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The naming of this seed has caused some consternation. Some people refer to them as black cumin, onion seeds, fennel flower, black caraway, nigella, or kalonji.

It makes no difference what you name them; the reality is that nigella seeds are wonderful seeds that may be used to soups, salads, and even sauces. Because these Mediterranean seeds are not widely available, there is a great demand for alternatives in many regions.

Fortunately, nigella seed alternatives are widely accessible in many regions, and they operate essentially identically to nigella seeds with just a few recipe tweaks.

Oregano, black sesame seeds, onion flakes, white sesame seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, caraway seeds, and celery seeds are some of the best replacements for nigella seeds.

Best Nigella Seeds Substitutes

7 Best Nigella Seed Substitutes

1. Black Sesame Seeds

You may replace these sesame seeds for the look, but for taste and perfume, you should use a better alternative, such as oregano.

The black sesame seeds resemble the nigella seeds in appearance, however when toasted, these seeds have a more rich and nutty flavor, so keep that in mind.

Unlike nigella seeds, black sesame seeds do not have a savory flavor, yet the applications for these seeds are limitless. These fresh or roasted seeds may be used to dipping sauces, tofu, biscuits, creams, cakes, and even your favorite ice cream.

2. White Sesame Seeds

These seeds are appropriate if you aren’t concerned with look but rather with crunchiness; if you want to create that texture, go with white sesame seeds.

White sesame seeds, like black sesame seeds, are tiny, pear-shaped, and flat.

The only difference between them and black sesame seeds is their color; white sesame seeds are off-white in color, but when roasted, they become golden brown, and their flavor and perfume also enhance.

These seeds may be used on hamburger buns and a few other pastries, as well as dips, spreads, marinades, and sauces. This seed is plentiful in the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and North America.

3. Cumin Seeds

Cumin seeds are boat-shaped seeds with a brownish-yellow tint. them seeds are annuals, and although there are several types available, such as black cumin, white cumin, and green cumin, you may replace any of them for your nigella seeds.

Cumin seeds are plentiful in India since they are a key element in the Indian cuisine jeera.

If you need an alternative for nigella seeds in your baked goods, such as baked bread, cumin seeds are an excellent choice since they perform well in baked goods.

It is advisable to use ground cumin to get the most flavor out of it, since it tastes better when ground. Cumin seeds, like nigella seeds, have an earthy, sweet, and bittersweet flavor that complements your dishes.

4. Caraway Seeds

Caraway seeds have a distinct scent and taste that is somewhat earthy with lemony and peppery overtones. Caraway seeds may be used to replace baked goods, but they also complement curries, soups, sausages, and liquor.

Because of their fragrant character, caraway seeds may be used in pickling, potato salads, coleslaws, and meat goulash blended with cheese dip. Caraway comes in powdered and seeded forms, but the powdered version is favored since it enhances the taste of your food.

If you’re going to use caraway powder instead of seed, a spoon of it will suffice instead of a spoon of caraway seeds.

5. Oregano

If you just want to use oregano seeds for their spiciness and not their texture, they are OK.

Oregano is a wonderful fragrant spice that may be used both fresh and dried. These seeds are a mainstay in Mediterranean and Mexican recipes, providing a distinct spice combination.

Because of its powerful taste, oregano has a strong scent that will change your cuisine into something exceptional. It complements the flavor characteristic of savory dishes such as pizza and spaghetti.

If you want to bring out its full potential, use fresh oregano, which has a really pleasant scent. Still, if you want to spice up your food, you may use dried oregano, which will provide flavor without overwhelming the dish.

6. Fenugreek Seeds

Fenugreek seeds are a common ingredient in Indian cuisines, with at least one dish including fenugreek seeds.

Unlike the alternatives stated above, fenugreek seeds provide a sweet flavor to your food while retaining its earthy and nutty scent.

If you’ve ever tried fenugreek seeds, you’ll agree that they taste like a combination of burned sugar and maple syrup, and this intricacy is what sets them apart.

Although there may be a sense of bitterness with this alternative, don’t be concerned since the sweet component has already taken over.

You shouldn’t be concerned about the bitterness since it only appears after the food is cooked for a long period, therefore use fenugreek seeds in recipes that need slow cooking.

7. Onion Flakes

Many people equate the flavor of nigella seeds to onion flakes, so why not use onions instead? Onion flakes are just dried and diced onions, and in this form, they may be easily added to any meal.

This alternative may be used in soups, marinades, dips, stews, and even sauces. So, if raw onions are too strong for you to deal with, why not make them simpler to include into your recipes?

How Do I Choose the Perfect Substitute For Nigella for My Dish?

7 Best Nigella Seed Substitutes

With so many outstanding alternatives, it might be difficult to pick one in each circumstance, but you should consider how you want your final product to appear before selecting one.

You want your meal to have a crispy texture, particularly if it is baked. You can never go wrong with caraway seeds, white cumin seeds, or cumin seeds, and if you are more concerned with texture, such as in soups, dips, and sauces, celery seeds, fennel seeds, and fenugreek seeds are ideal.

Oregano, onion flakes, and cumin powder will suffice as traditional spices. Knowing what alternative to use is simple if you understand your food and the end outcome you want to achieve.

Frequently Asked Question

Are our Fennel and Nigella Seeds the Same?

No, they don’t. Both seeds are interchangeable as alternatives, but they are not the same. The nigella is an annual seed that is also known as the black cumin seed or the fennel flower, however these terms are not interchangeable.

What Is the Difference Between the Nigella Seeds and Black Cumin Seeds?

Despite their identical appearance, black sesame seeds have a darker outer hull and a more regular flavor, whilst nigella seeds are somewhat lighter and have a minty and fragrant flavor. In recipes that emphasize looks, you may replace one for the other.

Can I Substitute Black Sesame Seeds for White?

The black sesame seeds may be used in lieu of the white sesame seeds, albeit they will not look as nice on bun tops. The black sesame seeds will give your black ice cream a pleasant appearance, but if you are not bothered with the appearance, you may use black sesame seeds instead of white sesame seeds.

What Are Nigella Seeds Also Known As?

Here are a variety of names for nigella seeds. Black cumin, kalonji, onion seeds, fennel blossoms, and black caraway are other names for them. It doesn’t matter what they’re named as long as the seeds are as delicious and earthy as nigella seeds.

Is Nigella Seeds the Same as Poppy Seeds?

They are not, yet their small black seeds resemble poppy heads. Many people confuse poppy seeds with nigella seeds, although they are not the same thing. These seeds are similar, yet they are not the same.


Can I use cumin seeds instead of nigella seeds?

Cumin seeds have a deep, earthy taste that is distinct from nigella seeds. If you want a different taste, you may use cumin seeds or cumin powder for the nigella seeds. By volume, cumin seeds have less calories, net carbohydrates, and protein than nigella seeds.

Are poppy seeds and nigella seeds the same?

Nigella seeds are derived from a blooming plant in the buttercup family. It would be difficult to tell them different if they were placed next to poppy seeds. However, nigella seeds are far more difficult to come by than poppy seeds.

Is there another name for nigella seeds?

Kalonji, often known as black cumin, nigella, or by its scientific name Nigella sativa, is a flowering plant in the buttercup family.

Are black sesame seeds and nigella seeds the same thing?

Although they look similar to black sesame seeds, they have extremely distinct taste profiles, with nigella seeds being more spicy and aromatic. Nigella seeds are commonly used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine as a spice and condiment.

What nigella seeds called in english?

Black cumin (Nigella sativa), also known as black seed, black caraway, Roman coriander, kalonji, or fennel flower, is an annual plant in the Ranunculaceae family cultivated for its spicy seeds, which are used as a spice and in herbal medicine.

What does nigella seed taste like?

The small black seeds have a somewhat bitter taste with some onion pungency, but they also have many additional subtle flavor subtleties. Because of their look, they are popularly referred to as black onion seed, however they have nothing to do with the onion family.

Are black onion seeds nigella seeds?

Black Onion Seeds, commonly known as Nigella or Kalonji seeds, are a kind of onion seed. Despite their name, these black triangle-shaped seeds are derived from the Fennel Flower, making them a member of the buttercup family.

Are black mustard seeds nigella seeds?

replacement for black mustard seed

Even if their profiles vary, they are considerably more similar than, instance, Nigella seeds, which appear similar to black mustard but taste more spicy. Alternatively, mustard powder or store-bought wholegrain mustard would suffice.

Are nigella seeds like onion seeds?

Nigella is a member of the buttercup family, and its small black seeds are located in a poppy-like head. They are also known as black cumin and are often mistaken with onion seeds, which are not the same.

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