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The 5 Best Substitutes for Nigella Seeds

Have you ever cooked with Nigella seeds? Also known as black cumin, these small, dark seeds have a strong, earthy flavor that is popular in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine.

While Nigella seeds can add a unique depth of flavor to dishes, they can be difficult to find in stores.

We’ve compiled a list of the five best substitutes for Nigella seeds.

These substitutes will give your dish a similar flavor and can be easily found in most grocery stores.

If you can’t find Nigella seeds or are looking for a substitute, keep reading.

What are Nigella Seeds?

what are nigella seeds

Nigella seeds are small, black seeds with a sharp, onion-like flavor.

They are often used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine and can be found in the spice aisle of most supermarkets.

Nigella seeds can be used whole or ground and are typically added to curries, rice dishes, and bread.

In addition to their culinary uses, Nigella seeds have traditionally been used for their medicinal properties.

Some studies have shown that Nigella seeds may help lower blood sugar levels and are also believed to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects.

Whether cooking up a flavorful dish or looking for a natural remedy, Nigella seeds are worth adding to your pantry.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Nigella Seeds

Several other seeds can be used as a substitute in your recipe if you don’t have nigella seeds on hand.

Here are the five best substitutes for nigella seeds:

1 – Black Sesame Seeds

black sesame seeds

Black sesame seeds are tiny, black seeds with a nutty flavor and a crunchy texture.

They are often used in Asian cuisine and can be found in many Asian markets.

Black sesame seeds are a good source of nutrients, including calcium, iron, and magnesium.

They are also a good source of fiber and antioxidants.

Additionally, black sesame seeds have been shown to lower cholesterol levels and improve circulation.

As a result, they may help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Black sesame seeds can be used in a variety of recipes, or they can be eaten on their own as a snack.

They can also be used as a natural coloring agent in food.

2 – White Sesame Seeds

white sesame seeds

Though they are often overlooked, white sesame seeds are a versatile and healthy ingredient that can add flavor and texture to various dishes.

Sesame seeds are a good source of copper, manganese, and calcium, and they also contain phytochemicals that have been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

When used in cooking, white sesame seeds can add a nutty flavor to stir-fries, salads, and baked goods.

They can also be used to make sesame oil, a popular cooking oil in many Asian cuisines.

Whether you use them whole, ground, or in oil form, white sesame seeds are a delicious way to add nutrition and flavor to your favorite recipes.

3 – Cumin Seeds

cumin seeds

Cumin seeds are the dried fruit of an annual plant in the family Apiaceae, native to the Mediterranean region.

The small, dark seeds have a strong, earthy flavor and are used as a spice in many cuisines worldwide.

Cumin is often used as a base for curries and chili powders or added to stews and rice dishes.

It also pairs well with other spices like coriander, cinnamon, and cloves.

In addition to its culinary uses, cumin has a long history of medicinal use.

It is said to aid digestion and relieve gas and is even thought to have detoxifying properties.

4 – Caraway Seeds

caraway seeds

Caraway seeds have a long history of use in both cooking and medicine.

The seeds have a strong, earthy flavor that pairs well with meats and root vegetables.

They can also be used to add flavor to bread and baked goods.

In addition to their culinary uses, caraway seeds have also been used as a folk remedy for indigestion and other digestive problems.

The seeds are thought to help stimulate appetite and aid in the digestion of fats.

Additionally, caraway seeds are sometimes used as a topping for food to boost the flavor and aroma.

Whether using them in the kitchen or the medicine cabinet, caraway seeds are a versatile and potent ingredient.

5 – Celery Seeds

celery seeds

Celery seeds have been used for centuries in traditional medicine, and modern science is beginning to validate many of its uses.

The celery seed extract is a powerful anti-inflammatory, making it an effective treatment for arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.

In addition, celery seed extract has been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, making it a promising natural treatment for heart disease.

Celery seeds are also a good source of antioxidants, which can help to protect cells from damage and may even have cancer-preventative properties.


In conclusion, there are many substitutes for nigella seeds that can be used in cooking.

These substitutes include black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, and celery seeds.

Each of these substitutes has a similar flavor profile to nigella seeds, so they can be used in recipes calling for nigella seeds without compromising the dish’s flavor.

Nigella seeds are not always easy to find, so these substitutes can be a lifesaver when you’re in a pinch.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 Best Substitutes for Nigella Seeds

The 5 Best Substitutes for Nigella Seeds
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Black Sesame Seeds
  • White Sesame Seeds
  • Cumin Seeds
  • Caraway Seeds
  • Celery Seeds


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
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