Tahini Recipe | Cupcake Project

Tahini Recipe

This tahini recipe is simple to make.
You just need sesame seeds and olive oil.

Tahini, like baker’s coconut and dulce de leche, is one of those items that people often buy pre-made without even thinking about the option of making it at home. It turns out that the homemade tahini recipe is really easy to make and tastes just as good as the store-bought kind – if not better. However, as I’ll explain later, the texture of a homemade tahini is not quite the same. This didn’t bother me (as tahini is typically mixed into something), but it may bother you.

Before I get to the tahini recipe, though, let’s start with what tahini is and what it is used for.

What is Tahini?

Tahini is a paste of sesame seeds and olive oil used in all kinds of Mediterranean cooking. It’s often found in the ever-popular hummus and the incredibly fun to say baba ghanoush.

In my case, the tahini was used for some sesame honey cupcakes.

What’s the Difference Between Store-Bought and Homemade Tahini?

My homemade tahini looks like peanut butter.

Store-bought tahini is much smoother.

Faith from The Kitchn describes the difference between homemade tahini and store-bought tahini:

Commercially made tahini separates the bran from the kernel and only grinds the kernel, which is why it is so smooth and thin. At home you’re grinding both the bran and the kernel in a home food processor that isn’t as powerful, so the resulting tahini looks gritty and sticky… It’s more like thick peanut butter with small flecks of the bran.

You can see in the photo above how thick my tahini turned out. Jonathan (who on an unrelated note just bought a new macro lens – I’m lovin’ the closeup sesame seed shot he was able to take) felt that the bran added a complexity of flavor that he hadn’t experienced in store-bought tahini. I honestly couldn’t recall what jarred tahini tasted like and didn’t have a can on hand to compare. You’ll have to do your own side-by-side if you care that much about this issue.

Tahini Recipe

I got the tahini recipe from The Kitchn. It’s so easy! The recipe is below along with my notes.

Tahini Recipe

Yield: about 2 cups tahini

Tahini Recipe


  • 2 C sesame seeds
  • 1/3 C olive oil


    First, you'll need to toast the sesame seeds.
  1. Heat a heavy, wide-bottomed sauté pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the sesame seeds and toast lightly - about 2 minutes, shaking the pan so they toast evenly. Two tips here: a) I am a messy cook with limited arm strength. I have a great fear that if I toss a pan, food will end up everywhere, therefore, I tend to just vigorously stir rather than toss. b) Keep a careful eye on the sesame seeds as they go from toasted to burnt really quickly. As soon as they start to brown, they are done.
  3. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely.
  4. Next, you'll process the toasted seeds with the olive oil.
  5. Put the toasted sesame seeds in a food processor and drizzle in the olive oil. As you can see, I poured rather than drizzled. It worked just fine!
  6. Pulse for 3-5 minutes, or until it's as smooth as you can get it.
  7. Add a little more olive oil if necessary.
  8. Remove from food processor and store in the refrigerator.

First, you’ll need to toast the sesame seeds.

Next, you’ll process the toasted seeds with the olive oil.

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51 Responses to Tahini Recipe

  1. Hayley January 6, 2009 at 3:18 pm #

    Your homemade tahini looks much better than the store bought variety. I love how rustic it looks. Can’t wait to try this one out.

  2. Todd Jordan - tojosan January 6, 2009 at 8:47 pm #

    Looks very yummy. So when can I drop by and get some? :)

    Love the lens work.

  3. Happy cook January 7, 2009 at 4:32 am #

    Wow you made this at home.
    I always buy in a jar.
    Will bookmark this recipie.
    Happy 2009 to you and your loved ones.

  4. Stef January 7, 2009 at 6:40 am #

    Hayley – Thanks!

    Happy Cook – Glad to pass on a new idea. Hope you get a chance to try it!

  5. EAT! January 7, 2009 at 12:30 pm #

    Thanks for the tip. There was something about the store bought tahini that I never liked.

  6. Esi January 7, 2009 at 2:20 pm #

    I’m definitely going to be trying this since tahini at the store is kind of expensive. Thanks for the tips!

  7. Brooke January 7, 2009 at 9:04 pm #

    Thank you so much for the tip! I would never have thought of making my own tahini – even though I always have sesame seeds and never tahini.

  8. Cynthia January 8, 2009 at 4:22 pm #

    This is probably more cost efficient than buying ready-made tahini. Thanks for the recipe!

  9. Mrs Ergül January 8, 2009 at 7:42 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this recipe! Now I can allow my husband to finish the jar of store-bought tahini that cost me almost 5usd! I will be making my own after this jar finishes!

  10. Stef January 9, 2009 at 9:12 am #

    Eat! – Hope you like this kind better.

    Esi – Buying lots of sesame seeds isn’t so cheap either, but it is prob cheaper than the store-bought tahini.

    Brooke – Glad to help!

    Cynthia – No problem! Thanks for reading!

    Ergul – Yup – let him eat up!

  11. Olga January 9, 2009 at 2:15 pm #

    I’m so one of those people who never thought about making tahini at home, although I make hummus at home all the time.

    Have you figured out if it’s cheaper to make it at home?

  12. Swapna January 10, 2009 at 1:51 am #

    Thanks for the recipe…I always used the store bought ones…

  13. gaga January 10, 2009 at 7:25 pm #

    Mmm, it’s like sesame butter!

  14. happy camper January 29, 2009 at 12:49 pm #

    Loved it !!! and was really easy to make!!! Thank you

  15. Anonymous March 19, 2009 at 8:44 am #

    So yummy, I think it can replace peanut butter. I may try it for cookies as well as an ingredient for hummus

  16. Chua L S March 20, 2009 at 8:07 pm #

    Hi Can I use black sesame? How can we tell that is is properly toasted? Appreciate your comments. Chua

  17. Anonymous April 1, 2009 at 12:49 pm #

    Hi, Thanks for the recipe. I think I may have solved the lightly grainy texture issue. If you toast your seeds, cool them, grind them smooth in a coffee grinder, and then whisk in the oil. I found this to make the closest equivalent to store bought texture. thank you for the inspiration to do this at home!


  18. Anonymous April 5, 2009 at 8:53 am #

    Yes Krista is correct! I have read from other recipes that suggest the same tip. It practically turns the sesame seeds into a soft powder – yumm!!

    I made the best tasting hummus the other day. Thank you for sharing this!

  19. Lemonade Stand November 11, 2009 at 6:15 am #

    Hi, Found this thread after cooking Greek fillet steak gyro which I served with my version of tahini last night. Wanted to see how close I got to the real thing. :) I was making a much smaller amount so used a pestle & mortar, ground up the seeds really fine with a pinch of coarse salt, then added the olive oil until I got the right consistency. It was smooth as anything I’d ever bought. Added a few more non-authentic ingredients after that but it was really good with the beef.

  20. danpan320 January 13, 2010 at 8:59 pm #

    I’ve ground my seeds with a mortar and pestle before throwing them in the blender with oil. Got a lot closer to the consistency of commercial tahini. Sesame seeds are cheaper than dirt by me too!

  21. Angie July 18, 2010 at 10:03 am #

    They have hulled & unhulled sesame seeds in the bulk bins at Whole Foods near me. The hulled ones should help make your tahini much smoother though the unhulled variety are more nutrient-rich. Hmmm… :)

  22. --isobel August 9, 2010 at 9:34 pm #

    I buy sesame seeds at winco for a LOT less than the cost of tahini. Also, I’ve tried the toasted sesame oil from the oriental grocery store instead of olive oil. Really adds a fine flavor.

  23. Francie August 13, 2010 at 4:18 pm #

    I’m so glad I found this recipe! I was in the middle of making hummus this afternoon, when I discovered there was no tahini in the house… ~8-/ …an unusual situation for me. So I Googled “tahini recipe”, and found yours. It’s wonderful! I had to use my blender because the half-made hummus was in the food processor, but it worked just fine. I added about a half cup of olive oil before I got the consistency I wanted. I especially like it because it’s not as bitter as the kind I’ve been buying at the store. Thanks! I’ll never do store-bought again!

  24. jocelyn August 25, 2010 at 4:03 pm #

    Thanks Stef! The garbanzo beans are waiting for me to “open sesame” and take them all for a spin in the food processor with a little olive oil and lemon. This gardener will share a bowl of humus with the hubby!

  25. Anonymous December 16, 2010 at 11:23 am #

    I’d like to update my comment. I’ve quit adding the oil. Takes a little longer, but if you just keep running the sesame seeds through the food processor, stopping periodically to push them down, they will turn into tahini without the additional oil.


  26. Anonymous January 31, 2011 at 3:20 pm #

    I used a coffee bean grinder on the seeds first, made it like a powder, then added the olive oil. very few seed hulls and consistency more like the store bought kind. THank you for this recipe, it’s awesome!!

  27. Angie-w March 28, 2011 at 9:32 am #

    I am not able to eat seeds at all, so thought I would have to look for store-bought tahini….have never used it before, and am finding it called for in various recipes, including hummus. I will definitely try the coffee grinder route, as suggested by Anonymous – but if bits and pieces remain, I will run it through a fine sieve to get rid of them before adding the oil!

  28. Heather Brandt June 21, 2011 at 10:54 am #

    How long does this last in the fridge?

  29. Stef June 23, 2011 at 7:00 pm #

    Heather – I’d say about 4 days. But, I’m not food safety expert.

  30. w8t2nothing June 24, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

    ughh are you kidding me? That simple! I just bought a jar yesterday at $8! well you know from now on I will be making this. Why didn’t I think about making it myself. Thanks for the recipe. Can’t wait to try it!

  31. w8t2nothing June 24, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  32. NoorInaya August 25, 2011 at 3:41 am #

    Your tahini is brown because you toasted the sesame seeds too long. They should NOT brown. Also, add more olive oil to make it smoother.

    I’ve had plenty of homemade tahini, and it has been actually SMOOTHER than the store bought stuff (never had the store bought because it just looks so very unsavory!).

    Try the above tips, and you will get authentic tahini. It shouldn’t look like peanut butter.

  33. Jennifer September 13, 2011 at 6:02 am #

    I can’t wait to try making tahini at home, but I’m having a hard time finding the seeds! I saw someone say that Whole Foods has a bin of sesame seeds…has anyone found other grocery stores (in the mid-atlantic area) that carry large quantities?

    I checked Harris Teeter last night & they had 2.4 oz of sesame seeds for $6.35, is this normal pricing?? eek!

  34. myimperfectkitchen September 13, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

    Looks fantastic and so easy to make! I’m going to try this for sure!!

  35. Anonymous October 27, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    Indian food stores have three type of sesame seeds- white, brown, and black- for pretty cheap.

  36. Che Dau Xanh November 1, 2011 at 8:59 pm #

    Hey, I’ve been looking for this recipe! Do you think I can use a blender instead of a food processor?

  37. Stef November 2, 2011 at 10:25 am #

    Che Dau Xanh – You could if you have a powerful blender.

  38. Anonymous April 5, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    Anybody tried making this with sesame oil versus olive oil?

  39. Anna at In The Next 30 Days April 18, 2012 at 4:24 am #

    Thank you for this! I too “am a messy cook with limited arm strength.” And stirring worked perfectly to roast my sesame seeds. I’m working on a dip with beets, walnuts, and tahini. And this was so much easier than searching the grocery store with two kids in tow.

  40. Blessy April 25, 2012 at 9:29 am #

    Thank you so much for this recipe…I wanted to make hummus and did not have tahini..I had sesame seeds and so I searched for tahini recipe and got to this site… Just made tahini(first time making it) and hummus…Thanks again….

    For those searching sesame seeds, for your information—you can find sesame seeds at Indian stores…I guess its comparatively very cheap also..

  41. Anonymous May 24, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    Thanks for sharing your recipe. I buy my sesame seeds in bulk and it’s really inexpensive compared to the store-bought tahini. I like how your recipe involves using the stove-top as most of the other recipes involving the oven make me nervous. I’ve made several batches and it’s so easy!

  42. Anonymous June 25, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

    I just bought a 16 oz. bag of Sesame seeds for $2 at an Asian store. Can’t wait to make this.

  43. Leah July 7, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

    If you have a VitaMix blender with the grain blades…it will turn the sesame seeds to flour…and make the best hummus ever.

  44. Anonymous July 25, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    didn’t read all the posts, but can this tahini be canned?

  45. Cathleen Gilliland November 3, 2012 at 3:11 am #

    Thanks for the recipe as I am an old hand at cooking from scratch. It is my preference – I feel more in control of the food I prepare when I do it this way and the taste and quality is better. Plus who of us hasn’t heard what a shoddy job the FDA is doing in what manufacturers can pass off for a proposed “pure” product.

  46. Ber April 11, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

    Was preparing hummus for a camping trip and realized I was out of tahini. Yikes!! Found your recipe, took out the skillet and the HS Blender and whipped up a batch and it is better than store bought because both I know my sesame seeds are organic and so was my olive oil and lastly it is made with love and care for those that are to be eating it! Awesome recipe and I am very glad you posted it.

  47. Brook October 8, 2013 at 7:04 pm #

    I made this and my tahini has a significant bitter aftertaste. Is that normal?

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