Fact Checked

What is Sesame Oil?

M.R. Anglin
M.R. Anglin

Sesame oil, also called gingelly oil or til oil, is oil that is derived from sesame seeds. In some areas it is commonly used for cooking and in others as a condiment to add flavor to foods. How it is used usually depends on the type of oil. This oil is also used in different parts of the world as massage oil and in worship. It also has several health benefits.

There are two main types of sesame oils available. Cold press sesame oil is oil that is pressed from raw sesame seeds. It is light in color and has a mild flavor. There is also toasted sesame oil which pressed from toasted sesame seeds. Toasting the seeds produces oil that is darker in color and nuttier in flavor.

Sesame oil is often used as a massage oil.
Sesame oil is often used as a massage oil.

Sesame oil has a lot of antioxidants in it, meaning that it doesn’t go rancid as easily as other oils. Light versions of this oil can be used to cook with, and, because of its high smoke point, is used in deep frying. Toasted sesame oil, because of its lower smoke point, is not usually used in cooking. Since its flavor deteriorates when it is overheated, it is better suited as a condiment to add flavor to dishes.

Sesame oil is derived from sesame seeds.
Sesame oil is derived from sesame seeds.

When producing this oil, sesame seeds are dried and shaken on screens to get rid of stones and dirt. Then they are sent into an expeller. The seeds are pressed and then pressed again to ensure that the most oil possible is able to be derived from the seed. The remainder of the seed is commonly sold as feed for cattle.

Like olive oil, sesame oil is one type of oil that is good for you. It is full of mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids which helps to reduce bad cholesterol. Some research even suggests that it can help reduce high blood pressure. It also contains two types of antioxidants—sesamol and sesamin. Antioxidants help reduce free radicals—substances in your body that can lead to the destruction of cells.

Sesame oil may help prevent psoriasis.
Sesame oil may help prevent psoriasis.

Sesame oil also contains vitamin E and B complex which helps skin look healthier. It moisturizes dry skin and can help to prevent eczema, psoriasis, and blemishes. Some people also use it as a hair treatment. It has even been used to massage the scalp. There are also some who believe that it can prevent hair loss.

You might also Like

Discussion Comments


@seag47 – I know that sesame oil is great for your hair. I started using it after my life as a beachgoer turned my locks dry and brittle.

Every summer, I spend months on the beach. My hair gets bleached out by the sun, and the ocean and pool water zap it of moisture. It is not a pretty sight.

I started putting sesame oil on my hair as a leave-in conditioner before going to the beach every day. It acts like a sunscreen, so my hair kept its color. It also is very moisturizing, and it kept pool chemicals from damaging my hair.


I have heard that sesame oil can make your hair darker. Since I am already a brunette, I don't know if this is true or not, but I do believe that it helps your hair grow.

Before using sesame oil, I had a dry, flaky scalp. I had been losing progressively more hair in the shower, and my hair just lacked the luster it once had.

I heard about sesame oil as a hair treatment on a TV show, and I decided to try it out. I heated it up and massaged it into my scalp. I left it on there for thirty minutes while wearing a shower cap.

The TV show expert said that I should leave it on overnight, but that just felt gross to me, so I went ahead and washed it out. After a few weeks, I could really tell a difference. I wasn't losing more than a couple of strands of hair in the shower, and my hair just looked shinier and healthier.


I have a toasted Asian sesame oil that I use as a salad dressing. It tastes just like the house ginger dressing at my favorite Japanese restaurant.

The restaurant serves it on top of iceberg lettuce with tomatoes, but I like to change things up a bit at home. I prefer to use baby spinach and grated carrots in my salad. The sesame oil does have a nutty flavor, since it has been toasted, and this is what makes the salad so awesome.

I use this same oil on top of boiled shrimp and even chicken sometimes. It adds an instant Asian flavor to dishes with white meat and seafood.

@ysmina – I love to make stir-fry ginger chicken with sesame oil. It tastes so much like the kind at my local Chinese buffet, and I love being able to enjoy that at home.

I chop some chicken tenders into small slivers. I make a mixture of soy sauce, ground ginger, and garlic, and I marinate the chicken in this for about thirty minutes.

In the meantime, I heat up the sesame oil in a skillet over medium heat. I stir fry the chicken slivers for a couple of minutes on each side, and then I add a cup of water, along with some broccoli and carrots. I let this cook for seven minutes so that the vegetables can absorb all the wonderful flavors.

Finally, I stir in some cooked egg noodles. I let them soak up the sauce, and then, I am ready to serve the dish. I add a few chopped cashews to the plate for extra crunch.

@anon125578-- No, sesame oil is made from sesame seeds and olive oil is made from olives. The process of making both is really similar. Sesame oil is made by pressing the oil out of the seeds. Olive oil is also made by pressing olives for the oil. But olive oil has a greenish color to it whereas sesame oil is clear or yellowish. They taste very different.

@turkay1-- Yea, I think that's called a "smoke point" right- the temperature at which something burns. The smoke point is pretty low for sesame oil.

But I think some organic sesame oil or at least sesame seeds or tahini (sesame seed paste) should be included in our diet because it's so nutritious. There have been studies done on it and it shows that sesame oil is also beneficial for diabetics and people with high blood pressure.


@ysmina- There are many Asian sesame oil recipes. So if you cook any Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Thai food, you can replace other oils with sesame oil.

Cooking with sesame oil is a bit tricky because it heats up very quickly and it's too easy to burn. If you burn sesame oil, it's going to lose its healthy properties and will ruin the flavor of food.

I would recommend adding sesame oil to food soon before you take it off the flame to avoid burning. You can use it as flavoring oil for anything- stir-fried veggies, soups, meat dishes or salads. If you use it in moderation, it'll add a little nuttiness to the flavor without changing the overall taste of the dish.


I've never cooked with sesame seed oil before. But I have a bottle of it at home because my old roommate used to use it for her religious practice. She was a Hindu and she would burn oil candles during her worship and used sesame oil for it.

She left behind a big bottle of sesame oil and I've been wondering what I could do with it. I had no idea that it could be used in cooking. Can anyone recommend and recipes and dishes that sesame oil would be good in?

Does it change the taste of foods? I remember one time, I tried cooking with walnut oil and it gave food a very strong flavor that I disliked. I hope that's not the case with sesame oil.


Is sesame oil the same as they call extra virgin oil (Olive oil)?


yes. Why not? you can use it for massage.


can we use it for body massage?

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • Sesame oil is often used as a massage oil.
      By: Kurhan
      Sesame oil is often used as a massage oil.
    • Sesame oil is derived from sesame seeds.
      By: schankz
      Sesame oil is derived from sesame seeds.
    • Sesame oil may help prevent psoriasis.
      By: hriana
      Sesame oil may help prevent psoriasis.
    • Sliced fresh vegetables can be sauteed in light sesame oil.
      By: Boggy
      Sliced fresh vegetables can be sauteed in light sesame oil.
    • Sesame oil can help prevent eczema.
      By: Jingling Water
      Sesame oil can help prevent eczema.