Make Your Own Tahini

Photo: Robin Shreeves.

I absolutely hate it when I have to buy a new jar of tahini. I have to stir the jar so the oils that have separated incorporate back into the paste, but the jar is full and I usually end up dripping oil onto the outside of the jar and getting it on my hands. It’s a hassle. If you’ve ever stirred natural peanut butter, you’ll know what I mean.

Yesterday, I made my own tahini, and I discovered that it’s very easy, cost effective, and it has the added bonus of no messy stirring.

Tahini is a sesame seed paste used in many Middle Eastern dishes. I use it mainly when I made hummus. It’s usually blended with oil to give it a smooth consistency.

I bought organic, hulled sesame seeds from the bulk bins of Wegmans for $4.69 a pound. One pound was about 3 cups of seeds. I used one cup of the seeds for the recipe, used two tablespoons of it for a hummus recipe, and filled a four-ounce jar with the remainder. I estimate I’ll be able to make 15 batches of hummus from the entire pound of sesame seeds. If you’ve ever priced tahini at the store, begin to see how making your own is a good deal.

Take a look at how easy this is.


  • 1 cup of raw sesame seeds
  • 3-4 tbsp of olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spread hulled sesame seeds on a baking sheet into a thin layer.
  3. Toast seeds in the oven for 8 minutes, stirring halfway through. Do not allow seeds to get too brown.
  4. Place toasted seeds in a food processor and begin to blend. (This could also be done with a mortar and pestle.)
  5. Add olive oil, a tablespoon at a time until you get the consistency you want – it should be smooth, but not runny.
  6. Continue to process the paste until it’s very smooth.
  7. Stir in a sealed jar in the refrigerator. It will keep for several months.
As I said, I used the tahini for hummus, but it’s not the only thing it’s good for. Here are a few other recipes that use tahini.