How to Make Tahini Paste

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

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.

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

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.

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.

Step 4

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


For a coarser tahini with a stronger flavor, use unhulled, natural sesame seeds.

Increase the amount of oil for a thinner tahini.

Most blenders can only handle a small amount of sesame seeds at a time. Avoid straining the blender's motor by limiting each batch to 1 cup of sesame seeds.

references & resources