How to Toast Sesame Seeds

If you are wondering how to toast sesame seeds at home then fear not it is in no way complicated and only takes a few minutes.

Sesame seeds add a punch of flavor to most of your favorite dishes. They need to be toasted right to provide the ideal seasoning and convey out a full, nutty flavor.

Though sesame seeds can be bought from the store pre-toasted, it is not hard and almost always provides better results to toast them speedily yourself, especially with an oven safe pan or skillet.

Japanese preparations usually use unhulled sesame seeds. If the bag you buy them in is not marked, you may be able to guess by their color:

  • Hulled sesame seeds are often white and uniform in color
  • Unhulled raw white sesame seeds will have many different off-white shades, changing from white to off-white to beige to tan.
  • Black sesame seeds usually have the hull on, since the hull is what makes them black.
toasted sesame seeds

How to Toast Sesame Seeds

Here are some tips on how to toast sesame seeds using an oven-safe pan or skillet:

  1. Heat a small pan on medium to medium-high without any oil in the oven. Set the lid of the pan close by.
  2. Add the sesame seeds as soon as the pan is hot. Stir and shake continuously and watch carefully because sesame seeds burn very easily. The sesame seeds may jump and pop out of the pan; this is really a good thing — you can close the pan with the lid to avoid making a mess and shake every few seconds to redistribute them.
  3. Take away the lid when they stop popping and use a spatula to stir. If the sesame seeds do not pop within a minute or two, try a higher temperature.

After the sesame seeds are cooked at low heat for some minutes, sometimes they will not pop even after you turn up the heat. This is fine although the sesame seeds will take longer to toast.

Toast them until they have a nutty aroma which smells like to roasted peanuts or roasted peanut butter. The duration depends on how high the heat is.

Hotter temperatures will toast the seeds quicker and require careful concentration when stirring and shaking the pan in order to evenly brown the sesame seeds.

On medium, it might take 3 minutes for a little Tbsp of sesame seeds. Larger quantities need longer, examples 10 minutes for 1 cup of sesame seeds.

Toasting will give white sesame seeds a golden color. Black sesame seeds will not change the color, so be especially careful and ensure you use medium heat–you can say when black sesame seeds are done by smell.

When toasted, the sesame seeds will easily crush between your fingertips and smell nutty, toasted, and aromatic (not raw).

Take away the sesame seeds from the pan the moment they are toasted because they will burn if you leave them in the hot pan.

When it comes to confections, if you have never eaten sesame cookies or sesame candy, you do not know what you have been missing.

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