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
  • TOTAL

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

Directions

  • 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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130 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Anne June 20, 2017, 4:00 am

    It was all going so well, then I thought I had read that could add water.
    Of course it separated. But the tahini sauce recipe says I can add lukewarm water ? So it goes back to creamy consistency. But will it keep the same as the pure tahini?

    Reply
    • Joanne June 29, 2017, 4:59 pm

      Hi Anne, I’d throw the tahini back into the processor or use a stick (immersion) blender to blend the oil back into the tahini.

      Reply
  • Marsha June 18, 2017, 6:31 pm

    Just made this tahini-since I didn’t like the flavor of the store bought. I had to add a LOT of oil to get it to the pouring consistency. As compared to the store bought, mine is much coarser. I’m using a kitchenaid food processor (new) . The taste is about the same as the store bought, but it is definitely cheaper to prepare. I like the smoothness of the store bought . I’m using the homemade one for my Israeli Hummus recipe from Milk Street. I’m hoping it isn’t too coarse for my hummus!

    Reply
  • Dee May 19, 2017, 3:55 pm

    I saw in an earlier post of yours that you use a Cuisinart and a Majimix blender. Which is the blender (and what is the model) used for both tahini and for the hummus? I just purchased a blender and returned it after attempting your hummus recipe, because the blade was too high for the food that fell below it. So disappointing!

    Reply
    • Joanne May 30, 2017, 8:40 pm

      Hi Dee, we have used both brands of food processor for the recipes you mention.

      Reply
  • Dee May 19, 2017, 3:36 pm

    What blender are you using in your tahini-making video? I like its simplicity and it looks as though it works great for a small amount of food that you put in the chamber.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Joanne May 30, 2017, 8:40 pm

      Hi Dee, That is the Magimix food processor.

      Reply
  • Sharla May 3, 2017, 6:24 pm

    I could only find roasted sesame seeds at my local grocery store. So got to skip that step! However mine is quite a bit darker brown than yours, and doesn’t seem to pour quite as well. I had to add a little more oil. But looking forward to giving it a taste test in the hummus, that’s next!

    Reply
  • beaux April 6, 2017, 9:11 am

    Thanks for the recipe.

    Reply
  • Bev March 24, 2017, 6:05 pm

    Just made the tahini and the hummus and it’s very good. However, it took probably 10-15 minutes to get the sesame seeds to a paste and then a pourable paste. The hummus wasn’t as long. I have a Nutri Ninja food processor, might it not be powerful enough? Also, it was not stated what power to blend on, I chose high. What type of food processor do you use?

    Reply
    • Joanne April 28, 2017, 4:58 pm

      Hi Bev, it is possible that your blender made the tahini take a bit longer than we say a food processor will take. We have used a Cuisinart model and a magimix processor in our kitchen and been very happy.

      Reply
  • Colette March 24, 2017, 11:51 am

    I made it with lightly roasted hulled sesame and the results was not good..then I tried with raw sesame and it was very tasty and good. I added in the end some flour and that made it very nice.

    Reply
  • carol sayer March 4, 2017, 9:21 am

    Hi, Iv,e just made the hummus from your recipe in my Vitamix, as I do buy lots of shop bought hummus, but thought it’s about time I made my own. Happy to say, I love it, as good as if not better, I will always make my own from now on, using your recipe. So just to say thanks x

    Reply
    • Decorina April 28, 2017, 12:58 pm

      I put a whole, preserved lemon in my hummus and it is always a big hit. Highly recommend. Preserved lemons are made with salt and lemon juice – that is all.

      Reply
  • Eve March 1, 2017, 11:33 am

    I just made the tahini paste amd then the hummus. Absolutely delicious! I don’t like raw garlic so substituted it with chopped onion, soaked in cold water for 20 mins, then drained and put in with everything else. Definitely a five star recipe.

    Reply
    • Colette March 24, 2017, 11:54 am

      No need to any garlic in hummus. The original hummus has bo garlic into it.

      Reply
  • MomaJ February 28, 2017, 9:29 am

    I’ve tasted some tahini paste that is extremely bitter. It’s not supposed to be bitter is it? Is that from using seeds that are not hulled? Or from over roasting?

    Reply
    • Joanne February 28, 2017, 2:02 pm

      It could be how much they were roasted. We usually add alight roast to sesame seeds for our tahini since we aren’t a huge fan of bitter tahini.

      Reply
  • Joe January 26, 2017, 11:53 am

    Tried both the Tahini and Humus recipes and both tasted great. However, with the Tahini recipe after toasting and processing the sesame seeds it did not form a past. The seeds were almost a powder. Was it a problem with the seeds or could it have been from over toasting. I added the oil and also a little water. Even after that it was not a pourable mixture. In the end I spooned it into the humus mixture and it still came out great. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • Joanne February 6, 2017, 1:31 pm

      Hi Joe, I’m not sure what happened. You could try adding a bit more oil.

      Reply
    • johan tessens April 3, 2017, 5:05 am

      Adding water to the mixture will increase the problem because water and oil don’t mix. Grind the seeds and start adding oil before it becomes powder. Powder has more surface to be covered and therefore needs more oil.

      Reply
  • Susan January 21, 2017, 1:14 pm

    Thank you for both the tahini and hummus recipes. I have been making them once a week for over a month now. I will never buy store bought again.
    Your directions are clear, the pictures help, and the results are delicious!
    One addition I made, lemon zest to the hummus.
    When life hands you lemons, make lemon zest!

    Reply
    • Decorina April 28, 2017, 1:00 pm

      Or try using preserved lemons. Gives the hummus a nice lemon flavor (you use a whole lemon, skin and all).

      Reply

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