Easy Homemade Tahini Paste

how to make homemade tahini paste recipe sesame seeds olive oil easy fast

The scenario you’re all familiar with:  Really in the mood for some homemade hummus.  Garbanzo beans?  Check.  Olive oil?  Check.  Lemons?  Check.  Garlic?  Check.  Tahini paste?  Dang it.

Don’t let that stop you again.  It’s super simple to make yourself and tastes even better than store-bought!

Well, I was craving hummus and didn’t have any tahini on-hand, so I quickly whipped some up and made a fabulous batch of hummus with it.  As quick and easy as it is to make, it’s rather pointless buying it at the store.  For one, you usually end up with waaaaay more than you need and the rest often goes to waste.  Secondly, it’s quite a lot cheaper to make it yourself.  Thirdly, it tastes so much fresher and bolder!

So quick and simple to make, tahini paste is simply sesame seeds that are toasted and ground up with olive oil to make a paste.

Tahini prep 1

So there really is no excuse to forego your hummus craving because you don’t have any tahini on hand.  Just keep some sesame seeds on hand and you’ll always be ready to roll.

BUT WAIT!  I can read your mind.  You’re thinking, “So is that all that tahini is used for?  Hummus?”

NO!

Tahini is a popular staple in Middle Eastern, Greek, and East Asian cooking.  Here are just a few ways tahini is used:

* Tahin Pekmez is a popular dip in Turkey.  It has the reputation as being the Turkish PBJ because it’s made with tahini (which has kind of a peanut-buttery taste) and grape molasses.  Sound like a winning combination?  It is!

* In Greece it’s a popular condiment in which to dip pita and souvlaki (grilled meat kabobs).

*  In Israel it’s a staple topping for falafel and shwarma.  It’s also used to make halva-like treats.

* In East Asia in commonly used in noodle dishes.

* Throughout the Middle East it’s used in sauces for meats and vegetables.

 

As for tahini’s nutritional content:  Tahini is relatively high in calcium and protein and is an excellent source of copper, manganese, amino acids, and omega 3 and omega 6 oils. 

This recipe uses one cup of sesame seeds which will make about 3/4 cup tahini paste, depending on how much olive oil you use.  How much olive oil you use will depend on how thick you want the paste.  You’ll need at least 3 tablespoons of olive oil and possibly up to 1/3 cup.

*Shopping Tip:  Buy sesame seeds in bulk.  Buying the in tiny bags or cans with just a few ounces can be very expensive.  You can buy sesame seeds in the bulk sections of some grocery stores.  Or you can buy them online here for a good price:  HERE and HERE.

Let’s get started!

Heat a clean, dry cast iron or heavy duty skillet over medium high heat and add the sesame seeds.  Stir frequently until they begin to turn golden brown and then stir constantly.  Be careful, sesame seeds burn very easily.

Tahini prep 2

You definitely don’t want burnt sesame seeds (they taste awful!), but you do want them generously golden brown for optimal flavor.

Tahini prep 3

Once they’re toasted, let them cool a few minutes then add them to a food processor.

Tahini prep 4

Start by adding 3 tablespoons of olive oil.  Process the mixture into a paste, scraping down the sides.  Add more olive oil until you reach the desired consistency.  If you’re using it to make hummus, the paste should be fairly thickly “pourable” (like in the main recipe picture above).

Tahini prep 5

Store the tahini paste in the refrigerator in an airtight jar.  Will keep for several months.

how to make homemade tahini paste recipe sesame seeds olive oil easy fast

And now that you’ve made your tahini, you’ll of course want to make some hummus, right?  RIGHT!

So here you go!

Creamy Hummus With Homemade Tahini Paste (click for recipe)

homemade hummus recipe garbanzo beans tahini Middle Eastern easy fast how to make

Homemade Tahini Paste
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
:
Serves: Makes just under ¾ cup
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Heat a clean, dry cast iron or heavy duty skillet over medium high heat and add the sesame seeds. Stir frequently until they begin to turn golden brown and then stir constantly. Be careful, sesame seeds burn very easily.
  2. Once they're toasted, let them cool a few minutes then add them to a food processor.
  3. Start by adding 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Process the mixture into a paste, scraping down the sides. Add more olive oil until you reach the desired consistency (*see Note)
  4. Makes a little less than ¾ cup tahini paste, depending on how much olive oil you use.
  5. Store the tahini paste in the refrigerator in an airtight jar. Will keep for several months.
Notes
* The texture may be slightly gritty, which isn't a problem, you won't notice it at all when you use it to make hummus for example. But if you want it extra smooth you can run it again through a high-powered food blender (I used my Vitamix).

* Instead of olive oil you can also use sesame oil, but olive oil is traditional. (Use raw sesame oil, not toasted, or the tahini will have an overpowering "Chinese food" flavor.)

 

25 Responses

  1. jesusan

    wrote on

    Kimberly, I am so glad you posted this. I had been planning to make tahini, but did not know it would require the addition of oil. All the nut butters I make don’t require anything beyond the nuts. I guess, given the fact of the existence of sesame oil, I’m surprised that there is any need to add oil to the seeds.

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Hi Susan, sesame seeds most definitely have their own oil content, but to achieve the smooth consistency of tahini paste, extra oil is added. You can omit it if you prefer (for a thick/rough consistency) but if you’re using it to make Middle Eastern dips, like hummus, you’ll have to make up for it by adding even more oil later, so it’s just as well to add it to the paste in the first place.

      • The Daring Gourmet

        wrote on

        On a side note, you can also use sesame oil instead of olive oil but be sure it’s raw and not toasted sesame oil or you’re Middle Eastern dishes will taste more Chinese :) Olive oil is what’s most commonly used though.

      • jesusan

        wrote on

        Thanks, Kimberly. I will follow your advice. It would be a pleasure to make my own, because I’ll bet it would be much easier to stir than the stuff in a can (I think the brand was Aladdin) I used to buy at a Lebanese grocery in Los Angeles, many, many years ago.

        • The Daring Gourmet

          wrote on

          Sure thing, Susan. If you do try and make it without adding the extra oil and come out with a successful consistency, let me know. In olden days they would traditionally grind the roasted sesame seeds with a pestle and mortar and as far as I’m aware, wouldn’t add any extra oil. I think the key is probably super fresh sesame seeds. The ones we buy at the store have been sitting on the shelves for so long that their oil content has been largely dried out. So even “traditional” tahini recipes today call for extra oil.

  2. Brandy R.

    wrote on

    Made it!! I used it to make hummus – SO good! Thank you!!!!

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      You’re so welcome, Brandy! I love how easy it is to make and how convenient when you need it last minute.

  3. Patricia S.

    wrote on

    I made this for the first time and used it to make your hummus recipe. It was amazing!! It’s honestly the best hummus I’ve ever had and I’m never buying tahini paste again. This has so much more flavor. Thanks so much for this recipe. LOVE your site! Patricia

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      That’s wonderful, Patricia, I’m so pleased you enjoyed it! The homemade tahini really does make a big difference in the flavor of the hummus. I’m never buying tahini again!

  4. Reen

    wrote on

    Hi, can I use vegetable oil instead of olive oil?

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Hi Reen, yes you can!

  5. Zovik

    wrote on

    Thank you for sharing! Little suggestion from a Lebanese lady, Olive oil is delicious and I use it in gallons. But, for the Tahini paste, using peanut oil it’s how to be done! So, the texture of Hummus will not change, stays ETHNIC . I use tahini so much, I make Hummus, Mutabbal etc…. Try the recipe and let me know! Olive oil will go on top of the Hummus as a decoration and dipping purpose. I sprinkle cumin, paprika on the sides of my Hummus and I add my home made hot red pepper paste in the center, OLive oil on top, my guests stir it all together to start eating , I get little edgy :) and I correct them how to eat it! They laugh! Thank you!

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Hi Zovik! Thank you for your feedback – I really like the addition of the red pepper paste in the center. It’s interesting you mention that. My husband and I just got back from a trip to Los Angeles and I found a wonderful Lebanese bakery there. We arrived at the perfect time to find find the breads freshly baked and still hot. We tried several savory Lebanese pastries – filled with spicy meat and cheese. We also had two kinds of flatbread – one sprinkled with olive oil and za’atar (one of my favorite spice blends, I make my own) and another smothered with red pepper paste, dotted with black olives, and sprinkled with cheese. They were all delicious. I was able to chat with the owners for a while about Lebanese and Middle Eastern food. Next door was also a Middle Eastern grocery store. I wanted to pick up a bottle of that red pepper paste, but we had only brought carry-on luggage so we wouldn’t have been able to take it on the plane. But that’s okay, because I want to make some homemade anyway :) I was so thrilled to have found that bakery and grocery store just outside of LA. Such friendly people, a very well-stocked grocery store, and wonderful baked goods. Next time we go to LA, we’ll be stopping there again!

  6. Zovik

    wrote on

    Hello! So I tried to make Tahini paste with Sesame oil, it was AMAZING! But, peanut oil is cheaper! Friends, anyone needs tips for Lebanese cooking or infos, I love cooking, I feed my friends and give food to people constantly! My joy is to cook and watch people smiling while eating! Thank you!

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Hi Zovik, I’m happy you enjoyed it and thanks for your feedback!

  7. Anonymous

    wrote on

    I get bulk sesame seeds at a mid-eastern specialty store for 2.99 a pound

  8. Mark

    wrote on

    Thanks it’s good when you have trouble buying something you finds easy to make your,it’s a good feeling

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      It sure is, Mark! Especially when it’s not only cheaper to make yourself but tastes even better than store-bought!

  9. Anonymous

    wrote on

    thak you dear it sounds so easyin onesfact was checking whether my tahini made a few mins ago matches with the prof one got it right

  10. Jake

    wrote on

    Is there any reason why one cannot use raw sesame seeds in this recipe?

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Hi Jake, it’s the toasting process that gives the tahini its flavor.

  11. Anonymous

    wrote on

    wow, ok that was simple. Now I have bragging rights to make tahini, which sound so mysterious. Friends go “oohh tahini, you must really know how to cook….”
    But my hummus was a little dry, think I left out too much chickpea broth.

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Haha, that’s awesome! It really is simple – and cheaper and tastes better. Yes, hummus always needs to be tweaked a little until you reach the consistency you want. If it’s dry simply add a little more liquid from the chickpea can or some more olive oil.

  12. Lynn

    wrote on

    I have a jar of already toasted sesame seeds. Will that affect the taste of the tahini?

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Hi Lynn, it won’t be quite as flavorful (fresh roasting makes a big difference) and you may need to use a little extra oil since some of the natural oil in the jarred toasted sesame seeds may have been lost. Other than that, you can definitely use them.

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