In the world of cooking oils, there are two important players: Sesame oil and palm oil.
Sesame oil has a nutty taste and is commonly used in Asian dishes like stir-fries and salads. Palm oil is known for being versatile and smooth, and it’s used in both cooking and manufacturing. So, which is better?
Comparing sesame oil vs palm oil
|Palm oil/Red palm oil
|Solid or Liquid?
|Smoke Point (Fahrenheit)
|Good for Cooking…
|Raw, low het, moderate heat
|Raw, low, moderate, and high heat
|Oil palm fruit
|Mostly yes (some debate)
Differences between sesame oil and palm oil
Sesame oil and palm oil are two distinct cooking oils with different sources, production methods, and flavors.
Sesame oil is derived from sesame seeds, crushed or pressed to obtain the oil, and is known for its nutty and rich flavor. It is commonly used in Asian cuisines and often employed as a seasoning or for stir-frying and sautéing.
On the other hand, palm oil, or red palm oil, comes from the fruit of the oil palm tree and is produced in tropical regions like Indonesia and Malaysia. It has a neutral flavor, making it suitable as a base oil in cooking, and is widely used in a variety of culinary applications, including frying and baking.
Baking and cooking with sesame oil vs palm oil
In my experience, both sesame oil and palm oil offer unique culinary uses that can elevate various dishes. Sesame oil’s distinct nutty and rich flavor is perfect for enhancing the taste of Asian-inspired dishes. I often use it sparingly as a finishing oil for stir-fries, noodle dishes, and marinades. Its powerful taste can easily overpower the dish if used in excess, so a little goes a long way!
On the other hand, palm oil’s neutral flavor makes it incredibly versatile in the kitchen. I find it suitable for a wide range of cooking applications, including frying, sautéing, and baking.
When I’m preparing fried foods, like crispy snacks or fried chicken, palm oil’s high smoke point ensures a crisp texture without smoking up my kitchen. Additionally, palm oil’s semi-solid texture and neutral flavor work well in baked goods – similar to coconut oil.
So, while sesame oil adds a distinctive flavor, palm oil acts more as a supportive ingredient, allowing the other flavors in the dish to come to the forefront.
Can sesame oil and palm oil be substituted for each other?
In some instances, you can make substitutions between these oils, but it’s crucial to be mindful of the dish’s specific requirements and the impact on taste. If the unique sesame flavor is crucial to the recipe, it’s better to stick with sesame oil. Similarly, for high-heat cooking, palm oil is the more suitable option. As always, experimentation and personal taste preferences play a role in determining the success of any substitution.
Nutrition: Sesame oil vs palm oil
When it comes to nutrition, both oils offer different benefits and considerations.
Sesame oil is packed with healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, sesame oil brings a wealth of nutrients to the table. It’s rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which can promote heart health when consumed in moderation.
Red palm oil, in particular, is a good source of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that the body converts into Vitamin A. This vitamin plays a vital role in maintaining healthy vision and a robust immune system. However, it’s essential to be mindful of portion sizes, as palm oil is high in saturated fat, which can raise cholesterol levels when consumed excessively.
|Per tablespoon (15mL)
|Palm oil/Red palm oil
The primary fat source is bolded.
How to store sesame oil and palm oil
Proper storage is crucial to maintaining the freshness and quality of these oils.
Due to its high unsaturated fat content, sesame oil is susceptible to oxidation. To extend its shelf life, store it in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight. You can also keep it in the refrigerator for even better preservation.
Thanks to its high saturated fat content, palm oil is more stable and less prone to spoilage. Keep it in a cool, dry pantry away from heat and sunlight to maintain its quality and flavor.
Sesame oil vs palm oil: Which is better
While both oils have their unique strengths, my personal favorite is sesame oil. Its rich flavor and aroma can elevate dishes to new heights. When used sparingly, it adds a delightful nuttiness that can’t be replicated by other oils.
That said, it’s essential to remember that moderation is key. Both sesame oil and palm oil are calorie-dense, so use them in balanced amounts as part of a healthy diet.
In some cases, yes. If you’re looking for a milder flavor, refined palm oil can be a substitute for sesame oil. However, keep in mind that the taste will differ, so it may not be an exact match.
While sesame oil offers numerous health benefits due to its unsaturated fats and nutrient profile, there is no “healthiest” oil. The key is to vary the types of oils you use and consume them in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
Palm oil, particularly red palm oil, contains beneficial antioxidants and nutrients like beta-carotene. However, it is also high in saturated fat, which, when consumed excessively, can have negative effects on heart health. As with any oil, the key is moderation and using it as part of a diverse diet.