Sesame oil, derived from sesame seeds, is a popular oil used prominently in Asian cuisine as a cooking and finishing oil. The oil is characterized by its distinct nutty flavor, which can add a unique flavor profile to a wide range of dishes. Available in two varieties, untoasted and toasted, sesame oil can be used in either cold preparations, such as dressings and dipping sauces, or heated for sautéing and stir-frying.
Renowned for its health benefits, sesame oil is rich in antioxidants and heart-healthy unsaturated fats. In general, this oil boosts overall heart health, supports skin health, and has anti-inflammatory properties. Incorporating sesame oil in your dishes not only elevates flavor but also promotes a healthy lifestyle.
Sesame oil stands out as a flavorful and healthful choice for various cooking styles. While untoasted sesame oil is lighter and ideal for cold preparations like marinades, sauces or dressings, its toasted counterpart lends a robust flavor to sautés, stir-fries, and deep-frying. Beginners often make the mistake of using too much sesame oil, as its flavor is quite robust. Cooking with sesame oil is tempered with moderation - a few drizzles can go a long way in transforming the flavor of a dish. Toasted sesame oil, in particular, is traditionally used as a finishing oil - added at the end of cooking to retain its aroma and flavor. Not many know that sesame oil has smoke points varying for each type: 350°F (177°C) for untoasted and 450°F (232°C) for toasted sesame oil, making it versatile for distinct cooking techniques.
Why is my sesame oil cloudy?
Is sesame oil gluten-free?
Can sesame oil be used for frying?
What's the difference between toasted and untoasted sesame oil?
Should sesame oil be refrigerated after opening?
Does sesame oil go bad?
Is sesame oil healthy?
Can I use olive oil as a substitute for sesame oil?
Can I use sesame oil in baking?
Is sesame oil safe for those with a nut allergy?
Expiration & Storage Tips
When does sesame oil expire?
Sesame oil usually comes with a 'best by date', but with the right storage its quality remains good for up to a year after that date passes, if unopened. Once opened, you should aim to use it within six months. Freezing sesame oil isn't typically done, but if you decided to do so, it extends the shelf life to six months to a year beyond the 'best by' date.
How do you tell if sesame oil is bad?
Spoiled sesame oil can ruin a dish, and there are few ways to tell when it has gone bad. The most noticeable signs are if the oil has a rancid smell or if it has developed a slightly sour or metallic taste—sesame oil should normally have a delicious, slightly nutty flavor. Also, if you notice that the color of the oil has darkened considerably, it's time to toss it.
Tips for storing sesame oil to extend shelf life
• Store it in a cool, dark place like a cupboard away from the stove or oven. This helps to prevent the oil from developing off-flavors due to heat exposure.
• Make sure your sesame oil is always sealed tight. The more it gets exposed to air, the faster it goes bad, as oxygen can speed up the oxidation process.
• If you buy large quantities of sesame oil, consider dividing it into smaller, airtight containers. This way, you're only exposing a small quantity of oil to air each time you use it.
• Refrigeration can help to retain the flavor and freshness of sesame oil for a longer period. Don't worry if the oil solidifies a little in the fridge—it will return to its liquid state once it reaches room temperature.