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How to Toast Sesame Seeds

Oven and Stove Top Methods



Toasting Sesame Seeds

Photo © Christine Benlafquih

Moroccan recipes often call for toasting unhulled sesame seeds (janjlane in Arabic) prior to using them in recipes or as a garnish. There are two easy methods for doing this. Both will require working with the sesame in batches if a large quantity is to be toasted. Before you begin, be sure the sesame is clean (wash, dry and pick through it ahead of time if necessary).

Stove Top Method

Add the sesame seeds to a skillet. You can fully cover the bottom of the pan, but know that the deeper the level of seeds, the longer a batch will take to toast. Heat the seeds over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the seeds are lightly colored and release a nutty aroma. This will take about 5 minutes for a sparse layer; 10 minutes for a thin layer of seeds; a bit longer if you're toasting a large quantity as shown in the photo. A popping or crackling sound as the sesame toasts is normal. Turn the seeds out into a large bowl or tray to cool before using.

Oven Method

Spread out the sesame seeds on on a rimmed baking sheet. Place the pan in a preheated 400° F (200° C) oven for 15 to 20 minutes (a sparse layer will take less time), stirring several times, until the sesame seeds are lightly colored with a nutty aroma. A popping or crackling sound as the sesame toasts is normal. Leave the sesame to cool completely on the baking sheet before storing or using.

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