Black Sesame Seeds

A Guide to the Difference Between Black and White Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds have been around for centuries but is there a difference between black and white sesame seeds?


Minuscule but effective. Obscure, but enduring.

Sesame seeds have only recently begun to receive their flowers. However, they have been around for thousands of years, and one would not be out of order to remark that sesame seeds play an important role in the food industry.

Sesame seeds are quite versatile in terms of the purposes served. They add flavour to food and are rich in calcium, magnesium and iron. The types of sesame seeds you are most likely to run into are brown, white and black.

Here is how to properly tell apart black from white sesame seeds:

1. Origin 

The first difference to be identified between black and white sesame seeds lies in their main cultivation and production locations. White or creamy sesame seeds are more common in Africa and South America, while black sesame seeds are more native to Southeast Asian countries.

In the present day, Myanmar, India and China happen to be the global commercial hubs for the cultivation and production of black sesame seeds. As of 2018, the three countries ranked second, third and fifth respectively in global sesame seed ( black and white seeds) production.

You can read on the 3 main regions where sesame seeds come from for more interesting information on the origin of these minuscule seeds. 

2. Texture and Flavour 

Discerning taste buds would notice variations in the taste and feel of both seeds. Black sesame seeds tend to be more crispy and filling than white sesame seeds, which also have a relatively toned-down flavour. Black sesame seeds have a more layered, nutty texture than white sesame seeds.

They both have a unique taste, and one’s sesame seed of choice purely boils down to personal preference or an acquired taste for the white or black option. Put differently, anyone would have a biased preference for the sesame seed they are most used to. Read whether sesame seeds are gluten free.

3. Culinary Uses

Despite sharing culinary applications, black and white sesame seeds also fall within well-defined lines worthy of note. So much so that these seeds cannot be used interchangeably in some instances.

Black sesame seeds are more suited for oriental dishes, in line with their origins. These include the Japanese soba noodles, Japanese sushi, soba salad and also Chinese Tong Sui. While many natives from Southeast Asian countries would make the appropriate sesame seed call with these dishes, some residents in another part of the world might not do the same. On the other hand, white sesame seeds work well with conventional Western meals and snacks. Hamburger buns make for a good starting point, after which you can proceed with standard bread rolls.

4. Key Nutrients 

It has already been established that sesame seeds are rich in key nutritional properties such as calcium, magnesium and iron. However, the respective key properties vary in black and white sesame seeds. Here are 5 key benefits of sesame seeds.

Generally, black sesame seeds edge out white sesame seeds in this regard. One serving or tablespoon of black sesame seeds contains more calcium, potassium, copper, iron and manganese than a corresponding amount of white sesame seeds. The disparity is particularly vast with calcium. This state of affairs is conventionally attributed to the hulls that black sesame seeds typically possess, but some exceptions put this theory in doubt.

Black sesame seeds have also been proven to be richer in other crucial plant chemicals, like antioxidants and lignans.

5. Medical Benefits 

Aside from their nutritional benefits, black and white sesame seeds serve medicinal purposes. Yet again distinctions can be drawn between black and white sesame seeds in respect of their medicinal benefits, and, once again, black sesame seeds stand tall.

Black sesame seeds are beneficial for one’s blood, eyes and hair. They also possess iron and manganese nutrients, which help keep your immune system in good condition. The high calcium content of black sesame seeds also reduces the risk of high blood pressure.

White sesame seeds are not without their benefits. They are a good bet for skin protection and also easing the passage of stool.

Having taken fairly extensive looks at black and white sesame seeds on specific benchmarks, one may be strongly inclined to conclude that black sesame seeds are far superior. However, it remains that both seeds are brimming with nutritional benefits and serve a variety of medicinal purposes, even if most people can rarely tell the distinctions between them. 

Notwithstanding, some instances call for one to be clear on the distinct uses of black or white sesame seeds. Many of these instances have been identified in this guide.

For information on sesame seed supplies, contact us.

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