Sesame Oil vs. Olive Oil: All You NEED TO KNOW!

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We all know that cooking with sunflower or other vegetable oils can be unhealthy, which might cause you to look for healthier alternatives.

On your quest, you will undoubtedly run into these two oils, and you will need to ask the question: what is the difference between sesame oil and olive oil?

Short Answer: 

Sesame oil is a nut oil that is extracted from sesame seeds, while olive oil is a liquid fat extracted from pressed, whole olives.

These are both wonderfully healthy oils that are an excellent substitution for unhealthy vegetable oils. However, specialty oils can be expensive, so it’s good to know a little more about the product before you spend any money.

In this article, we will be taking a closer look at both sesame and olive oil to determine the difference between these delicious and popular oils.

Read on to find out more.

What is Sesame Oil?

Sesame oil is a vegetable oil obtained by pressing whole sesame seeds. (*)

It is the earliest known crop-based oil that originated in the Indus valley over 5000 years ago.

The oil is created by pressing whole raw sesame seeds and extracting the oil. Toasted sesame seeds can also be pressed to make a more flavorful oil, but it is only suitable as a finishing oil.

Sesame oil can be used for frying, dressings, or finishing.

It will be pale yellow to deep gold in color, depending on the toasting of the seeds.

This crop is not widely cultivated due to the slow, manual harvesting process, which makes it more expensive to produce.

Sesame oil is commonly used in Asian dishes like sauces, stir-fries, and salads.

We do not recommend sesame oil for anyone with a seed or nut allergy.

What is Olive Oil?

Olive oil is a liquid fat obtained by pressing whole olives. (*)

Olives are a tree crop found in the Mediterranean, where olives are a vital part of the local cuisine and health regimes.

Unlike many oils, olive oil is extracted from the flesh of the olive fruit rather than from the seeds.

The oil has a golden yellow to slightly green-hued color, depending on how refined it is.

Olive oil ranges from regular to extra virgin olive oil, with subtle differences and vastly different price tags.

Regular olive oil will be lighter in color and flavor and best suited for frying. While it is more expensive than standard cooking oil, it is the cheaper olive oil option.

Extra virgin olive oil will be greener in color, deeper in flavor, and better for finishing. This is also the more expensive option.

Olive oil is commonly used in dressings, marinades, bread-making, and frying.

If you have a nut allergy, then olive oil is a great healthy oil choice that is perfectly safe to use.

How Is Sesame Oil Different From Olive Oil??

Sesame and olive oil are healthy oils that can be used as a substitute for unhealthy oils like canola oil.

The main draw of these oils is the fact that they are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which lower your cholesterol over time.

Apart from that, let’s compare the two directly to see the benefits of each:

  • Sesame oil has a robust and nutty flavor that contributes to the flavor of the dish, while olive oil is a little more buttery and subtle.
  • Both oils can be used as finishing and frying oils.
  • Smoke point of olive oil vs sesame oil: around 374–405°F vs 410°F
  • They are equal in calories.
  • Olive oil is higher in vitamin C and K.
  • Olive oil is higher in minerals.

Is sesame oil better than olive oil? At the end of the day, if you are looking for the healthiest oil, then olive oil is the winner, hands down. 

However, especially in comparison with other oils, sesame oil is still a valid option.

We recommend keeping both of these oils on hand as a cooking oil alternative to add flavor and character to your dishes.


Can I use sesame oil in place of olive oil?

Sometimes you can swap out olive oil for sesame oil, but this depends on what you are cooking. 

While sesame and olive oil will function pretty much the same, they have a very different flavors.

If the dish you are cooking would benefit from a little hit of sesame flavor, then we recommend using it as a substitution.

However, if you are cooking a Mediterranean dish, then using olive oil is a must.

Which is the healthiest oil?

Fortunately for us, there are a lot of healthy oils on the market for you to choose from.[*]

When compared side by side, olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil, is the healthiest oil you can use.

Avocado oil is also a very healthy option that is made from the flesh of the fruit rather than the seeds. It is high in healthy monounsaturated fats and can be used in the same easy as olive oil.

What is the worst oil to avoid?

On the other side of things, there are a lot of unhealthy oils on grocery store shelves that we suggest avoiding.

The worst oil to cook with is corn oil because it is very high in polyunsaturated fatty acids. Unfortunately, corn oil is very common for deep frying due to its high smoke point.

Also on that list is palm oil, which is 50/50 saturated and unsaturated fat and unethically produced.


Although they have a lot in common, we have managed to discover the differences between sesame oil and olive oil.

  • Sesame oil is a nut oil made from sesame seeds.
  • Olive oil is an oil made from pressing whole olives and extracting the oil.
  • Between the two, olive oil is the healthiest option.

When it comes to healthy oils, both of these are great options that we recommend keeping on hand in your cupboards.

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