This easy homemade tahini recipe is so quick to make, takes just TWO ingredients, is less expensive than store-bought, and tastes WAY better! Make a double batch while you’re at it and store it in your fridge for several months to have on hand whenever you need it!
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. Tahini is not only super simple to make, but making it yourself is also cheaper than buying it at the store!
What is Tahini?
Tahini is a Middle Eastern condiment that is made from hulled sesame seeds that are toasted and then ground into a paste. It’s a popular staple in Middle Eastern, Greek, and East Asian cooking. It is served by itself as a condiment but also incorporated into a very wide variety of dishes, most famously a central ingredient in hummus.
But tahini isn’t only used for hummus: it’s deliciously versatile!
How To Use Tahini
- 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 shawarma. 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.
And of course it’s used in hummus. Check out our phenomenal Hummus Recipe!
Is Tahini Healthy?
As for tahini’s nutritional content: Tahini is relatively high in calcium and protein and is an excellent source of copper, zinc, iron, manganese, amino acids, and omega 3 and omega 6 oils. Those nutrients help fight inflammation and are provide great cardiovascular support. They also contribute to immune support. Just one tablespoon of tahini has roughly 26 percent of the recommended daily intake of copper and 9 to 12 percent of zinc, iron and selenium. Not bad, huh?
This tahini 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.
To make tahini only two ingredients are necessary: Sesame seeds and olive oil. You may be asking, “why do you need olive oil for tahini?” and that’s a good question because commercially-sold tahini does not include olive oil, it’s strictly made with sesame seeds. But there’s a good reason why homemade tahini needs the addition of olive oil. Continue reading below.
Why Add Olive Oil to Tahini?
How Long Does Tahini Last?
Tahini has a very high oil content so while you can store it on the counter it will keep much longer in the refrigerator where the oils will be kept from going rancid too quickly. Store it in an airtight jar in the fridge and it will last for several months. Stir it throughly before you put it in the fridge because once it’s chilled it’s difficult to stir.
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.
You definitely don’t want burnt sesame seeds (they taste awful!), but you do want them generously golden brown for optimal flavor.
Once they’re toasted, let them cool a few minutes then add them to a food processor. I use and love Cuisinart’s mini prep food processor. With a 3-cup capacity it’s perfect for smaller jobs like this. We’ve had ours for over 10 years and it’s still going strong!
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).
Store the tahini paste in the refrigerator in an airtight jar. Will keep for several months.
And now that you’ve made your tahini, you’ll of course want to make some hummus, right? RIGHT!
So here you go!
PERFECT Homemade Hummus Recipe
For more delicious homemade condiments be sure to try our:
- Tartar Sauce
- Yum Yum Sauce
- Jerk Sauce
- Bearnaise Sauce
- Black Bean Sauce
- Hoisin Sauce
- Big Mac Sauce
- Jerk Sauce
- Ponzu Sauce
- Char Siu Sauce
- Romesco Sauce
- Sweet Chili Sauce
- Teriyaki Sauce
- Sweet and Sour Sauce
- 1 cup hulled sesame seeds
- 3 tablespoons or more extra virgin olive oil ,see Note (see also blog post about why olive oil is added)
- 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.
- Once they're toasted, let them cool a few minutes then add them to a food processor.
- 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)
- Makes a little less than 3/4 cup tahini paste, depending on how much olive oil you use.
- Store the tahini in an airtight jar in the fridge and it will last for several months. Stir it throughly before you put it in the fridge because once it's chilled it's difficult to stir.
Originally published on The Daring Gourmet May 2017