Homemade Tahini (Authentic Tahini plus Easy Tahini)

Homemade tahini (or tahina, as it’s also called in the Middle East) is so much better than shopbought. Once you’ve made it, you’ll never resort to something out of a jar again!
Previously published in 2013. Republished with updated content in 2024.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

homemade tahini in a small glass bowl with a teaspoon on a green tea towel with a pink spatula on the side
Homemade Tahini with just 1 ingredient

What is Tahini?

Tahini is, simply put, sesame seed butter; a silky and luscious paste made from toasted sesame seeds that has been quietly elevating dishes in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines for centuries.

This humble yet versatile ingredient is not only a staple in traditional recipes but has also gained popularity worldwide for its rich flavour and numerous health benefits. It’s also vegan and is gluten-free, making it a very popular ingredient right across the board.

The Origins of Tahini

Tahini traces its roots back thousands of years, with its earliest known usage dating back to ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt.

Originally produced by grinding sesame seeds into a smooth paste, tahini quickly became a cherished ingredient in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. Its popularity surged globally as international palates embraced the distinct nutty taste and creamy texture it imparts to dishes.

Nutritional Benefits

Beyond its incredible taste, tahini boasts an impressive nutritional profile. Packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, it serves as a valuable addition to any diet. Here are some key nutritional highlights of tahini:

  • Rich in Healthy Fats: it’s abundant in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which promote heart health and aid in reducing inflammation.
  • Excellent Source of Protein: With its high protein content, tahini is a boon for vegetarians and vegans looking to meet their protein needs.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Tahini is brimming with nutrients like calcium, iron, magnesium, and vitamin E, which support bone health, energy production, and immune function.

Tahini Recipe

Tahini’s journey begins with sesame seeds, which are toasted to enhance their nutty flavour before being ground into a smooth paste. Some recipes call for hulled sesame seeds, while others use unhulled seeds, resulting in a slightly different taste and texture.

The traditional method of making this sesame seed paste is by grinding it using a mortar and pestle, something you’ll still find being done in villages around the world. However, the modern kitchen, and most certainly large scale commercialisation, utilises food processors or blenders to achieve that signature creamy consistency.

One of the beauties of tahini lies in its simplicity: it typically contains just one or two ingredients – sesame seeds and, occasionally, a small amount of oil to aid in the grinding process. This purity allows the natural flavour of the sesame seeds to shine through, making tahini a delightfully versatile addition to both sweet and savoury dishes.

I’m going to give you 2 methods, the proper one, where we only use sesame seeds, and the slightly quicker one, where we’ll add a touch of oil to hurry the grinding process along.

This is what we’ll be doing:

  1. Dry toast the sesame seeds on low heat for a good 10 minutes until they are a light golden colour and give off a nutty aroma.
  2. Then, we’ll tip the seeds into a food chopper or blender and process the seeds for another 7 – 10 minutes, until you get a paste, much along the lines of making nut butter like peanut butter and almond butter.
    ** you could shorten this second step by adding 2-3 Tbsp of a neutral flavoured oil or be patient.

That’s it. Some people also toast their sesame seeds on a baking sheet in the oven, but I find the stove gives you better control.

Homemade Tahini in a small glass bowl
beautifully creamy

Red Tahini (aka Red Tahina) from Gaza

In Gaza, Palestine, there are 2 types of tahini, the usual, beige coloured one and the brown, rust coloured tahini or tahina. How is red tahini different from regular tahini?

Besides the colour, red tahini has a nuttier aroma with a deeper flavour, with hints of toasted sesame oil and a stronger bite. You know how tahini has a hint of bitter? In red tahina, this bitter trace is ever so slightly more pronounced. But still, very faint, just at the end.

The difference in colour is because of how the sesame seeds are roasted. For the pale coloured tahini, the seeds are steam roasted. To make red tahina, the sesame seeds are given a much longer roasting time, on direct heat. So you could replicate this to some extent by dry toasting your seeds in a frying pan, as we are doing here.

This is why when I make tahini at home, I roast the sesame seeds for about 30 minutes, on the lowest heat possible to attain that deeper colour and flavour. To make red tahina, I go a full hour. In the recipe card below, I’m giving you a standard 10 minutes.

To mimic red tahini at home, you can add 1 tsp of toasted sesame oil to 100g (3.5 oz) of regular tahini.

There is also black tahini, but that’s a post for another day!


Real, authentic tahini only needs 1 ingredient – sesame seeds. Many homecooks will add a little vegetable oil or sunflower oil (or any non flavoured oil) to make the grinding quicker and easier. I shall leave this up to you.

You don’t want to use olive oil, as it will change that unique, nutty flavour.

Hulled or unhulled sesame seeds? You want hulled sesame seeds for a lighter coloured tahina. Unhulled seeds will give a slightly bitter flavour, and tahini that’s not as smooth.

homemade tahini in a small black bowl with a teaspoon
Homemade Tahini with unhilled seeds and a little neutral flavoured oil

How Long Does Homemade Tahini Last?

When stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, homemade tahini can last for up to one month. However, it’s essential to give it a good stir before each use, as natural separation may occur over time.

If you notice any off odours or signs of spoilage, such as mould or discolouration, it’s best to ditch the tahini and make a fresh batch.

How to use Tahini

Tahini is used as an ingredient to enhance or create other dishes, even if it’s something as easy as flavouring it with honey, pomegranate molasses or even maple syrup. There are many traditioanl recipes that use tahini as an ingredient. We have a few here on LinsFood, like the following two:

Sumakiyyah Recipe (Palestinian Sumac Stew, aka Sumaghiyyeh)
Sumakiyyah, or Sumaghiyyeh recipe. This is an old, traditional, rustic Palestinian sumac stew synonymous with Gaza. Find out how to make it.
Get the Recipe!
Sumakiyyah (Sumaghieh) in a blue bowl with sumac, chilli flakes, maakdous and pickled chillies
Mutabal (Eggplant, Yoghurt and Tahini Dip)
Mutabal is a delicious Middle Eastern dip that's perfect as a side dish, a condiment or on the Mezze table.
Get the Recipe!
mutabal, eggplant dip on a dark plate, grey tea towel

Creative Uses for Tahini

  1. Creamy Salad Dressings: Whip up a tangy tahina dressing by combining it with lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Drizzle it over salads, roasted vegetables, or grain bowls for a burst of flavour.
  2. Savoury Dips and Spreads: Blend it with roasted red peppers, chickpeas, or herbs like fresh parsley, to create delicious dips and spreads perfect for serving with crudites, pita bread, or crackers. Add a little ground cumin and/or sumac for added flavour.
  3. Indulgent Desserts: Harness tahini’s rich and creamy texture to add depth to desserts like brownies, cookies, and ice cream. Its nutty flavour pairs beautifully with chocolate, caramel, and honey.
  4. Tahini Sauce Recipe: Use tahini as a base for marinades and sauces for grilled meats, tofu, or seafood. Its velvety consistency helps tenderise proteins while infusing them with an irresistible flavour.
  5. Baking: Substitute tahini for traditional nut butters or oils in baking recipes to add moisture and richness to cakes, muffins, and even bread.

And there you have it. Tahini may be simple in its composition, but its culinary potential knows no bounds. Whether you’re drizzling it over falafel, stirring it into hummus, or using it as a secret ingredient in baked goods, tahini has a knack for transforming ordinary dishes into extraordinary culinary creations.

So next time you’re reaching out for a jar of tahini, pick up some hulled sesame seeds instead. Your tastebuds, and recipes, will thank you!

If you enjoy the recipe, drop me a comment and let me know. And if you are feeling like a star, don’t forget that 5-star rating!😉

If you make this recipe, post it on Instagram and tag me @azlinbloor.

Lin xx

homemade tahini in a small glass bowl with a teaspoon on a brown chopping board with a pink spatula on the side

Homemade Tahini Recipe

Tahini is a paste made with sesame seeds and oil, popular in the Middle East, Turkey, Greece and parts of North Africa. It is of course a dip on its own but is also a basic ingredient in popular recipes such as hummus and baba ghanoush.
5 from 23 votes
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Course: Ingredients
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keyword: dips, tahina
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 10 Makes 200g (7 oz)
Calories: 115kcal
Author: Azlin Bloor


  • 200 g raw sesame seeds

Optional for a quicker process

  • 2-3 Tbsp neutral flavoured oil (I don't use this) for a quicker process


  • Tip the sesame seeds into a large frying pan and dry roast on the lowest heat setting for 10 minutes, regularly shaking the pan to ensure all the seeds get a chance at being roasted.
    I personally like to go 30 minutes to for a darker shade of tahini with a deeper flavour.
    But if you don't have the patience, go for 10 minutes.
  • When done, tip the seeds into a small – medium food processor and process for 7 – 10 minutes until the seeds are completely broken down and have become a paste, like peanut butter (you're in effect making sesame butter).
    Read the article above on the explanation for this and watch the video.

Method 2 – adding oil

  • If you are too impatient for the 7 – 10 minutes, you can add 2 – 3 Tbsp of a neutral flavoured oil to hurry the process along. You'll get to the paste-like stage much quicker.



Tahini is definitely best kept in the fridge as its high oil content. I store nuts and seeds in the fridge too, for the same reason, they go rancid easily.


Serving: 20g | Calories: 115kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 94mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Calcium: 195mg | Iron: 3mg
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10 thoughts on “Homemade Tahini (Authentic Tahini plus Easy Tahini)”

  1. 5 stars
    Awesome post! Who knew there were so many types of tahini? I’m a hummus fanatic, and now I’m tempted to try making my own tahini. Thanks for sharing!

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve always wanted to try making my own tahini at home, and this recipe was a total game-changer! The instructions were so easy to follow, and the results were incredible

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