Tahini Buttercream

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Tahini buttercream is sweet and earthy with a little salt and a lovely toasted sesame flavor. Jess Touchette shares the details of her recipe below.

Tahini Buttercream Photo

Tahini, a spread made by blending sesame seeds with olive oil, is a staple of many Mediterranean kitchens. The nutty, slightly bitter paste is best known for dialing up the flavor of hummus, but it also plays a starring role in vegetable sides such as baba ghanoush, in a variety of dressings and sauces, and even in desserts.

Tahini and Carob Molasses

One popular Middle Eastern use for tahini is a snack in which carob molasses (dibs el kharrub) is drizzled over the sesame paste. Served with flatbread, the resulting sweet and savory snack has been compared to peanut butter and jelly. It may also represent one of the few cases in which chocolate followed carob’s lead, as I suspect that the current trend in chocolate hummus has roots in the marriage between carob and tahini.

Carob Cupcake Photo

In tribute to this Middle Eastern classic, I’ve paired tahini buttercream with date-sweetened carob cupcakes. The savory bite of toasted sesame, paired with a hint of salt, cuts through the sweetness of the carob and nicely complements its deep, rich flavor.

How to Make Tahini

You’re welcome to use store-bought tahini in this recipe, but you can save a few bucks – and fill your kitchen with a delicious scent – by whipping up a fresh batch using Stef’s simple tahini recipe using sesame seeds and olive oil. While the mass-produced stuff is slightly smoother due to the lack of bran, this textural difference won’t significantly affect your end result.

Tahini Buttercream Consistency

The frosting consistency will vary depending on which store-bought or homemade tahini you are using. But, I found that even with more runny tahini, once chilled, the frosting piped nicely.

What to Use Tahini Frosting On

This frosting goes great with a carob cake base, but would also pair well with fruit-based or chocolate cupcake recipes. It is also wonderful on brownies!

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Tahini Buttercream Photo
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5 from 1 vote

Tahini Buttercream

Tahini buttercream is sweet and earthy with a little salt and a lovely toasted sesame flavor.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Mediterranean
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 13 servings
Calories 261kcal
Author Stefani


  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 3/4 cup tahini
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • Whip butter until fluffy.
  • Mix in tahini.
  • Sift in powdered sugar, salt, and cinnamon a little at a time, mixing until frosting is light, fluffy, and holds its shape.
  • Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes if you plan to pipe the frosting. This will help it to maintain its shape.


Calories: 261kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 51mg | Potassium: 67mg | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 445IU | Vitamin C: 0.6mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 0.6mg
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Jessica Touchette

Jess Touchette is a special collections librarian living in St. Louis, Missouri. A food history enthusiast and an amateur baker, she enjoys poring over centuries-old recipes and attempting to bring them new life in a modern kitchen.