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. allison binschus says

    Thanks ever so much, just found this, I live in a remote area and can never find tahini in any local store. Where does one find bulk sesame seeds?

  2. Linda Richardson says

    Hi, Thanks for posting the Tahini Paste recipe! I wonder why ‘not’ to use extra virgin olive oil? That’s all I ever buy, but I can, if needed buy some other. What do you suggest? Thank you so much.

    • Reeni says

      Hi Linda! You’re welcome! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment! If that’s all you buy you may use it! Regular olive oil seems more neutral tasting to me than extra virgin – you just don’t want to overpower the flavor of the sesame seeds.

  3. Dale says

    Great site and recipe!

    Can I use sesame oil in place of olive oil or would that make the sesame taste overpowering (not to mention costly)?

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