Sesame Oil: Everything You Need to Know & More!

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Sesame Oil 101 - Your Guide

Sesame Oil

Sesame oil is a plant-based cooking oil that is made from sesame seeds. It is popular in Asian cooking, including the Middle East, Chinese, Japanese, and South Indian dishes.

Toasted sesame oil made with toasted seeds that are used in different ways in Asian cuisine. Sesame oil that is made from pressed plain sesame seeds are used as a neutral cooking oil. However, toasted sesame oil is used in sauces, soups and another cuisine for flavouring.

This oil is also considered as a flavour booster that is synonymous with Asian cooking. This nutty taste blends well with various spices and used in various dishes. It is deemed as one of the healthiest plant-based oil that is a rich source of essential nutrients.

In this guide, we shall discuss everything you need to know about this wonderful oil. Let’s get into it!

What is Sesame Oil?

Sesame Seeds

It is an edible vegetable oil that is derived from toasted or plain sesame seeds. It is said that it was first extracted during the Indus Valley Civilization and then introduced to the rest of the world.

It has a distinctive nutty taste and aroma, that’s why it is used as a flavour enhancer besides being used as cooking oil. It has non-toasted and toasted varieties. The toasted sesame oil is rich and has a darker colour while non-toasted sesame oil is lighter in colour similar to peanut oil.

Sesame Oil is one of the earliest known crop or vegetable oil that has been used for thousands of years.

Sesame seed oil can be pricy because sesame seeds are hand-harvested. Toasted sesame oil is used to finish a stir-fry—however, its non-toasted version made from raw and plain seed which is most popular in South India. In Japan, it is also used at high-end tempura restaurants.

Health Benefits of Sesame Oil

Helps With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Sesame seeds are smaller in size, but they are loaded with minerals, vitamins, magnesium, copper, calcium and iron. Sesame oil may not contain as many nutrients as sesame seeds as some nutrients are lost in the extraction process, but still, sesame oil offers many health benefits.

bunch of sesame seeds

Antioxidants to the Rescue

The oil has a chemical compound named lignans, which are commonly found in plants. This chemical compound has physiological properties and known as a powerful antioxidant. It doesn’t turn rancid. It contains Vitamin E and other antioxidants, that’s why it is used in beauty treatments.

Lowers Blood Pressure

According to researches, this edible oil may decrease lipid peroxidation and lower blood pressure. In hypertensive patients, it also increases antioxidant status.

host of sesame seeds

Great for the Skin

In Ayurveda, sesame oil has great importance due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It has anti-ageing properties that make it the best natural SPF. As it is a great moisturizer and promotes skin’s regeneration, it is widely used in beauty treatments. It can seep deep into the skin that makes it perfect massaging oil.

Helps Fight Stress and Depression

Sesame oil has tyrosine amino acid, which is connected to the activity of serotonin in the brain. It serotonin can lead to stress and depression. Experts suggest that consume food that helps in making serotonin helps you reduce your stress.

What is it used for?

Some people want to know if they can use sesame oil for cooking. The answer is yes, sesame oil can be used for cooking, and you can replace it with other cooking oils too. If you have not tried it before, consider using its smaller portions to get accustomed to its nutty and delicious taste.

Gradually, use it with a variety of dishes and how it tastes with other ingredients. It is commonly used for stir-fries. In a heated wok, add 1 tsp. of sesame seed oil, tip in chopped vegetables, add herbs and stir-fry. Remember to stir-fry all the ingredients on high heat for a few minutes before serving. It is quite versatile. You can add toasted sesame oil to your marinades and salads.

Difference between regular and toasted Sesame oil

Sesame oil comes in two different varieties, i.e. regular oil and toasted oil. They both are not interchangeable. The regular sesame oil is made from raw sesame seeds while toasted oil is made from toasted seeds of sesame.

FAQ's on Sesame Oil

Can I use sesame oil instead of toasted sesame oil?

Toasted oil is better for finishing like stir-fry than cooking. Regular oil has a higher smoke point than toasted sesame oil. That’s why regular sesame oil is used for roasting and shallow frying. You can use the regular sesame oil the same way you would use other neutral oils.

What can I use in place of toasted sesame oil?

If you don’t like the flavour of toasted sesame oil or don’t have it at home, the best substitutes for toasted sesame oil is nut oil, light sesame oil, sesame seeds or sesame paste.

Can toasted sesame oil be used for cooking?

The smoke point of toasted sesame oil is lower than regular or light sesame oil. So it is not suitable for cooking or deep-frying. It can be used for raw applications and stir-frying.

Is toasted sesame oil bad for you?

Toasted sesame oil is healthy fat; you can add to your diet. It has anti-inflammatory properties that may benefit your skin, hair, heart and joints.

Is there a big difference between sesame oil and toasted sesame oil?

Toasted oil has a nutty and deep toasty flavour and aroma and lower smoke point than regular sesame oil. It is brown to deep amber in colour. By contrast, sesame oil is pressed from plain or raw sesame seeds that are lighter in colour. Moreover, it has no flavour or aroma.

Do you need to refrigerate toasted sesame oil?

Opened sesame oil doesn’t need refrigeration. Remember to seal the bottle tightly and stick back in storage after use. Don’t leave it unsealed when cooking. Pour how much oil you need for seasoning and put it into the cabinet.

Andy Canter


Ever since I started cooking I’ve been fascinated by how different people’s techniques are and how they best utilise the ingredients around them. Even the person living next door will have their own unique way of frying an egg or cooking a salmon fillet.

This fascination led me on a journey across the globe to discover the countless practices and traditions the world of cooking has to offer. I thought you’d enjoy and find value in sharing that journey with me so I created Cooked Best!