How to make tahini

How to make tahini

Making your own tahini at home is not only easy, it’s cost effective and super delicious!

This recipe requires just 2 ingredients, 20 minutes, and a food processor to prepare! Let’s do it!

What is Tahini?

Tahini is made by grinding sesame seeds into a smooth paste. Sometimes the sesame seeds are hulled, sometimes they’re left unhulled; sometimes roasted, sometimes raw. We like to use tahini to make dressings, soft serve, snack bites, stuffed dates, and SO many other dishes. The possibilities are endless!

Origin of Tahini

Tahini is an Arabic name for ground sesame seeds. However, its origins are thought to have been in Persia, where it was called “ardeh.” Tahini later found its way to Israel and was held as a delicacy as sesame seeds were rather expensive to procure. In some cultures, tahini was even used as currency. (source)

How to Make Tahini

Note: Our method is not traditional, but one of convenience as it relies on a food processor or blender. Learn more about traditional tahini preparation here.

Our inspired take starts with buying hulled white sesame seeds. We recommend buying them from grocery store bulk bins. We prefer hulled over unhulled seeds because they have a less bitter taste. However, unhulled sesame seeds provide more nutrition, so choose as you desire.

Grind the seeds in a food processor until they become a smooth and creamy paste. You’ll want a good food processor for this recipe! A high-speed blender will also work.

Or if store-bought is more your style, check out our store-bought tahini review!

How to make tahini

We hope you LOVE this recipe! It’s:

Creamy
Fresh
Versatile
Cost-effective
& Super delicious!

Ways to Use It

Tahini is one of the most commonly used ingredients in our pantry. We’ve used it in nearly 50 recipes on our site so far! We enjoy it in sauces, dips, dressings, desserts, on veggies, and pretty much anywhere you might use nut butter.

Here are some more of our favorite recipes to get you started:

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Tahini, or sesame seed paste, is a staple of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. It’s perhaps most notable for its essential role in making hummus, although its uses go far beyond that iconic dip.

But tahini can get pricey at the grocery store, and it’s sometimes bitter or rancid after its long wait on the shelf. The good news is you can make this pantry staple at home for a fraction of the cost — and chances are it will taste better, too! You only need two ingredients: sesame seeds and oil.

The Sesame Seeds

You can make homemade tahini from any sesame seeds: unhulled or natural, hulled, raw, sprouted, or toasted. Each variety lends a different flavor, color, and texture to the tahini.

Commercial tahini is typically made from white hulled sesame seeds, or seeds where the hull has been removed. This gives the tahini a lighter color and smoother texture. Tahini made from unhulled or natural sesame seeds is not quite as smooth, but it has a richer (albeit sometimes more bitter) flavor and potentially more nutrients.

Using raw, sprouted, or toasted sesame seeds is up to personal preference. Toasting the sesame seeds enhances the nutty flavor and can also reduce bitterness.

Tahini can even be made from black sesame seeds, creating an Asian-style black sesame paste.

Shopping Tip: Look for sesame seeds in bulk bins or at Asian and Middle Eastern markets for the best deals.

The Oil

Like other nut and seed butters, tahini can be made without any added oils. However, it takes longer to grind and the result is not as creamy as it is when using oil. Start with a couple of tablespoons of oil and increase as desired for a thinner consistency.

For the best flavor use a mild olive oil, a neutral oil such as grapeseed oil, and/or a small amount of sesame oil.

The Method

Many tahini recipes call for grinding the sesame seeds and oil together all at once. I have found that grinding the seeds before adding the oil produces a smoother result.

6 Ways to Use Tahini

  • Hummus from Scratch
  • Baba Ghanoush (Eggplant Dip)
  • Tahini-Miso Dressing
  • Spicy Lentil Wraps with Tahini Sauce
  • Creamy Beet and Tahini Dip
  • Tahini-Date Salted Caramels

How To Make Tahini

Yield Makes 1/2 to 1 cup, depending on the amount of oil used

  • alcohol-free
  • egg-free
  • kidney-friendly
  • peanut-free
  • low-potassium
  • pork-free
  • pescatarian
  • gluten-free
  • tree-nut-free
  • low-sodium
  • red-meat-free
  • dairy-free
  • low-carb
  • fish-free
  • vegetarian
  • shellfish-free
  • vegan
  • sugar-conscious
  • soy-free
  • wheat-free
  • Calories 178
  • Fat 16.5 g (25.3%)
  • Saturated 2.1 g (10.5%)
  • Carbs 5.6 g (1.9%)
  • Fiber 2.8 g (11.3%)
  • Sugars 0.1 g
  • Protein 4.3 g (8.5%)
  • Sodium 2.6 mg (0.1%)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup

or more mild olive oil, a neutral oil such as grapeseed oil, and/or a small amount of sesame oil

Equipment

Measuring cups and spoons

Skillet or rimmed baking sheet

Food processor (or mortar and pestle, or blender)

Instructions

Toast raw sesame seeds (optional): Toasting raw sesame seeds gives the tahini a nuttier flavor. On the stovetop, place the sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring them frequently with a wooden spoon. Toast the seeds until they are lightly colored (not brown) and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Transfer the toasted sesame seeds to a large plate or tray and let them cool completely. Alternatively, toast the seeds in the oven: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the sesame seeds on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast the seeds, stirring once or twice, until they are lightly colored (not brown) and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Transfer the toasted sesame seeds to a large plate or tray and let them cool completely.

Place the sesame seeds in a food processor: Place the sesame seeds in a food processor fitted with the S-blade. (Alternatively, you can use a mortar and pestle or a blender, although success may depend on the particular blender.)

Grind the sesame seeds: Process for 2 to 3 minutes until the sesame seeds form a crumbly paste.

Add oil: Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the food processor. Process for 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down the sides as necessary, until the mixture forms a thick and fairly smooth paste.

Add more oil (optional): For thinner tahini, add more oil, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, and process until the desired consistency is reached.

Add salt (optional): Add salt to taste and process until combined.

Store the tahini: Transfer the tahini to a jar or other airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator for a month or longer. If the mixture separates, stir the tahini to redistribute the oil.

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Emily Han is a Los Angeles-based recipe developer, educator, herbalist, and author of Wild Drinks & Cocktails: Handcrafted Squashes, Shrubs, Switchels, Tonics, and Infusions to Mix at Home. For recipes and classes, check out her personal site.

Plus how to make tahini from scratch.

Related To:

How to make tahini

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Cold pressed sesame oil from white sesame, tahini and sesame seeds in wooden bowl on grey textured background, selective focus.

Photo by: SMarina/Getty Images

By Layla Khoury-Hanold for Food Network Kitchen

Layla Khoury-Hanold is a contributor at Food Network.

If you’ve made hummus, you know that tahini is a key ingredient. If you’re more of a baker, you might have noticed tahini showing up in a lot of banana bread and chocolate chip cookie recipes. Or maybe you’ve seen tahini drizzled on the falafel sandwich from your favorite Middle Eastern restaurant. But what is tahini? Here, we cover all your tahini-related questions, from what it tastes like to how to make your own. We’ve also shared our favorite recipes with tahini, on both the sweet and savory sides.

How to make tahini

1132986457

Hummus ingredients for cooking – chickpea, tahini, olive oil and herbs. Middle eastern cuisine. Top view.

Photo by: Tatiana Atamaniuk/Getty Images

Tatiana Atamaniuk/Getty Images

What Is Tahini?

Tahini, sometimes called tahina, is a ground sesame butter or paste that’s traditionally used in Middle Eastern cuisine. It takes a starring turn in dips such as hummus and baba ghanoush, gets drizzled on falafel sandwiches, or is made into tarator, a tahini-lemon-garlic sauce to accompany fish, vegetables or shawarma. Tahini is also found in the culinary traditions of North African, Levant and the East Mediterranean, and South Caucus countries.

In addition to savory dishes, tahini also lends itself to sweets, particularly halva, a sesame-based confection with a crumbly-meets-fudgy texture. In Lebanon, tahini is combined with carob molasses to make a dessert called dibs bi tahini (though maple syrup or honey can be subbed, too). In the U.S., tahini is gaining traction as a baking ingredient, bringing its creamy texture and subtly nutty flavor to banana bread, cookies and tarts, and as an emulsifier for dressings and dips.

What Is Tahini Made Of?

Tahini is made of three ingredients: hulled sesame seeds, oil and sometimes salt. Hulled sesame seeds are typically toasted then ground and emulsified with oil to create a smooth, creamy seed butter with a pourable consistency.

What Does Tahini Taste Like?

Tahini has an earthy, savory taste; toasting the seeds before grinding them brings out more of their natural nuttiness and reduces some of their bitterness.

Is Tahini Vegan?

As long as the oil used to blend with the sesame seeds is vegan, tahini is vegan. It works wonders in vegan recipes to bring a dairy-free creamy component to sauces in dishes such as Sesame Noodle Salad or Carrot Tart with Cashew-Tahini Sauce (swap in vegan-friendly puff pastry and omit the egg to make it completely vegan). It can even anchor party appetizers such as this Vegan Cheddar Wheel or keep vegan desserts moist and flavorful, as with these Vegan Chocolate Lava Cakes. Since tahini is made from sesame seeds, it’s also a good alternative to nut butters for those with nut allergies, too.

What Is a Good Substitute for Tahini?

Cashew or almond butter are solid substitutes for tahini in most dressing and dip recipes. Creamy peanut butter can also be used, but make sure you use a natural, unsweetened brand. Sunflower seed butter serves as a good nut-free option. If you’re making hummus but don’t have other nut- or seed-butters on hand, sesame seeds and/or sesame oil can also be used as a tahini substitute.

How to make tahini

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
291 Calories
23g Fat
19g Carbs
7g Protein

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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 291
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 29%
Saturated Fat 3g 16%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 331mg 14%
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Protein 7g
Calcium 192mg 15%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Tahini sauce is made from tahini (a sesame seed paste). It’s thinner and used in pita sandwiches, marinades, and dips and is very easy to make. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and it will keep for about two weeks.

Tahini Facts

  • Tahini is a Middle Eastern pantry essential. It is the foundation for many Middle Eastern recipes like hummus and baba ghanoush.
  • Tahini can be prepared homemade or purchased at a Middle Eastern grocer in a can. It is called tahini or tahina, depending on the region.
  • There is so much you can do with tahini. It is used in many dishes, especially appetizer dips, and it can be paired with a variety of vegetables, including broccoli and cauliflower.

Click Play to See This Easy Tahini Sauce Recipe Come Together

Served With

One of the most important ingredients in hummus, other than chickpeas, is tahini. If you frequent Middle Eastern restaurants and eat the hummus, you know that hummus tastes different everywhere. Some types of hummus have a strong lemon flavor, some have an overwhelming garlic flavor, and some hummus has a spicy tone. When making your own hummus, you have to keep your own taste buds in mind. The fun of Middle Eastern cooking is that the ingredient amounts aren’t set in stone. Add a little of this and take away that and you still have a culinary masterpiece!

Shawarma is like the ultimate on-the-go meal. Thinly sliced meat, wrapped in pita bread with veggies and sauce is a delicious quick meal. Tahini, along with lemon juice, garlic, and yogurt makes up the sauce that goes with this Middle Eastern classic.

How to make tahini

How to Make Tahini Halva ( Easy recipe ): I bet when you hear someone say ‘Tahini’, the first dish that ever comes into your mind would be Hummus! But pardon me to break the bubble. There could be a ton of recipes out there that you can make with Tahini such as cookies, cakes, ice creams, salads..and the list goes on.

I recently found the recipe of this Mouthwatering recipe on Pinterest by Kitchen Maestero and I had to make it then and there. It was indeed the yummiest one. How to make tahiniTahini Halva

About Tahini Halva

Tahini Halva is basically a middle-eastern dessert recipe and it’s traditionally made with tahini paste, honey, and nuts. But the ones I made are a bit different than the usual ones. I used milk powder and pistachio powder in this one and it really compliments the taste of tahini and turns it into an amazing dessert.

If you don’t have Tahini paste in hand, make it in few minutes using this recipe right here.

Notes: If you don’t have any mold to shape the Halwa, simply use the hands to make equal sized balls. Trust me on this, but the balls finish faster.

How to make tahiniTahini Halwa Balls

How to make tahini

Tahini sauce is delicious drizzled onto meat, fish, falafel, or roasted vegetables. It can also be served as dip for fresh veggies or as a sandwich spread.

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How to make tahini

This tahini sauce recipe is adapted from Israeli chef Michael Solomonov’s cookbook, Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking. It is wonderful drizzled onto meat, fish, falafel, or roasted vegetables, and it can also be served as dip or sandwich spread.

Not only is tahini sauce versatile, but it’s also a cinch to make. It will keep for a week in the refrigerator, or it can be frozen for up to a month.

What you’ll need to make Tahini Sauce

How to make tahini

Tahini paste is the main ingredient in tahini sauce. It is made from sesame seeds and has an earthy, nutty taste. You can find it in the Middle Eastern section of the grocery store, or near the nut butters. When you open a jar of tahini, you’ll notice that the solids are settled in the bottom of the jar, similar to natural peanut butter. Be sure to give it a good stir before using. (If your tahini is difficult to stir in the jar, scrape the contents of the jar into a bowl, then use a whisk or hand-held electric mixer to blend.)

Because it’s high in oil, tahini should be refrigerated once opened. It will last several months in the fridge. For longer storage, you can freeze portions in an ice cube tray and pop out individual cubes to use when needed.

The seasonings here are important (as always!), as without the addition of salt and cumin the sauce will be bland. The cumin adds a nice depth of flavor and a hint of smokiness. If you want to play around with other spices, try a pinch of chili powder and/or smoked paprika.

How to make tahini sauce

How to make tahini

Place the unpeeled garlic cloves in a blender or small food processor. Add the lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Blend on high until the garlic is coarsely puréed.

How to make tahini

Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes to let the garlic mellow. Pour the lemon and garlic mixture through a fine mesh strainer set over a medium mixing bowl, pressing the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids. This step helps to make the tahini sauce silky smooth and keeps it from tasting too strongly of garlic.

How to make tahini

Add the tahini to the strained lemon juice in the bowl, along with the cumin and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.

How to make tahiniWhisk to combine. As you can see below, the mixture will be very thick.

How to make tahini

Add ice cold water a few tablespoons at a time, whisking constantly, to thin it out. The sauce will lighten in color and seize up as you whisk.

How to make tahini

When the tahini seizes up or tightens, keep adding the water, bit by bit (about 1/2 cup total), until the sauce is smooth, creamy, and thick.

How to make tahini

Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt and cumin, if necessary. If you’re not using the sauce immediately, whisk in a few tablespoons of ice cold water to loosen it up before refrigerating (it thickens up quite a bit in the fridge). The tahini sauce can be refrigerated for up to a week, or frozen for up to a month.

How to make tahini

You May Also Like

  • Hummus
  • Baba Ganoush
  • Falafel
  • Creamy Whipped Feta
  • Israeli Salad

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Quick, easy and inexpensive, here’s an incredibly simple recipe for making tahini at home so you’ll never be in a hummus shortage situation again.

How to make tahini

You’re moments away from your own homemade tahini. Photo: Natale Towell.

The backbone essential to any good hummus, tahini is a sesame seed paste that is great to have in your store cupboard. Like any nut butter, it lasts for ages, tastes great slathered on toast, blitzed into smoothies, whisked into a dressing or baked into sweet nutty biscuits. In the Middle East, tahini is mixed with date syrup and drizzled onto bread for a quick sweet treat. In a similar vein, you can loosen it with water until spoonable, add salt, a bit of garlic and lemon juice and drizzle that onto bread too. All delicious!

For now, though, you need just two ingredients: sesame seeds and a neutral-flavoured oil, like light olive oil or groundnut oil.

When you’ve got 10 minutes to spare, this is how you make it.

Equipment

You’ll need a frying pan, a food processor and a sterilised jar to store your tahini in.

5 easy steps to homemade tahini

Step 1

How to make tahini

Photo: Natale Towell

Place at least 100g of sesame seeds in a dry frying pan. Any less will make it difficult to blitz in your food processor later. Toast over a medium-high heat, stirring and shaking the pan often. Watch they don’t burn: a bitter seed will give you bitter tahini.

Step 2

How to make tahini

Photo: Natale Towell

Tip into a food processor and blitz to a rough paste.

Step 3

How to make tahini

Photo: Natale Towell

With the processor still running, add a drizzle of neutral-flavoured oil, such as light olive oil or groundnut oil.

Step 4

How to make tahini

Photo: Nat Towell

Keep going, adding small drizzles of the oil until it starts to become a looser, smoother paste – as a rough guide, 2 tablespoons per 100g of seeds works about right. The more oil, the looser the texture and the more diluted the flavour, so try to strike a balance, adding small amounts of oil until it’s just smooth enough.

Step 5

How to make tahini

Photo: Nat Towell

When you’ve hit your just smooth enough consistency, store in a jar and keep in the fridge or at room temperature.

And that’s it! Beyond homemade hummus, be sure to try it as an alternative to nut butter to spread on toast or thrown it into brownies and cakes for a savoury edge.

Caught the DIY pantry bug? Learn how to make a stunning apple cider vinegar, an easy mayonnaise, gut-friendly kombucha, a go-to paneer cheese or creamy yoghurt at home.

Try our homemade hummus recipe and keep your eyes peeled for a step-by-step coming soon to our DIY Pantry series.

Want to buy before you try? Discover tahini at farmdrop.com.

How to make tahini

Susan Holtham

Content Director at @Farmdrop. Loves walled gardens, English wine and everything about doughnuts.