Like any other seed, sesame seeds may be tiny, but they are packed with nutrients. By incorporating sesame seeds into your diet, you can easily get more healthy fats, protein, antioxidants, fiber, B vitamins, and much more. So, what is the best way to eat these nutrient-rich seeds?
When you buy hulled sesame seeds at the store, they are usually an off white color. While there is nothing wrong with eating sesame seeds this way, they are usually harder to chew and they don’t add much flavor.
Toasted sesame seeds, on the other hand, are golden brown, crunchier, and have a delicious nutty flavor. (This is awesome for those with peanut allergies — you can get a nut flavor without having to eat nuts!)
There are multiple ways to toast sesame seeds, but I think that baking them is by far the easiest method. But if you don’t want to waste time preheating an oven and don’t feel like brushing every last sesame seed off of a baking sheet, pan-frying them works just as well!
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How to Toast Sesame Seeds In Oven
Toasting sesame seeds in the oven is the easiest method because you can toast the largest amount of sesame seeds in the shortest amount of time. If you plan on toasting all of your sesame seeds and storing them, I recommend this method!
First, preheat the oven to 350° F. You want to get a large, clean baking sheet for toasting. You can use tin foil if you want, but it doesn’t really make a difference. The sesame seeds don’t stick to the surface, so there won’t be a difficult cleanup.
Sprinkle a good amount of sesame seeds on the ungreased baking sheet. You want to spread the seeds out as much as possible so that they toast evenly.
Here’s how I do it: Take a fork and run it through the seeds. This will push some seeds forward while letting some fall back. Then, tap the pan on the counter and they should spread out pretty evenly. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
Pop the tray into the oven and time the sesame seeds for 4 minutes. Keep checking them as it gets close to this time because they can burn or become overtoasted in a blink of an eye! If you want, take them out halfway through cooking and mix them so they cook more evenly. Pull them out of the oven when they are golden brown and let them cool on the tray.
After they cool, they are ready to eat! Either sprinkle them on food or pour them into a storage container and save for later use. I like to use an empty herb shaker so I can easily sprinkle them on my food whenever I want.
How to Toast Sesame Seeds on Stove
The only downside to baking your sesame seeds is that they are sometimes hard to get off of the tray. You can get a majority of them off with a spoon, but there will always be a few left behind that you have to brush off.
If you don’t want to bake your seeds, you can pan fry them on the stove! This usually takes a little bit longer to do and you can’t toast as many at a time as you can with baking, but it is an alternative if you don’t want to wait for the oven to preheat.
To toast your sesame seeds on the stove, heat a pan over medium heat. Toss in as many sesame seeds as you want, but not so much that they are overlapping one another. Every once in a while, shake the pan so that the seeds toast evenly. You can even toss them lightly so that they flip over and toast the other sides.
Continue toasting the sesame seeds until they are golden brown. The cook time will vary depending on what type of pan you use and how hot your pan was when you began toasting, but it will usually take around 7–10 minutes. If you start to hear a popping sound, the seeds are just about done toasting.
Toasted Sesame Seeds
- sesame seeds hulled
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread sesame seeds evenly on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 4 minutes, stirring halfway through if desired. (Keep an eye on them as they burn easily)
- Heat an ungreased, nonstick pan over medium heat. Pour in just enough sesame seeds to cover the bottom of the pan. Shake pan often to prevent burning and to cook evenly. Remove from heat after about 7–10 minutes — you will begin to hear a popping sound and the seeds will be golden brown.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Do sesame seeds have to be toasted?
It is completely safe to eat raw sesame seeds. So no, they do not have to be toasted. Choosing to toast your sesame seeds is just about your taste preferences and the type of dish you are using them for.
Many people find that toasted sesame seeds have a nuttier flavor and are crunchy and easier to chew. These are great for adding a little extra flavor to many things, including toasts, crackers, and hummus.
However, in some cases, the nutty flavor might be a little too overwhelming and take over the flavor of the dish. This can happen with sushi, which is why untoasted sesame seeds are often used for sushi rolls.
How do you store toasted sesame seeds?
Store toasted sesame seeds in an airtight container in a cool, dry, place away from sunlight. I like to use a shaker so that I can easily grab it and sprinkle the seeds on my food.
How long do toasted sesame seeds last?
According to the USDA, an unopened package or container of sesame seeds should last about 5 years, if properly stored in a cool, dry place.
However, every time you open the container, you expose the seeds to moisture and outside contaminants, so it’s best to only keep an opened container for about 6 months in the cupboard or up to 12 months in the refrigerator or freezer. Because you have to open the package to toast them, toasted sesame seeds will last 6–12 months.
Always look for and follow the expiration date on the package and smell the seeds before using. When sesame seeds go bad, they will have a rancid smell like other spoiled foods.
Do you need to wash sesame seeds?
It is not necessary to wash your sesame seeds before eating or toasting. Some people like to wash them to make sure they are clean and to make them less likely to burn.
If you want to wash your sesame seeds, place them in a mesh strainer, and run water over them until the water runs clear. Note: The cook time might be off if you wash the seeds before toasting. You will probably have to toast the seeds a little longer than expected for both the oven method and the stovetop method.