There are many different types of oils and fats to choose from, each with their own unique flavors, nutritional benefits, and cooking properties. Two popular options are sesame oil and butter, but which one is better?
In this article, we’ll explore the differences between sesame oil and butter, including their flavor profiles, nutritional benefits, and cooking uses, to help you decide which one is the best choice for your next culinary creation!
Comparing sesame oil vs butter
|Solid or Liquid?||Liquid||Solid|
|Smoke Point (Fahrenheit)||350-450 degrees||300-350 degrees|
|Good for Cooking…||Raw, low heat, moderate heat||Raw, low heat|
|Allergens||Sesame seeds||Lactose, casein|
|Paleo?||Mostly yes (some debate)||No|
Differences between sesame oil and butter
Sesame oil is made from sesame seeds, while butter is made from milk fat. So, one’s plant-based, and one’s animal-based.
Butter is made through churning cream, and sesame oil is typically extracted through a process of crushing and pressing sesame seeds. You can even make your own sesame oil at home!
You can get unrefined and refined sesame oil. Unrefined sesame oil has a nutty and rich flavor that tastes like sesame seeds. Refined sesame oil has a higher smoke point and a more neutral flavor. And then there’s also toasted or dark sesame oil that has a more robust flavor. Butter is either salted or unsalted.
Baking and cooking with sesame oil vs butter
The smoke point is the temperature at which an oil or fat starts to smoke and break down, which can produce an unpleasant taste and harmful chemicals. Sesame oil has a relatively high smoke point, around 450°F, while butter has a slightly lower smoke point, around 350°F. This means that sesame oil is better suited for high heat cooking methods like stir-frying and sautéing, while butter is great for baking, roasting, and lower heat cooking methods.
As I mentioned, sesame oil has a nutty taste – like tahini/sesame seeds. I mostly use it in Asian marinades, dressings, and stir-fries for its unique flavor. And remember, a little goes a long way!
Butter has a rich and creamy taste that is perfect for baking cookies, cakes and pastries, and adding richness to savory dishes like mashed potatoes and sauces.
Can sesame oil and butter be substituted for each other?
Sesame oil and butter are not great substitutes for each other. Sesame oil has a much stronger flavor, so I don’t recommend using it as a substitute for butter. However, you may be able to use butter in place of sesame oil for high heat cooking. The flavor will be slightly different, but if you only need a small amount in your recipe, it should be fine! Of course, a different type of seed or vegetable oil is probably a better substitute for sesame oil.
Nutrition: Sesame oil vs butter
Sesame oil is high in healthy unsaturated fats, which can help reduce inflammation and improve heart health. Butter, on the other hand, is high in saturated fat, which can increase cholesterol levels and lead to an increased risk of heart disease.
Sesame oil is also full of antioxidants and vitamin E. Plus, it has a higher smoke point, making it a healthier option for cooking at high temperatures. Heating butter to high temperatures (past its smoke point) during cooking can cause it to break down and form harmful compounds such as free radicals, which can contribute to health problems and inflammation.
It’s important to keep in mind that moderation is key, and both sesame oil and butter should be used in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
|Per tablespoon (15mL)||Sesame oil||Butter|
|Monounsaturated||5.4 g||3.0 g|
|Saturated||1.9 g||7.3 g|
|Trans||0 g||0.5 g|
|Total Fat||13.6 g||14.2 g|
The primary fat source is bolded.
How to store sesame oil and butter
It’s best to store sesame oil in a cool, dark place, such as a pantry or cupboard, away from heat and sunlight. This will help prevent the oil from becoming rancid and losing its flavor.
Butter should be kept in the refrigerator to prevent it from spoiling. Make sure it’s stored in an airtight container or wrapped in foil or plastic wrap to prevent it from absorbing odors or flavors from other foods in the fridge.
Sesame oil vs butter: Which is better
I have to give the win to sesame oil over butter. While both ingredients have their uses, sesame oil’s high levels of healthy unsaturated fats and vitamin E make it a healthier choice for cooking and adding flavor to dishes, while its high smoke point is ideal for cooking at high temperatures. Of course, butter is best for baking, where the strong flavor of sesame oil would be too overpowering.
Sesame oil is generally considered to be healthier than butter due to its high levels of healthy unsaturated fats and vitamin E, while butter is high in saturated fat and can increase cholesterol levels.
You can use sesame oil as a substitute for butter in some recipes, particularly in Asian cuisine or dishes that benefit from the nutty flavor of sesame oil. But a little goes a long way due to its strong flavor, so you may need to combine it with a more neutral oil.
Yes, sesame oil is considered a healthy fat due to its high levels of unsaturated fats, particularly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation and improve heart health. Additionally, sesame oil is a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that can protect against cell damage.