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Spice Up Dishes: 5 BEST Substitutes for Sesame Seeds

Have you ever had a delicious sandwich with sprouts or a salad with sunflower seeds on it? Chances are, if you have, the seeds in those dishes were sesame seeds.

Sesame seeds are tiny, nutritional powerhouses that add flavor and texture to all kinds of dishes.

They’re used to add flavor and texture to many recipes and dishes worldwide.

Sesame seeds also offer important nutritional benefits and can even help prevent certain diseases.

Sesame seeds have a nutty flavor that makes them popular in many different dishes and baked goods throughout the world.

They are used in several different foods but are perhaps best known for their use in Asian cuisines.

They are popular ingredients in many Indian dishes, Thai and Korean recipes.

You can use sesame seeds to add flavor and texture to many different recipes.

When substituting for sesame seeds, you can use several other ingredients that will provide similar benefits in terms of taste and nutrition.

This article will provide you with several alternative ingredients to help you create the same flavor and texture as sesame seeds in your next recipe.

What are Sesame Seeds?

what are sesame seeds

You’ve probably seen them before, either on top of a bun or bagel or as an ingredient in one of your favorite recipes.

But what are they exactly? Sesame seeds are small, flat, and oval-shaped seeds from the sesame plant.

They have a nutty flavor and a slightly crunchy texture.

They’re used in various ways, including as an ingredient in many recipes and all over the world in religious traditions.

They are available either hulled or unhulled.

Depending on the variety, sesame seeds have a hard to a soft texture.

Most of the sesame seeds available in the United States are white.

However, you can find black sesame seeds in some specialty stores.

Brown sesame seeds also exist but are less common.

These tiny seeds are packed with flavor and nutrients, making them a nutritious addition to both your diet and garden.

When adding sesame seeds to recipes, it’s important to toast them beforehand.

You can do this by simply heating a skillet over medium heat and stirring the sesame seeds constantly until lightly browned.

Then, add them to the rest of your ingredients and continue with the recipe.

Roasted sesame seeds make a great topping for salads and stir-frys, or you can add them to some homemade trail mix.

You can also use sesame seeds in some vegan cheese recipes.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Sesame Seeds

Have you ever run out of sesame seeds and needed a substitution in a hurry? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.

Here are five substitutes for sesame seeds that will work just as well in your recipes:

1 – Poppy Seeds

poppy seeds

These tiny round seeds are found on the poppy plant.

They come in different colors, including black, white, and blue.

Poppy seeds are another popular addition to bagels and other foods that contain bread or buns.

However, they can also be used to make cakes, pasta noodles, rice dishes, salads, and so much more.

Since these seeds emit a strong and distinctive flavor, they’re often used as an ingredient in recipes that require spices or herbs.

The texture of these tiny round seeds is crunchy and crispy.

Some people tend to chew on them while cooking other dishes.

If you ever want to use poppy seeds as an alternative for sesame seeds, just remember that they’re usually added to recipes during the last few minutes of cooking.

2 – Hemp Seeds

hemp seeds

Hemp seeds are another popular addition to salads and other recipes that require crunch.

Hemp plants contain several nutrients, including iron, magnesium, and omega fatty acids.

This makes it an increasingly popular ingredient in vegan and vegetarian diets.

These seeds can be purchased either hulled or unhulled.

Similar to sesame seeds, they have a nutty and slightly sweet taste.

When adding it to recipes, remember that the seeds will offer a crunchy texture and a strong flavor.

Hemp seeds are known for being high in protein and fiber.

In addition, they have essential fatty acids.

Hemp seeds range from light greenish-gray to dark green in terms of appearance.

They’re also available in different sizes.

If you need to substitute hemp seeds for sesame seeds, keep in mind that they have thicker skins and a more pronounced flavor.

3 – Sunflower Seeds

sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds are another popular addition to baked goods, salads, and granola bars.

These tiny brown seeds are well known for their large size.

They are available either raw or roasted.

When adding them to other dishes, remember that they have a crunchy texture and very subtle flavor.

Sunflower seeds are packed with nutrients, including iron, magnesium, and zinc.

They are also high in protein and fiber.

These seeds have a dark brown exterior with a lighter-colored interior when it comes to appearance.

In terms of taste and texture, sunflower seeds are very similar to sesame seeds- making them a good substitute for your recipes that call for this ingredient.

4 – Flax Seeds

flax seeds

Flaxseeds are another popular addition to baked goods and trail mix.

They’re also known for being a nutritious alternative in various recipes.

You’ll find that they come in two varieties: brown or golden.

Both types of these seeds have a nutty taste when added to other dishes, but the flavor is very mild compared to sunflower seeds.

Flaxseeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids and are high in protein and fiber.

In addition, they have several minerals that the body needs to function properly.

These small brown seeds have a crunchy exterior and a soft interior.

If you’re looking for a sesame seed substitute, keep in mind that they have a mild flavor.

5 – Pine Nuts

pine nuts

Pine nuts are another option for people looking to sub-sesame seeds with something else.

These cute white seeds are often used as an alternative for peas, artichokes, and other foods that contain vegetables or cheese.

Their texture is crunchy, while the flavor is somewhat nutty.

When substituting pine nuts for sesame seeds, keep in mind that they have a lighter color and are smaller than this ingredient.

Pine nuts are packed with minerals, including manganese, magnesium, and calcium.

Plus, they’re also high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats.

If you’re looking to substitute sesame seeds for pine nuts, keep in mind that their coloring and texture are the main difference.


Sesame seeds are popular in various recipes due to their rich taste and crunchy texture.

They’re also commonly used in vegan cooking since they’re a good source of protein.

Many alternatives can be used for sesame seeds.

These include hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, pine nuts, and poppy seeds.

For the most part, these ingredients can be used in recipes that call for sesame seeds.

If you need to substitute sesame seeds in your recipe, keep in mind that the texture and flavor will vary depending on what ingredient you choose.

best substitutes for sesame seeds

The 5 Best Substitutes for Sesame Seeds

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 4 Servings


  • Poppy Seeds
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Flax Seeds
  • Pine Nuts


  • Choose your preferred substitute from the list of options.
  • Organize all of your ingredients.
  • Follow the substitution ratio to determine how much is required in your recipe.
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