How to Toast Sesame Seeds

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Toasted sesame seeds are a staple ingredient in many Korean dishes. Although a tiny little seed, when toasted, they pack a punch of aromatic, nutty and potent flavor. They are often used as a garnish but this does not mean their flavor is expected of less than their flair.

Although toasted sesame seeds can widely be found in pre-toasted and store-bought form, they will never compare to the ones toasted from scratch. Sometimes life is too short for, well, shortcuts.

It’s the little things that count.

These raw sesame seeds are pleading for a makeover.

These raw sesame seeds are pleading for a makeover.

What you will need:

  • raw sesame seeds

  • medium bowl and colander for rinsing

  • a wooden or plastic spoon for stirring

  • a large wok or large shallow pan

  • 30 minutes of your time, love and elbow grease

  • a loved one to talk to pass the time


Raw sesame seeds are pale in color and taste like nothing. Boooring.

Raw sesame seeds are pale in color and taste like nothing. Boooring.

  1. Dispense seeds into a bowl and rinse them by hand under cool water a few times. Pick out any stones or odd bits. Drain them in a colander and give them a good few shakes to rid of any excess water.

  2. Heat a large wok over medium low heat. Once thoroughly heated (about 5 minutes), add in sesame seeds and begin toasting them, stirring frequently.

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3. Set your timer for 30 minutes so you don’t lose track of time like I do.

4. Stir seeds frequently while chatting with a loved one or watching cat videos to pass the time. Enjoy the nutty aroma beginning to fill your house. Switch arms if you need to.

5. The seeds will begin to gradually turn golden brown in color and will yield an aroma that should smell strong and nutty- not smoky.

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6. In the last 10 minutes of toasting, turn up the heat slightly to medium high and finish toasting seeds. Remove from heat after 30 minutes or until they have achieved a deep golden brown hue. Taste some, they will taste like incredibly nutty and pleasantly woodsy.

7. Remove from heat and let cool on a plate. Serve immediately with your favorite dish. My boyfriend and I enjoyed some of them topped over some hot soy butter rice- yum!

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