The 8 Best Sesame Oils in 2022

A deliciously nutty complement to your favorite dishes

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

A staple in Asian-inspired cooking, sesame oil adds a nutty, slightly sweet flavor to meat, roasted vegetables, and salad dressings. But all sesame oils aren’t created equal. For starters, there are two varieties—regular and toasted—and they’re used in different ways. Regular sesame oil is an excellent choice for cooking and stir-frying, while toasted sesame oil fares best as a finishing oil for already-cooked foods or as an ingredient in a homemade vinaigrette.

Because they each elevate dishes, both types of sesame oil deserve a spot in your pantry. To make sure you're getting a deep, rich flavor that really shines, you need to choose the best sesame oils in each category. To make things easier, we narrowed it down to the best sesame oils you can buy.

Best Overall: Napa Valley Naturals Cold Pressed Sesame Oil

Napa Valley Naturals Cold Pressed Sesame Oil

Courtesy of Amazon

Napa Valley Naturals specializes in creating high-quality oils and vinegars, and this organic sesame oil is no exception. Napa Valley Naturals, a company owned by Stonewall Kitchen, uses a cold-pressing technique to create an unrefined oil that has all of the rich nuttiness that sesame seeds offer. Since heating can break down nutrients and compounds, cold-pressing may help retain oil's nutritional value. This oil is ideal for dressings, sauces, and marinades but can also be used for medium-high heat cooking.

Best Organic: Kevala Organic Extra Virgin Sesame Oil

Kevala Organic Extra Virgin Sesame Oil

Courtesy of Amazon

Made with the highest-quality, USDA organic-certified sesame seeds from Mexico, the Kevala Organic Extra Virgin Sesame Oil is unrefined and cold-pressed with low-heat extraction techniques. Even though it’s unrefined, it still has a high smoke point, so you can use it for low-, medium-, and high-heat cooking.

It's available in four sizes—from 8 to 128 ounces—so you can get as little or as much as you need. Keep in mind that if you buy it in bulk, you’ll save almost 50 percent.

Best Cold-Pressed: Flora Cold Pressed Organic Sesame Oil

flora-organic-sesame-oil

Courtesy of iHerb

There are other cold-pressed sesame oils out there, but Flora uses a special technique, cold-pressing sprouted sesame seeds in small batches in a light- and oxygen-free environment, then flushing with nitrogen to ensure the oil stays fresh and completely free of oxidation.

Because of its delicate processing, the smoke point is a little lower than others on this list, making it ideal for low- to medium-heat cooking or as a finishing oil for your favorite cooked dishes.

Best Refined: Spectrum Naturals Organic Refined Sesame Oil

Spectrum Naturals Organic Refined Sesame Oil

Courtesy of Amazon

The Spectrum Naturals Organic Sesame Oil is an excellent all-purpose sesame oil that’s suitable for all of your cooking needs. Thanks to the light refining during manufacturing, it can stand up to higher heat better than other unrefined oils. This particular sesame oil has a medium-high smoke point up to 350 degrees, making it ideal for stir-frying, sautéing, and almost any other type of cooking you need to do. The refining process also mutes the flavor a little bit, so it adds a delicious, slightly nutty taste to your dishes without overpowering them.

Best Toasted: La Tourangelle Toasted Sesame Oil

La Tourangelle Toasted Sesame Oil

Courtesy of Amazon

La Tourangelle is known for making handcrafted, artisan-style oils that consistently get rave reviews across the board. To make this toasted sesame oil, La Tourangelle harvests its sesame seeds from California's Central Valley or in Oregon's cooperative farms and then uses a mill from France to slowly roast and toast the seeds over low temperatures. After the seeds are toasted, they are expeller-pressed and then gently filtered several times to create a golden-brown oil with a deep, nutty flavor that works well as a medium-heat cooking oil and finishing oil.

The toasted sesame oil is bottled in a BPA-free tin can which protects it from light to maintain quality and freshness, even when stored outside the refrigerator.

Best for Finishing: Eden Foods Toasted Sesame Oil

Eden Foods Toasted Sesame Oil

Courtesy of Amazon

Eden Foods also makes an excellent toasted sesame oil, but because of its slightly higher price tag and unrefined finish, it works better as a finishing oil than cooking oil. Eden Foods slow roasts whole sesame seeds in a rotary kiln until their full flavor and aroma are released, and the oil is then expeller-pressed and gently filtered before it’s bottled in a dark, amber glass, which can protect light-sensitive contents. The result is dark, Asian-inspired sesame oil with a nutty flavor and slightly sweet aroma that can enhance the flavor of any cooked dish.

Best Black: Foods Alive Organic Artisan Cold-Pressed Black Sesame Oil

foods-alive-black-sesame-oil

Courtesy of Walmart

Black sesame oil has a smokier, nuttier taste that lends itself well to all different types of savory dishes. And when it comes to the best black sesame oil, the Foods Alive Organic Artisan Cold-Pressed Black Sesame Oil takes top billing.

Foods Alive gathers samples of different sesame seeds from organic farmers and then taste-tests to find the most delicious variety. The oil is cold-pressed in small batches at very low temperatures to retain as many nutrients as possible. Organic, cold-pressed, and unrefined, it’s really the highest quality oil you can get.

Best Flavored: Chosen Foods Spicy Sesame Oil

chosen-foods-spicy-sesame-oil

Courtesy of Instacart

If you’re looking for a cooking or finishing oil with a little kick, the Chosen Foods Spicy Sesame Oil is the perfect complement to any dish. Chosen Foods combines sesame oil with real Mexican Chile de Arbol and garlic to create a deep flavor and mild spice level that adds just the right amount of heat to stir-fry, soups, and pasta dishes. If you want to dial it back, a little drizzle will do, or you can pump up the intensity by being a little more generous with your pour.

Chosen Foods also emphasizes quality by using a natural refining process to make its certified non-GMO sesame oil.

Final Verdict

Napa Valley Naturals Cold-Pressed Organic Sesame Oil (view at Amazon) and Kevala Extra Virgin Organic Sesame Oil (view at Amazon) are excellent options for all types of cooking. But if you’re looking for a really great finishing sesame oil, try the Eden Foods Toasted Sesame Oil (view at Amazon).

What to Look for When Buying Sesame Oil

Type and Version

Sesame oil comes in two types. The first type, light golden (the regular or plain variety), comes in both unrefined or refined. This variety is made from uncooked sesame seeds that are pressed and have a higher smoke point. The second type, toasted sesame oil (aka black sesame oil), is made from pressed toasted sesame seeds and provides a rich, bold, nutty flavor.

Taste and Smell

This oil has a nutty taste, and depending on the type of sesame oil you purchase, whether regular or toasted, the taste will be mild or strong and nutty. Some sesame oils come with added flavors such as garlic or chile. Not all sesame oils are processed the same way; the way the oil is processed can also affect its taste and smell. If the hulls remain on the seeds during processing, the results can be an oil with a stronger odor and bitter taste. 

Use

What will you be using the sesame oil for in the kitchen? Plain sesame oil is the perfect choice for stir-fries, roasted meats or vegetables, and sautéing, as it is a good substitute for neutral oils such as canola or vegetable oil. On the other hand, toasted sesame oil is great as a finishing touch to toss fried rice or noodles, drizzle over soups or ice cream, and put in Asian sauces or marinades. 

FAQs

How should sesame oil be stored?

Keep this oil in your pantry or another cool, dark place. If the container has been opened, make sure that the cover is closed tightly to help keep it fresh. It is unnecessary to refrigerate it, but it can help lengthen its shelf life. 

Does sesame oil go bad?

Like all oils, sesame oil is perishable and can go bad. An unopened bottle will last for approximately 18 months, while an opened bottle, stored properly, should keep for about 12 months. Always check expiration dates on the bottle so that you are aware of the oil's freshness. If the oil has an off-putting odor, it has likely gone rancid and should not be used. 

Can sesame oil be substituted for other oils?

Light, regular sesame oil is a popular oil used in Asian and Chinese cooking and a great choice when needing a neutral-flavored oil. It can be used in place of canola, vegetable, olive, sunflower, peanut, or other neutral oils.

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

Lindsay Boyers is a certified holistic nutritionist with extensive nutrition knowledge and food and beverage testing experience. She’s developed over 1,000 original recipes and is constantly on a mission to find the healthiest, best-tasting options and ingredients across all food and drink categories.

Updated by
Sharon Lockley
Sharon Lockley
Sharon Lockley has over 20 years of experience as an editor and writer and has been contributing to The Spruce Eats since 2019.
Learn about The Spruce Eats' Editorial Process
Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. United States Department of Agriculture. Labeling organic products.

  2. Allouche Y, Jiménez A, Gaforio JJ, Uceda M, Beltrán G. How heating affects extra virgin olive oil quality indexes and chemical composition. J Agric Food Chem. 2007;55(23):9646-9654. doi:10.1021/jf070628u

  3. Food and Drug Administration. Bisphenol A (BPA): Use in food contact application.

  4. Franco I, Falqué E. Effect of different types of glass container on food shelf life. Reference Module in Food Science. 2016:B9780081005965031000. doi:10.1016/B978-0-08-100596-5.03192-9

  5. United States Department of Agriculture. Can GMOs be used in organic products?

Continue to 5 of 8 below.