Substitutes for Sesame Seeds – 5 Suitable Stand-Ins

I recently visited the Middle East countries and fell in love with tahini paste. Upon returning, I excitedly invited all my friends to taste the recipe of my newfound love. However, I learned that some of my friends are allergic to sesame seeds, one of the main ingredients used in tahini. 

Initially, I got disappointed, but then an idea popped up in my mind, and I started looking up substitutes for sesame seeds, and voila! I found various options that I would like to share with you. 

The suitable substitute for white sesame seeds, I found, is black sesame seed. However, poppy seeds are the perfect sesame seed replacement in many recipes. Other than that, hemp, flax, sunflower, and chia seeds are also good sesame seed alternatives. 

Scroll down to learn more about the healthy substitutes for sesame seeds. Oh, wait! Let’s first talk about the sesame seeds that are being substituted.

Sesame Seeds – The Teeny-Tiny, Oval-Shaped, Flat Nut

The picture shows white sesame seeds.

Sesame seeds are edible seeds that come from the pods of the Sesamum indicum plant. People eat them as they are, add them to meals, and use them as seasoning. 

They have an umami taste and a subtle flavor profile and are very famous in Mediterranean dishes. 

They are oil-rich, versatile condiments used across different cultures. In fact, they are the oldest oilseed crops that we know of.

These tiny seeds contain calcium, vitamin E, B vitamins, and antioxidants. They also have protein, dietary fiber, and healthy fats. Let us have a look at some other benefits of eating sesame seeds.

Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds have many health benefits, and for thousands of years, they have been used in folk medicine. You must consume a large amount – a modest handful every day to get the following health benefits.

Help to Lower Blood Pressure:

High blood pressure is a grave risk factor for stroke and heart disease. Sesame seeds are high in magnesium; they help lower blood pressure. 

Help to Support Healthy Bones:

Both unhulled and hulled sesame seeds are good for bone health as they are high in minerals. However, hulled sesame seeds are more beneficial as they are full of calcium.  

Help to Control Blood Sugar:

Sesame seeds are low in carbs but abundant in protein and good fats, which aid in blood sugar regulation.

Help to Reduce Pain:

Seeds have copper content that works as anti-inflammatory medicine. Therefore, they can help to reduce swelling and pain. 

Help Your Body’s Immune System:

Sesame seeds are high in selenium, zinc, copper, iron, vitamin B6, and vitamin E, all of which are important for your immune system.

Different Types of Sesame Seeds

There are various types of sesame seeds: brown, white, black, red, hulled seeds, unhulled seeds, raw seeds, or roasted seeds, etc.   

Brown Seeds: Widely known all over the world for high content of oil. They are mainly used to make cooking oil. 

White Seeds: Popular for their nutty flavor and used as a condiment in baking recipes. 

Black Seeds: Highly famous for their extensive flavor. They are frequently used as a seasoning in salads. 

Red Sesame Seeds: Recognized for their aroma, they are commonly used to enhance the flavor of any cuisine. 

Unhulled Seeds: Edible seeds with husk. Suitable for the digestive system and the best daily dietary fiber intake source. 

Hulled Seeds: Sesame seeds without husk, exterior coat removed. 

Roasted Seeds:  The raw seeds that turn golden-brown upon roasting are called roasted sesame seeds.

Adding it to Your Diet Is Simple

For perfect sesame seeds recipes, roast sesame seeds at 350°F (180°C) for a few minutes, occasionally stirring, until they attain a light, golden brown color.

Raw or roasted sesame seeds both can be used in a variety of dishes, including:

  • Stir-fries
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Cold or hot cereal
  • Granola bars and granola 
  • Bread and muffins
  • Yogurt
  • Smoothies
  • Salads
  • Salad dressing
  • Hummus


5 Substitutes for Sesame Seeds

So far, you have learned that sesame seeds are full of antioxidants, nutritious nuts that are highly recommended for good health. However, suppose you are allergic to sesame seeds or need substitutes for sesame seeds for some other reason. In that case, we are here to assist you.

Below, we have listed 5 perfect replacements of a sesame seed that are equally healthy and flavorful.

1. Black Sesame Seeds: The Perfect Cover Up

The picture shows two bowls full of white and black sesame.

If you are looking for an accurate substitute for sesame seeds in the recipe, black sesame is the best option. Black sesame seeds have a robust flavor than white ones, but they are also slightly more bitter. Therefore, you have to use them in lesser quantities to attain the right flavor.

Black Sesame seeds are more in demand than white sesame seeds because they are primarily unhulled, healthier, and flavorful than white ones. 

Health Benefits of Black Sesame Seeds

  • Rich Source of Antioxidants

Antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds are found in all sesame seeds, but black sesame seeds appear particularly abundant.

  • Rich Source of Nutrients

Black sesame seeds have a high number of nutrients. They are a full power pack of calories, protein, fiber, calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc. 

Eating black sesame seeds not only aids in maintaining good health but also reduces the chances of heart stroke and high blood pressure. 

Easy to Add to Your Diet

Black sesame seeds are full of taste and crunch. You can eat them raw or can use them in the following ways:

  • Toss into salads, vegetables, noodles, rice meals, and so on. 
  • The seeds can also be used as a crispy coating for fish or baked dishes. 
  • Black sesame seeds can be easily made into a milk or tahini paste.
  • Black sesame seed oil can be used in place of any other oil.


2. Poppy Seeds – The Second-Best Choice

The image displays black poppy seeds in a bowl.

Poppy seeds are arguably the most significant substitutes for sesame seeds in texture and appearance. Poppy seeds can easily be replaced with sesame seeds.

They’re the closest match for black sesame seeds, and they’re best employed as a stand-in where the sesame seeds were used mainly for decoration or texture.

Poppy seeds and sesame seeds have similar flavor characteristics. They’re a mildly nutty seed that’s high in protein and fiber.

Health Benefits of Poppy Seeds

  • Source of Protein

Poppy seeds have 1.6 grams of protein in them. The body uses protein to repair its body tissues and cells. 

  • Source of Calcium

Poppy seeds contain 10% of DV Calcium. Poppy seeds are abundant in calcium, which is good for maintaining healthy bones and teeth.

  • Source of Fiber

Poppy seeds are the best source of dietary fiber. A 3-tbsp serving contains 28% of an adult’s daily value.


Easy to Add to Your Diet

Place the poppy seeds in a small nonstick pan and toast them over medium-high heat, stirring regularly until aromatic. It would take roughly 2-3 minutes to do this task. Allow cooling before serving. 

Other ways to include poppy seeds in your food are:

  • Sprinkle Roasted poppy seeds on top of bread and rolls.
  • Crush them into sauces and pastry fillings.
  • Toss them into salad dressings.


3. Hemp Seeds – Your Best Bet

 The picture shows hemp seeds on a spoon.

Hemp seeds are tiny in size and brown in color.

Hemp seeds are still a little trickier to come by, but they may be better substitutes for sesame seeds in terms of flavor and texture than poppy seeds. Fundamentally, anything we could comfortably replace with poppy seeds can do with hemp seeds.

Hemp seeds are one of the more adaptable possibilities. We may use them in various traditional Asian and Middle Eastern recipes, garnishes, and baking in Europe.

Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds

  • Boost Heart Health

According to medical experts, omega-3 fatty acids are supposed to boost heart health and reduce the risk of arrhythmias and heart disease. 

Hemp seeds contain an excellent omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid ratio and are high in omega-3 fatty acids.

  • Improve Skin conditions

Chronic inflammation can cause atopic dermatitis (AD) and acne. Hemp seeds include anti-inflammatory chemicals that may help to cure acne and other skin diseases.

  • Reduce Inflammation

The omega-3 content in hemp seeds and the seeds’ beneficial omega-3 to omega-6 ratio can alleviate inflammation.

Easy to Add in Your Diet

Whole seeds operate as a bulking agent and provide fiber, which can help with digestion.

To incorporate hemp seeds into your diet, do the following:

  • Add the seeds into smoothies.
  • Bake with hemp seeds and other omega-3-rich seeds.
  • Use whole hemp seeds to make hemp milk at home.
  • Put hemp seeds over a salad with other seeds or nuts.


4. Sunflower Seeds Kernel – Similar Flavor Notes

The picture shows sunflower kernel seeds.

Sunflower seeds are the most comparable to sesame seeds in texture and look. We can find them at almost any grocer or health food store worldwide. This makes them great and relatively easy substitutes for sesame seeds.

Sunflower seeds have the same appearance and feel as sesame seeds and have many of the same flavor notes in their principal taste body. Therefore, they can be used as a substitute for sesame seeds in flour or paste.

Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds Kernel

Sunflower seeds contain vitamin E, magnesium, protein, linoleic fatty acids that may help decrease blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.

  • May Prevent Heart Diseases

High blood pressure can cause several heart diseases, leading to a heart attack or stroke.

A substance found in sunflower seeds suppresses an enzyme that causes blood vessels to constrict. As a result, it may assist in the relaxation of your blood vessels, decreasing your blood pressure. 

Moreover, sunflower seeds include magnesium, which also helps to regulate blood pressure.

  • Helpful for Diabetes Patients

When added to foods like bread, Sunflower seeds can help reduce blood sugar levels. 

The protein and fat in the seeds block the emptying of your stomach, allowing for a more gradual release of sugar from carbs.

Easy to Add to Your Diet

Those still in the shell are frequently eaten by shattering them with your teeth and then spitting out the shell, which should not be consumed. These seeds are a favorite snack at baseball games and other outdoor events.

Here are the best ways you can eat them:

  • Add to trail mix.
  • Stir into homemade granola bars.
  • Sprinkle on a leafy green salad.
  • Stir into hot or cold cereal.
  • Sprinkle over fruit or yogurt parfaits.
  • Add to stir-fries.
  • Stir into tuna or chicken salad.


5. Chia Seeds – Not the Worst Option

This picture shows a spoonful of chia seeds.

Chia seeds are a must-have in this list. These seeds may be tiny, but they pack a punch in minerals and vitamins. It contains the majority of the nutrients found in other seed varieties. They are high in antioxidants, magnesium, and zinc.

You don’t need much of it to enjoy all of the benefits it has to offer; just a sprinkle a day can make a significant difference in your health.

When replacing sesame seeds with chia seeds, your options may be limited. They tend to double in size when exposed to moisture. Thatswhy you cannot use chia as a substitute for sesame seeds in hummus, but you can surely use them as sprinklers. 

Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

  • May Support Weight Loss

Chia seeds contain fiber and protein, which may help reduce weight.

  • May Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease

Chia seeds have a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, which may help to reduce the risk of heart disease.

  • Contain Essential Bone Nutrients

Chia seeds are high in calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, essential for bone health.

Easy to Add to Your Diet

Chia seeds are pretty simple to include in your diet. Because they have a mild flavor, you may use them in almost any recipe.

They don’t need to be ground, cooked, or prepared in any way, making them a convenient addition to recipes.

  • They can be steeped in juices. 
  • Combined into oatmeal, pudding, smoothies, and baked goods. 
  • You can also add them to cereal, yogurt, vegetables, and rice dishes as a garnish. 
  • They also work well as a binding agent in fritters produced by hand.


FAQs About Substitutions for Sesame Seeds

What can replace black sesame seeds?
The black sesame seeds have a somewhat bitter flavor than other seeds. Still, we could use another seed or nut to replace them, depending on the recipe. Favorably, we can use white sesame seeds OR brown sesame seeds to replace black sesame seeds.
How can I reduce my tummy in 7 days?
Follow these tips for reducing tummy in 7 days:
1. Make aerobic workouts a regular part of your day.
2. Reduce your intake of processed carbohydrates.
3. Fatty fish should be a part of your diet.
4. The best way to start the day is high protein breakfast.
5. Drink plenty of water.
6. Reduce the amount of salt you consume.
Are sesame seeds a nut or seed?
Sesame seeds are categorized as seeds rather than nuts. The proteins in sesame seeds may be similar to those found in nuts, but they are still considered seeds.
Can you use chia seeds instead of sesame seeds?
We can sprinkle Chia seeds on food or energy bars, smoothies, yogurt, and morning cereals in place of sesame seeds. At the same time, it cannot replace sesame seeds in sesame paste, tahini, sesame oil, and hamburger toppings.



We’ve discussed some of the most significant sesame seeds benefits, as well as some of the best substitutes for sesame seeds.  Hopefully, you’ll have one of these options on hand if you ever find yourself in a pinch. 

Remember, each of these substitutes has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, so play around with them to find which ones you like in your favorite meals.

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