How many different types of oils do you have in your kitchen? Do you ever pull them out and wonder “what should I use this one for”? It can be hard to keep track of all of the different types but surprisingly some of them
For example, with sesame oil, you might make fried rice or a yummy stir-fry. With vegetable oil, you might fry potatoes or vegetables. The other side is many times these can be used interchangeably so if you are out of one option, try another.
When it comes to certain foods, some oils do work better than others. The good news is that if you are out of one, you can often find a reliable substitute. What is a good substitute for sesame oil? Our favorite substitute is perilla oil but there are really many great options out there.
In this guide, we will walk you through several good substitutes for sesame oil and share with you our favorites so you have a reference of what you might want to look for. Each oil is unique in some way but you will be surprised at how well they work when you need a replacement option available.
Keep reading to learn the best substitutes for sesame oil.
A Complete Guide to Substitutes for Sesame Oil
Sesame oil is a type of vegetable. This oil is made using sesame seeds. It is primarily used as a cooking oil but it is also used in many dishes to enhance the flavor because it does have a unique flavor.
Traditional vegetable oil is primarily flavorless but sesame oil has a bit of a nutty flavor. It also has a nutty aroma. It’s a slightly darker colored oil as well. Sesame oil is very popular with making Asian cuisine because of the flavors that it does contribute to these dishes.
When you find yourself in the middle of mixing up stir-fry and you open your pantry only to find you’re out of sesame oil, what do you do!? Don’t worry, you don’t have to just give up on the meal and start with something else.
There are alternatives that you can use and we think you will be quite pleased with the overall results that you experience. While sesame oil is unique, it’s ok if you need a substitute on occasion.
We do recommend looking for a nut or seed oil to really get the best results. But at the same time, we understand you may not always have these on hand.
Without further ado, let’s discuss our favorite substitutes for sesame oil.
1. Perilla Oil
Perilla oil is a type of vegetable oil that is commonly used in both Korean and Chinese dishes. It is also made from seeds and the flavor is very close to that of sesame oil. The smell is also very similar.
If you substitute with perilla oil, you’re not likely to even notice the difference when the dish is complete. These two types of oil are very similar and substitute for each other very easily. Perilla oil is made from perilla seeds and also has a nutty aroma and flavor.
This oil can be used to get a flavor similar to sesame oil but it is not uncommon to use it for frying things as well.
This oil also has some health benefits, however, it is known for containing anticoagulant properties so be familiar with the oil and whether or not that may affect you.
Here is a quick review of our favorite perilla oil.
There are several premium perilla seed oil options out there that make great choices but we typically turn to this option. It’s a good price and really great quality. It is one of the most highly-recommended perilla oil options available.
Some oils are designed to be used for massage and in lotions and soaps but this oil was designed for cooking purposes, making it a really great choice. It is raw perilla oil and it is very clean and pure. This oil was made with no heat processing.
- Raw perilla oil
- Cold-processed for cleanliness
- This oil is a bit pricey for the amount of oil you get
2. Walnut Oil
As the name might suggest, this type of oil is made directly from walnuts. Walnut oil is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids as well as other types of fatty acids that are unsaturated. This oil is known for helping regulate blood sugar levels and improving heart health.
This oil also has a nutty scent and aroma however the scent and flavor are slightly delicate. Walnut oil is lighter in color than sesame oil but it does make a good substitute when you need an option.
Not all walnut oil is designed for cooking so be sure to pay attention to that element. Walnut oil is not usually a top choice for frying or cooking with extreme heat as the heat can actually cause the flavor to turn slightly bitter.
Walnut oil is more commonly used for dressings and cold dishes instead to retain the flavor. If you’re making a chilled or uncooked sauce or dressing, this is a really great substitute option.
Here is one of our favorites.
This walnut oil from Swanson is another cold-pressed oil. It is packed full of Omega-3s as well as Omega-9 EFAs. It has a rich nutty flavor when used cool or at room temperatures. Walnut oil is vegetarian and vegan-friendly for consumption.
There are no unhealthy additives in this brand. Swanson has received a seal of approval for quality from Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). This oil is guaranteed to be both pure and potent. It is packaged and distributed from the United States.
- Potent and pure ingredients
- Made in the USA
- Cold-pressed oil
- If you cook with this at high temperatures, you may be disappointed
3. Olive Oil
If you’re just looking for an oil substitute, olive oil makes a really great option. Olive oil is similar to sesame oil as far as the overall combination of healthy fats. If you want a strong flavor, we do recommend going with extra virgin olive oil to get the closest resemblance.
If you’re just looking for cooking purposes as a similar oil, either type of olive oil will do and your results will be quite similar to that of sesame oil in the end. Just keep in mind the flavor is not quite as nutty so you may notice that in the overall flavor.
Olive oil is made from olives, typically Mediterranean olives. This is one of the most common types of vegetable oils used. It is healthier than traditional vegetable oil or canola oil and can serve a lot of purposes.
Olive oil is great for cooking and frying foods but also works well for dressing and sauces too.
Here is one of our favorite olive oil choices.
We really like this option from Pompeian because it has a hearty, robust flavor that is also smooth. This is an extra virgin olive oil so it works well for cooking, frying, and cold things like dressings and marinades.
You can’t go wrong with this option as a substitute for sesame oil. This option is all-natural. It is gluten-free and non-allergenic. It also does not contain any nasty additives or GMOs. It is farmer-crafted, and processed with a cold-pressed system.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Cold-pressed processing
- No additives or bad ingredients
- The flavor is very light, despite the statement of robust
4. DIY Sesame Oil
Finally, feel free to make your own sesame oil as well. This probably won’t be as simple as just grabbing a different bottle and moving forward with your dish but it is an option when you don’t like any of your other options available.
To make your own, you just need 1/4 cup of sesame seeds to each 1 cup of oil (canola or vegetable recommended). You mix these in a skillet and cook on medium heat until the seeds are brown in color.
Let the oil cool and blend together for about 2 hours and then strain it to use. It should be fairly similar.
We hope that you find this guide to substitutes for sesame oil to be a valuable and informative resource when you need an alternative option. There are several viable options out there.
We invite you to review the following question and answer section for some additional information that could be helpful to you.
Which Type of Oil is Best to Substitute for Fried Rice or Stir-Fry?
For both of these, we recommend using Perilla oil if you have any on hand. However, if you do not, go ahead and make these dishes with olive oil. When you add your stir fry sauce or soy sauce, it will most likely help pull your flavors together.
Is Sesame Oil Unhealthy?
In terms of health benefits, sesame oil is better than many types of oil. It is high in Omega-3s and can help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. It might regulate blood sugar as well.