11 Substitutes for Sesame Seeds

This morning we will be making one of my family's favorites. Sesame Seed Chicken. Let’s begin by gathering all of our ingredients so we can get started. Uh oh, what’s this? The sesame seed croc is empty. Now, what am I going to do?

Has this happened to you? If so, you know there is a fallback and you must simply substitute something else for your missing ingredient. You will need something tasty and nutritious.

We need ingredients that give us good health and good flavor. This comes from great natural ingredients like the best quality flours, yeasts, and seeds. Sesame seeds are an integral ingredient in many of the baked goods we create.

We love these little flavor bombs as toppings but sometimes when setting out all our ingredients for a baking project, there are none available. Always have plenty of varied ingredients if you love to cook and bake.

Find below per 100g of sesame seeds:

  • Energy 563 Kg Cal
  • Carbohydrates 25 g
  • Dietary Fiber 16.8 g
  • Fats 43.3 g
  • Protein 18.3 g
  • Calcium 1450 mg
  • Iron 9.3 mg
  • Phosphorous 570 mg
  • Copper 2.29 mg
  • Zinc 12.20 mg

We’ve prepared a sequential list of the 11 best sesame seed substitutes. Select the substitutes you like best from the list and happy baking!

Number One: Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are a great substitute for sesame seeds in all sorts of baking recipes, in salads, and as a topping for your favorite stir-fry dish. When replacing sesame seeds in your cooking or baking, you will need an alternative that is in season and features a similar taste and texture with some good health benefits.

Sunflower seeds are pleasantly softhearted with a more gentle taste and have a softer texture than Sesame seeds as they are physically smaller in size. Sunflower seeds taste a bit like sesame seeds so they’re a great substitute. Use them for cooking or baking in the same way you would use sesame seeds or for healthy and nutritious snacks.

Sunflower seeds can be used in salads or perhaps sprinkle morsels on your favorite soups. Grind them up and place them on the ingredient list for your next batch of cookies and even make sunflower seed butter.

Remember, sunflower seeds are high in unsaturated fatty acids and this means they can become rancid quite quickly. To address this, purchase small amounts and be sure to keep them in hermetic containers in your fridge or freezer.

Like sesame seeds, they are still packed with the stuff our bodies need such as vitamins, amino acids, proteins, iron, and of course, fiber.

Number Two: Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are an easy substitute for sesame and so good on so many levels, you may find yourself replacing your sesame seeds altogether. Hemp seeds have a distinctively nutty flavor and are adaptable to extremes. This makes them the perfect substitute for sesame seeds.

They offer high quantities of protein as well as fatty acids generally found in meat and dairy goods. Use them as a sprinkle on your cereal, salads, yogurt, and smoothies. If you have gluten sensitivity, substitute hemp seeds for breadcrumbs for breading chicken or fish or make hemp seed milk as an alternative to dairy milk for drinking or in your favorite recipes.

If your recipe calls for nuts but you have a nut allergy, use hemp seeds for an even better nutty flavor burst. Dry roasting these magic morsels is easy and brings out more of that wonderful nuttiness. Gently toast over low heat for great results.

Number Three: Pine Nut

While on the pricy side, pine nuts are a great substitute for sesame seeds, and here’s why. They garnish some of the finest chef’s recipes all over the world and that’s a fact! They are so loaded with flavor that a little goes a very long way. Use them anywhere you would use sesame seeds and especially as a sprinkle on meals or salads.

Use pine nuts to get a massive increase in your bodily energy. They have lots of protein, iron, and magnesium and provide loads of antioxidants as they also contain vitamin E.

Eating these power-packed little bites will give your skin a healthy glow and younger appearance and can even reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Originating in Italy, pine nuts are great as a snack and when lightly toasted for a minute or two are a truly delicious treat for everyone at your table.

Number Four: Poppy Seeds

Poppy seeds are indeed a good substitute for sesame seeds. With their familiar nutty taste and similar texture, they are always a wonderful choice. Use them for a sprinkle on salads and breads or anywhere you would use sesame seeds. Poppy seeds are one of the most popular seeds found in better kitchens everywhere.

Everyone loves their nutty spirit and aroma and don’t forget to make that Poppy Seed Cake at Christmas time.

Add poppy seeds to salad dressings, curries, bread or roll toppings, and even pancakes. Use them for all sorts of fresh baked pastries and snacks.

When purchasing poppy seeds, you must know that they have an unusually high oil content which means they can go rancid rather quickly. As such, be sure to secure them in an airtight container and get them into your refrigerator or freezer right away until you are ready to use them.

Similar to flax seeds, they have an abundance of fiber, essential vitamins & minerals as well as fatty acids. All the things our bodies need and must have.

Number Five: Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a good substitute for sesame seeds in many of your favorite recipes. They are somewhat larger than sesame seeds so you might choose to chop them up a little if you feel this will help the substitution process.

Use sunflower seeds in stir-fry recipes as well as for noodle dishes, soups, and when baking bread. They are great for a snack after a workout, run, or bike ride and they’re easy to carry in a pouch or pocket for consumption during a ride.

Use the same quantities in your recipes and spread them over rice dishes and soups, or add them to your ingredient list for your next bread-baking adventure.

Use them with most breakfast cereals and soups, as a lovely topping for your stir-fries, and of course, all your baking needs. Like most seeds, pumpkin seeds can be roasted for a closer match in texture and taste.

Pumpkin seeds are full of the nutrients our bodies need including amino acids, phenolic compounds, unsaturated fatty acids, and even some minerals. Pumpkin seeds are hugely healthy with a mild nutty crunchiness, great for all your recipes requiring seeds.

Number Six: Flaxseed

Flaxseeds are a great substitute for sesame seeds and are so good, you may want to make them a permanent ingredient to lots of the things you love to make. Substitute them in fresh fruit drinks, smoothies, and cereals.

When making bread, flaxseeds are safe to use in bread dough as well as pastries and other similar sweets. They even look a bit like sesame seeds so if you have picky eaters, they may never notice the switch.

Flax or linseeds are functional food that is heavy in fiber and protein and are great for recipes intended for weight loss programs. Some folks find that flaxseeds are a bit on the bitter side so be wary of the sweet-and-sour balance when using them in your dishes or recipes.

Flax is also larger in physical size than sesame seeds so you should also take a look at the fit and presentation to review whether or not to grind or chop them a little beforehand.

Number Seven: Roasted Almonds

I love anything that has nuts in it so this is one of my favorite ingredients. A fine substitute for sesame seeds are roasted almonds. Of course, not being actual seeds, they will need your attention in grinding or chopping to fit the recipe. Use delicious roasted almonds for your stir-fries, salads, and desserts in the same way you would use sesame seeds. After roasting and chopping, use them over raw dishes as well as over a fully cooked meal. Your family will love them!

Since sesame seeds have a slightly nutty flavor, nuts are a no-brainer as a substitute. Also, like most nuts, both are gluten-free. Almonds and sesame seeds are both high in calories. Sesame seeds have roughly 565 calories per 100 grams and almond seeds have 579 calories per 100 grams. This is a very close match giving almond high marks as a substitute.

Number Eight: Chia Seeds

You can substitute chia seeds for sesame seeds but if you have any of the other seeds on this list it would be better to use them instead. While chia seeds are high in nutritional value they tend to swell up when exposed to moisture. As such, balance your use of this tasty seed variety by limiting the quantities when substituting chia seeds.

Sprinkle chia seeds on your breads and pastries, or just drop a few on your fancy sandwiches. Use chia seeds in diet-friendly breakfast dishes as well as toppings for yogurts and raw dishes and in baking.

They are very high in Omega-3 fatty acids and are quite nutritious but do not contribute much in the way of flavor or aroma.

Number Nine: White Sesame Seeds

White sesame seeds or hulled sesame seeds as they are often termed are wonderfully tasty and a great substitute for regular sesame seeds. They do have a milder taste and can be considered a bit on the sweeter side.

In terms of black, white, or tan-colored sesame seeds, the blacks offer a crunchy and bolder taste with a bit more of the nuttiness we all love. The white sesame seeds have a softer texture and do not grow in hulls so they may be a bit easier to prepare. The tan sesame seeds are just slightly nutty and mild but firm and have very little crunchiness.

White sesame seeds are very popular and feature lots of calcium, protein, fiber, copper, and manganese. The whites are known to be easier on digestion and are often compared in taste and texture to poppy seeds so a good all-around choice.

Number Ten: Chopped Nuts

When you bite into a dish containing copious amounts of sesame seeds, the first impression is generally the nutty flavor so why not just use chopped nuts as a delicious substitute for sesame seeds?

Of course, when preparing chopped nuts for your dish or baking project, you should remove all shells as well as nut skins to get the flavor burst we all know and love when consuming nuts

As with the other substitutes, sprinkle your chopped nuts over salads and soups, desserts, and yogurts. Be creative with your nutty addition but be careful not to use too much. After all, nuts will be nuts so they will always carry that distinctive nutty flavor.

Number Eleven: Sesame Oil

When you find yourself out of sesame seeds, try organic grapeseed oil, canola oil, or sunflower oil or if you have it, sesame seed oil would be a very good replacement for a 1-for-1 mix.

These oils have a neutral flavor and will always work as a substitute in a pinch. In fact, you can also use perilla oil as a wonderful substitute for sesame seeds.

When using any oil as a substitute for sesame seeds it is important to remember that seeds are quite high in protein and B vitamins whereas oils do not contain high levels of protein or most essential vitamins or minerals. The good news is that the oils do contain a good quantity of fatty acids and antioxidants as also vitamin E and phytosterols.


Can I substitute flax seeds for sesame seeds? Yes indeed you can and you may not want to go back as you will love the results and your family will love them!

Can I substitute chia seeds for sesame seeds? Again, yes you can but remember, chia seeds tend to swell up when exposed to moisture so you must take this into account when adding this ingredient.

Remember, all home-cooked food is better than anything you may find at your local big box stores so cook and bake often. Also, it’s a good idea to lay out all of your ingredients first when beginning a cooking or baking project. This way you may notice one of your favorite ingredients is running low. When baking and cooking often, keep tabs on your ingredient inventory and enjoy smooth sailing and great food for everyone in your family.

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