OHHH my goodness. Talk about a great ingredient that is a mainstay in pantries from coast to coast. Tahini paste is incredibly easy to make and incredibly delicious to boot.
Ground sesame seeds are transformed into tahini sauce in a flash. This recipe is versatile, easy to make fresh at home, and blows anything store bought out of the water. It is naturally vegetarian, vegan and gluten free and adds a nutty flavor to anything.
While technically it doesn’t fit into the nut butter category because it is a seed, it does taste nutty and can be swapped for peanut butter or almond butter rin many recipes since it is such a smooth paste.
What's In This Article
What Is Tahini?
Tahini is a ground or pureed mixture of hulled sesame seeds with olive oil and is often described as peanut butter in terms of how it looks. If we are being honest here, think of it just like you would almond butter or cashew butter. Just a different nut or seed being ground into a velvety paste.
It is commonly seen in Middle Eastern cuisines and Mediterranean cuisines. It is what gives hummus recipes body and velvety texture, it gives baba ghanoush (baba ganoush) a boost, it is used in ice cream flavors, it can be incorporated in salad dressings, and it is great in marinades.
What Does Tahini Taste like?
In terms of flavor, the best tahini is nutty, earthy, and slightly bitter. It can be made from toasted and raw sesame seeds depending on its application and your palate.
Personally, I like mine toasted. It can be a little grainy in texture, which adds to the sophistication of a dish.
Tahini vs. Tahina
What’s the Difference between Tahini & Tahina?
Tahini and tehini, differ in one letter are interchangeable in the opinion of most people. They both represent a simple paste made with sesame seeds. We are focusing on this in particular.
Tahini is used to make tahina sauce which is used just as many ways if not more. Tahina is a condiment made with tahini and has a creamy texture. It is a blend of garlic, lemon juice, tahini, and sometimes spices. This is the magic sauce in hummus recipes and in many other dishes.
Health Benefits of Tahini
Tahini has more protein in a serving than you would get from milk or many varieties of nuts. It is high in B vitamins as well as vitamin E. Not to mention it touts magnesium, calcium, and iron.
How do you store tahini? Storing tahini is like storing any other nut butter. A cool place out of the sun is ideal.
Always give it a smell test before you use it. Like nuts and oils, it is high in fat and it can spoil easily and since we aren’t using any preservatives, this can happen faster than with store bought.
The funky and musty smell it gives off when this happens is a dead giveaway. Discard it and make another batch.
Easy Tahini Recipe
You can easily buy store-bought tahini, but it is often the consistency of cement and sometimes includes stabilizers and other ingredients that simply aren’t necessary. That is why making it at home is so glorious!
These are the only ingredients you will need.
- Sesame Seeds- white are best for this recipe, although black can add an unexpected color.
- Neutral Oil- Avocado, canola and grapeseed are good choices. Smoke point isn’t important, but flavor is. Using sesame oil will be overwhelming.
- Pinch of Salt– Salt helps to brighten and amplify flavors and serves as a natural preservative. It is optional and can be omitted if you choose.
How to Make Tahini
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the sesame seeds into an even layer on the parchment and bake for 10 minutes or so. Toasting sesame seeds (any seed or nut) deepens the flavor.
- As soon as they have a light brown exterior, take them out of the oven. Keep in mind they will continue to get darker if left on the hot baking sheet after you take them out, so I recommend letting them cool on a different plate or surface. Sesame seeds can easily get too dark and in turn, bitter and it happens fast!
- Once completely cooled, put your toasted sesame seeds and 1 tablespoon of oil and salt in a food processor (or high speed blender), and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the food processor in the process. If it needs more oil, add it by the ½ tablespoon blending in between each addition. I like to use olive oil, but other neutral oils work too. Avocado oil and grapeseed oil are close seconds.
- Scoop the finished sesame seed paste into an airtight container and keep in the fridge for 3-4 weeks. You may need to give it a good stir before each use much like you would with natural peanut butter, it has the tendency to separate.
Recipes that Use Tahini
Homemade Tahini Recipe
- 2 cups white sesame seeds
- 1-2 tablespoons neutral oil (avocado oil , grapeseed oil, canola oil)
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the sesame seeds into an even layer on the parchment and bake for 10 minutes or so.
- As soon as they have a light brown exterior, take them out of the oven and transfer to a plate to cool.
- Once completely cooled, put your toasted sesame seeds and 1 tablespoon of the oil and salt in a food processor, and blend until smooth. If it needs more oil, add it by the ½ tablespoon blending in between each addition.
- Scoop the finished tahini into an airtight container and keep in the fridge for 3-4 weeks. You may need to give it a good stir before each use much like you would with natural peanut butter, it has the tendency to separate.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature in a cool dry place.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments and ratings!
I had no idea tahini was so easy to make! It tasted better than the ones I buy from the store and so much cheaper too! Thank you so much for sharing this!
I have never made homemade tahini before but this was SO easy and tasted delicious! I plan on using it to make a big batch of homemade hummus this weekend.
Cannot wait to give this a try! I have been buying tahini for years, but I am sure the homemade version will be even better! Would tahini keep longer if stored in the fridge? Or should I just stick it in the cupboard?
You can certianly keep it in the fridge. Since it is made from sesame seeds, they can go rancid and the fridge will help with that. But it will harden, so leave it out at room temp for a bit before using it.
Homemade tahini is always best I love to make a big batch always.
I am glad I found this recipe. Tahini is not readily available in supermarkets here, so I am happy that I can just make some myself. There are so many recipes that I want to try but it calls for Tahini. Now I can go try those recipes because I am making my own tahini tomorrow.
I use a lot tahini in my kitchen! I am so glad to make it at home now!
I had never heard of this sauce before, but I like sesame and really enjoyed it.
Looks good and sounds good. Love the ingredients that are simple.
I enjoy tahini sauce but quite honestly have never thought of making it at home. I love the simplicity of your recipe. Thanks for the challenge to try making this sauce 🙂
I’ve never actually heard of this before. It sure looks amazing. I love trying new things, so I’ll be giving this a try.
I have no idea what is this but It got my attention. It looks good though and I want to try experimenting doing this!
This is the first time I’ve heard fo tahini. I loved learning more about what tahini is, glad you shared this info. I’ll have to give it a try.
I LOVE Tahini. And Hummus, and baba ganoush…..LOL. But it’s really good, I’ll try your style 🙂
I didn’t know it had so many health benefits! Good to know. Thanks for all the info!
This sounds like a really interesting recipe – I have to admit I’ve not had Tahini before and I can’t imagine what it is like, which of course means I need to try it!
I’ve never tried Tahini before, but I love all nuts and seeds. I know I’m going to love this.
I use tahini for hummus but I have never made my own. Thanks for the recipe!
Homemade is so much better!
My daughter absolutely loves tahini! She uses it in so many recipes. Now we can make our own at home!
This looks interesting and I can’t wait to give this a try!
I’m super excited to be able to make my own tahini. Thanks for the easy recipe!!