An overhead shot of sesame seeds before they are toasted.

How to Toast Sesame Seeds:

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Previously, on the blog, I wrote about toasted sesame seeds and toasted sesame oil. In those posts, I discussed how people in South Korea commonly use these ingredients in their cooking. After all, both ingredients are integral to North and South Korea’s food culture. Here, I give step-by-step instructions on how to toast sesame seeds on your own at home. Soon, you will be able to make dishes from all different food cultures that commonly use sesame seeds in their cuisine!

In this post, I explain how to toast sesame seeds using the stovetop, the oven, and the microwave. Each method has pros and cons. Read below to decide which will fit your needs! 

How to Toast Sesame Seeds: 

Below, we list three different methods for how to toast sesame seeds. First, we explain how to toast sesame seeds in a pan or skillet. Then, we explain how to toast them in the microwave. Finally, we explain how to toast them in the oven. Let’s get started!

How to Toast Sesame Seeds in a Pan or Skillet:

I recommend using a pan or skillet when wanting to toast small batches of sesame seeds quickly. 


Pros

This method takes little to no time! At most, it takes 3 to 5 minutes. 

Cons

First, toasting sesame seeds on the stovetop can cause them to brown unevenly.

Second, to toast a large number of sesame seeds, you need to toast them in batches. 


Step-By-Step Stovetop Method: 

Step 1: Place the seeds on a cold, dry skillet. When you do this, do not add oil, butter, or water, and do not overcrowd the pan. 

Step 2: Heat the pan or skillet over medium heat. Once hot, cook for approximately 3 to 5 minutes while stirring and shaking often. 

Step 3: Once golden brown and fragrant, remove the pan from heat. Pour the sesame seeds into another container and let them cool before using or storing them. 

Note: Do not leave the stove while toasting sesame seeds. The seeds turn from perfect golden brown to overcooked black very quickly. Instead, while cooking these on the stove, continue to shake and stir them. 

A side shot of toasted sesame seeds in a pan. The photo shoes you how to toast sesame seeds.
Toasted Sesame Seeds! So Easy to Do!

How to Toast Sesame Seeds in the Oven:

Instead of toasting over the stovetop, I recommend using the oven when cooking large batches. 


Pros

First, this method cooks the seeds more evenly than the stovetop alternative.

Second, you do not need to stir the sesame seeds as they cook.

Finally, You can cook a large batch all at once. 

Cons

This method takes longer as you need to wait for the oven to preheat.

Depending on your oven, this can take 10 to 15 minutes. 


Step-By-Step Oven Method:

Step 1: Place your oven rack on the center shelf. Then, Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Step 2: While your oven preheats, place the sesame seeds on a cookie sheet or pan as a single layer. Do not overcrowd the sesame seeds by making a thick layer on the pan. 

Step 3: Toast the seeds until golden brown and fragrant. This takes approximately 5 minutes.

Step 4:  Once golden brown and fragrant, remove the seeds from the cookie sheet or pan. Let them cool before storing them in the pantry, refrigerator, or freezer. 

Note: As before, keep an eye on the seeds as they cook so they do not burn.  

How to Toast Sesame Seeds in the Microwave:

Finally, you can toast sesame seeds in small batches in the microwave.


Pros

First, this is a good option for those without access to a stove or oven (think college dorm students, hotel rooms, etc.)

Second, it only takes a few minutes to toast the seeds.

Finally, you do not need to stir the seeds as they cook. 

Cons

First, the toasting time changes based on the microwave.

Second, toasting can be finicky and uneven. 


Step-By-Step Microwave Method:

Step 1: Place the seeds in a microwave-safe, flat-bottomed container (such as a plate or ramekin)

Step 2: Microwave on high for 1-minute intervals until the seeds turn golden brown. Stir the seeds in between the intervals. 

Step 3: Once golden brown, let the seeds cool before storing them in the pantry, refrigerator, or freezer. 

Note: As before, keep an eye on the seeds as they cook so they do not burn. Stop the microwave if you see the seeds burning.

Toasted Sesame Seeds Frequently Asked Questions:

Now that we learned how to toast sesame seeds using three methods, we want to answer some questions you may potentially have as well! If we do not answer your question, feel free to leave a comment in the section below or email us at carvingajourney@gmail.com

An overhead shot of a white bowl with everything bagel seasoning inside.
You Can Use Toasted Sesame Seeds to Make Everything But Bagel Seasoning!

How to Store Toasted Sesame Seeds? 

Once you toast the sesame seeds, you can use them right away for any recipe. If you are looking for recipes using toasted sesame seeds, I recommend making our tteokkochi, mayak eggs, kimchi deviled eggs, or other recipes using sesame seeds on our blog.  

To store leftovers, first, let them cool fully. Then, place them into an airtight container. I recommend storing sesame seeds using three different methods:

  • At room temperature in a cool and dry location out of direct sunlight (such as the pantry). 
  • In the refrigerator; Or
  • In the freezer

Below, we list how long sesame seeds last depending on how you store them!

How Long Do These Seeds Last? 

Sesame seeds last for different periods based on your storage method:

  • Room Temperature: At room temperature, toasted sesame seeds can last for up to 3 months.
  • Refrigerated: In the refrigerator, you can store toasted sesame seeds for up to 6 months.
  • Freezer: Finally, in the freezer, you can store toasted sesame seeds for up to 1 year. 
An overhead shot of a white bowl filled with Japanese furikake.
Or, Try Making Japanese Furikake!

Can You Freeze Them?

As we stated above, you can freeze toasted sesame seeds. If you do, make sure to place them in an airtight, freezer-safe container. 

I recommend using either freezer Ziploc or a freezer-safe reusable bag such as Stasher. These work best because you can remove excess air before freezing, allowing the toasted sesame seeds to last longer. 

Finally, before freezing, I also recommend adding some masking tape to the bags with the date written in a permanent marker. That way, you know exactly when you placed your cooking ingredients into the freezer. 

We Hope You Enjoyed Learning How to Toast Sesame Seeds!

In the end, we hope you enjoyed learning how to toast sesame seeds! If so, let us know in the comment section! 

If you would like to read more about cooking, you can find further recipes on our blog. We listed some of our favorite Carving A Journey Korean recipes below! For reference, many recipes are influenced by our blended Korean and Southern heritage.

Korean Ingredient Articles: 

Further Carving A Journey Korean Recipes:

If you have any questions or comments, you can also email us at carvingajourney@gmail.com.

And, finally, we would love to hear from you through our social media as well! You can follow us at @carvingajourney on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Or, if you would like more articles like these, you can subscribe to our blog by joining our mailing list. We hope you enjoyed learning how to toast sesame seeds. Thank you so much for stopping by!

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How to Toast Sesame Seeds:

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Emily Course: Korean Recipes, Lifestyle and Culinary Tips, RecipesCuisine: KoreanDifficulty: Easy
Cooking time

5

minutes

Ingredients

  • Sesame Seeds, (any quantity; Less Than 1 Cup Recommended for Stovetop, More Than 1 Cup Recommended for Oven)

Directions

  • Stovetop Method :
  • Place the seeds on a cold, dry skillet. When you do this, do not add oil, butter, or water, and do not overcrowd the pan. Heat the pan or skillet over medium heat. Once hot, cook for approximately 3 to 5 minutes while stirring and shaking often. Once golden brown and fragrant, remove the pan from heat. Pour the sesame seeds into another container and let them cool before using or storing them. 
  • Oven Method:
  • Place your oven rack on the center shelf. Then, Preheat your oven to 350°F. While your oven preheats, place the sesame seeds on a cookie sheet or pan as a single layer. Do not overcrowd the sesame seeds by making a thick layer on the pan. Toast the seeds until golden brown and fragrant. This takes approximately 5 minutes. Once golden brown and fragrant, remove the seeds from the cookie sheet or pan. Let them cool before storing them in the pantry, refrigerator, or freezer. 
  • Microwave Method:
  • Place the seeds in a microwave-safe, flat-bottomed container (such as a plate or ramekin). Microwave on high for 1-minute intervals until the seeds turn golden brown. Stir the seeds in between the intervals. Once golden brown, let the seeds cool before storing them in the pantry, refrigerator, or freezer. 

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