Make tahini from scratch with just 2 ingredients
Tahini is a sesame seed paste that is an essential ingredient in so many Middle Eastern dishes like hummus, tzatziki, falafel, and even halvah. When you buy it in the store it is expensive, bitter tasting, and not very fresh. But if you have a food processor, you can make tahini at home in a few minutes. It’s easy. And like most things, homemade tastes better and is better for you than store bought.
Homemade is also much cheaper than store bought. I pay $8 for two cups of organic tahini. When you buy the hulled sesame seeds in bulk you’ll pay much less.
Tahini calls for just 2 simple ingredients, olive oil and hulled sesame seeds.
The difference between hulled and unhulled sesame seeds
Sesame seeds are high in copper, zinc, and calcium. When the hulls are removed 60% of the calcium is removed with it. The calcium in sesame seed hulls, however, is in the form of calcium oxalate. It is bitter and not as readily bio-available. The calcium in the kernel of the sesame seed is in a more bio-available form. Further, the unhulled sesame seeds will make your tahini taste bitter, so opt for the hulled ones in this recipe. Most commercial tahini is made with hulled sesame seeds. (More information about the nutritional content of sesame seeds)
Best tasting Tahini recipe
Yield: 1 1/2 cup of tahini
2 cups of organic, raw, hulled sesame seeds
3 tbsp. virgin olive oil
In a heavy bottomed skillet, over medium heat, toast sesame seeds until they are golden brown. Stir constantly and do not over brown.
Allow the sesame seeds to cool till just warm.
Using your food processor, process on low with the “S” blade attached. This is the food processor I use. It does a very good job processing dates, nuts, and other fruits and seeds, without overheating the motor.
The sesame seeds will grind to a fine powder. If it seems like you are just stirring the sesame seeds, pulsing will help to ensure that the seeds are ground.
Add olive oil 1 tablespoon at a time, while the processor continues to grind. The sesame seeds will begin to form a paste about the consistency of peanut butter. Once this occurs you can add more olive oil, if you want a runnier paste.
For making halva, you will want a thicker tahini and for hummus, tahini salad dressing, or tahini dip for falafel, you’ll want a runnier tahini.
How to use tahini:
Homemade Hummus from Attainable Sustainable
Tahini and Hubbard Squash Hummus from Mother of a Hubbard
Tahini Salad Dressing
Grapefruit and Tahini Salad Dressing from Livin’ Lovin’ Farmin’
Sesame Seed Snaps (Sesame seeds, sugar, and honey)
Sesame Wafers from Homestead Lady (Italian Benne wafers)
thanks for sharing this delicious recipe ,
I’v read elsewhere that putting pure virgin olive oil in a blender or food processor breaks down certain particles that make it then taste bitter!! This has happened to me, and I’m wondering if the tahini and hummus can be made so that the olive oil can just be stirred into it at the end by hand?
Joybilee Farm says
With the tahini, you’ll need the oil to make it mix smoothly. But mix it in your food processor on low, if this is a concern. With the hummus the oil can be stirred in.
Lady Lee says
Thanks so much for the link to bulk sesame on Amazon! I can’t believe I never made tahini myself. Maybe it’s because I’m an Israeli. For us, to buy tahini is like for an American to buy peanut butter. It’s so cheap in the grocery stores in Israel and we use it so much that it’s just easier to buy it.
My parents bring me an Israeli tahini every time they come to visit, but I ran out so I think I’ll make it myself next time I need it.
I am going to get some of my Israeli halva, though! You made me crave sesame.
Never made halva either. I’ll wait for your halva recipe.
Joybilee Farm says
Now I feel like I’ve arrived — teaching an Israeli how to make tahini. 😀
I’m still working on the halvah. My first try was more like caramels with sesame seeds — too sweet. And the second try was at a higher temperature but ended up being more like sesame brittle. More research and I found that I am missing an ingredient — soapwort root. So I’m still working on this. Now I know why more countries don’t have a halvah tradition. On the other hand, I found Made in Israel Halvah at Quality Foods on Vancouver Island so I’ve stocked up.
You’re completely right – I should be making my own tahini! Now I’m inspired…
Joybilee Farm says