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Tahini Recipe

Tahini Recipe Photo
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.

You can also use tahini in baking, such as for sesame honey cupcakes, carob cupcakes with tahini buttercream, or really just about anything with tahini buttercream.

What’s the Difference Between Hulled and Unhulled Tahini

Unhulled sesame seeds are also called natural sesame seeds. They are seeds sold with the seed coat, or hull, still on them. Most sesame seeds in this United States are sold with the seed coat removed. These are called hulled, or conventional sesame seeds.

If you make homemade tahini using unhulled sesame seeds, it comes out thick like peanut butter. This type of tahini is considered to be healthier and because of its thickness is often called sesame paste.

Homemade Tahini

Hulled tahini comes out smother and more like dipping sauce. My homemade tahini using hulled sesame seeds is on the right in the photo above.

Store-bought tahini is typically even smoother than homemade hulled tahini and is shown on the left. If you want to make your hulled tahini extra smooth, use coffee grinder to grind the toasted sesame seeds to a powder before adding the oil.

Why Does Tahini Sometimes Taste Bitter?

Unhulled tahini can sometimes taste bitter as the hulls have a bit of a bitter taste. Most people don’t mind this flavor, but it can be off-putting to some. It is also possible that tahini could taste bitter if the sesame seeds are over toasted.

What is The Best Way to Store Tahini?

If you are going to eat your tahini within a few days, it’s fine to keep it out on the counter. However, if you plan to keep it around for a few weeks or longer, it is best to store it in the refrigerator.

Can You Make Tahini with Black Sesame Seeds?

Yes! You can follow the same tahini recipe instructions below using black sesame seeds to make a tahini that is black in appearance.

Tahini Recipe

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5 from 14 votes


This tahini recipe is simple to make. You just need sesame seeds and olive oil.
Course Condiments
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword homemade tahini, tahini recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 24 servings
Calories 98kcal
Author Stef


  • 2 cups sesame seeds
  • 1/3 cup olive oil


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

  • Heat a heavy, wide-bottomed sauté pan over medium-high heat.
  • 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.
    Toasted Sesame Seed for Tahini
  • Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely.

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

  • 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!
    Homemade tahini
  • Pulse for 3-5 minutes, or until it's as smooth as you can get it.
  • Add a little more olive oil if necessary.
  • Remove from food processor and store in the refrigerator.


Yield about 2 cups


Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 98 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 1mg0%
Potassium 58mg2%
Carbohydrates 2g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Protein 2g4%
Calcium 122mg12%
Iron 1.8mg10%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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46 comments on “Tahini Recipe”

  1. Hayleysays:

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

    Love the lens work.

  3. 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. Stefsays:

    Hayley – Thanks!

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

  5. Esisays:

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

  6. EAT!says:

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

  7. Brookesays:

    5 stars
    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. Cynthiasays:

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

  9. 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. Stefsays:

    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. Olgasays:

    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. Swapnasays:

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

  13. gagasays:

    Mmm, it’s like sesame butter!

  14. happy campersays:

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

  15. Anonymoussays:

    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 Ssays:

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

  17. Anonymoussays:

    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. Anonymoussays:

    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. 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. danpan320says:

    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. Angiesays:

    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. --isobelsays:

    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. Franciesays:

    5 stars
    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. jocelynsays:

    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. Anonymoussays:

    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. Anonymoussays:

    5 stars
    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-wsays:

    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. How long does this last in the fridge?

  29. Stefsays:

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

  30. 5 stars
    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. 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.

  32. 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!

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

  34. Anonymoussays:

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

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

  36. Stefsays:

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

  37. Anonymoussays:

    Anybody tried making this with sesame oil versus olive oil?

  38. 5 stars
    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.

  39. Blessysays:

    5 stars
    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..

  40. Anonymoussays:

    5 stars
    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!

  41. Anonymoussays:

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

  42. Leahsays:

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

  43. Anonymoussays:

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

  44. 5 stars
    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.

  45. Bersays:

    5 stars
    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.

  46. Brooksays:

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

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