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

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


  • 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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162 comments… Leave a Comment
  • 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?

    • 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 ?

  • Jack October 8, 2015, 1:44 am

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


    • 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!

  • 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?

    • 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!

      • 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.

        • 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.

  • Pat A September 26, 2015, 9:26 pm

    Dip it with Doritos-Yum!

  • Antonia September 26, 2015, 5:33 am


    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!

    • 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.

  • DessertForTwo September 16, 2015, 1:24 pm

    This is genius! Love making homemade hummus, but never thought to make my own tahini. I can’t wait to try it 🙂

    • Joanne September 16, 2015, 2:17 pm

      Thanks so much! We were the same for years until we found out tahini is actually easier then hummus!

  • Steven August 28, 2015, 7:10 pm

    I was going to make this tonight so I can make hummed with it, but this recipe doesn’t yield enough for my jimmies recipe and was wondering if I can just double the amounts to make more. Thanks so much in advance. I can’t wait to make this. It looks so good.

    • Adam September 5, 2015, 7:59 am

      You can easily double the recipe!

  • james kimani August 27, 2015, 3:04 am

    How do you hull the seeds?

    • Joanne August 28, 2015, 10:51 am

      Hi James, we just buy hulled sesame seeds. I would imagine hulling sesame seeds is a pretty difficult job.

  • Lori August 19, 2015, 6:45 pm

    Hi – thanks for the tutorial …I find myself asking why would one not use sesame oil for the oil portion? Having no experience in making tahini – I am curious – thanks so much!

    • Joanne August 20, 2015, 11:28 am

      Sesame oil is a great option. We don’t recommend toasted sesame oil since that can be quite strong in flavor.

  • Steven August 4, 2015, 7:44 pm

    I tried to find sesame seeds cheaply to make this recipe because I love to Tahini. I found that 5oz of sesame seeds (.5 cups of tahini) costs about $4 and I can buy 2 cups of organic tahini for $6-7. How do you get the sesame seeds so cheaply?

    • Joanne August 10, 2015, 11:40 am

      Hi Steven, We’ve had the best success when shopping in the bulk aisle (at Mom’s Market and Whole Foods). International markets are much cheaper, as well. Or, you could try online.

    • Phil August 18, 2015, 1:26 pm

      Or if you have an Indian or Pakistani “corner store”. We pay $1,20 for a regular pack of 100g hulled seeds…..

    • Julie September 29, 2015, 12:25 pm

      Winco has a great bulk section and the prices are great!


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