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13 Useful And Delicious Substitutes For Sesame Seeds  

Sesame seeds, those lovely crunchy tiny tots that always add that excellent finish to bagels, sandwiches, and buns, are important to have around.

This is why having sesame seeds substitutes for these seeds is vital because your dish will not be complete without this awesome addition. 

There are cool substitutes that you can use for sesame seeds. This means you will enjoy snacks and meals even if you don’t have sesame seeds within reach.

Substitutes For Sesame Seeds

Sesame is considered very good for health and is a common choice for dishes that require it. However, will you stop making your favorite dish because there are no sesame seeds in your ingredients ensemble? 

Well, here are substitutes for Sesame Seeds that will work beautifully.

RecipesCalories (per serving)
Flax Seeds534
Pumpkin Seeds446
Sesame Oil884
Poppy Seeds525
Chia Seeds486
Sunflower Seeds584
Hemp Seeds166
Chopped Nuts26
Tahini Paste595
Pistachio Seeds159
Roasted Almonds167
White Sesame Seeds160
Black Sesame Seeds100

Let’s look at how the above substitutes work best with different meals. 

1. Flax Seeds 

Flax seeds are very rich in fiber and proteins. In addition, the seeds have Omega 3 fatty acids that are crucial for a healthy body. The seeds also contain linolenic acid, which helps cure heart-related issues.

With such health benefits, flax seeds are a good option as a substitute. 

If you are using flax seeds as a substitute, you should maintain the ratio of the sesame seed in the recipe, so if the recipe requires one ratio of a sesame seed, that is the same ratio that you will put for flax seeds. 

You can use flax seeds on your smoothies and make pancakes with them. In addition, you can use it as a vegetable salad topping or a part of a fruit salad.

Please note that flax seed is best consumed when tossed or cooked since it destroys toxins.

Using ground flax seeds in your recipes is recommended since whole ones may pass through the intestines without being absorbed in the body for nutritional value. 

Ingredients that you need for this recipe include:

  • Coconut (shredded)
  • Two cups of flax seeds instead of sesame seeds.
  • Honey
  • Almond meal
  • Tahini
  • Coconut oil 
  • Vanilla essence 
  • Pinch of salt to taste


Put the flax seeds, coconut, salt, and almond meal in a bowl. Pour in the coconut oil and fold the mixture. Add the rest of the ingredients and then put them in a tray. Press the mixture and flatten it on the tray. 

Ensure that you put it in the freezer and allow it to set for an hour. Remove it and cut it into square pieces after it has thawed. Enjoy healthy flax bars any time of the day or night. 

How To Substitute

Sesame seeds have a rich, nutty flavor that pairs well with a variety of ingredients. When substituted with flax seeds, this nutty flavor is enhanced and is able to be used in more dishes. Flax seeds are great for people with allergies and are also high in fiber.

2. Pumpkin Seeds

These are nutritious seeds that boast vitamin k and manganese and a valuable substitute for sesame seeds. 

You will also benefit from strong and healthy hair from this nutritious seed. You can then comfortably incorporate them into a sesame seed recipe as a substitute. 

Here is a recipe for a Dukkah (Mexican or Mediterranean dish, depending on the amount of chili)


  • Pumpkin seeds instead of sesame seeds (hulled)
  • Coriander seeds
  • Nigella seeds
  • Cumin seeds
  • Mild chili powder (you can use Aleppo pepper if you wish)
  • Salt to taste


You start by toasting all the seeds on the skillet and allowing them to cool. After they are cool, you should grind them and store them in a jar.

You can use this mixture to make tortillas or sprinkle it on top of smoothies. Remember, the spice level will solely depend on your preference. 

How To Substitute

Pumpkin seeds are smaller than sesame seeds and have a slightly nutty flavor and a much softer texture. They’re often used as a replacement in soups, salads, and smoothies.

3. Sesame Oil

This is an oil extract from sesame seeds. It is a no-brainer to grab sesame oil as a substitute for sesame seeds.

There are two types of sesame oil. One is derived from raw pressed sesame seeds. This oil doesn’t have a lot of taste; hence it can be used best for cooking or stir-frying meals. 

The other sesame oil is derived from toasted sesame seeds. This fact usually makes it darker and tastier. 

This sesame oil is more suitable for finishing a meal dressing.

The darker sesame oil taste can be easily used as a vinaigrette when having salads.


  • Dark roasted sesame oil
  • Salt
  • Rice vinegar 
  • Clove of garlic (you can mince if you want)
  • Black pepper
  • Almond slivers 
  • Grated fresh ginger root 
  • White sugar 
  • Cabbages (shredded)
  • Thinly sliced bunch of green onions.


Put the vinegar, garlic, sugar, salt, sesame oil, and green pepper in a bowl. Whisk them until the sugar dissolves.

Then put the remaining ingredients in the bowl and toss them until the dressing fully covers them. Serve and enjoy your Japanese-style cabbage salad. 

How To Substitute

It works as a fine substitute for sesame seeds with a promise of a rich aroma and flavor. However, it can’t be used in baking recipes since it gets burned easily. It can be used for sautéing vegetables or for drizzling over grains.

4. Poppy Seeds

These are kidney-shaped seeds from the opium poppy. They are very rich in fiber and magnesium and fiber. This is very important for a healthy and wholesome body.

Poppy seeds have a nutty taste, and since they are so tiny, they usually stick to the teeth at times. Poppy seeds are a great substitute if you can’t find sesame seeds around.

It is believed that consuming poppy seeds can help reduce aches and pains in the body.

The seeds also boost good health in the heart and improve skin. However, it is important to note that you should wash poppy seeds before using them to make food.


  • Two eggs
  • Whole milk
  • All-purpose flour 
  • Granulated sugar
  • White vinegar 
  • Vanilla extract
  • Unsalted and melted butter
  • Baking powder
  • A teaspoon of salt (kosher)
  • A teaspoon of baking powder
  • Teaspoon baking soda
  • Poppy seeds


Mix the vinegar and milk in a bowl. Let the mixture sit for at least 1 minute, and add eggs, vanilla butter, sugar, and oil. Whisk the mixture until it is smooth.

In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients, which are flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the mixture to the wet ingredients and whisk until there are no dry spots. It is okay if there are some lumps in the mixture after whisking for a while.

Heat your pan on high heat. Put the poppy seeds in the pan and toast them for a minute. Pour out the mixture into bits and evenly spread the butter on top of the seeds. 

Sprinkle more seeds on top of the batter while on the pan and flip the pancake.

Cook the pancake for a minute or two or until ready, depending on how thick your batter comes out. Then, remove and repeat the same process for the remaining pancakes.  

Serve the pancakes with a topping of your choice, and enjoy. 

How To Substitute

Poppy seeds are considered the best substitute for sesame seeds. It is mildly bitter in taste when compared and can be replaced in recipes. You can also make poppy seeds paste at home. Substitute poppy seeds for sesame seeds in your favorite recipes to create a delightful new taste.

5. Chia Seeds

These are oval and grey seeds that are amazing ingredients that result in delightful flavors. The health benefits of chia seeds are numerous and hence a great substitute for sesame seeds. 

Consuming chia seeds provide the body with vitamins and antioxidants.

You can use chia seeds to replace sesame seeds by making muffins and other baked goods.

You can Sprinkle it on top of a salad the way you would use a sesame seed and even add them to tasty homemade energy bars. But, of course, it would be best to store chia seeds in a cool and dark place.


You can use white or black chia seeds as a substitute for sesame seeds.

  • Chia seeds
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Cinnamon
  • Coconut, almond, or milk of your choice
  • Maple syrup


Put all the ingredients in a large jar. Shake them up well so that everything is mixed. Ensure that the jar has a fitting lid that will not spill the contents when you shake.

Please put it in the fridge and let it sit for a few hours. After about 2 hours, stir the pudding so that you can break any clamps formed.

Let it sit in the fridge again overnight, and wake up to a healthy and tasty breakfast pudding. You can add some fruit on top of the pudding to enhance the flavor. 

How To Substitute

As a substitute for the more popular sesame seeds, these chia seeds are an interesting alternative to use in many recipes. They can be used in salads, as a substitute for bread crumbs, and as a healthy alternative to peanut butter.

6. Sunflower Seeds

These are the seeds from the beautiful yellow sunflower. 

The sunflower seeds come in a black and white casing. They are usually roasted to enhance the flavor.

Sunflower seeds have a lot of nutrients in them, even though they are small seeds. They are good for people suffering from diabetes or chronic inflammation. They are also great at helping people at risk of heart attacks.  

This makes them a great addition to your recipe ingredients and the options for using it are endless. 


  • Greek yogurt (you get one bowl full)
  • Honey
  • 2 tbs pomegranate juice
  • Puffed quinoa crisp (handful)
  • Toasted sunflower seeds instead of sesame seeds


Put the yogurt in the bowl, and add the quinoa and the pomegranate juice.  

Fold them in the yogurt and then add the seeds on top and drizzle some honey on it.  

Enjoy your healthy and tasty breakfast or snack. 

How To Substitute

The sunflower seeds can be substituted for sesame seeds in many recipes, including cookies, granola, and brownies. The nutritional value of the sunflower seeds is higher than that of the sesame seeds, and they are often less expensive than sesame seeds.

7. Hemp Seeds 

Hemp seeds, also commonly known as hemp hearts, are categorized under nuts and are indeed related to the cannabis plant.  

They are best used in baked goods, yogurts, salads, breakfasts, and countless dishes as toppings. 

Asian, European, and Middle Eastern dishes commonly use hemp seeds to create unique flavors. 

These seeds have a sweet, nutty taste and a wonderfully soft texture. This makes them ideal to be eaten raw as they are or utilized to make oil, milk, and special protein powder

Hemp seeds make delightful substitutes for sesame seeds in most baking recipes and when it comes to garnishing. They closely resemble sesame seeds in terms of flavor and texture, but one disadvantage is that finding them could be a challenge. 

However, when you get hemp seeds, they never disappoint. 


  • Whole wheat flour
  • Rolled oats    
  • Shelled hemp hearts
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking soda
  • Ground cinnamon 
  • Ground ginger
  • Mashed Ripe bananas 
  • Avocado oil 
  • Vanilla essence
  • Lightly whisked egg


You are preparing banana hemp muffins and using hemp seeds instead of sesame seeds.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees first, then mix the dry ingredients(hemp seeds included instead of sesame seeds) in a large mixing bowl and then mix well. 

Mix the ripe bananas, oil, vanilla, and egg in another bowl. You can then add this wet mixture to the dry one and stir until they have mixed but be careful not to over-mix.

You can then scoop the mixture into lined cupcake tins and bake for up to 20 minutes or until they are lightly golden or done. 

How To Substitute

Sesame seeds are a great healthy snack, but they are often expensive. Hemp seeds are a great alternative that are just as healthy as sesame seeds and cheaper. To substitute sesame seeds with hemp seeds, add 1 tablespoon of hemp seeds to your sesame seed mixture.

8. Chopped Nuts

Nuts are not only a vital source of nutrients, but they are also a great substitute for sesame seeds, especially if you want that nutty flavor. 

There are many options to choose from. For example, you can choose to have walnuts, almonds, or peaches. Chop these and then mix them into muffins, cookies, or desserts as substitutes for sesame seeds. 

You can enjoy the flavor of chopped nuts, which work just as well as sesame seeds. 


  • Softened butter
  • Flavorless cooking oil
  • All-purpose flour
  • Powdered sugar 
  • Baking powder
  • Salt 
  • Chopped Cashews 
  • Chopped almond
  • Chopped Pistachios 
  • Warm milk or water for kneading


Mix all the ingredients, including the chopped nuts, and make your cookie dough until it is ready for the oven. The nuts will work in the place of sesame seeds, resulting in scrumptious cookies. 

How To Substitute

In order to create a crunchy texture without using sesame seeds, you can substitute the sesame seeds with chopped nuts. You can use any type of nut, but almonds and cashews are two of the best choices.

9. Tahini Paste 

Tahini tastes more like the actual sesame seeds than other substitutes and it is a paste that is made from actual sesame seeds. 

The paste comprises of roasted and ground sesame seeds and it has this deep distinctive flavor that will make  your dish tastier. 

Remember, that just like organic peanut butter, Tahini will separate after some time. Since they are sesame seeds, the natural oil will separate and  float at the top. 

This is why you will need to give it a good shake or mix and ensure that your tahini paste is 100% sesame seeds with no additives except salt. 

You could find stabilized tahini that could have additions like palm oil which will help preserve it but change the flavor a little. If your recipe requires pure tahini paste with 100% sesame seeds then look for only that. 


  • Unsalted butter
  • Well-stirred tahini(instead of sesame seeds)
  • Granulated sugar
  • Large egg
  • Egg yolk 
  • Vanilla extract 
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Chocolate chips
  • Flaky salt


Mix cream butter, tahini and sugar in a mixer until it is light and fluffy. Add egg yolk and vanilla and keep mixing until it is well blended. You can then mix baking soda, baking powder and kosher salt into a large bowl and mix it with a fork. 

You can then add the flour mixture to the tahini mixture and mix then add chocolate chips using a rubber spatula. Refrigerate the soft dough for at least 12 hours to ensure tender cookies

How To Substitute

Substituting tahini with sesame seeds will give you a more authentic taste. It can be used in many recipes. It can also be used in many different types of recipes, from desserts to main dishes. The substitute option helps to typically blend in with recipe making it a great taste.

10. Pistachio seeds

Pistachio is a great substitute for sesame seeds and it is always roasted because when used without roasting it is not edible. Roasted pistachio seeds blend perfectly into a loaf or whatever you will be baking. 

They make great ingredients for pastries and they work perfectly with savory recipes too because they are not sweet and combine well with sugar.

Pistachio seeds work best when put into the dough because when you put them on top, they might  burn while baking in the oven 


  • Unsalted pistachios 
  • Cake flour
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Unsalted butter
  • Granulated sugar
  • Large egg whites 
  • Sour cream
  • Vanilla extract
  • Almond extract 
  • Whole milk 
  • berries (garnish)


Place the pistachios in a food processor until it turns into fine crumbs. You can use 1 ½ cups of crumbs. Mix these crumbs in a bowl with cake flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. 

On another bowl mix butter and sugar then add egg whites, sour cream, vanilla extract and mix until well blended.

You can then add the dry ingredients and add milk until the mixture is smooth with no lumps and ready for  the oven. 

How To Substitute

Pistachio seeds are a flavorful and nutty addition to recipes, so they’re a great substitute for sesame seeds. There are a few ways to substitute them, including roasting them in the oven and using them as a crust.

11. Roasted Almonds 

Almonds are one of the best substitutes for sesame seeds when roasted. It is best to use the almonds when they are roasted.

Only the roasted almonds can give the same flavor as the sesame seeds which is why you can’t use them as they are. 


All you need to do is roast your almonds and then chop them into small pieces which you will sprinkle over your dishes instead of sesame seeds.

Raw dishes work best but the almonds still taste awesome when sprinkled over cooked meals too. 

How To Substitute

Sesame seeds have a stronger flavor than almonds, and you might find that the almond taste is too light. To substitute sesame seeds with roasted almonds, you will need to preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

12. White Sesame Seeds

Also known as hulled sesame seeds, these seeds are edible with this milder, sweeter flavor compared to the regular black ones.

White sesame seeds are great alternatives to black sesame seeds. They are rich in protein, calcium, copper, manganese and fiber. 

The white sesame seeds are easier to digest but are tasteless and nutty compared to other types of sesame seeds. The flavor is actually milder and tastes closer to that of the poppy seeds. 


Prepare your  muffins, buns or cake mix and sprinkle your white sesame seeds on top as the last dressing then set in the oven until ready. 

You can also use them as toppings on cooked dishes and salads such as curries, vegetables, rice dishes, smoothies and so on. 

How To Substitute

For a light and crunchy texture, use white sesame seeds instead of black sesame seeds. This can be done by grinding the white sesame seeds into a powder before adding them to the recipe.

13. Black Sesame Seeds

Black sesame seeds are popular thanks to their crunchy texture and nutty flavor. They are used in place of the white sesame seeds.

The seeds are commonly used as topping on noodles, vegetable and fruit salads, baked goods and so on. These seeds are rich in calcium, iron and zinc. 


You can still use the black sesame seeds as toppings for your buns, cakes, muffins and other baked goods. 

You can also use them as toppings for  cooked dishes like rice, noodles and so on. Topping them on both vegetable and fruit salads is also recommended as is topping them on smoothies. 

How To Substitute

Sesame seeds are typically used as a healthy alternative to regular nuts. However, black sesame seeds have a more nutty taste. If you can’t find them, you can substitute black sesame seeds for regular sesame seeds in any recipe that calls for sesame seeds.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Necessary To Have A Sesame Seed Substitute In A Recipe?

It is very important to know the purpose of the seed in the given recipe. This will propel you to substitute it if you don’t have it in hand, so the recipe can remain somewhat as intended.

You will not always have sesame seeds in your kitchen, so having a substitute is advisable.

Must All Sesame Seed Substitutes Be Seeds Or Nuts?

Some sesame seed substitutes are not seeds, for example, sesame oil, tahini paste, and many others, which can also be invented by experimenting. Just look for what works best with whatever dish you are trying to create. 

Must You Use A Sesame Seed Substitute The Same Way You Used It In The Original Recipe? 

This will depend on the substitute; some substitutes are not seeds or nuts and therefore have to be used differently. One thing, though, is that they must serve the purpose that the sesame seeds would have, which is why you get the substitute in the first place. 

Are Flax Seeds Similar To Sesame Seeds?

Flax seeds are different from sesame seeds because of their varying nutritional content. Even though both seeds have the same levels of proteins, the iron content varies, with flaxseeds containing less iron than sesame seeds. 

13 Useful And Delicious Substitutes For Sesame Seeds  

Do you wonder for sesame seeds substitutes? These nutritious vegan substitutes works well in your recipes!


  • Flax Seeds

  • Pumpkin Seeds

  • Sesame Oil

  • Poppy Seeds

  • Chia Seeds

  • Sunflower Seeds

  • Hemp Seeds

  • Chopped Nuts

  • Tahini Paste

  • Pistachio Seeds

  • Roasted Almonds

  • White Sesame Seeds

  • Black Sesame Seeds


  • Choose your favorite substitute from the list given above
  • Follow the directions given in the recipe after having substituted the ingredient in the correct ratio

Recipe Video

Jess Smith

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Thursday 11th of January 2024

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