This oil made from pressed sesame seeds is widely used in Asian cuisine. Its two variations give you endless options in the kitchen. Whether you are looking to add a pop of flavor to a dish or simply sauté your favorite veggies, sesame oil is sure to win a place in your heart.
There’s nothing quite like the warm, nutty aroma of sesame oil. This flavorful kitchen staple can be used in a variety of cooking methods and can be found in some of my favorite dishes (see recipes below!). As with any ingredient, it is important to understand it well before using it in a recipe. Let me help.
What Is Sesame Oil?
Sesame oil is an ingredient made from pressed sesame seeds. It is widely used in Asian cuisine. It can be used as a flavor enhancing ingredient OR as a neutral cooking oil, depending on whether or not the seeds have been toasted before pressing.
What Does It Taste Like?
It depends! Toasted sesame oil has a distinct flavor and aroma that is often described as nutty and rich. Light versions made from raw sesame seeds, on the other hand, are quite neutral in flavor.
Different Types & Varieties
There are 2 main varieties. They each play a distinct role in the kitchen.
- Toasted sesame oil is made from sesame seeds that have been toasted and pressed. It has a nutty, warm taste and aroma that intensifies with heat. This makes it a great choice for finishing recipe such as this cucumber salad, but less of a favorable option when it comes to cooking.
- Light sesame oil, made from raw sesame seeds, is lighter in color and flavor when compared to its toasted counterpart. Its neutral flavor makes it a wonderful cooking oil, similar to avocado or grape-seed oil.
Sesame Oil vs Olive Oil
Sesame and olive oil are both popular cooking oils. They each have their place in the kitchen. Here are some things that set them apart:
- Flavor. While sesame oil carries a nutty flavor and aroma, olive oil offers a more mild grassy, spicy flavor.
- Nutrition. While both oils are unsaturated fats, making them a good choice for you health, olive oil delivers greater nutritional content.
- Smoke point. Sesame has the lower smoke point of the two oils. This means that it starts to smoke and release free radicals at a lower temperature, making olive oil a better choice in recipes that require higher temperatures. Sesame oil works wonders in recipes that require lower temperature and a bigger punch of flavor. Check out this informative article on smoke point.
How to Store
It is important to store oil properly because it easily looses its flavor and/or goes rancid. Store it an unopened container in a cool, dark, place. Once the container has been opened, store it in the refrigerator. This will greatly prolong its shelf-life.
How long does sesame oil last?
An unopened container will stay good when stored in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year or for up to 2 years in the refrigerator. Once opened, it can be refrigerated for up to 2 years. If you go through cooking oils relatively quickly, it is not necessary to refrigerate the opened container. It will remain edible for up to 6 months in a cool, dark place. Pay attention to taste and smell. If your oil smells bitter or rancid or just “off”, it’s time to throw it away.
Does it need to be refrigerated after opening?
Sesame oil does not need to be refrigerated after opening, but doing so will greatly prolong its shelf-life. I suggest giving it a spot in the fridge.
Ways to Use It
Sesame oil is one of the most popular cooking oils used in Asian cuisine. I have gathered some of my favorite recipes featuring this savory ingredient. Here they are!