Homemade tahini is so easy to make. Our recipe is quick and makes tahini that tastes much better than anything you can buy at the store. Jump to the Tahini Recipe
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What is Tahini?
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.
Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds and is a staple in many cuisines, especially in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. It’s vegan, gluten-free, tastes nutty, and is simple to make.
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.
In our experience, tahini made from unhulled sesame seeds tends to taste more bitter and doesn’t get quite as 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. Even though we are huge hummus geeks, we use tahini many other ways in our own kitchen.
Here’s a list of suggestions for how to use tahini, other than in hummus.
- Make Baba Ganoush, an incredible roasted eggplant dip that, dare I say it, might beat out hummus for our favorite dip.
- Make your own tahini salad dressing. Give this Kale, Bean and Walnut Salad with Tahini Dressing a look.
- Turn it into a sauce or salad dressing. Give our Dreamy Tahini Sauce a try, which is perfect drizzled over vegetables or meats. I especially love it over Honey Roasted Carrots and drizzled over these Chicken Lettuce Wraps. We also love this Lemon Garlic Tahini Salad Dressing
- Serve tahini next to falafel — try our Easy Homemade Falafel Recipe.
- Use it in dessert. Seriously. Give these Chocolate Chunk Cookies a look.
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!
How to Make Tahini in Minutes
Tahini is very, very simple to make. If you have ever made a nut butter like peanut butter or almond butter before you’ll notice it is practically the same process: Grind sesame seeds in a food processor with a little oil until smooth.
We have a 10-cup Magimix food processor. It is quite powerful, but most food processors on the market today should do the trick.
You only need THREE ingredients to make tahini.
- Sesame seeds — 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 altogether if you’d like.
- Oil — To help the tahini turn into a creamy smooth paste, we add a few tablespoons of neutral-flavored oil. A variety of oils work, try avocado oil, light and fruity olive oil, vegetable oil, and grape seed oil.
- Salt is an optional ingredient, but I always use it. It just makes the tahini taste better.
Our Simple Process for Making Tahini
Making tahini is easy and only requires a few simple steps.
Step 1, Toast the sesame seeds. I love toasting the sesame seeds before making the tahini. The flavor is far superior this way.
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.
To toast the sesame seeds, I 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.
Step 2, Process the sesame seeds until crumbly. When 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.
Step 3, Add oil and process into a smooth cream. To help the tahini turn into an extra smooth paste, we add a few tablespoons of neutral-flavored oil.
You can eliminate some of 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.
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.
FAQ: Can I use a blender?
Since posting the recipe, quite a few of our readers have asked whether or not a blender will work in place of a food processor when making tahini. I prefer using my food processor, but if you have a high powered blender (like a Vitamix), then you should be able to use it to make tahini. When you do, be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the blender often so that all the seeds are incorporated into the sauce.
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.
Easy Tahini Recipe – Better Than Store-bought
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.
Watch Us Make the Recipe
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, vegetable or a light olive oil
Pinch of salt, optional
- Toast Sesame Seeds
1Add 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. Careful here, sesame seeds can burn quickly.
2Transfer toasted seeds to a baking sheet or large plate and cool completely.
- Make Tahini
1Add sesame seeds to the bowl of a food processor then process until a crumbly paste, about 1 minute.
2Add 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 of 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.
3Taste the tahini for seasoning then add salt to taste. Process 5 to 10 seconds to mix it in.
- To Store
1Store 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
- You can use neutral untoasted sesame oil for this, but we do not recommend toasted sesame oil since it has a strong flavor.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database 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
Daughter and I have bought 500g of sesame seeds v cheap here as locally produced. A tahini delight will be coming soon.
A keeper! Tahini and toasted sesame seed for a garnish on my hummus
Tahini and hummus have been around since long before food processors or powerful blenders.Curious to know how the elders managed! What options are there for people who own neither? Would an old school electric mixer work? I’d like to make my own hummus instead of buying it,to save a bit of money!
Traditionally hummus and tahini would be made by grinding with a large mortar and pestle. You can make hummus using a potato masher as well, but you wouldn’t be able to make the tahini that way. It takes a fair amount of elbow grease and won’t get as smooth and fluffy.
Amazing! Thank you so much
Made it and it was perfect. I only had to add about a tsp of oil to get the sesame “dust” to immediately start turning into creamy tahini. I could probably skip the oil altogether, but that teaspoon saves a few minutes blending time running the food processor at top speed and electronics are so shoddy these days I try to baby the motor. Question: Mine was eaten within days … but does it definitely need refrigeration? And does it really spoil in a month? I have had open jars of store-bought preservative free tahini hanging in the cabinet for over a year and it still tasted fine, ni rancid notes. Tip: if your gut tolerates xanthan gum without issue, I add about 1/16th teaspoon to each batch of nut or seed butter I make. The oil doesn’t separate quite so much if you are storing your tahini / nut butter for a while. That said, I consumed this batch before it had time to separate! Just mixed the last dregs of this tahini with a bit of vanilla extract and sugar to make a quickie halvah spread for fresh apple slices.Thank you again! I thought about trying this with my food processor but I thought the seeds might be too small to break down sufficiently. I have a bag of black sesame seeds I need to use up and will try making tahini with them.
Hi there, you are probably fine storing this at room temperature (dark, cooler cabinet is best). We simply recommend a fridge since it keeps it the freshest.
Made this recipe so many times now, it’s perfect for my home made humous. Tried many variations; full unhulled seeds as there’s so much goodness in the shells, but made a bitter humous. Not wanting to skip all of that goodness, I always use 40g unhulled and 100g hulled seeds now to make up 140g. No bitterness, but psychologically know I’m getting some of that incredible goodness. Winner!
I will try your recipe for tahini sauce. Thanks
This turned out great. I used it in a homemade hummus. Do you think it is possible to multiple batches at once at freeze it?
Hi Betsy, So glad you enjoyed the recipe. Yes, you can make more batches and freeze them. Adding a thin layer of oil on top of the tahini before freezing will help seal out any smells/flavors floating around the freezer.
Can you freeze tahini paste?
Yes, you can freeze tahini. Adding a thin layer of oil on top of the tahini before freezing will help seal out any smells/flavors floating around the freezer.
What is a tahini! is it so good!
Just made this in my nutribullet and it came out really well. I did grind the toasted sesame seeds in my coffee grinder and then transferred it to my nutribullet to do the rest of the stuff.
Thanks for sharing the recipes for both the roadted eggplant Baba Ganoush and Homemade Tahini Paste! I made the dip yesterday and turned out perfect! So delicious! Now I can make Tahini paste when needed rather than store brought!
I have a lot of walnuts and a lot of chickpeas I don’t want to go bad. I’m out of budget I can’t buy teheni right now but I was thinking of using walnuts instead of sesame seeds and using either sesame oil or toasted sesame oil which I have both. What do you think about that? Basically I want to make comments and I need tahini and I don’t have yogurt and I don’t have anything else I can substitute it with. I’ve been putting chickpeas in everything including my tuna salad, lol
I want to make hummus not comments, lmao. I don’t know why that happened. My voice to text is very off today
It is not necessary to add oil to tahini. Traditional tahini does not have added oil. Just like nuts, sesame seeds are loaded with it, and you’re making a much less healthier product when you add extra oil.I make all of my own nut butters and never add oil, and they always come out wonderfully smooth and creamy, just like the batch of tahini I made this morning did. The two most important points are: 1. Don’t let the seeds cool after you toast them. The heat helps them to process more smoothly. 2. You just have to give them enough time in the processor to become smooth…around 10 min, at least. I tried to attach a photo of the creamy tahini I made, but didn’t set that option here.
Are you also using a food processor? Mine came out kinda gritty, I didn’t add too much extra oil, just a 1/2 tsp. I ran it for more than 10 minutes, as well.
I just made this recipe today, and it was absolutely delicious. Thanks for posting it.