Recipes / Tahini


Published February 7, 2024

The flavor is so much better than store-bought, which can often taste a bit rancid. If you want to boost the sesame flavor, you can substitute sesame oil for some of the olive oil.

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Make The Recipe!


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Makes about 1 cup 1x

Time 15 minutes

Units Scale


  • 1 1/2 cups sesame seeds
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, or more as needed
  • Pinch salt


  1. Put the seeds in a medium skillet over medium heat. Toast them until golden brown and fragrant, shaking the pan often for even browning. It should take 5 to 8 minutes.
  2. Immediately pour the seeds into a mini food proces- sor and let cool. Add the salt and grind until they have the consistency of coarse meal. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and process 1 to 2 minutes. Add more oil, 1 table- spoon at a time, until the tahini has the consistency you prefer and the right flavor balance; you don’t want the olive oil flavor to become more prominent than the sesame. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month.

6 Ways to Change Up Tahini Sauce

  1. Yogurt Tahini Sauce. Richer: Instead of water, use yogurt (whole milk, low-fat, or nonfat)
  2. Coconut Tahini Sauce. Dynamite: Instead of water, use 1/2 cup coconut milk.
  3. Roasted Pepper Tahini Sauce. Use either the main recipe or the preceding variations and add a roasted red pepper to the food processor.
  4. Roasted Garlic Tahini Sauce. Deep and delicious: Instead of the raw garlic, use the soft flesh from 1 head roasted garlic.
  5. Minty Tahini Sauce. Add 1 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves to the food processor.
  6. Curry Tahini Sauce. Replace the cumin with up to 2 tablespoons curry powder.

— Recipe from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Completely Revised Tenth Anniversary Edition

Recipe variations

Tahini Sauce
Enjoy drizzled over falafel, salads, or grilled vegetables: Whisk 1/2 cup tahini, juice of 1 lemon, 1 minced clove garlic or more to taste, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (optional), and salt and pepper together until smooth. If you like, add olive oil or more lemon juice to taste to thin to the consistency you want.