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.

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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 RecipeHere’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.

Dreamy Tahini Sauce RecipeYOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Use this lemony, garlicky tahini sauce on anything — try it as a salad dressing, drizzled over vegetables and meats, spread it onto bread or toast, or simply serve as a dip. Jump to the Tahini Sauce Recipe.

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

2 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

  • Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA Supertracker recipe calculator to calculate approximate values.

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

Nutrition Per Serving: Serving Size 1 tablespoon / Calories 136 / Protein 3 g / Carbohydrate 5 g / Dietary Fiber 3 g / Total Sugars 0 g / Total Fat 12 g / Saturated Fat 2 g / Cholesterol 0 mg
AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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140 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Kenda January 21, 2016, 1:43 am

    Hello all! This is the exact recipe my Mediterranean friends gave me for tahini years ago, and it never fails! They did say they use sesame oil in their recipe, to keep the flavor true, but I’ve always used whatever other neutral oil I have on hand like you all suggest if I don’t have sesame oil…although I usually do, I’m half Asian. But still, I like to mix it up lol! Thanks for posting it, and the hummus and other recipes as well. I like to slice the top off my garlic bulbs, roast them in the oven, then squeeze them into my hummus for that delicious creamy garlic flavor! Goes well in the other recipes also. Will be trying your many other recipes as well, thank you again!!

    Reply
  • Christy January 11, 2016, 11:06 pm

    Thank you, thank you for posting this could not find this now I can make it again thank you

    Reply
  • Kacy December 7, 2015, 8:12 pm

    I’ve been making my own tahini and hummus for years. Mostly out of necessity, because I LOVE hummus and store bought tahini is expensive and wasteful. I’ve been able to get hulled sesame seeds cheaply at a local Mennonite grocery store (I get my spices there too as they’re much less expensive than at the bigger grocery stores) Anyway, I’ve been grinding my sesame seeds in my coffee grinder first (for a finer grind) then I process the ground seeds with olive oil in my little food processor, add a can of drained chick peas, lemon juce,a bit more olive oil, salt, pepper, and some pinches of cayenne and cumin. I usually add a bit of water to help get it blended to a smoother consistency. This way I don’t need to use as much oil. My hummus isn’t as smooth as store bought, but it’s fresh and yummy and doesn’t last very long. My food processor is only a jr. sized one, so I only can make one batch at a time. This is probably a good thing as I’d eat too much if there was more to eat. I checked this site just to see how other folks made tahini and hummus,as I just kinda made up my own recipe. I’d like to try some of the other tahini using recipes. I might also try toasting the seeds first. However, I usually burn things I’m trying to toast. Too ADD,so I get distracted doing other things and forget to pay enough attention, until I smell that familiar burnt smell. I’ve made baba ganoush before. I like one commentor’s suggestion to use a hand blender for this. I might try that next time.
    Thanks for the info. and comments.

    Reply
  • Angela December 5, 2015, 1:09 pm

    Hi Joanne, thanks for great recipe! I used a Vita-Mix and toasted sesame seeds + added 1/4 teaspoon salt + juice of small lemon. Since batch was small and needed liquid, added 3 tablespoons oil + same amount of water. Since it was very lumpy and thick, added 1 tablespoon of oil + 3/4 cup water and got the creamy texture. Yummy!!

    Reply
  • Karen November 23, 2015, 10:47 pm

    I made the tahini and humus recipes this weekend. They were so good! My tahini turned out quite a bit thicker than yours, even with extra oil, but the end result with the humus was amazing! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  • Desiree November 21, 2015, 4:14 pm

    For those of you having trouble pulverizing the Sesame seeds… maybe you’re doing what I did at first, because I had the same problem. I didn’t change the blade in my food processor from the plastic dough blade to the very sharp metal blade :-\ The dough blade just stirs the seeds around. I changed to the metal blade and boom! Tahini time!

    Reply
  • Vanessa November 5, 2015, 5:28 pm

    Hi!
    I started off making making the tahini recipe but the food processor wouldn’t shred the sesame seeds completely (like you show in the video) so I thought: I’ll just make hummus, by adding more ingredients I might get a smoother consistency…hmmm didn’t really happen, I was hoping for that smooth creamy texture just like yours. I have the ninja food processor, is this maybe to big?
    Ps even if a bit more chunky it was pretty good!

    Reply
    • Joanne November 7, 2015, 2:37 pm

      Hi Vanessa, It is possible the batch was too small for your processor. You could try doubling the recipe or if your processor came with a smaller bowl attachment, you could try that. – Joanne

      Reply
  • joyce November 4, 2015, 9:28 am

    Can I use water instead of oil?

    Reply
    • Joanne November 7, 2015, 2:42 pm

      Hi Joyce, I’ve never tried using water in place of the oil, but I would imagine it would work well. – Joanne

      Reply
  • Alexandra October 26, 2015, 9:47 am

    I love how easy and fresh this Tahini recipe is. I rate it ***** 5 stars! Now I can have it anytime. My Persian friends use it to dip dried dates in, just as we use carrots for humus. The tahini compliments the very sweet flavour of them.
    I made just enough of tahini to use in your Baba Ganoush recipe, which was also emazing, and is now my new favourite party food…Yes, I can finally use eggplant for something!
    Also, Thanks for your straight forward videos.

    Reply
  • Mike October 10, 2015, 5:58 pm

    Just whipped up a batch of this out of necessity because I couldn’t find tahini anywhere local. Came out great using avocado oil and pre-toasted sesame seeds but will probably toast my own next time. Will be using it for hummus later today. Thanks!

    Reply
  • Carol Warlick October 10, 2015, 2:40 pm

    I use a mini food processor and cannot get my sesame seeds to crumble or anything. They just stay whole. Can you tell me if I am doing something wrong or do I need a new food processor. Can you recommend one.

    so I bought sesame oil. Would this give a similar result?

    Reply
    • Joanne October 16, 2015, 12:42 pm

      Hi Carol, We do not recommend using sesame oil in place of tahini in recipes. Tahini is more like peanut butter in consistency. I’m surprised your processor did not work well — maybe try processing longer next time. Or, it’s possible your processor is underpowered ?

      Reply
  • Jack October 8, 2015, 1:44 am

    Can you use an immersion blender instead of a food processor?

    Thanks,

    Reply
    • Adam October 9, 2015, 11:40 am

      Hi Jack, If your immersion blender came with a mini food processor attachment then yes (although you might need to do it in two batches). I do not recommend using the stick to blend the sesame seeds — I’m worried you’ll have seeds flung everywhere. As another option, a blender can work, too. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  • Colleen October 2, 2015, 2:30 pm

    Oops! I made tahini with sunflower seeds. Used it in my hummus recipe. It was really good! Is there a huge difference?

    Reply
    • Adam October 9, 2015, 11:47 am

      Sesame seeds have a little more of a kick — on the bitter side. Sunflower seeds are more mild. Both would be excellent in hummus, though!

      Reply
      • Carmen February 28, 2016, 8:16 pm

        I just bought some honey roasted sunflower kernels, would they work for the Tahini? In the end it would have a sweet taste I would think.

        Reply
        • Joanne March 3, 2016, 8:36 pm

          Hi Carmen, Since they are honey roasted, the tahini will likely be sweet. If you were to use something other than honey roasted, I bet a sunflower seed tahini would be lovely.

          Reply
  • Pat A September 26, 2015, 9:26 pm

    Dip it with Doritos-Yum!

    Reply
  • Antonia September 26, 2015, 5:33 am

    Hello,

    I make tahini since a long time now, but I am never able to achieve the stor bought consistency, I wonder if it is because I do not toast the sesamy seads. I would love to hear your thoughts on that. Thank you, and have a great weekend!

    Reply
    • Joanne October 16, 2015, 12:52 pm

      I’ve never noticed a difference in texture from toasted to un-toasted seeds. Store-bought manufacturers may just have a more powerful processor.

      Reply

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