Tahini (Sesame Seed Paste)

Tahini dip on a spoon
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Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 8 tablespoons
Yield: 1/2 cup
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
14 Calories
1g Fat
1g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 14
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 67mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 20mg 2%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 10mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Tahini is a paste made of ground sesame seeds and is used in many recipes across the globe, especially in Middle Eastern, North African, and Mediterranean cuisine. It is well known as an ingredient in ​hummus (a dip made from chickpeas), baba ghanouj (an eggplant dip), and halva (a Middle Eastern candy); it's also seen as tahini sauce, which is commonly served with falafel. The ingredients—sesame seeds, sesame oil, salt, and water—are simply blended in a food processor until smooth and creamy, similar to the consistency of peanut butter.

Sesame seeds are available in both black and white varieties and the white seeds are used to make tahini. Since you only need two tablespoons for this recipe, it is important that you store the remaining sesame seeds properly as they can quickly turn rancid (which also means you should make sure you are buying fresh and avoid buying the seeds in bulk). Keep the seeds away from light and heat, or refrigerate or freeze for longer storage.

Making tahini at home has several benefits. First, tahini can be difficult to find in your local supermarket. Second, store-bought can be twice the price of homemade, and third, most often you need only a few tablespoons of tahini for a recipe; a large container may grow mold and go bad before you have the chance to finish it. This recipe makes a half-cup of tahini, enough for a few batches of hummus or a recipe of tahini sauce. If your recipe calls for more (as a halva recipe would), you can double, triple, or quadruple the proportions as needed.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 cup tepid water

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Place the sesame seeds in a blender or food processor and grind until smooth.

  3. Add the sesame oil and salt. Process until combined.

  4. With the motor running, add the tepid water in a very slow, steady stream and blend until smooth.

  5. Use in recipes or serve on its own.

  6. Enjoy.

How to Store

Homemade tahini can be kept in the pantry in an airtight container for up to one month. For longer storage, place it in the refrigerator where it will last up to six months.

What Are Other Ways to Use Tahini?

Although hummus may be the first recipe to come to mind, tahini can be an ingredient in a variety of foods, from cookies to salad dressing. It may seem odd to include sesame paste in desserts like cheesecake and rice crispy treats, but it adds a subtle but delicious nutty taste. This paste is also the perfect flavoring for roasted cauliflower, noodles, and chicken salad. It can also be used as a sandwich spread and becomes a simple sauce when a little lemon juice is added.