Cumin (Cuminum cyminum L.) seeds of two geographic origins, Tunisia (TCS) and India (ICS), were studied regarding their fatty acid and essential oil composition. Oil yields were 17.77 and 15.40% for TCS and ICS respectively. Petroselinic acid (C18:1n-12) was the major fatty acid in both varieties, with a higher proportion being found in TCS (55.90% of total fatty acids (TFA)) than in ICS (41.42% TFA). Moreover, the most predominant fatty acids were palmitic, petroselenic and linoleic acids, accounting for more than 91% TFA in both varieties. The unsaturated fatty acid content was high: 70.95% TFA in TCS and 62.17% TFA in ICS. Essential oil yields differed significantly (P < 0.05) between the two varieties: 1.21 and 1.62% for ICS and TCS respectively. A total of 40 compounds were identified, 34 of which were present in both essential oils. The two varieties displayed different chemotypes: γ-terpinene/1-phenyl-1,2-ethanediol for TCS and cuminaldheyde/γ-terpinene for ICS. The study revealed that the biochemical composition of cumin seeds is origin-dependent and that cumin seeds are rich in an unusual fatty acid, petroselinic acid. Besides, cumin essential oil is a rich source of many compounds, including cuminaldehyde and γ-terpinene. The overall results suggest the exploitation of cumin seeds as a low-cost renewable source for industrial processing in the fields of cosmetics, perfumes and pharmaceuticals.