Substitute for Poppy Seeds

Substitute for Poppy Seeds
Substitute for Poppy Seeds

Poppy seeds have a pleasant nutty flavor, making them an essential ingredient in our kitchens. You can obtain these seeds from the pods of the opium poppy plant. This plain hails from the Mediterranean, although it has been spread to many other parts of the world. Poppy seeds have so many uses. First, they make pastries, filling, porridge, and cakes. Secondly, they are used as an herb to prevent or cure constipation, cough, diarrhea, asthma, and difficulty sleeping. Lastly, they can be used in industries to make paint, varnish, or soap.

The best substitute for poppy seeds has to have one, if not all, of its characteristics below. It should give a crunchy taste to your meal. Besides, it should be able to give a mild nutty taste and good visuals to your dish. These seeds also have a high nutritional profile. They are rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, fats, and dietary fiber. It explains why they are mostly used as an herb. If you are avoiding poppy seeds because of personal preferences or because they are depleted, consider the following alternatives.


1. Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are the best alternatives because they contain a nutty flavor similar to poppy seeds. Additionally, it looks like poppy seeds. However, before using it, you will need to toast it. They will turn more alike by heating them, and nobody can realize. Like poppy seeds, sesame seeds are available in white or black varieties. Black varieties have a strong flavor, whereas whites have a milder taste. They taste just like poppy seeds, cheaper and easily available.

Many cooks love using sesame seeds as a topping while baking. Because they add some crunchiness, making them a perfect alternative. Replace them in equal amounts as your recipe calls for poppy seeds 1:1. These seeds make a healthy replacement too. They contain essential nutrients that help keep your heart healthy or improve your bone health. Further, they can also.

  • Fight cancer
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Enhance nutrient absorption
  • Can balance hormone levels


Sesame seeds are our top choice replacement for poppy seeds. They appear similar and also contain a nutty flavor. They are highly nutritious as well.

2. Chia seeds

The second best option to replace poppy seeds is chia seeds. They are very famous for their health benefits, and of course, they have the same physical appearance. Additionally, they contain the same crunchy and nutty taste as in sesame and poppy seeds. They are small dark-colored, and are best served or used for bread or muffin toppings. However, they contain fiber contents that make them absorb moisture and expand. Only use them where the dry application of poppy seeds is required. Chia seeds are very healthy as they promote digestive health, boost energy and balance blood sugar. Lastly, they can promote healthy skin, build stronger bones, and fight cancer growth.


Chia seeds are the best substitute for a dish that calls for dry applications. Because they tend to absorb moisture and become big. However, thy blend in perfectly in terms of flavor, health factors price, and availability.

3. Nigella seeds

Nigella seeds are small and dark blue. When putting together with poppy seeds, you can have difficulty differentiating them.     They are very popular for making Indian cuisines although they generally match with many savory dishes. The flavor varies a little bit, but it contains other characteristics such as having a crunchy bite. Nigella seeds are a healthy alternative as well. They contain vitamins and minerals which are essential for bodybuilding and fighting diseases. Some of the nigella seeds health benefits include:

  • They can help to reduce headaches
  • Relieving joint pains
  • Help to control excess weight
  • Can boost sperm function


Nigella seeds can add the crunchy bit to your dish. However, the taste is slightly different from that of poppy seeds.

4. Hemp seeds

If you lack any of the above choices, we hempseeds. They do not contain intense dark colors, though. Hemp seeds contain a nutty and crunchy bite, making them a great option for poppy seeds. You should Toast them a little bit before using them. Hempseeds go well with desserts and savory dishes. The cannabis Sativa plant produces hemp sides, but they do not alter the functioning of your mind. They are rich in dietary fiber, proteins, minerals, and antioxidants. Did you know that hemp seeds have as many proteins as soya beans? Yes, they contain every essential amino acid that makes a complete source of protein. Some of the hemp seeds’ health benefits include

  • Protects the brain
  • Boosts the heart health
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Improves skin conditions
  • Relieves rheumatoid arthritis


Hempseeds will provide you with the crunchiness and all the nutty bite you need for preparing your savory dish. Although they are obtained from the cannabis plant, they do not alter the functioning of the brain.

5. Flax seeds

Flax seeds contain the same nutty and crunchy bite as poppy seeds. However, they will not provide the deep color or texture you expect from puppy seeds. Flax seeds will make a good second choice if you make savory dishes. They have been grown for many years since the beginning of civilization. Flax seeds are loaded with many nutrients, for example, calories, proteins, carbs, fiber, calcium, and phosphorus. Other nutrients available in flaxseed are omega-three fatty acids, fats, vitamins B1, B6, and folate. Health benefits of flax seeds include:

  • They can lower cholesterol levels.
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Contains high-quality proteins
  • Helps control blood sugar
  • They can aid weight control by keeping the hunger at bay
  • A versatile ingredient since flax is used in the preparation of many dishes.


If you are looking for the crunchy and nutty flavor found in puppy seeds, opt flaxseeds. Their appearance and texture are different; hence, it does not provide your dish with deep colors. If you don’t have any of these alternatives available in your pantry, try the following options. Spicy seeds, the white staff, and petite powerhouses. They contain similar properties as the poppy seeds as well.

Nutritional Facts Summary Table

Seed Calories Total Fats Carbohydrates Proteins Source Works Best In
Sesame Seeds 573 (per 100g) 49.7g 23.4g 17.7g Seeds of Sesamum indicum plant Breads, Asian dishes, salads
Chia Seeds 486 (per 100g) 30.8g 42.1g 16.5g Seeds of Salvia hispanica plant Smoothies, puddings, baking
Nigella Seeds 345 (per 100g) 15.9g 44.7g 16.8g Seeds of Nigella Sativa plant Flatbreads, curries, pickles
Hemp Seeds 553 (per 100g) 49.5g 11.4g 31.6g Seeds of hemp plant Salads, smoothies, granola
Flax Seeds 534 (per 100g) 42.2g 28.9g 18.3g Seeds of Linum usitatissimum plant Smoothies, yogurt, baking


Can I substitute poppy seeds for sesame seeds?

Yes, you can substitute poppy seeds for sesame seeds in some recipes, but keep in mind that they have different flavors and textures. Poppy seeds are milder in taste and have a slight crunch.

Are chia seeds like poppy seeds?

Chia seeds and poppy seeds are not the same. They have different flavors and nutritional profiles. Chia seeds tend to be more gelatinous when soaked, while poppy seeds are smaller and crunchier.

Can you have poppy seed and sesame seed allergy?

Yes, it’s possible to have allergies to both poppy seeds and sesame seeds, although these allergies are separate and not always linked. Always check with a healthcare professional for accurate information if you suspect allergies.

What’s the point of poppy seeds in muffins?

Poppy seeds are often added to muffins for texture and a subtle nutty flavor. They can also add visual interest with their small dark specks. In some recipes, they complement the overall taste and appearance of the muffin.


Poppy seeds are small, black seeds often used in baked goods, breads, and pastries. They have a mild, nutty flavor and a slightly crunchy texture. Many good options are available if you are looking for a substitute for poppy seeds. Some good substitutes include sesame seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, and nigella seeds. The best substitute for you will depend on the flavor and texture of the dish you are making.

Mei Lin Zhang

Written by Mei Lin Zhang

I love to writes about stories and cooking. I really enjoys creating new recipes and taking pictures of my food. When I am not writing, you can find me in the kitchen or snapping photos of my tasty creations.

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