Nigella Seeds Substitute

If you are not yet familiar, Nigella seeds are one of the most common, ancient spices known to have been used, yet they are not as popular as they once were.

Nigella seeds are tiny black seeds that contain a slightly sharp flavor that may remind us of strong-flavored spices.

They are also referred to as black cumin or black onion seed. These type of seeds are commonly mixed in Indian cuisine and Middle Eastern food, especially in naan bread. 

If you are interested in knowing about the best substitutes for nigella seeds, this article is the perfect choice for you!

What are the Best Nigella Seeds Substitute

Because the flavor of nigella seeds is unique, you may believe there is nothing else to replace them. However, while this is true, there are a variety of alternatives that may be used in place of nigella seeds.

1. White sesame seeds

White sesame seeds are often used in Asian cuisines because of their nutty flavor. This spice can be added to dishes like salads, stir-fries, soups, and even desserts. It has a similar taste to nigella seeds, but it’s much easier to find. You will need to soak white sesame seeds overnight before using them.

Why is white sesame seeds a good substitute for nigella seeds?

The main reason why white sesame seeds work well as nigella seeds substitute is that they are very similar in appearance and texture. The only difference between these two types of seeds is that white sesame seeds are lighter in color than nigella seeds. So, if you do not mind its color, then it would perfectly work as an alternative. 

White sesame seeds
White sesame seeds

2. Black sesame seeds

Black sesame seeds alternative are another option for substituting nigella seeds. They are darker in color than white sesame seeds, making them look more like nigella seeds. In addition, they are smaller than white sesame seeds. Like white sesame seeds, they are great for adding to salad dressings, sauces, soups, and other savory dishes.

Why is black sesame seeds good substitute for nigella seeds?

Similar to white sesame seeds, black sesame seeds are easy to find. They are usually sold in bulk at grocery stores. Unlike white sesame seeds, however, black sesame seeds require no soaking. Just add the black seeds directly into the entire dish.

3. Cumin powder

Cumin powder is another common alternative ingredient found in many recipes. It is mostly used in curries and stews. If you want to use this spice instead of nigella seeds, make sure you buy the right kind. There are several different kinds of cumin available on the market today. Some of them may contain additives such as salt, sugar, and preservatives. To avoid any unpleasant surprises, always check the label of your cumin powder first.

Why is cumin powder good substitute for nigella seeds?

Like nigella seeds, cumin powder comes from the same plant family. Its flavor is quite similar to nigella seeds, although it tends to have a milder flavor. It should be noted that cumin powder does not come in the form of whole seeds; instead, it is ground up. Therefore, you will need to grind your cumin before using it.

4. Cumin seeds

Cumin seeds are also known as Jeera. These spices are commonly used in Indian cuisine. They are usually added to curry powder or chutneys. Although they resemble nigella seeds, they tend to be stronger in flavor.

Why is cumin seeds good substitute for nigella seeds?

Because cumin seeds are already ground up, you don’t need to soak them before using them. Add them to your recipe as you normally would. It can be added to various dishes, especially curries and vegetable dishes. It’s also a primary ingredient for dipping sauces.

5. Celery seeds

Celery seeds are one of the most popular spices used in Indian food. They are mainly used in pickles and dips. However, wild celery seeds can also be used in other ways. For example, they can be sprinkled over rice dishes or salads.

Why is celery seeds a good substitute for Nigellas seeds?

Although celery seeds are often confused with nigella seeds, they are quite distinct. Celery seeds are much larger than nigella seeds. This means that when you sprinkle them onto foods, they will sink to the bottom of the dish. As a result, amounts of celery seeds are best used in dishes where the other ingredients won’t overpower their flavors.

Fennel seeds
Fennel seeds

6. Oregano

Oregano is a herb native to Europe and North Africa. It has been cultivated since ancient times. Today, oregano is still widely grown around the world. The leaves of the oregano plant are dried and then crushed into a fine powder. Oregano is primarily used to season meat and fish. It also works well with vegetables, particularly tomatoes.

Why is oregano a good substitute for nigella Seeds?

The main reason why oregano is considered a great substitute for nigella seeds is that both herbs share some similarities. Both of these herbs have a strong, pungent aroma that is ideal for any savory dish. You can also use dried oregano as a convenient alternative ingredient. 

7. Caraway seeds

Caraway seeds are small, round, brownish-black seeds. They are frequently used in German cooking. They are sometimes referred to as “Kümmelsamen”. In fact, caraway seeds are related to fennel seeds. Like fennel seeds, caraway seed substitute are very aromatic. They are often used in homemade breads, cakes, and pastries.

Why is caraway seeds a good substitute for nigella seeds?

Similar to nigella seeds, caraway seeds do not require soaking before adding them to recipes. Just like nigella seeds, caraways seeds can be used in a wide range of dishes. They can be added to soups, stews, salads, and even desserts.

8. Fennel seeds

Fennel seeds are similar to caraway seeds. They are often used to make sausages and meats more flavorful. They are also used to make an amazing spice blend called Sausage Seasoning. Like caraway seeds, fennel seeds should not be soaked before using them. Instead, grind them in a mortar and pestle.

Why is fennel seeds a good substitute for nigella seeds?

Like caraway seeds and nigella seeds, fennel seed is another common spice that does not require pre-soaking. Therefore, it can be easily substituted for nigella seeds without changing the way you prepare your dishes.

9. Fenugreek seed

Fenugreek seed look similar to black mustard seed. They are commonly found in curry powder. They are also used in many Middle Eastern cuisines. When ground up, fenugreek seeds release an intense flavor. They are usually cooked or fried until they turn golden.

Why is fenugreek seeds a good substitute for nigella seeds?

Because fenugreek seeds are so powerful, they work well as a replacement for nigella seeds. For example, if you want to add a little kick to your pasta sauce, try sprinkling some fenugreek seeds on top.

10. Mustard seeds

Mustard seeds are one of the most common flexible spices used throughout the world. They come from the same family as garlic and onions. They are made from the seeds of plants that grow in the genus Brassica. 

Why is mustard seeds a good substitute for nigella seeds?

You may already know that mustard seeds are used to make mustards. However, did you know that mustard seeds are also used to make pickles? If you’re looking for a healthy snack, try making your own pickled cucumbers by combining vinegar, salt, sugar, mustard seeds, and dill.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the exact taste of nigella seeds?

The exact taste of nigella seed depends on which variety you buy. Some varieties are sweeter than others. Nigella sativa has a spicy, nutty, slightly sweet, and peppery flavor. It’s perfect for Indian cuisine.

Can you substitute nigella seeds for poppy seeds?

Yes! You can use nigella seeds instead of poppy seeds in almost any recipe. Both have a mild flavor.

Are fennel seeds and nigella seeds the same?

No, they are not the same. While both fennel seeds and black cumin seeds are members of the Apiaceae family (which includes carrots), they are different types of seeds.