may easily reach them. 

FAQs on Sesame Seeds

What are the health benefits of sesame seeds?

Sesame seeds have a number of health benefits. They are a great source of fiber, manganese and calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B6 and vitamin E. 

It can help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol level.  It’s good for the skin, bones, hormone system, muscle movement and so on. 

What’s the difference between white and black sesame seeds?

The main difference is in the texture: black sesame seeds come with a more layered and crispier texture than white sesame seeds. 

What’s the daily dose of sesame seeds?

1-2 tablespoons once a day is enough to get all you need for your organizm. 


There are a number of flavorful seeds that offer similar features and you can easily find substitutes for them. So, now you know which are the best substitutes for sesame seeds and can use them in many recipes calling for sesame seeds. 

All of them are good for your health and all you need is just choosing the most suitable option for your dish. 

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