6 Best Substitutes for Sesame Seeds


Sesame seeds of the plant Sesamum indicum are widely cultivated for their nutritional and health benefits. It is rich in unsaturated fatty acids, proteins, and micronutrients.

It is popularly used to decorate and add crunch to bread, cookies and produce sesame oil, tahini, and desserts.

It is a distinctive ingredient that has a mild and nutlike aroma that is hard to substitute.

However, if you have allergies or run out of the sesame seeds in the middle of the recipe, there are few replacements.

This article will discuss some of the substitutes that work in place of sesame seeds.

6 Best Substitutes for Sesame Seeds

The best substitutes for Sesame seeds are – Poppy Seeds, Flax Seeds, Sunflower Seeds Kernels, Hemp Seeds, Chopped Peanuts and, Pumpkin Seeds. While choosing a substitute, it is important to understand the purpose of sesame seeds in that particular dish.

Poppy Seeds

Poppy seeds of the opium plant Papaver somniferum are tiny dried, black, and kidney-shaped seeds. It is rich in proteins, dietary fiber, essential vitamins, and minerals.

It is used in bread and baked goods due to its aroma and mild, nutty taste.

It may substitute for black sesame seeds in various recipes, including bread, cakes, salad dressing, pancakes, bread toppings, and candies due to its similar textural properties.

Like sesame seeds, baking and toasting bring out the nutty flavor of the poppy seeds. However, poppy seeds tend to be smaller and bitter than sesame seeds.

How to Substitute

Poppy seeds may be used as a 1:1 substitute for sesame seeds in bread, cakes, and candies due to their similar flavor and texture.

Flax Seeds

Flax seeds belonging to the family Lineaceae are small flat seeds golden yellow to reddish-brown in color.

It is rich in alpha-linolenic acid, dietary fiber, high-quality protein, and phytoestrogens with various health benefits.

It possesses a crispy texture and nutty taste.

It may substitute sesame seeds due to its high nutritional value and similar nutty flavors.

Like sesame seeds, it may be sprinkled onto baked goods for enhanced crunchiness.

Similarly, ground flax seeds may be used in place of whole sesame seeds for maximum nutritional benefit. However, they are larger with a chewier texture than sesame seeds.

How to Substitute

Flax seeds may be sprinkled in a 1:1 ratio in place of sesame seeds to baked goods and pastries. Also, the same amount of ground flax seeds may be substituted in recipes that require sesame seeds.

Sunflower Seeds Kernels

Sunflower seeds belonging to the family Asteraceae contain proteins, and key minerals, including magnesium, potassium, iron, and calcium, with various health benefits.

It is used as a snack, garnish for salads, and in some bakery goods.

Like sesame seeds, it is loaded with health benefits, provides a mild nutty flavor, and may substitute for sesame seeds.

It adds a crunch to dishes and maybe sprinkled over salad and used in different pastries and desserts.

Although these kernels are slightly larger with a different shape than sesame seeds, they closely resemble the flavor and texture of sesame seeds.

How to Substitute

The same amount of sunflower seeds may be substituted for sesame seeds as a bread topping, coating for fried meats, on salads and pastries.

Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are a rich source of nutrients, including iron, vitamin E, manganese, B-vitamins, and zinc.

It also has high levels of essential fatty acids that fight inflammation and improve the immune system. It can be eaten raw, cooked, or roasted and sprinkled on foods.

It provides nutty flavor when toasted and, therefore, may be used in almost all recipes and baked goods that need sesame seeds.

It is also similar in size and texture to sesame seeds with a rich source of multiple nutrients. However, it is not easily available.

How to Substitute

Hemp seeds are versatile substitutes for sesame seeds suitable for a wide range of applications, including baking, topping, and cooking various dishes. It may be used in the same way as sesame seeds.

Chopped Peanuts

Peanuts are nutritionally valuable edible seeds of a legume, rich in protein, fat, and fiber.

It is also an excellent source of magnesium, folate, vitamin E, copper, arginine, and healthy fats.

Chopped peanuts may substitute sesame seeds due to its nutty flavor and crunchy texture.

It is easily available and offers numerous health benefits.

However, it has a different appearance than sesame seeds and may work in many recipes as sesame seeds substitute, including desserts, salads, and cooking vegetables.

How to Substitute

An equivalent amount of chopped peanuts may substitute for sesame seeds in desserts, topping for rice, salads, and vegetables.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family are densely packed with useful nutrients, including amino acids, unsaturated fatty acids, phenolic compounds, and valuable minerals.

It is consumed directly as snacks and as food additives in the baking industry.

It may be swapped for sesame seeds on stir-fried dishes, noodles, soups, and bread due to its nutty taste. It may also be used in making a post-workout meal.

However, it may be bigger than sesame seeds; it still works as a healthier substitute for sesame seeds.

How to Substitute

The same amount of pumpkin seeds may be substituted for sesame seeds and sprinkled on rice, soups, and bread for additional health benefits and a nutty taste.


Black sesame seeds Vs. White sesame seeds?

Sesame seeds are divided into white, black, and yellow sesame seeds depending on the colors of the seed coat. Black sesame seeds are considered nutritious due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging properties. It also has more crunch and flavor than white sesame seeds.

Can chia seeds be substituted for sesame seeds?

Chia seeds are touted for their nutritional value. It does not have a distinctive flavor and may be substituted for sesame seeds on top of salads and stir-fried vegetables. However, as they swell when exposed to moisture, their use as a substitute is very limited.

Bottom Line

Sesame seeds add a nice nutty flavor and nutritional benefits to various recipes. For those who are allergic or do not have sesame seeds, we have presented with few replacements.

However, these substitutes may require experimenting to resemble the flavor and texture of sesame seeds according to your recipe.

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About Amanda Jones

Amanda is a person with an eye for detail. She has been cooking since her childhood and loves to bake too. Recently, she's made the decision to pursue baking full-time and quit her 9 to 5 job. In the meantime, she still enjoys cooking and baking for friends and family, especially when it comes time for special occasions like birthdays or holidays!

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