Easy Tahini Recipe – Better Than Store-bought

Homemade tahini is so easy to make. Our recipe is quick and makes tahini that tastes so much better than anything you can buy at the store. Jump to the Tahini Recipe or watch our quick recipe video showing you how to make it.

Watch Us Make Tahini

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 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.

Making Tahini: The difference between natural or hulled sesame seeds and unhulled sesame seeds.
Hulled sesame 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 the tahini does’t get quite as smooth as when it is made from hulled sesame seeds.

Quick and Easy Tahini Recipe - Better Than Store Bought!

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.

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 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.

Tahini Recipe Ingredients

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 all together 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 It

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.

Quick and Easy Tahini - Better Than Store Bought!
Toasting sesame seeds in a dry pan makes tahini with incredible flavor.

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.

Quick and Easy Tahini - Better Than Store Bought!
A food processor turns the seeds into a crumbly mixture.

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.

Quick and Easy Tahini - Better Than Store Bought!
After adding oil and processing for a minute or two, the tahini is smooth and pourable.

Can I Use A Blender To Make Tahini?

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. 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.

Storing Tahini

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.

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. Careful here, sesame seeds can burn quickly.

    Transfer toasted seeds to a baking sheet or large plate and cool completely.

    • 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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214 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?

    Reply
    • Joanne January 15, 2017, 2:00 pm

      Olive oil is fine.

      Reply
  • 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.

    Reply
  • dave October 28, 2016, 1:48 pm

    i wonder how hard it is to grow sesame seed

    Reply
  • Piscean October 24, 2016, 2:08 pm

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

    Reply
    • Joanne January 4, 2017, 2:29 pm

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

      Reply
  • leonps October 18, 2016, 1:44 am

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

    Reply
    • Joanne January 4, 2017, 2:29 pm

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

      Reply
  • Latha October 11, 2016, 11:07 pm

    Love this tahini recipe and looking forward for more.

    Reply
  • 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

    Reply
    • Mohkam January 18, 2017, 3:36 pm

      When I lived in northern China most of the street produce markets had someone selling freshly ground sesame seed paste. Sometimes hard to notice if you’re not looking for it.

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

    Would it be okay to use sesame seed oil?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  • 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.

    Reply
  • 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!

    Reply
  • 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!

    Reply
  • 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!

    Reply
  • mich August 6, 2016, 5:32 am

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

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  • 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 🙂

    Reply
  • Tony June 21, 2016, 9:50 pm

    For the oil, why not use sesame oil?

    Reply
    • Joanne June 22, 2016, 1:03 pm

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

      Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
      • nkemp September 29, 2016, 3:14 pm

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

        Reply
      • 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

        Reply

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