Based on functions, there are two major divisions of sesame oil including cosmetic-grade and cooking-grade. However, these divisions can be broken down into more specific types based on extraction process and types of sesame seeds extracted. Before you purchase any sesame oil products, please pay attention to the label attached to the bottle/container.
1. Chili Sesame Oil
As the name suggests, this particular type of sesame oil is flavored with chili seasoning. It is available to purchase as a ready-to-use product, so you will not need to add the seasoning after purchasing. It is used for cooking purpose, not for cosmetic. You can use this oil to add spicy flavor to salads, meats, soups, vegetables, sauces, and more.
2. Dark Sesame Oil
Dark sesame oil has coffee-like hue. It is darker in terms of color compared to other types. The oil is extracted from toasted sesame seeds instead of raw. It has very strong sesame flavor which will overpower all other seasonings used in food. Therefore, it is mainly used as flavoring or condiment that is added to foods before serving. The most common uses are in salad dressings and sauce.
3. Light Sesame Oil
Light sesame oil is extracted by applying pressures to sesame seeds until they produce oil. Unlike dark sesame oil, it is extracted from raw sesame seeds, not the toasted ones. Compared to its darker counterpart, light sesame oil is best used for cooking. In fact, it has high smoke-point, which is an important property for any oil used for cooking purpose. The color is pale yellow and is often used in Asian cuisines.
4. Cold-Pressed Sesame Oil
Cold-pressed means the extraction process only applies low-temperature pressure to sesame seeds. It is known that cold-pressed extraction is able to preserve most nutrients contained in the oil. Such method allows the oil to bring more amount of antioxidant compound called sesamol. Cold-pressed extraction usually takes more time compared to other methods, but it produces better oil.
5. Organic Sesame Oil
Organic sesame oil is extracted from organic sesame seeds. Organic plants are grown without using any chemical-based fertilizers or pesticides. In other words, the plants are never exposed to any chemical substance, so it is the most natural method to produce sesame seeds. You may find that the price of organic oil is commonly more expensive since the plants will generally grow slower and require a larger area of land to yield equal amount of crops to non-organic types.