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

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. 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

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter with easy, delicious, and fresh recipes and receive our eCookbook with 16 of our most loved recipes for free! Click Go to signup for free!

214 comments… Leave a Comment
  • juan August 5, 2017, 6:49 pm

    delicious and easy to make…. thanks a lot for recipe

  • Lily July 19, 2017, 1:31 am

    Hi! It turned out a bit bitter. Could it be because of over roasting?

    • Joanne July 27, 2017, 5:51 pm

      Hi Lily, It is possible that over roasting made the tahini bitter. You could try using raw, un-roasted sesame seeds next time.

  • 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?

    • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

    • Joanne May 30, 2017, 8:40 pm

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

  • 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.


    • Joanne May 30, 2017, 8:40 pm

      Hi Dee, That is the Magimix food processor.

  • 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!

  • beaux April 6, 2017, 9:11 am

    Thanks for the recipe.

  • 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?

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

    • 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.

  • 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.

    • Colette March 24, 2017, 11:54 am

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

  • 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?

    • 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.

  • 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?

    • Joanne February 6, 2017, 1:31 pm

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

    • 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.

  • 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!

    • 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).


Leave a Comment

All comments are moderated before appearing on the site. Thank you so much for waiting. First time commenting? Please review our Comment Guidelines. By submitting your comment, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy.

* Required fields (Email address will not be published)

Did you make it? How was it?:


Previous Post: Next Post: