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16 Superb Nigella Seeds Substitutes For A Sumptuous Meal

You stumbled on an article about nigella seeds, and after using them in your favorite recipe, you’ve been a devoted user since! But, alas, your grocery store suddenly ran out of your favorite medicinal spice. Now, you’re stumped, wondering if there are any nigella seeds substitutes available.

If you’re having this issue or experiencing something similar, you’re about to do a happy jig because there are banging alternatives for you.

Keep reading to find out how to replace nigella seeds in your recipes and meals without losing out on its newsworthy flavor, texture, or appearance.

Quick Table: Nigella Seeds Substitutes

SubstitutesCalories (Per 100g)
Black Sesame Seeds100
White Sesame Seeds155
Caraway Seeds333
Cumin Seeds375
Celery Seeds392
Poopy Seeds525
Chia Seeds486
Fenugreek Seeds323
Coriander Seeds268
Fennel Seeds31
Mustard Seeds508
Dill Seeds 43
Kalonji Seeds375

1. Black Sesame Seeds

Black sesame seeds are your best bet when you need a substitute for nigella seeds that can boost your body’s nutrients and minerals. 

As a rich source of macro-minerals, these seeds have numerous unbelievable nutritional benefits. In addition, they assist with prevalent health challenges, including high blood pressure, oxygen circulation, and metabolism.

But how do sesame seeds taste? Crispy with delicious nutty undertones, these seeds have a more intense taste than their white counterpart, thus lending a unique flavor to your dish. 

Also, they have an uncanny resemblance to nigella seeds, so if that’s what you’re going for, check them out.

How To Substitute

Replace nigella seeds with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds in salads or as a garnish for baked goods. Toast the seeds for an enhanced nutty flavor.

2. White Sesame Seeds

Don’t let their similar names fool you; black and white sesame seeds differ in taste and appearance. 

Sure, they’re both sesame seeds, but the white variety has its husk removed, making it lose some nutrients.

Not to worry, the slight bitterness in black sesame seeds goes away with the husk, leaving a creamy, rich taste behind.

Although reduced, white sesame seeds aren’t entirely without nutrients. Their high fiber content makes them fantastic for digestion. Also, they contain loads of other nutrients, including protein, magnesium, and healthy fats.

However, these seeds are significant allergens, so stay away if allergic to them.

How To Substitute

Sprinkle a dash of white sesame seeds where your recipe calls for nigella seeds. You can also choose to grind them or use the oil if you need more flavor than appearance.

3. Caraway Seeds

These unique seeds are popular in Persian cuisine for their versatility and incredible taste.

Its distinct citrusy tinge is unlike any spice you’ve ever used, lending an unmatched flavor to a bunch of dishes, including salads, curries, and of course, pastries. 

But their flavor isn’t all these seeds have to offer! Their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties make them even more beneficial to your overall health. 

In other words, these seeds can assist with issues like high blood pressure, arthritis, and bowel problems. However, caraway seeds don’t replace proper medical prescriptions, so keep that in mind.

How To Substitute

Throw caraway seeds over your baked goods, meat, or other dishes. To use in liquid meals like stews and sauces, grind them into a fine powder, then mix them into your food.

4. Oregano

This common herb is the perfect nigella seeds substitute if you’re going for taste over appearance. A dash of oregano over your pizza or pasta, and you’ll understand why it’s such a kitchen staple.

The mouthwatering, luscious taste this herb (or its seeds) infuse in any dish, and the head-turning aroma are enough reasons to incorporate it in your cooking.

But, if the culinary benefits don’t appeal to you, the numerous health benefits should.

With its antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, oregano is a surefire way to level up your overall health. Also, it does wonders for your immunity, so make it a constant in your meals.

How To Substitute

Oregano combines beautifully with tomato sauces, pasta dishes, and pizza. First, remove the leaves from the stems, then mince them into fine strips. Optionally, go for dried oregano to ease your prep process.

RELATED: 10 Of The Best Alternatives To Chinese Five-Spice To Use In Your Cooking!

5. Cumin Seeds

Look no further if you need a delicious substitute for nigella seeds that can fight high cholesterol!

Even if you’ve never heard of these seeds, their presence in most chilis and curries means you’ve probably had a meal cooked with them. 

Any superstar ingredient shouldn’t be tasty alone, but healthy too, and cumin doesn’t disappoint. These seeds assist with metabolism, reduction of cell damage, and a host of other bodily functions. 

Naturally, anything with an advantage has a disadvantage, so take care that you don’t add an obscene amount of cumin to your food. Doing so can have the opposite effects, exposing you to heartburn and diarrhea risks.

How To Substitute

For optimum taste, fry the cumin seeds in any hot oil of your choice, or toast them in a heated pan to release their flavor. You can also grind the seeds into a powder for more versatility.

6. Celery Seeds

Celery seeds are the right nigella seeds substitute when you want the aroma from your dish to draw everyone.

Excellent for sauces, dry rubs, dressings, or brine for pickling, these seeds immediately transform any recipe from plain to show stopping. 

Like other nigella alternatives, the benefits of celery seeds are through the roof. These kitchen wonders incorporate most plant seeds’ anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties with omega-3 fatty acids and other healthy fats. 

Additionally, they prove to be a great help whenever you have those tedious muscle spasms or need to urinate more. So much goodness in tiny little packages!

How To Substitute

You can use them whole or ground; these seeds taste fantastic either way. Sprinkle the ground seeds over any dish, or make a salad dressing with it whole.

7. Poppy Seeds

Now, you’re in for a shell-shocker; poppy seeds come from the opium plant. Alarmed? Don’t fret; it can be legally grown and sold in shops. 

Still, what good can come from the seeds of a hard drug-producing plant? Prepare to be surprised again because these seeds assist with everything from minor headaches to pain and insomnia.

It doesn’t stop there; poppy seeds also have an excellent supply of omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 acids.

So, cook away fearlessly, and remember these seeds are in no way intoxicating. Ensure you’re using a trusty supplier; you don’t want contaminated products.

How To Substitute

Toast the seeds until they release their heady aroma, then garnish your baked goods like bread and cakes with the seeds.

8. Chia seeds

nigella seeds substitutes 6

Mild, adaptable chia seeds are your answer if you don’t want to replace nigella seeds with an overpowering option.

While their taste is a big bonus, their versatility is even more so. Chia seeds pair wonderfully with many dishes and fit seamlessly into most recipes, from smoothies to salads.

All these sound wonderful, but do chia seeds do anything for your health? Of course! Rich in fiber, omega-3 acids, and antioxidants, your body will thank you for days to come.

How To Substitute

Toast them in a heated pan till they’re delicious and fragrant, then throw a dash of the seeds on any dish of your choice. Alternatively, use them in breakfast smoothies and yogurts for a more luxurious meal.

RELATED: The Best Alternatives To Annatto Powder For Flavor, Color, and Spice

9. Fenugreek Seeds

nigella seeds substitutes 5

Imagine your meal with warm hints of maple, absolute bliss, isn’t it? You get that when you substitute nigella seeds with fenugreek in your cooking.

While its deliciousness and aroma don’t go unnoticed, fenugreek is more famous for its medicinal properties. It’s touted to aid digestion, and respiration, not to mention its usefulness in women’s health is phenomenal.

Whether you’re looking to increase your milk production, induce labor, or boost fertility, you’ll find fenugreek very helpful. 

Be careful not to overdo it, though, to avoid pregnancy complications. Using these seeds is also bad if you have any nut; explore other options and alternatives.

How To Substitute

Fry the seeds in oil or butter, then add them to your dish. Also, you can use them whole in a spice rub for seasoning your meat or grind the seeds into a more versatile powder.

10. Coriander Seeds

nigella seeds substitutes 4

What nigella seeds substitute is the best if you need a healthy dose of fiber? Well, here’s your answer – coriander seeds. 

These seeds, containing 44g of fiber per 100g, are your go-to for easy bowel movement. Besides being high in dietary fiber, they also possess anti-diabetic properties while being rich in good cholesterol. 

Sure, healthy spices are a bonus, but it’s all moot if they taste bad. So, are coriander seeds any good? 

Yes, of course! Crunchy and citrusy, the seeds have a sweet, floral tone to them. You won’t regret adding them to your dishes, not one bit!

How To Substitute

For best results, toss the seeds in a heated pan until the fragrance is released. Then, add the toasted seeds to pickles and rubs, or use as garnish.

11. Fennel seeds

nigella seeds substitutes 3

Sure, these are on the rare side; fennel seeds aren’t the easiest to find at your local grocery store. However, they’re an ideal replacement for nigella seeds in everyday meals, including salads, soups, meat or fish, and pastries.

Don’t let their tiny sizes fool you; the aroma of any dish containing this exotic spice is almost legendary.

These seeds pack a world of depth and luxurious flavor into meals; not to mention, nutrients aren’t left out either. You’ll get a complete package of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and 3.1g of dietary fiber with only a handful.

Like fenugreek, fennel seeds are a hidden gem for any lactating mother. Moreover, they help in relieving menopausal symptoms and mental health. But, again, try to stay within the advisable amounts to prevent any concerning situations.

How To Substitute

First, crush the seeds into a powder, then soak them in hot water to make fennel tea. For baking, toast the seeds, then incorporate them into the batter before baking the pastries.

RELATED: The Best Substitutes For Old Bay Seasoning

12. Mustard Seeds

nigella seeds substitutes 2

It’s not only for sandwiches; why not incorporate that delicious tang into your recipes too? Using mustard seeds in your cooking lets, you enjoy its many health and culinary benefits.

No one will miss the distinct zest these seeds will lend to your dish. Its pungent spiciness is the secret in many irresistible curries, ketchup, and spreads.

Don’t shy away from the heat; while it can be uncomfortable for some, the mouthwatering scent makes up for any inconvenience.

As for nutrition, mustard seeds help you have the metabolism of your dreams. Rich in antioxidants and vitamins A, C, and K, mustard will surely help with that youthful glow. 

Still, like the standard sandwich spread, mustard seeds have a strong taste, so use caution, especially when cooking for a crowd.

How To Substitute

Fry the seeds in warm oil to release their flavors, then add them to salads and salad dressings, sauces, curries, and more.

13. Dill Seeds

nigella seeds substitutes 1

Remember that minty freshness you felt when you sprinkled bright green dill over your eggs or pastries? 

You can recreate that feeling when you require a substitute using dill seeds.

The seeds replace the herby flavor of the leaves with slightly pungent, light aromatic hints. As a result, they’re a goldmine perfect for seasoning and garnishing sauces, fish dishes, casseroles, baked goods, and much more. 

Besides its unmissable flavor, dill seeds are also medicinal. If you’re a chronic insomniac, these seeds may be your best nighttime companion, as they have strong sedative and hypnotic effects. 

Additionally, these power-packed seeds have been used to treat digestive problems and a common plague – bad breath. So with all these attractive benefits, why aren’t they a staple in your pantry yet?

How To Substitute

For making dill vinegar or seasoning liquid dishes and dips, crush the dill seeds, then sprinkle the appropriate amount into the meal.  For garnishing and seasoning meat and fish, feel free to use them whole in a rub.

14. Onion

nigella seeds substitutes

Now, for the final nigella seeds substitute, a heaven-sent replacement for days you can’t make a quick grocery run.

Even better, onions come in various shapes, colors, flavors, and sizes, an ideal choice if you enjoy experimenting and playing with your ingredients. 

Are you worried about calories? Then onions are a no-brainer for you as they contain 40g per 100g, an unquestionably low amount.

They’re also a powerhouse for antioxidants and possess anti-inflammatory properties.

Any experienced chef would tell you onions are an essential spice, forming the base of many dishes, sauces, and dips, as well as a flavorful salad topping. 

How To Substitute

Depending on the texture and size you want the onions to have in your meal, chop, mince, or grate until fine.  Next, sprinkle it over your dish or squeeze the juices out if you’d rather avoid texture altogether.

15. Charnushka

Charnushka is a traditional Russian dessert made with bread dough and dried fruit, such as raisins, cranberries, cherries, or prunes. 

The dough is rolled into a thin sheet, then sliced into long, thin strips. It is then covered in sugar and cinnamon, which creates a caramelized effect on the top.

The seeds can be ground into a powder, used as a food additive, or eaten raw. They are also sometimes used in foods and drinks, such as in beer or as a flavoring.

Charnushka seeds have a distinctive taste and smell that is difficult to describe.

How To Substitute

Charnushka can be substituted for nigella seeds in any dish that calls for nigella seeds. A more straightforward way to make the same dish is to replace 1/2 cup of dried ground charnushka, also known as Russian cardamom.

16. Kalonji Seeds

Kalonji is a staple ingredient in North African cooking. The seeds have a sweet, nutty flavor and can be found in Moroccan spice mixtures.

Kalonji seeds are used in many different ways. They are often used as a spice in various foods, such as bread, savory dishes, and sauces. 

They can also be used to make tea, which is said to help with digestion. The seeds are also sometimes used as a natural alternative to some medications.

How To Substitute

If you want to make a dish with nigella seeds but prefer to use Kalonji Seeds instead, you can substitute one seed for the other. The two seeds have similar properties, but the Kalonji Seeds have a stronger flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Nigella Seeds?

Nigella seeds, also called kalonji or black seeds, among other names, are the seeds of the Nigella sativa plant. 

Although the plant originates in eastern Europe and Western Asia, you’ll find them in other parts of the world. Additionally, the packed seeds are sold in many grocery stores worldwide.

What Are The Benefits Of Nigella Seeds? 

Most cooks and food lovers use them as a spice as they enhance the flavor of food, adding more depth and richness. 

Additionally, their outstanding medicinal benefits for digestion, treating diarrhea, and boosting one’s appetite are worth knowing.

How Do Nigella Seeds Taste?

Although taste differs depending on who’s eating, nigella seeds typically taste pungent with onion-like undertones and a slightly bitter flavor.

Don’t let this description scare you off; sure it’s strong, but the flavor it adds to dishes is Unmatched.

16 Superb Nigella Seeds Substitutes For A Sumptuous Meal

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these seeds have numerous unbelievable nutritional benefits. In addition, they assist with prevalent health challenges, including high blood pressure, oxygen circulation, and metabolism.


  • Black Sesame Seeds

  • White Sesame Seeds

  • Caraway Seeds

  • Oregano

  • Cumin Seeds

  • Celery Seeds

  • Poppy Seeds

  • Chia Seeds

  • Fenugreek Seeds

  • Coriander Seeds

  • Fennel Seeds

  • Mustard Seeds

  • Dill Seeds

  • Onion

  • Charnushka

  • Kalonji 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