This homemade tahini recipe is easy to make with 3 ingredients and tastes so deliciously nutty and creamy.
Ever tried making homemade tahini? ♡
This beloved creamy and nutty Middle Eastern condiment is actually very easy to make from scratch with just three ingredients — sesame seeds, oil and salt. It comes together quickly in about 10 minutes using either a food processor or high-speed blender. And while there’s definitely nothing wrong with store-bought tahini, I have to say that nothing rivals the fresh flavor that comes with making a homemade batch with freshly-toasted sesame seeds. So rich and delicious!
I’ve included all of my best tips below for how to make tahini, plus a list of suggestions for all sorts of delicious ways to put it to use. I’m of course a huge fan of using it in classic dips like hummus or baba ganoush, but it’s also fantastic in everything from salad dressings to smoothies, baked goods, marinades and beyond.
So the next time you’re craving a recipe that uses tahini, round up some sesame seeds and let’s blend up a quick batch of DIY tahini together!
Homemade Tahini Ingredients
Here are a few notes about the two homemade tahini ingredients you will need to make this recipe:
Sesame Seeds: These tiny seeds are the heart and soul of tahini, delivering their unique nutty flavor and rich oils. Be sure to purchase raw (untoasted) sesame seeds. And I recommend hulled sesame seeds, if possible, which will yield a creamier texture, but unhulled sesame seeds can still work well too.
Oil: With just two ingredients, the flavor of the oil that you choose will definitely shine through. I typically use a mild extra-virgin olive oil, but grapeseed oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil, or an untoasted sesame oil would also work well.
Salt: I like adding a small pinch of fine sea salt to homemade tahini to bring out the best of those nutty flavors.
How To Make Tahini
Full instructions for how to make tahini are included in the recipe below, but here are a few additional tips to help with the process:
Toast. I prefer to lightly toast the sesame seeds in a sauté pan on the stovetop since it only takes a few minutes, but you can toast them in the oven if you prefer. The goal here is just to very lightly toast the seeds — we mainly want to heat them thoroughly and have them take on a tiny bit of golden color. You don’t want them to turn a medium or dark golden brown.
Blend. Then it’s up to you to use either a high-powered blender or a food processor to blend the seeds. I find the blender is slightly easier, but both methods work well. First, we will blend the seeds for a minute or two until they form a coarse powder. Then we will stream in the oil and continue blending until a relatively smooth paste forms. Blending time may vary based on the power of your blender or food processor, and feel free to add in extra oil if needed.
Serve or store. Once the tahini reaches a smooth consistency, it’s ready to serve and enjoy!
How To Store Tahini
Homemade tahini can be refrigerated in an airtight jar or container for up to 1 month. (Before each use, be sure to give the jar a good stir to recombine any separated oil.) Or you can also freeze tahini for 3-4 months, which is a great way to extend its shelf life.
To freeze tahini, be sure to first give the tahini a thorough stir. Then transfer it to an airtight jar or container, leaving some headspace as the tahini may expand slightly as it freezes. Seal the container, label it with the date, then place the container in the freezer. When you’re ready to use the frozen tahini, transfer it to the refrigerator to thaw slowly. Thawing may take a few hours or overnight, depending on the quantity. Once thawed, give it a good stir to reincorporate any separated oil, then serve and enjoy!
Can I use pre-toasted sesame seeds? While you can use pre-toasted sesame seeds, the fresh flavor of homemade tahini is best achieved by toasting the seeds yourself.
Can I toast the sesame seeds in the oven? Definitely! Just spread the sesame seeds out in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F until very very lightly toasted, about 5 to 8 minutes. (Keep a close eye so that they do not overcook.)
Can I substitute other nuts or seeds for sesame seeds? Tahini is traditionally made with sesame seeds, but you can make similar seed butters with other seeds like pepitas or sunflower seeds. Of course, the taste and texture will differ significantly from classic sesame-based tahini.
Can I make tahini by hand? Yes, you can make homemade tahini with a mortar and pestle, but it requires much more time and effort!
Why does my tahini separate? Separation is natural in homemade tahini. Simply give it a good stir before each use to recombine the oil and solids.
What are the health benefits of tahini? Tahini is highly nutritious, packed with essential minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. It is also a good source of healthy fats, protein, and fiber. Additionally, tahini is naturally gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan.
10 Ways To Use Tahini
Tahini is an incredibly versatile ingredient that can be used in all sorts of sweet and savory recipes! Here are 10 of my favorite ways to use tahini:
Hummus: Tahini is probably most famously used in hummus, adding the signature creamy flavor and texture to the Middle Eastern spread. I’m partial to this classic hummus recipe, which has been my go-to for many years, or this red curry hummus is a fun twist on the classic.
Tahini Sauce: My favorite homemade tahini sauce recipe can be used it as a dip, a topping for falafel or grilled vegetables, or as a dressing for wraps.
Smoothies: Add a spoonful of tahini to your morning smoothies for an extra boost of creaminess and nutty flavor. It pairs especially well with banana, dates, cocoa powder, and almond milk.
Baked Goods: Tahini can add moisture and a distinctive flavor to cookies, brownies, cakes, and muffins. I especially love its flavor chocolate chip cookies and brownies.
Dips and Spreads: Tahini is traditionally used in many other Middle Eastern dips, such as baba ganoush, or can be combined with other ingredients like yogurt, avocados, pesto, or even chocolate to create fun dips and spreads.
Marinades and Sauces: Make a yummy marinade or sauce by combining tahini with ingredients like soy sauce, ginger, honey, and lime juice. Use it to marinate tofu, chicken, or vegetables before grilling or roasting.
Grain Bowls: Enhance your grain bowls by drizzling them with a tahini-based sauce. Mix tahini with lemon juice, olive oil, and spices like cumin or turmeric. Pour it over quinoa, brown rice, or roasted vegetables for a satisfying and flavorful meal.
Tahini Desserts: Embrace the sweet side of tahini by using it in desserts! Incorporate it into recipes like tahini fudge, tahini pudding, or tahini-swirled ice cream for a fun treat.
3 to 4 tablespoons neutral oil (such as avocado, grapeseed, vegetable, or a mild olive oil)
Lightly toast the sesame seeds.Add the sesame seeds to a large sauté pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they are very very lightly toasted. (We mainly want to heat the seeds and avoid them turning golden; they should only have the slightest bit of toasted color.)
Blend.Immediately transfer the hot seeds and salt to a high-powered blender or food processor. Blend for 1 to 2 minutes, pausing to scrape down the sides as needed, until the seeds form a coarse powder. Stream in 3 tablespoons of the oil and continue blending for 2 to 4 more minutes, pausing to scrape down the sides as needed, until the consistency is smooth and pourable. If the mixture seems too thick, add in more oil as needed.
Serve.Serve the tahini immediately or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 1 month.