How to Make Tahini Paste

Tahini paste is made from ground sesame seeds and is crucial for making dishes like hummus, baba ghanoush and halvah, a sweet treat that was always on our dessert table for holidays when I was growing up right alongside the cannoli.

Tahini is easy to make using only two ingredients: sesame seeds and olive oil. I prefer making my own tahini over buying it, mostly because I never finish the huge jars and wind up wasting it. This allows me to make a little or a lot, depending on need.

The ratio I use is 1 cup sesame seeds to anywhere from 2 tablespoons of olive oil to 1/2 cup depending on how thick or thin I want it.  1 cup sesame seeds makes about 2/3 of a cup of tahini, depending on how much olive oil is used.

Lightly toast the sesame seeds over low heat about ten minutes, stirring often, don’t worry about getting a lot of color on them, like you would if toasting nuts. They’re fragile and burn easily, so watch them carefully.

Allow to cool off and then add them to the bowl of a food processor along with a 2 tablespoons of oil to start. You can also use a mortar and pestle.

Pulse until a paste forms, scraping down sides as needed and adding more olive oil to reach a consistency you like.

The homemade tahini will have a rougher texture than store-bought and may even be stronger in flavor. The reason being is the store-bought version uses hulled sesame seeds making for a smoother tahini. If you can, buy sesame seeds that are not hulled as they are more nutritious.

There you have it! Homemade tahini paste ready to be made into hummus, dressings, sauces, baba ghanoush, mixed into soups or made into sweet treats. Whatever your little heart desires.

Now go forth and make tahini!

Because you can and it’s too simple not to.

Tahini Paste

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Tahini Paste

Homemade tahani paste using only 2 ingredients! Make a little or a lot as needed.


sesame seeds
olive oil (not extra-virgin)


  1. For every cup of sesame seeds start with 2-3 tablespoons olive oil and add more as needed. Make a little or a lot.
  2. Toast sesame seeds gently over low heat stirring often, about ten minutes, they don't need to take on a lot of color. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. Add the sesame seeds to the bowl of a food processor along with 1/4 cup of olive oil for every cup of seeds, pulse until a thick paste forms, scrape down the sides, and add more olive oil if needed until it reaches a consistency you like. Store in glass jar tightly covered in refrigerator.

Do you have any unique uses for tahini? Please share!


  1. Evie says

    Thanks for posting!!  I love tahini but couldn’t stomach purchasing a large jar just for myself (nor the high price tag!).  I love sesame seeds so I always have a bulk in the kitchen. Now I can make tahini whenever a recipe calls for it !!

  2. Rowan says

    Needed Tahini paste and your recipe was the first one I found that was clear. I just have one question – what kind of sesame seed do you recommend? I have the option of black Indian sesame seeds or white Mexican sesame seeds. Do you have an opinion on type?

    Thanks for writing such a clear method.

  3. bonniejean says

    I’m making huge batches of hummus for a wedding as was choking over the price of tahini! I’m sooooo happy! I will use this recipe and save a fortune!!!!

  4. Julie says

    So happy to find your helpful recipe with detailed information, great pics and printable copy. So thoughtful. Thanks so much!

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