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 the recipe

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.

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.

Homemade tahini

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 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.

The 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.

Toasting sesame seeds
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.

Adding sesame seeds to a food processor to make tahini
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.

Making tahini in a food processor
After adding oil and processing for a minute or two, the tahini is smooth and pourable.

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.

Storing tips

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

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

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262 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Dora Clark May 22, 2019, 8:26 am

    I always thought tahini sauce had garlic in it??? Can garlic be added to this? is that another sauce I am thinking of?

    • Joanne May 22, 2019, 12:40 pm

      Hi Dora, This recipe is showing how to make tahini (simply a sesame seed paste), not tahini sauce. We have a recipe for tahini sauce, which does call for garlic 🙂

  • Monica A Kunk May 1, 2019, 10:49 am

    This may be a silly question, but could you use sesame oil to make the Tahini?

    • Joanne May 1, 2019, 12:08 pm

      Hi Monica, that’s not a silly question, at all. You can use sesame oil to make tahini, but we don’t recommend using toasted sesame oil (usually sold in smaller bottles) since it has a much stronger flavor than more neutral olive oil or plain sesame oil.

  • Debby April 19, 2019, 4:42 pm

    I can not get my sesame seeds to form a paste. I am using my ninja

    • Joanne May 22, 2019, 12:41 pm

      Hi Debby, We have not made tahini in a Ninja before, but it should still work. The seeds do need quite a bit of blending, I’d keep the machine running a bit longer and see if that helps.

  • CG March 16, 2019, 7:45 pm

    It supposed to taste bitter? I use hulled sesame seeds and I didn’t burn it; but still the tahini taste bitter. I can’t believe they eat tahini as dressing sometimes, it does not taste that good…

    • Joanne March 29, 2019, 1:20 pm

      Hi CG, tahini can be on the bitter side. I love making a sauce with tahini and then using that as my dressing. Here’s our tahini sauce recipe. Thanks to olive oil, spices, and lemon the sauce is not as bitter as plain tahini.

  • Porgi Tirebiter February 21, 2019, 2:03 pm

    I put 3 cups hulled seeds in my Vitamix. No oil. Gradually raise to high, then about 1 minute. It’s creamy, not as pourable like you mentioned. But I can also make a tahini or half peanut butter/ half tahini sandwich. It’s also great in all the usual dishes that include tahini. There’s a great vegan butter pecan ice cream recipe that uses tahini. My favorite go to ice cream.

  • Anthony Sersen December 20, 2018, 7:38 pm

    i use sesame seeds and sesame oil mostly, a little olive oil for pourabilty

  • Nicole November 26, 2018, 10:03 am

    Hi, I don’t have a good processor. Can I make tahini with a blender? Thanks!

    • Joanne March 29, 2019, 1:22 pm

      Hi Nicole, I prefer my food processor, but if you have a high powered blender then you should be able to make it.

  • Donald Frederick November 20, 2018, 6:14 am

    So simple and delicious.

  • Thom November 7, 2018, 8:16 pm

    I love make tahini at home, it’s so much better than store bought. But I use a Vitamix. It’s much more powerful than a food processor and so it is not necessary to add oil to get a very smooth finish.

    • Lorena Stone November 25, 2018, 8:35 pm

      Did you use the smaller Vitamix container, that’s meant for dry goods? Or the actual Vitamix container? I tried the bigger one. But I have to do alot of work to get it smooth.

  • Eric November 5, 2018, 7:48 pm

    Mine turned out darker than peanut butter, and the best part is I didn’t use unhulled seeds.

  • Sukhvinder Kalsi October 27, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Excellent recipe. Makes delicious dip.

  • Frank Sheeran September 30, 2018, 4:22 am

    If you have sesame oil, that’d be my first choice!

  • Corinne Bergman September 18, 2018, 3:08 pm

    Can tahini be frozen if I’ve made too much?

    • Joanne November 16, 2018, 2:07 pm

      Tahini can be frozen. Add it to freezer-safe bags or containers.

  • CYNDY R MUDGE September 12, 2018, 9:42 am

    What kind of sauce did you use with the Falafel?

    • Joanne September 12, 2018, 12:40 pm

      Tahini or a tahini sauce is delicious with falafel.

  • Marta August 27, 2018, 1:28 pm

    Can’t wait to make homemade hummus!!!!


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