Sesame oil is a common ingredient called for in many Asian recipes. However, there may be times when you need to substitute sesame oil with something else. This could be due to an allergy or lack of sesame oil on hand. For whatever reason, if you need substitutes in a recipe, here is short guide to follow.
Sesame oil is used in Asian recipes because of its unique flavor. Its flavor is hard to replicate with any substitute. However, if you're looking to substitute sesame oil for its flavor, using peanut oil is the closest you can get. Substitute an amount of sesame oil with an equal amount of peanut oil.
Sesame oil is one of the healthiest oils out there. If you are using it for its health benefits and not its flavor, olive oil is your best bet. Olive oil has many health benefits and can be a good substitute for sesame oil in these instances.
In a pinch, any oil can be used to substitute sesame oil, although it's not the best choice. Since sesame oil is used mostly for its strong flavor, substituting another type of oil will not give the same result.
If the flavor of sesame oil is the only thing you're after, you might just try using sesame seeds. You can substitute sesame seeds with another type of oil if the oil itself is required. Roasting sesame seeds brings out their flavor better, so if you need a substitute for sesame oil, roasted sesame seeds and another type of oil would be best.
If you're out of sesame seeds in the last example and need to substitute sesame oil for its flavor, you can use roasted cut up chunks of peanut in the same way as the sesame seeds described above. This won't give you quite the same flavor as sesame oil, but it can give you a strong Asian flavor that many may not be able to tell the difference between.
Do-It-Yourself Sesame Oil
The best substitute for sesame oil is to make it yourself with sesame seeds and a vegetable or canola oil. For every 1 tbsp of sesame oil needed, sauté 1½ tsp of sesame seeds in ½ tsp of vegetable or canola oil.
Light vs. Dark Sesame Oil
Sesame oil comes in two types, light and dark. Light sesame oil is made using raw sesame seeds and contains a lighter, nutty flavor. Dark sesame oil, on the other hand, is made from sesame seeds that have been toasted. It has a stronger flavor and aroma. You can substitute these interchangeably.
Sesame oil is a unique ingredient with no true substitute. With its strong flavor and many health benefits, you'll not get an effect like it using any substitute. Sesame oil should be easy to find in any ethnic aisle on your local grocery store. You'll usually be better off just making a store run to purchase some rather than substitute it with another ingredient.