These instructions for How to Toast Sesame Seeds literally couldn’t be any simpler. But there are a few tips and tricks to help you avoid any disasters. Follow my instructions and you’ll end up with beautifully nutty and golden toasted sesame seeds, not a bitter burnt mess!
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You can buy ready toasted sesame seeds, especially in Asian grocery stores but I’ve been finding them harder and harder to come by. When you do find them, they’re often more expensive that untoasted or raw sesame seeds.
The other reason that I prefer to toast my own is that I can toast them a little more or a little less depending on how I want them. I generally prefer mine to be fairly dark toasted which is definitely harder to come by ready made.
Home toasting only requires the most basic kitchen equipment and you can apply the technique and my tips to other nuts and seeds. You could start by looking at my post for How to Toast Flaked Almonds.
What Are Sesame Seeds?
Sesame seeds are simply the hulled seeds of the sesame plant.
They have a very high oil content and are made into pastes and pressed to obtain their oil in many cultures and cuisines around the world.
Equipment Needed for Toasted Sesame Seeds
All you need to toast sesame seeds is a good frying or saucepan. A heavy bottomed pan will give you a more controlled and even heat. I like to use frying pans with high sides – in the region of a sauté pan. This creates the least mess and allows you to toss the seeds as they’re toasting.
A comprehensive list of the equipment used to make this recipe is included in the main recipe card below. Click on any item to see an example. There are no hard and fast rules so many items can be sensibly substituted to achieve the same results.
How to Store Toasted Sesame Seeds
Once toasted the seeds will keep for months.
You absolutely must make sure that they are 100% cold before adding to an airtight container for this to be this the case. If you put them in a jar or tub warm, this will create steam and that moisture will cause the seeds to become damp and then mouldy.
There is no need to keep in the fridge or freezer. In fact this could again add extra unnecessary moisture which can affect their lifespan, taste and texture.
I like to refill a handy container that I bought sesame seeds in in the past. This makes shaking them onto feed as a seasoning really easy.
Top Tips for Toasting Sesame Seeds
Rule number one is to never ever take your eye off or walk away from the pan. The second you do this, the seeds will catch and burn.
Don’t be tempted to add any oil to the pan – we are toasting not frying.
Make sure to keep moving the seeds in the pan. Again this is to prevent any of them from catching and burning, especially if there are any hot spots in the pan.
Don’t skip my advice to take the pan off the heat when they only look part toasted. You’ll be surprised how quickly the residual heat will finish the toasting. Worse case scenario you can put the pan back on the heat.
If you want to toast the sesame seeds darker than I have then please do. I’ve aimed for a mid-way toast only a little more toasty that you can buy.
Ways to Use Toasted Sesame Seeds
I keep a shaker of toasted sesame seeds to hand with all my other seasonings and condiments. There is rarely an Asian based dish that doesn’t get a good sprinkle as a garnish.
I’m sharing some of my recipes where sesame seeds are a listed ingredient. They range from sesame forward recipes like the first to a few where they are the finishing touch!
Sesame Tenderstem Broccoli
Homemade Sesame Bagels
Uramaki Sushi with Chilli Crab
Ginger & Chilli Courgettes (Zucchini)
Crispy Tofu Teriyaki (Vegan)
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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How to Toast Sesame Seeds
- Untoasted Sesame Seeds
- Place Untoasted Sesame Seeds into a heavy based frying pan.
- Place the pan over a medium-high heat for 30 seconds or so just to get the pan warm quickly. Keep moving the seeds – swirl the pan or use a spatula but either way, be gentle. As the oils release, the seeds clump together. This is totally normal.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low and continue cooking the seeds for around 1 to 2 minutes until they start turning a very light golden brown. Again keep the nuts moving. Adjust the heat as your instinct tells you. If you are more nervous stick to a lower heat. If you are more confident you can go a little hotter but try not too rush or you risk over toasting.
- Remove the pan from the heat and continue moving the sesame seeds for another 30 seconds to a minute until they look nicely golden and toasted.
- Tip the toasted seeds onto a plate and allow to cool. Don't let them sit in the pan to cool or they will continue toasting and become bitter.
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