Homemade tahini is gluten-free, simple to make, and a nutritious vegan paste with a nutty flavor. It’s made of sesame seeds and oil. It has a smooth peanut butter-like texture. It is a staple ingredient in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines.
A store-bought tahini paste can be a bit expensive and sometimes turns bitter or rancid after it’s been sitting on the shelf for a long time. The good news is that you can make your own tahini at home for a fraction of the cost, and it will taste much better!
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INGREDIENTS FOR THE TAHINI RECIPE
You only need two ingredients to make homemade tahini: sesame seeds and oil.
- Sesame Seeds – You can make homemade tahini from any sesame seed, hulled, natural, raw, or toasted. Each variety gives tahini a different flavor, color, and texture. Most tahini sauces are made from hulled sesame seeds, as hulled sesame seed gives a lighter color and smoother texture. Tahini made from natural sesame seeds is not as smooth, but it has a richer flavor (though sometimes more bitter) and potentially contains more nutrients.
- Oil – Add a few tablespoons of neutral-flavored oil to help the tahini turn into a smooth, creamy paste. A variety of oils work. Try avocado oil, mild olive oil, sesame oil, or grape-seed oil.
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE TAHINI
Homemade tahini is so simple to make! If you’ve made peanut butter before, it’s pretty much the same process.
- First, toast the sesame seeds (optional). When the sesame seeds have cooled, place them in the bowl of your food processor, close the lid, and process until a crumbly paste begins to form.
- Then add oil and process into a smooth cream. Make a few stops to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and keep processing until your homemade sesame paste is smooth. (Adding oil helps the tahini turn into a smooth sauce.)
CAN I USE A BLENDER TO MAKE TAHINI
Yes, but use a high-powered blender such as Vitamix or Nutribullet. If you use the high-power blender, you will only need half the oil. As you do this, frequently scrape the sides and bottom of the blender so that all the seeds are incorporated into the paste.
- Use hulled sesame seeds. Hulled sesame seeds will make tahini softer, give it a nutty flavor, and be less bitter.
- Gently toast the sesame seeds. Sesame seeds burn quickly, so keep an eye on them when toasting. You just want them to take on a slightly golden color to help release their natural oils.
- Sesame is best to be consumed as a tahini because the shell of sesame is very hard, and it’s difficult for the body to absorb all the nutrients present in it.
USES OF SESAME PASTE
The best-known way to use homemade tahini is when making hummus. Tahini is a very versatile spread that can be enjoyed on bread or crackers and is a great substitute for butter when preparing a variety of recipes, such as pies and cakes. You can also make salad dressing with it or serve it as a dipping sauce for falafel.
HOW TO STORE HOMEMADE TAHINI
Transfer the sesame paste to a jar or other airtight container. It stays fresh in the fridge for up to a month. If the sauce separates, stir it to redistribute the oil. In addition, you can also freeze leftover tahini paste in an ice cube tray and pop out a cube when you need it.
- Food processor
- 1 cup (140g/ sesame seeds, I prefer hulled
- 2-4 tbsp neutral-flavored oil, such as grapeseed, sesame, or mild olive oil
- Pinch of salt, optional
Toasting Sesame Seeds:
- Add sesame seeds to a large, dry frying pan, and toast over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until seeds are fragrant and light in golden color (not brown), 3 to 5 minutes. Be careful sesame seeds can burn quickly.
- Transfer the toasted seeds to a baking sheet or large plate and let cool completely.
Make the Tahini:
- Add the sesame seeds to the bowl of a food processor and process until a crumbly paste forms, about 1 minute.
- Add 3 tablespoons oil and process for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, stopping to scrape the bottom and sides of the food processor a few times. Check the consistency of the tahini. It should be smooth, not grainy, and it should be able to pour the tahini. If necessary, process for another minute and add another tablespoon of oil.
- Taste the tahini and add salt to taste. Process for 5 to 10 seconds to blend.