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Substitute for Poppy Seeds

Updated April 17, 2017

Poppy seeds are tiny black seeds that are often used in baked goods or as a topping on bread and rolls. These little seeds have a very high oil content and may go rancid if they are not used quickly after purchasing. Many people do not like poppy seeds in their food because they can often get stuck in their teeth and can be quite difficult to get out because of their size. Fortunately, there are several options available if you would like to avoid using poppy seeds in your next recipe.

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Sesame Seeds

Toasted sesame seeds are a popular alternative to cooking with poppy seeds. Sesame seeds have a slight nutty flavour that goes well in savoury and sweet recipes. When substituting for poppy seeds, you can use the same measurement. For example, if your recipe calls for 1 Tbsp of poppy seeds, you can substitute 1 Tbsp of sesame seeds. This may add an extra bit of nutty flavour to your recipe, but will not change the overall taste.

Celery Seeds

Celery seeds have a much stronger flavour than poppy seeds, so they should be used in moderation when substituting. Celery seeds are the seeds of the celery plant. They are often used as a spice when making pickles, and can be found in the spice aisle of a regular grocery store. Because they can change the flavour of your recipe, reduce the measurement by at least half when substituting for poppy seeds.

Flax Seed

Flax seed is a very hard, tiny seed that is high in omega-3 fatty acids. It will need to be ground a bit with a mortar and pestle or food processor before including it in breads or baked goods, because of the toughness of the seed. With its high omega-3 content, flax seed is good for your heart and can also aid in digestion. After grinding, flax seed can be substituting for poppy seeds in the same measurement.

White Poppy Seeds

White poppy seeds are commonly used in Indian cooking, and are found in abundance in the Middle East. The seeds have a slightly nutty flavour and are commonly lightly toasted before being used in recipes. White poppy seeds are often ground into a paste used to thicken curries and soups. The seeds can be found in Indian grocery stores and also some health food stores. White poppy seeds can be equally substituted for black poppy seeds in recipes.

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About the Author

Kara Bietz has been writing professionally since 1999. Her professional observation work has appeared in the early childhood education textbook "The Art of Awareness" by Margie Carter and Deb Curtis. Bietz has worked in the field of early childhood education for more than 16 years. She holds an Associate of Applied Science in child development from Mesa College.

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