10 Best Substitutes for Poppy Seeds

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Substitutes for Poppy Seed



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Poppy seeds are those very small and oily seeds that are shaped like a kidney. Poppy seeds are very versatile seeds gotten from poppy plants (papaver somniferum)  and grown in the East Mediterranean.

Poppy seeds are super small in size and shaped just like a kidney. To buttress how very small they are, it would take close to 3,500 seeds to get a gram of it.

There is always a way to infuse them into different recipes. The reason? It is simply because of the nutty flavor it gives off and very crispy taste.

Since the poppy seeds can be added to lot of recipes, it only means that it is an ingredient that you would have frequent use for.Looking for substitutes for poppy seeds? Read on let’s find out viable ones that you can make use of whenever you run out of poppy seeds.

Substitutes For Poppy Seeds

1. Flax Seeds

A lot of people are only getting to know about flax seeds now due to its many health benefits but, the truth is, they are have been around for hundreds of years now. In fact, we would not be wrong if we say they are as old as the world itself.

Flax seeds have a special flavor that is both nutty and crunchy. Quite the combination right? They are considered to be a perfect substitute for poppy seeds with additional advantages for you health wise.

They are highly proteinous with lots of vitamins and minerals ranging from  magnesium, copper, Omega -3 acid and a whole lot more. Flax seeds also, do have a special ingredient that has since been proven to combat cancer. This ingredient is called ‘lignans‘ and they can be found in large quantities in flax seeds.

Flax seeds are most preferred poppy seed substitutes for baking.

See Also: Best Fennel Seed Substitutes

2. Black Sesame Seeds

When we talk of poppy seeds substitutes, the black sesame seeds are actually the closest possible. They share striking similarities by every standard – nutritional value, size, color, you just name it.

The black sesame seeds are great antioxidants and just like flax seeds, they too have a high content of lignans. They are majorly grown, produced and exported by the Asians.

When it comes to its taste, you will find it to be more nutty, perhaps stronger and with an increased bitter taste than that of poppy seeds. All in all, this small, very oily black seeds are a perfect replacement for poppy seeds, rich in calcuim, copper and iron and highly flavored too.

3. Toasted Sesame Seeds

The name is rightly called toasted sesame seeds because you only get a burst of its very nutty flavor same one synonymous with the poppy seeds, when toasted. 

These very crunchy toasted seeds can be found in several colours namely; brown, red, white and so on but, of all the colors you can find it in, just the brown, white and red can serve as best poppy seed substitutes.

4. Nigella Seeds

The Nigella are the actual seeds that can be found on the Nigella Sativa plant grown in places like Syria and Turkey. A lot of people seem to get the same nutty taste as the poppy seeds with the Nigella but, its taste is obviously overshadowed by a peppery onion like one.

Nigella seeds are great antioxidants and boasts of having a lot of other vitamins and minerals including magnesium and iron. Infuse it into your vegetable, salads and curry dishes and relish in its crunchy savoury sweetness.

5. Celery Seeds

Yet another great poppy seed substitute. They are equally small light brown seeds and shaped like poppy seeds but the taste is slightly different; it is somewhat bitter and tastes just like celery.

They are one of the many poppy seeds substitute that are very rich in manganese, magnesium and iron. One great thing about celery seeds is the fact that they have very low calorie content.

6. Chia Seeds

We really cannot call this a list of poppy seed substitute if the Chia is nowhere to be found on it. The Chia is one of the first things that comes to your mind when thinking of viable poppy seed alternatives.

This is because they not only serve the same purpose in the kitchen, but are very much similar to it too in its nutritional lineup, texture, size and shape.

They are great antioxidants and replenish your body with an ample supply of magnesium, Omega 3 fatty acid, calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc etc. In fact, the overflow of the health benefits of the seed is the foremost thing that made it popular in recent times even after being around for hundreds of years.

The Chia seeds are a perfect replacement for poppy seeds. The only major difference between  both of them would be their fiber content.

The poppy seeds are not as rich in fiber as the Chia seeds. Although, when we talk of the Chia seeds being the perfect poppy seed substitute, we are referring to the ones left to dry.

7. Amaranth

An aged grain like most of the others, the amaranth spells nothing but great nutritional value for you in all your dishes. Talk about protein, manganese, fiber, selenium, iron etc and the amaranth is there for you even down to antioxidants.

With just a cup of amaranth consisting of about 3 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein and not more than a hundred and seventy calories, the amaranth is definitely deserving of a spot on this list.

8. Hemp Seeds

Like you must have guessed, they are the same hemp seeds that can be found on the main hemp plant known as Cannabis Sativa. They are a different variant though belonging still to the same family as marijuana.

Most vegetarians would find the hemp seeds to be a perfect poppy seed substitute as they are more protein based than poppy seeds.

Try out the hemp seeds today and you will never have to fuss about the unavailability of poppy seeds ever again.

9. Basil Seeds

The taste of the Basil seed is second to none. Little wonder it is used by a lot of people to season food. Meals prepared with this seed comes out having a super crunchy feel and a very subtle floral taste.

Not to even mention the numerous nutritional qualities they possess. A great option anytime, any day.

10. Sesame Seeds

Asides from the signature nutty taste, the sesame seeds have just about the same qualities of the poppy seeds which makes them very much eligible to appear on this list.

The taste and texture is very much similar and save for the nutty taste, it would have been almost impossible to tell the difference between it and the poppy seeds.

Sesame seeds are exceptionally delicious when used in chicken curry sauces. The aroma and flavor of the dish alone will blow your minds. Get the whole dried sesame seeds today and have it become a part of your recipes. Your taste buds would thank you for it.

What Are The Two Types Of Poppy Seeds?

Poppy seeds can be found in two colors – black and white. They share same similarities in texture but, the difference between them apart from the obvious one which is their colour, lies in how they are being used in cooking and the flavor they give out.

The Indians infuse white poppy seeds a lot in their cuisines as they are more subtle flavored. It is also a steady part of their baking recipes too. while the Europeans enjoy the rich nutty flavor of the black poppy seeds.

On the whole though, both the black and white poppy seeds have one thing in common which is their high nutritional value. They are both very proteinous and a good source of fiber and vitamins. Although, it is advised that you consume in very moderate quantities as too much of it, just like anything else would not be so good for your body.

See Also: Best Substitutes For Carrots


Ever heard of the word ‘khus khus?’ this is what most people call the poppy seeds. This famous seed has become a staple item in most homes because of the unending nutritional value they contain.

Poppy seeds are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids which help in no small measure to limit the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases and safeguards your health in general.

We have compiled for you, not just substitutes for poppy seeds but, substitutes that are equally as nutritious, sweet flavored and great tasting.

Whenever you run out of poppy seeds again or, crave for a different yet unique flavor for your meals, you know just what to do.


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