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Easy Homemade Tahini

This homemade tahini recipe is easy to make with only 1 ingredient – hulled sesame seeds – and is so much better than store-bought! Use sesame seed paste to make hummus, tahini sauce, or drizzle it on avocado toast!

side angle view of easy homemade tahini in a jar with items surrounding.

Tahini, aka sesame paste, is a staple ingredient in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine – most notably, it is the main ingredient in traditional hummus.

Since I make homemade Almond Butter from scratch, I thought, why not make homemade tahini too. And of course, it turned out just as good, if not better than store-bought, because I made it myself!

If you love tahini, you will love how simple and easy this homemade recipe is. With just 1 ingredient, it’s accessible, affordable, and so easy to make at home!

So without further ado, let’s get to it!

top down view of sesame seeds in a wooden bowl.

Tahini Ingredients

Tahini (sesame seed paste) is made with hulled sesame seeds (white or black). You can opt to toast the sesame seeds or use them raw (I typically use raw). Some tahini recipes add oil, but I prefer my tahini to be oil-free. It doesn’t need anything other than sesame seeds and maybe a pinch of salt!

Hulled sesame seeds can be found at most large grocery stores. Some stores sell them in bulk, so be sure to check the bulk section. You can also purchase them online. For this recipe, I’ve used Bob’s Red Mill Sesame Seeds. I also recommend Anthony’s Hulled Sesame Seeds from Amazon (affiliate link).

Sesame Seed Paste FAQs

Is tahini healthy?

Yes, not only is tahini delicious and versatile, but it’s healthy and nutritious. The main ingredient, sesame seeds, is rich in calcium and important B vitamins! Plus, they contain essential omega 3 & 6 and beneficial trace elements like copper, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and manganese.

What does tahini taste like?

Tahini has a nutty flavor with a slight bitterness and tends to be an acquired taste. But once you become accustomed to its unique flavor, you will fall in love and want to use it in just about everything!

side by side photos showing the process of making tahini.

How To Make Tahini

Here is a quick overview of what you can expect with photos for reference. The process is similar whether using a food processor or blender.

  • Add the hulled sesame seeds, about 3 cups, to the cup of a food processor or high-speed blender cup, and start processing. You can also add the optional salt and/or garlic powder at this time.
  • After about 3 – 4 minutes, the sesame seeds will start to clump together, as shown above right.
side by side photos showing tahini recipe steps.
  • After 5 – 6 minutes, the sesame seeds are starting to warm up and turn into a paste (above left). Every so often, stop and scrape down the sides with a spatula.

side by side photos of fresh made tahini in food processor and poured into mason jar.
  • And after 8 – 10 minutes you’ll have yourself a creamy paste!

And that’s it – the hardest part is cleaning up!

Top Tips

  • Seed to paste ratio. 2 cups of sesame seeds will yield about 1 cup of tahini.
  • Use good equipment. Tahini is best suited for equipment with a good motor. I used the small bowl of the Elite 12 cup Cuisinart (affiliate link). It is a workhorse in the kitchen! A high-speed blender such as a Vitamix or Blendtec Designer meant for making nut and seed butters will also do the job with ease. But you can still make tahini if you don’t have high-speed equipment. It just may not be as creamy and take a little extra time.
  • Make garlic sesame seed paste. When adding the sesame seeds, add 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of garlic powder for a delicious garlic flavor sesame seed paste.
  • Using a blender is the quickest method. If using a high-speed blender, you can cut the processing time in half. Process the sesame seeds at medium speed. I recommend adding oil if using a blender.
  • Process longer for ultra-smooth tahini. For ultra-creamy sesame seed paste, blend for an extra 5 minutes. And if it’s not completely smooth, it will still be delicious!
side angle view of tahini dripping from a spoon over jar of tahini with items surrounding.

How To Store

  • Pantry: Tahini paste can be stored in the pantry for up to 1 – 2 months in an airtight container. If it separates, give a good stir before using. If you notice any funny smells or mold, discard immediately (I’ve never had this issue, but mention it just in case).
  • Refrigerator: I generally keep my tahini in the refrigerator to preserve maximum freshness. It will last for up to 6 months.

Ways to Use Tahini Paste

Now that you’ve made sesame seed paste, here are a few of my favorite ways to use it!

top down view of spoon in tahini with items surrounding.

If you try this sesame seed recipe or have a question, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.

Print

Homemade Tahini

Quick, easy, and oil-free, this homemade sesame seed paste is an essential and versatile ingredient to add to your healthy lifestyle!

  • Author: Julie | The Simple Veganista
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 1 1/2 cups 1x
  • Category: Condiment
  • Method: blender, food processor
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean, Vegan

Ingredients

Scale

optional ingredients

  • generous pinch of salt, or to taste
  • 1 1/22 tablespoons oil (sesame, light olive oil, avocado, canola, etc.) *see notes
  • 1/21 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

First, you may want to toast your seeds to bring out the most flavor, but this is optional. You want your seeds to become fragrant and slightly darker during the process. 

Toast your seeds one of two ways:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Place seeds on a roasting pan or rimmed cookie sheet and roast for about 10 – 15 minutes making sure to move them around every few minutes so the seeds on the bottom don’t burn.

OR

  1. Dry roast over medium-low heat in a skillet using one cup at a time (add more or less depending on your skillet). Be sure to move the seeds around frequently to ensure that they don’t burn.

Process the sesame seeds: Once you have toasted your seeds and they have cooled a bit, place them in your food processor or high-speed blender (add optional salt/garlic powder), and process until creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides a few times. The process will take approximately 5 – 10 minutes to blend, depending on your equipment (see notes).

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Store: Keep in the pantry for 1 month (maybe more) in an airtight container. For maximum freshness, store it in the fridge for up to 6 months.

Notes

Seed-to-paste ratio. 2 cups of sesame seeds will yield about 1 cup of tahini.

Use good equipment. I recommend a food processor or high-speed blenders such as Vitamix or Blend-Tec that is made for making nut and seed butter. Even if your blender doesn’t mention that it can make nut and seed butter, you can still make tahini. It just may not be creamy and take a little extra processing time.

Make garlic tahini. When adding the sesame seeds, add 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of garlic powder for a delicious garlic flavor sesame seed paste.

Using a blender is the quickest method. If using a high-speed blender, you can cut the processing time in half. Process the sesame seeds at medium speed. I recommend adding oil with the blender method.

Process extra for ultra-smooth paste. For ultra-creamy tahini, let the paste continue to blend for an extra 5 minutes. Don’t worry if it doesn’t become completely smooth, it will still be delicious!

Adding oil. This will help it process faster. I would use 1 tablespoon of oil for every 2 cups of sesame seeds used. Add oil once the sesame seeds start to clump together. If using a blender, I recommend adding oil.

Updated: This recipe was originally published in October 2012. It has been retested and updated with new photos and helpful tips in February 2021.

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56 Comments

  1. I just made a very small batch just for fun because I have an unopened jar of tahini. I started with toasted seeds from the Asian store and added a few drops of sesame oil to the seeds. I have enough tahini to make hummus. Homemade tastes much fresher and better than commercial tahini.

  2. Kim Sterner says:

    Took a few minutes of trial and error (trying every appliance in my house, LOL!) but my Tahini came out great! I lightly toasted the hulled sesame seeds. My small 3 cup food processor did the trick :) Thank you!!! I'm newly vegan for health reasons and trying lots of different recipes. Buying tahini isn't in my budget but making it is! I eat a ton of hummus and it just got a lot cheaper and tastier! Homemade is ALWAYS better.

    1. Thank you for the tip about using the 3 cup food processor! I didn’t bother with my 11-cup bowl and I’m sure that helped me reach a reasonable outcome.

      1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

        Perfect, the bigger bowl would have been too large, the smaller bowl is easier to work with.

  3. Kirin Pax says:

    Thinking about trying a small batch of seeds sprouted.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I make a tahini garlic sauce with 1 cup tahini, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup soy sauce and 3-4 cloves of garlic with water added to desired consistency and blend it until smooth in a food processor. My question, if I used enough seeds to yield 1 cup of tahini could I process them with the other ingredients would the seeds break down into a paste? I would love to save a few bucks by using the seeds instead of store-bought tahini.

    1. julie@thesimpleveganista says:

      I would suggest processing the seeds first and then add the other ingredients just to be on the safe side. If you decide to try processing everything together, I'd love to know how it goes. Also, I would say to use 1 1/4 cup sesame seeds to yield one cup, maybe slightly more sesame seed paste. Good luck!

    2. Anonymous says:

      It was just okay, not as good as when made with the store-bought tahini. I think the next time I'll try half store-bought and half homemade.

    3. julie@thesimpleveganista says:

      It can be a bit more bitter than store bought tahini because of the shells not being removed. I have come to love it no less. Maybe the mix will work better for you next time. Thank you for sharing! :)

  5. I can't believe it's this easy! I will try it as soon as I can :)

  6. Hi! Not sure why but mine never became the slightest creamy. I tried blending & put it in the food processor. Am I missing something?

    1. julie@thesimpleveganista says:

      Hmm, I don't know what couldv'e have happened except needing to let it process a little longer. It should only take 10 -15 minutes max, more like under 10 minutes depending on your equipment. Sorry it didn't smooth out for you. Hopefully you can try again and it will have a better outcome.

      1. The 10-15 minute time frame was a key piece of information. I would surely have given up sooner. Thanks, so much, for the encouragement to give this a try.

        1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

          Glad that helped, it definitely takes a few minutes!

  7. you are soooooooooo encouraging me to give up the unhealthy lifestyle..

    1. julie@thesimpleveganista says:

      Great! That is what I aim to do if I can. It's easy once you get the hang of it. Cheers!

  8. Thank you for this. I made hummas for the first time last week. I could not find tahini in my grocery store so I used Sesame Oil. I put too much in and it overwhelmed the flavor.
    Can I freeze this to make it last even longer?

    1. Unfortunately, I'm not sure about freezing it. I've never tried it myself. I suppose you could give it a try and see what happens. Sorry I couldn't help with that one. You could also make a hummus with just extra virgin olive oil if you have a hard time finding tahini or sesame seeds. Use no more than 1/4 cup to one can (15 oz) of chickpeas, it should have a light flavor and not overpower your hummus. Have fun experimenting with your hummus…I really enjoy making my own and am getting better at making it to my liking every time. Keep it up and you will get it just right!

      Hope that helps a bit :)

  9. You should try it and see how it goes, especially if you use it alot like I do…I will playing around with this recipe a bit myself. :)

  10. Tahini is my sauce saver. It always brings a nice texture and taste to my sauces….but weirdly I've never made some…! You really make me want to make my own.

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