Homemade Tahini

Homemade Tahini ~ tahini, or sesame paste, is a key ingredient in many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean recipes, and it’s so easy to make right at home!

It’s been dawning on me recently that so many of the products I regularly buy are easy to make at home. Sometimes it’s economical to do it, sometimes not. Sometimes it’s better than the commercial version, sometimes not (remember fresh pumpkin puree?)  Most of the time, though, it’s educational and a lot of fun to make a favorite food from scratch and see how simple it can be.Tahini, which I use all the time in hummus, is a very finely ground sesame butter thinned with olive oil. It’s used in Middle Eastern, North African, Greek, Turkish and Asian cooking. It’s usually an ingredient rather than a stand alone food and it’s used in tons of things from soups and sauces to desserts. If you like to cook Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food you’ll want to have this around. And yes, this is one of those do-it-yourself projects that is more economical and tastier than the commercial product.

Sesame seeds don’t look like much but they pack a big punch, especially when they’re toasted. If you’ve ever used sesame oil you’ll know the aroma. I don’t usually have lots of  sesame seeds hanging around, in fact most of you probably buy them in a tiny spice jar size. But sometimes I like to add them to homemade granola, so I bought a large bag of  them. The same companies that sell specialty flours, Bob’s Red Mill and Arrowhead Mills, sell sesame seeds in bulk as well.

2 cups of sesame seeds will yield a pint of tahini. The texture will be slightly more coarse than commercial brands, which are made from hulled seeds in commercial machines. The hulls on regular sesame seeds will give the tahini a slight texture, but the homemade has a more distinct flavor, which makes up for any difference in texture, imo.

The texture of your tahini will depend on what food processor or blender you are using. A high speed blender like a Vitamix will yield a very smooth result. I used a food processor and mine is a little more gritty, but no less delicious!

Also try ~

5 from 1 vote

Homemade Tahini

Author Sue Moran


  • 2 cups sesame seeds
  • 1/2-3/4 cup olive oil


  • Set oven to 350F
  • Spread the seeds out on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes. Shake the pan to redistribute the seeds several times, and watch out for burning. Cool on the pan.
  • When the seeds are cool, put them in the bowl of a small food processor. Drizzle the oil in while processing the seeds. It will take about 3 to 5 minutes to get it completely smooth. Add enough oil to get a runny consistency and scrape down the sides as necessary. When in doubt, keep processing.
  • That's it! Store the tahini in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

Note:  You are looking for a fairly thin consistency in the final tahini. As opposed to nut butters, tahini can be poured right out of a jar. It will take a fair amount of oil and lots of whizzing.
I use tahini all the time in hummus, and mixed with lemon juice and water it’s the perfect sauce for falafel, shish-kebab, or even veggie burgers.

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  • Reply
    From Beyond My Kitchen Window
    February 13, 2012 at 11:37 am

    You are so clever. I always want to make what you post. Sesame seed are now on the grocery list.

  • Reply
    Maris (In Good Taste)
    February 12, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    This is sooo much better then store bought! You motivate me to try it myself

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    February 11, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    I’ve always wanted to try to make homemade Tahini. Thank you for the inspiration. Laffa Bread – Sounds yummy!

  • Reply
    February 11, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    This looks amazing!

  • Reply
    Magnolia Verandah
    February 11, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    Looking forward to your hummus.

  • Reply
    February 11, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    I used to always make my own…sesame tahini, hummus…and then started buying it…why did I do that? yours looks so good!

  • Reply
    Inside a British Mum's Kitchen
    February 11, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    What a great idea – I’m making a jar – how long do you think it keeps?
    Mary x

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      February 11, 2012 at 10:46 pm

      I don’t know, but I would guess it would be fine for quite a while in the refrigerator, for many weeks anyway, and I believe you can also freeze it like you would pesto.

  • Reply
    Brownieville Girl
    February 11, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    I always have loads of sesame seeds in the house (for brown bread) so must give this a go.

    Fantastic photos.

  • Reply
    February 11, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    I am thrilled to have a recipe for this. I imagine most serious cooks will love your instructions . I’ve pinned your recipe. Hope it brings some traffic to the post. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  • Reply
    From the Kitchen
    February 11, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Maybe Pin It is responsible for me recently making my own barbecue sauce and salsa. I needed both and, instead of running out to purchase them, I looked around and figured I could make them with what I had. Both turned out pretty good. Now for tahini which is fairly expensive in the market. Thanks!


    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      February 11, 2012 at 10:48 pm

      I love to make salsa, but I haven’t tackled barbecue sauce, I bet that’s fun since it can have such wild ingredients. Do you have a post on it I can check out?

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