How to Make Tahini Paste

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Prepared tahini paste is available in most grocery stores, but you can make your own with little effort. It takes just a few minutes for a food processor or blender to grind sesame seeds into tahini paste, an ingredient essential to making hummus and baba ghanoush. For the smoothest tahini, choose hulled, white sesame seeds and grind them with a little bit of olive oil or vegetable oil.

How to Make Tahini Paste
(KatyJane Conlin/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Hulled, white sesame seeds
  • Cooling rack
  • Food processor or blender
  • Olive oil or vegetable oil
  • Rubber spatula
  • Airtight container
Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

KatyJane Conlin/Demand Media
Step 2

Line a rimmed baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper, and spread a thin layer of hulled white sesame seeds on top. A standard baking sheet comfortably holds about a cup of sesame seeds.

KatyJane Conlin/Demand Media
Step 3

Toast the sesame seeds in the oven for about 6 minutes, until they are fragrant and slightly darker. Jostle the baking sheet after the first few minutes to stir the sesame seeds and toast them evenly.

KatyJane Conlin/Demand Media
Step 4

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place it on a cooling rack. Let the sesame seeds cool completely.

KatyJane Conlin/Demand Media
Step 5

Gather the edges of the parchment paper together to lift the sesame seeds up and funnel them into a food processor or blender.

KatyJane Conlin/Demand Media
Step 6

Process the sesame seeds in the food processor for about 3 minutes, until they turn into a thick, grainy paste. In a blender, pulse the seeds at high power for about 1 minute until they turn into a fine powder.

KatyJane Conlin/Demand Media
Step 7

Remove the cover to the small opening in the lid of the food processor or blender. With the motor running, pour in enough olive oil or vegetable oil to blend the sesame seeds into a smooth paste. Use 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil per cup of whole sesame seeds.

KatyJane Conlin/Demand Media
Step 8

Turn off the food processor or blender and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Process the sesame paste for several seconds to make sure everything is well blended. In a blender, you may need to repeat this step a few times before the tahini is smooth.

KatyJane Conlin/Demand Media
Step 9

Transfer the tahini to a sealable container and store it in the refrigerator. The oil might separate from the sesame paste over time, but you can simply stir the tahini to redistribute the oil.

KatyJane Conlin/Demand Media

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