Easy Tahini Recipe – Better Than Store-bought

How to make our quick and easy tahini recipe that’s so much better than anything you can buy at the store. Plus, lots of suggestions for using it, other than hummus. Jump to the Tahini Recipe or watch our quick recipe video showing you how to make it.

Do you know what tahini is? Would you like to find out how to make it at home instead of buying pricey jars at the store?

We’ll tell you all about tahini, what you can use it for (yes, it’s more than hummus) and show you how you can easily make it at home.

What is Tahini?

Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds and is a staple in many cuisines, especially in the Mediterranean and Middle East.

Quick and Easy Tahini Recipe - Better Than Store Bought!

Store-bought tahini is usually made from hulled sesame seeds. This is our preference, too, but you can make it from unhulled and sprouted sesame seeds.

Hulled sesame seeds are what you see most often in stores. Here’s a photo of both hulled and unhulled sesame seeds. The hulled seeds are the lighter color on left. On the right, the unhulled seeds are much darker and still have their hull or outer shell intact.

Making Tahini: The difference between natural or hulled sesame seeds and unhulled sesame seeds.

In our experience, tahini made from unhulled sesame seeds tends to taste more bitter and does’t get quite a smooth as when it is made from hulled sesame seeds.

Ways to Use Tahini

Arguably the most well known way to use tahini is when making hummus.

Better Than Store Bought Hummus RecipeYou May Also Like This: Here’s Our Better Than Store Bought Hummus. It’s insanely easy to make plus this tahini recipe makes enough tahini for two batches of hummus!

Even though we are huge hummus geeks, we use tahini many other ways in our own kitchen.

Here’s a list for how to use tahini, other than in hummus, to start you off. Once you have tahini in your fridge (it lasts over a month), we bet you will find yourself adding it to a variety of dishes without direction from us!

The Cooking Channel has also put together a list of 25 recipes that use tahini — lots of their ideas sound great.

How to Make Our Tahini Recipe at Home in Minutes

Tahini is very, very simple to make. If you have ever made a nut butter like peanut butter before you’ll notice it is practically the same process: Grind sesame seeds in a food processor with a little oil until smooth.

As I mentioned earlier, we prefer to use hulled sesame seeds. 

Most often, we will lightly toast the seeds to bring out some of their natural nuttiness, but you can skip this step all together if you’d like.

If you plan to toast the seeds, we recommend doing so on the stovetop and not in the oven. Sesame seeds are tiny and so they burn very easily.

We throw them into a wide, dry saucepan over medium-low heat then stir constantly with a spoon until the seeds darken ever so slightly in color and become fragrant.

Quick and Easy Tahini - Better Than Store Bought!

Once the sesame seeds have cooled, we throw them into the bowl of our food processor, shut the lid then process until a crumbly paste begins to form.

Quick and Easy Tahini - Better Than Store Bought!

Next, to help the tahini come to an extra smooth paste, we add a few tablespoons of neutral-flavored oil — we go for grape seed oil, vegetable, oil, canola oil or a light olive oil. You could eliminate the oil if you would like, but the tahini won’t be as smooth or pourable.

To reach a similar consistency as store-bought, we’ve found 3 to 4 tablespoons of oil should do it.

Quick and Easy Tahini - Better Than Store Bought!

After more processing, a few stops to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and a little more processing after that, the tahini is done. Extra smooth and ready to use in whatever recipe you like. You can keep tahini covered in the refrigerator for a month, maybe a bit more. 

You might find that after some time in the fridge it separates, like a natural peanut butter would. All you need to do to fix this is stir it well.

More light and easy recipes we love are Honey-Dijon Lettuce Wraps with hummus, this Easy Tahini Sauce that can be used on almost anything, and our Honey Roasted Carrots with Tahini Sauce drizzled on top.

Quick and Easy Tahini - Better Than Store Bought!

Easy Tahini Recipe – Better Than Store-bought

  • PREP
  • COOK

Making tahini at home is easy and much less expensive than buying from the store. We recommend looking for sesame seeds in bulk bins or at International, Asian and Middle Eastern markets for the best deals. While tahini can be made from unhulled, sprouted and hulled sesame seeds, we prefer to use hulled sesame seeds for tahini. Tahini can be kept in the refrigerator for a month.

Makes approximately 1/2 Cup

You Will Need

1 cup (5 ounces or 140 grams) sesame seeds, we prefer hulled

3 to 4 tablespoons neutral flavored oil such as grape seed, canola or a light olive oil

Pinch of salt, optional


  • Toast Sesame Seeds
  • Add sesame seeds to a wide, dry saucepan over medium-low heat and toast, stirring constantly until the seeds become fragrant and very lightly colored (not brown), 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer toasted seeds to a baking sheet or large plate and cool completely. (Careful here, sesame seeds can burn quickly).

    • Make Tahini
    • Add sesame seeds to the bowl of a food processor then process until a crumbly paste forms, about 1 minute. Add 3 tablespoons of the oil then process for 2 to 3 minutes more, stopping to scrape the bottom and sides of the food processor a couple times.

      Check the tahini’s consistency. It should be smooth, not gritty and should be pourable. You may need to process for another minute or add the additional tablespoon of oil. Taste the tahini for seasoning then add salt to taste. Process 5 to 10 seconds to mix it in.

      • To Store
      • Store tahini covered in the refrigerator for one month. You may notice it separates over time, like a natural peanut butter would. If this happens, give the tahini a good stir before using.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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106 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Shawn January 13, 2017, 4:51 pm

    Hello. Will extra virgin olive oil work or is it too strong of a flavor?

    • Joanne January 15, 2017, 2:00 pm

      Olive oil is fine.

  • maarvarq December 26, 2016, 10:55 pm

    I put a half batch of sesame seeds (to go straight into the humus recipe) which I bought from the supermarket, so I assume the hulls had been removed, and didn’t bother toasting them for the first time, then when I tried chopping them up in the small attachment which goes on to of my food processor, they just bounced around and didn’t get cut up at all. I put the oil in with them and that made them sit still a bit better, but this is not the trivial recipe that it is described as.

  • dave October 28, 2016, 1:48 pm

    i wonder how hard it is to grow sesame seed

  • Piscean October 24, 2016, 2:08 pm

    Can I use a blender / mixie (grinder) instead of a blender?

    • Joanne January 4, 2017, 2:29 pm

      If it is a high powered blender then you should be able to use it.

  • leonps October 18, 2016, 1:44 am

    Can you use cold-pressed sesame oil for the oil?

    • Joanne January 4, 2017, 2:29 pm

      Yes, just do not use toasted sesame oil (which is very potent in flavor).

  • Latha October 11, 2016, 11:07 pm

    Love this tahini recipe and looking forward for more.

  • Tessa September 28, 2016, 9:52 pm

    This recipe is so simple! This is great. I am in China now, and they don’t sell Tahini paste here. It will save me a lot of money to make it myself rather than have it shipped over. Thanks a lot for sharing! =D

  • robert nanzer September 28, 2016, 2:56 pm

    Would it be okay to use sesame seed oil?

    • Joanne October 10, 2016, 3:56 pm

      Un-toasted sesame seed oil is fine. If you have toasted oil (often sold in the international aisle in smaller bottles), it will be too strong.

  • Elisabeth September 23, 2016, 3:00 pm

    Awesome thanks! The family loved it combined with you hummus recipe! I never realized how easy it was to make. I made your recipe twice, once with hulled and once with unhulled sesame seeds. I noticed a big difference whereas the hulled came out much better. I will be making it with the hulled sesame seeds only from now on.

  • Lacey September 21, 2016, 11:52 pm

    Thank you for this recipe! I used it in my first-ever homemade hummus. Instead of canola or light olive oil I used vegetable oil and it turned out just fine. Thanks!

  • Monica August 19, 2016, 8:07 pm

    Amazing! Thank you! It never occurred to me to make my own tahina. No more store bought for me!

  • Barbara Sulpizio August 14, 2016, 1:54 pm

    Your Tahini recipe is awesome! I was making hummus today and did not have any Tahini on hand. I usually buy some; it’s expensive. I did have a bag of sesame seeds in stock. The recipe was incredibly easy and tasted even better than the store bought one. Thank you!

  • mich August 6, 2016, 5:32 am

    which food processor do you use for the tahini and hummus?

    • Joanne August 11, 2016, 12:42 pm

      Hi Mich, We have used a few in our kitchen — Cuisinart, KitchenAid and Magimix are all nice options.

  • Jhanvi July 12, 2016, 1:40 am

    Honestly, even more than the recipe itself I have been staring at this page because of your incredibly sweet and concerned responses to everyone 🙂

  • Tony June 21, 2016, 9:50 pm

    For the oil, why not use sesame oil?

    • Joanne June 22, 2016, 1:03 pm

      Hi Tony, Sesame oil works perfectly (just make sure it isn’t toasted sesame oil).

    • Terry September 8, 2016, 7:17 pm

      Making hummus with home made tahini is such a healthy alternative to processed hummus. A factory is not controlling the ingredients
      granted, you have to soak the chick peas overnight and then cook them the next day, but it is worth it, vs canned but it is worth your time.
      My concern is that all the ingredients should be free of GMO corn/soy as in ‘vegetable oil’ and ‘canola’ which is also a GMO hybrid. We can all describe an ‘olive’ and a ‘coconut’ but not a ‘canola.’ There is no such thing CAN=canada O=oil and LA=low acidic It is a fabricated CHEAP oil.
      Never thought of sesame oil, always used olive oil, so will give it a try.

      • nkemp September 29, 2016, 3:14 pm

        yes, it wouldn’t sell well as rape oil!

      • Denimlee October 31, 2016, 11:50 am

        Canola is a cultivar of rapeseed bred to be low in erucic acid. As a term canola may refer to both an edible oil produced from the seed of any of several varieties of the Brassicaceae family of plants, … Wikipedia

  • Ance June 2, 2016, 3:25 pm

    Thanks for the recipe. Wonder why storebought tahini is gooey, but not the homemade ones.

  • liz May 13, 2016, 5:58 am

    Always wanted to try tahini but at NZ$9 a jar it was never going to happen. Then I came across your recipe and found sesame seeds on special today. Deeelish! Thank you so much.

    • Marilyn Johnson July 29, 2016, 8:21 pm

      Sesame seeds are way cheaper at Indian stores than anywhere else.

      • Carol Rebeck December 28, 2016, 1:24 pm

        New to this site, and am looking forward to making my own Tahini. Thanks for the tip Marilyn. I will check out the Indian store for sesame seeds.

  • Robin May 1, 2016, 11:56 pm

    I thought hummus was made out of chickpeas? Thx

    • Joanne May 18, 2016, 1:36 pm

      Hi Robin, Hummus is made out of chickpeas. Tahini is a common ingredient in hummus as well.

  • hazbaz April 21, 2016, 4:36 am

    I tried your tahini in hummmus…..awesome….I need garlic sauce recipe exactly like restaurant ….plz post that recipe too.

  • Colonel Tommy Johnson April 20, 2016, 8:51 pm

    Can you freeze and re-freeze Tahini or hummus or Babagouuj ?

    • Joanne May 18, 2016, 1:41 pm

      Yes, tahini, hummus and baba ganoush can be frozen. Make sure they are well sealed.

  • Tom Braak April 16, 2016, 1:15 pm

    I live in rural Haiti and am hoping to make this today or tomorrow. No stores around. I have coconut oil, vegetable oil, and olive oil. Which do you suggest that we use? I’ve never made it before. Shipped the dried chickpeas and sesame and eager to have some hummus!

    • Joanne May 18, 2016, 1:39 pm

      As long as the oil is neutral in flavor, you should be fine. A light olive oil, grape seed or vegetable oil will all work.

  • Iancovici Dragan March 29, 2016, 3:08 am

    Uhm where is the rest of the recipe ? Tahini sauce also contains lemon and garlic……

    • Adam March 29, 2016, 2:07 pm

      This is our recipe for Tahini. We also have a tahini sauce recipe. You can find by clicking here.

    • Paul Kunz May 1, 2016, 9:14 am

      Iancovici Dragan… Tahini, is ground sesame seeds (like peanut butter). When making at home (without commercial equipment) some will add oil to help it process.

      What you are thinking of is a “Tahini Sauce” recipe. This is when you take Tahini, and add garlic, lemon juice, etc., to make a sauce.

      I am not rating this recipe, as I have not made it. But it looks good!

  • Sybille March 18, 2016, 9:32 pm

    thank you for the tahini recipe – I’ll try it this afternoon!

    I make my own hummus, but for lower fat content I use 1/2 quantity tahini plus 1/2 quantity plain yoghurt (NOT the Greek style)

    • AmyR August 28, 2016, 3:09 pm

      Try using zucchini instead of garbanzo beans. Much lower calorie version, and delicious!

  • SCM March 7, 2016, 2:44 pm

    Mine was a disaster…..did exactly wat was required but te sesame remained whole 🙁

    • Joanne May 18, 2016, 1:38 pm

      It’s possible you did not process long enough or that your processor is not powerful enough. Sorry this didn’t work well for you!

    • Katy August 17, 2016, 3:05 am

      Hi there, you can always use a pestle and mortar to grind ingredients. Takes more time but was always used before electric equipment was invented and still is in many countries! Please try.

  • Susie pavey February 24, 2016, 9:13 pm

    So easy, fantastic recipe. Lovely friendly accurate advice. A-+++++++

  • Jessica February 21, 2016, 1:00 pm

    Has anyone ever tried using black sesame seeds instead of the regular ones to make tahini? I’m curious to know if there would be a big difference in the taste.

    • Kea August 29, 2016, 5:38 pm

      I have used black and it came out quite a bit dryer – it was also A bit bitterer, but we enjoyed it just fine. We prefer white for tahini but will use black in a pinch

  • Vernee February 1, 2016, 4:06 pm

    I brought unhulled sesame seeds. Sigh. I’m upset and afraid that it wont turn out well. Can you assist me so it wont be as bitter. I havent made it yet. And i have 2 little girls who LOVE hummus and the thought of making our own is so exciting to them. Ugggh help. Thanks

    • Joanne February 2, 2016, 4:31 pm

      Hi Vernee, Can you exchange the unhulled seeds at the store? You can try making it with them — it will be more bitter, but some people really like that! Maybe just give it a try and see what you think. Good luck!

      • Kelli April 22, 2016, 9:29 pm

        Yes, you can. It is best used in recipes such as hummus. The ideal way is to raw, brown, unhulled seeds and then soak them overnight, drain, and rinse with filtered water. Then dehydrate them below 115 degrees until fully dry. Then they are less bitter and more digestible when you grind them.

  • R January 29, 2016, 3:52 pm

    For the oil – use sesame oil! 🙂

  • alan January 23, 2016, 9:44 am

    Beautiful salt wood container…. Thanks for the recipe…

    • Monica February 28, 2016, 2:22 am

      I always wanted a salt cellar made out of olive wood but they’re so expensive. Found one like this in Crate & Barrel in $9.99, it’s acacia wood.

      • Joanne March 3, 2016, 8:36 pm

        Hi Monica, good find — ours is the one you found in Crate and Barrel 🙂

  • Julius January 23, 2016, 5:32 am

    Hi, love the recipe! How bitter is it suposed to be? When I tried it came out with a bitter aftertaste which was a bit too much for my taste. I was careful to toast them just ever so lightly, to avoid burnt seeds, but still the bitternes remained. Any way to minimize it?

    • Joanne March 3, 2016, 8:37 pm

      Hi Julius, Tahini is a little bitter. We really love using it to make tahini sauce which has garlic, lemon and a little cumin added. That all balances out the bitterness.

      • Katy August 17, 2016, 3:08 am

        Hi Joanne, it also depends on the oil used. Olive oil, especially if unfiltered first pressing will be bitter.


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