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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 will also do the job with ease. But if you don’t have high-speed equipment, you can still make tahini. 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.

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 blender such as Vitamix.

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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53 Comments

  1. Thank you for this quick and easy to follow recipe!

  2. Simple and delicious! Love it :)

  3. Can i use mortar and pestle to make it?

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      I think it would take a long time to make tahini using a mortar and pestle. You can certainly try, but using a high-speed blender or food processor is the surest and easiest way to make sesame seed paste. However you make it, do let us know how it goes!

  4. Stacey Rae says:

    This is a wonderful simple recipe that turned out delicious 😋! I added about 1 tablespoon of sesame oil at the very end to enhance the creamy taste and texture. 🌟

  5. Mommy And Son says:

    Thanks for sharing your ideas. So grateful. Have 3 questions please if we are not imposing…
    1. Are the seeds to be with the hull on or off ?? It is unclear based on the comments. So should the outer layer be removed. = hulled?????
    2. We have made this before and it came out very dry…maybe it was again like you have told others that it needs to go longer or perhaps the seeds were unfilled??? Would that make it so very dry. ???
    3. Always thought tahini wad not healthy because of the oil in it…we are sos free, but you seem to say it is healthy? Your thought please.. Thank you so very much.

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Great questions!

      1. The sesame seeds are hulled (the hull is removed). You can click on the link given in the ingredients to the exact seeds I used for this tahini recipe.

      2. You will need to blend it more if your tahini has been dry. The heat from blending will release the natural oils in the sesame seeds, creating a creamy tahini.

      3. This tahini is healthy, the only oils found in this recipe are the natural oils from the sesame seeds themselves.

      Hope that helps! Do let us know how your next batch goes, or if you have any other questions. :)

  6. This looks great, I will be trying it soon. However, I don’t think you should label it as oil free since you obviously have sesame oil from the sesame seeds. I think “no added oil” would be more accurate.

    1. I think it’s obvious what she means by oil free. There is no processed oil. Very different from eating a whole food that contains its natural oils. So many “oil free” recipes that contain nuts, coconuts, etc. Should they all be relabeled as well?

  7. Read your blog and thanks for the recipes. I am on the Blood Type A diet and found your article very helpful!

  8. What kind of food processor do you use and at what speed? Mine just manages to drive the seeds up the side where they stick while the blades run free.

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      I have a Cuisinart Elite which does the job well. I do have to stop the machine and scrap the seeds down a few times until it starts to get creamy. You may have to do it 5 – 10 times if you don’t have a high powered food processor/blender. It’s well worth the effort though, and once it gets creamy it comes along easily.

      1. The tip about stopping the machine and scraping the seeds down several times was also a key tip. For me, this recipe requires staying close to the food processor and giving it regular attention (i.e. stopping, scraping down, etc.). I have a Kitchen Aid so I thought that might have been powerful enough but it did require the scraping. I did only have about 1.5 cups of sesame seeds on hand, though, (used in a 3-cup bowl) so that might have also made a difference. If I had the full 3 cups of sesame seeds that might have helped to keep things moving. I look forward to trying my result in my Lemon Tahini Sauce recipe to see how well it works instead of store bought. Thanks for the inspiration!

        1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

          So glad it all turned out well and I hope you like the taste of homemade. I think even with using the full amount of sesame seeds you’ll still need to scrape the sides, but having more does make it move easier. Thank you for all the feedback, I know it will help others too to see what you had to say.

          Enjoy the tahini sauce, I just made some myself tonight to drizzle on my dinner, it’s so good! :)

  9. “Hulled” means “with the hulls (natural casing) removed.” I think “unhulled sesame seeds” is what you meant?

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Yes, thank you for pointing that out. I have changed the wording, much better to understand. Thank you! x0

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