Things not to do with sesame oil…


… put it in a wok on high heat and use it to stir-fry chicken and noodles for a full 2-3 minutes. (as seen in my canteen today)
Toasted sesame oil, the Chinese kind, has a low smoke point at 180°C, which means that it starts decomposing into a lot of components if you use it on high heat–including a fair amount of carcinogens. Most cooking oils, by contrast, have a higher smoke point at 230°C or something like that, and are thus suitable for frying on high heat. Sesame oil is more like a dressing: you put it on cooked stuff, or in salads, but you certainly never ever use it for frying.

So, no, thank you, I’ll pass on the chef’s special stir-fry today…


  1. An important tip for cooks everywhere. Watch your smoke point!

  2. Yup! (I just finished the same discussion with the H, who discovered you can’t fry with sesame oil, though he knew about smoke points)

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