Last Updated: Sep 4, 2020 @ 1:20 pm.

What is the best sesame oil? We tried 11 different brands of sesame oil, drizzled on stir fry, mixed into salad dressing and used as a base for fried rice. (Hungry yet?) Here are the best bets.

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Best Sesame Oil Overall

Imported from Japan
Top scoring sesame oil in our tests—excellent in marinades and dressings. We loved the strong flavor, but a few dissenters say it is a bit too strong.
$5.00 ($0.45 / Fl Oz)

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Best Sesame Oil Overall: Kadoya Pure Sesame Oil

Let’s talk sesame oil!

There are two basic types of sesame oil: light sesame oil and toasted sesame oil.

Light sesame oil is used in deep frying, thanks to it low smoke point (about 410 to 445 degrees). Made from raw sesame seeds, light sesame oil has a nutty/earthy flavor profile.

Toasted sesame oil—by far the most popular type of sesame oil—is made from roasted sesame seeds. Since it has a lower smoke point, it isn’t used as much in frying foods. Instead, it is used as a finishing touch for stir fry . . . or as a base for salad dressing. Or marinade for chicken wings. Toasted sesame oil has a richer taste.

This article focuses on toasted sesame oil, although we will recommend one lighter toasted sesame oil in case you prefer a lighter sesame flavor.

For the best overall sesame oil, we recommend Kadoya’s Pure Sesame Oil. This oil was our favorite to use in recipes and was a very consistent performer. Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Made in Japan.

• Very good quality.

• Smooth flavor.

What Needs Work

• Pricey.

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Best Organic Sesame Oil

Great for stir fry
Lighter in flavor with nutty notes, this sesame oil is USDA organic and excellent when you want a more mellow sesame flavor. No GMO's.
$33.19 ($0.52 / Fl Oz)

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Best Organic Sesame Oil: Kevala Organic Toasted Sesame Oil

We tried out several organic versions of toasted sesame oil—in the end, Kevala took the crown. Made in Mexico, this toasted sesame oil has a great taste and aroma.

What We Liked

 Cold pressed and unrefined.

• No GMO’s.

• Processed in peanut-free facility.

• USDA Organic.

• Loved the subtle flavor and smell.

• Great for frying, thanks to a higher smoke point than other sesame oils we tasted.

• Made in Mexico, bottled in USA.

• Gluten free.

What Needs Work

• Not as intense sesame flavor as other brands. This isn’t necessarily a drawback, however. Some recipes do better with the sesame flavor dialed back just a bit—sticky honey chicken wings, for example.

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Best Lighter Sesame Oil

A favorite for Asian BBQ marinade
If you are tired of buying small, pricey bottles of sesame oil, we'd recommend this choice: 55 ounces of high quality toasted sesame oil. Rich, strong taste.
$19.85 ($1.17 / Fl Oz)

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Best Lighter Sesame Oil: La Tourangelle Toasted Sesame Oil

Yes, this is a toasted sesame oil, but we call this the best lighter sesame oil because it isn’t as dark and smokey (in flavor and appearance) as other toasted sesame oils we tested. It is best in dishes where a lighter touch of sesame is preferred. It is fragrant, but more in floral than nutty notes.

What We Liked

• Lighter flavor profile great for chicken stir fry.

• Affordable.

• No GMO’s.

• Made by California-based company.

• Moderate smoke point = good for sautéing.

What Needs Work

• Product of Japan . . . and Mexico? Oddly, this sesame oil appears to be a blend of both Mexican and Japanese oils. There’s nothing wrong with either Mexican or Japanese sesame seeds, but most sesame oils we tested are sourced from the same region. On the plus side, the blend gives this sesame its lighter profile.

• Not the best choice if you want bold sesame flavor.

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Best Budget-Friendly Oil

Imported from South Korea
If you are tired of buying small, pricey bottles of sesame oil, we'd recommend this choice: 55 ounces of high quality toasted sesame oil. Rich, strong taste.
$20.98 ($0.37 / Fl Oz)

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Best Budget-Friendly Oil: Premium Roasted Ottogi Sesame Oil

We love using sesame oil in cooking—but it can get rather pricey. Good news: we found a sesame oil that is high quality, yet easy on the wallet: Ottogi’s Premium Roasted Sesame Oil.

It passed our taste tests in stir fry and marinades, yet is much more budget-friendly than other sesame oils we tested.

What We Liked

• Metal can with one-touch stopper. It poured easily in our tests.

• Made in South Korea.

• Triple filtered.

What Needs Work

• Very rich, strong aroma is a bit much for some folks. But we liked it!

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do hands-on testing—we buy the products with our own money and evaluate with an eye toward quality and affordability.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader supported!

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