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Mar 3, 2009 04:15 PM

Sesame Oil vs Toasted Sesame Oil

The sesame oil I purchase from my local Middle Easter market is very light in color compared to the sesame oil I purchase from my Asian market. Even though at the Asian market I specifically purchase bottles that do not say "toasted", is it possible that all of the Asian sesame oils are toasted sesame oil?

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  1. yes almost all sesame oil found in asian markets are toasted which you can tell from the color

    1. I've never seen anything but toasted, even the ones that are toasted are toasted. i think they don't go rancid as fast if you toast them--at lease it's harder to detect the rancidity.

      1. Light sesame oil is a cooking oil, while toasted sesame oil is more of a condiment/flavoring/last-minute addition to a dish. One cannot substitute for the other.


        4 Replies
        1. re: cayjohan

          I disagree. I can't speak for middle eastern cooking, but in Asian recipes toasted sesame oil is often used as a cooking medium in addition to being used to flavor various foods after they have been prepared for serving.

          1. re: todao

            I'd be curious to see a recipe using toasted/roasted sesame seed oil as a cooking medium but meanwhile, cayojohn is correct that un-roasted sesame oil is meant to be a cooking oil, not a flavoring ingredient. It tastes faintly of sesame, but certainly wouldn't sub for toasted.

            1. re: MikeG

              It's all in the smoke point. Light sesame oil has a relatively high smoke point, hence, good for cooking applications. Roasted/toasted sesame oil has already been taken to high heat for flavor, but then it's "used oil". Ask yourself this: do you ever see a two gallon jug of toasted sesame oil? Light sesame oil, yes.

              I'm really curious too if the toasted has a cooking medium application. Maybe a slow oil poach?


              1. re: cayjohan

                FWIW, I have seen gallon jugs of toasted sesame oil but I'm sure they were just for restaurants or *really* big families. ;)

                Apart from the smoke point issue, I can't imagine "cooking with" anything that strongly flavored even though it's not unheard of (eg, South Asian mustard oil) it, it's so strongly flavored. Not that it necessarily means much, but I've never seen an Asian recipe calling for it as a frying medium... might get fried a bit if used as a marinade ingredient, but that's not quite the same thing. That's in traditional uses - you never know what could turn up in a "fusion" type setting...

        2. Middle Eastern sesame oils are always, in my experience, way less flavorful than Asian and French varieties. I don't know if that means they're raw, but the French ones I've tried specifically say they're toasted -- though the Asian ones are less predictable. Gotta say, I'm sure they're toasted, based on the color and aroma.

          I don't think I've ever gotten a Middle Eastern one that had that heady, roasty scent like the ones I use to flavor dishes at the end.

          Best toasted one I've ever tried was J. LeBlanc. But it was a gift from a friend, and would be nowhere near worth the U.S. price vs. what the Asian ones cost.

          1. toasted is a topping/drizzling oil.
            raw seems like it could be a cooking oil