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Raw Tahini



If your diet is predominantly vegan, vegetarian or raw, there’s no doubt you’ve seen tahini in the ingredient list of many recipes. If you have no clue what it is, how to use it or how to make it, you’ve come to the right place. Traditional tahini is a thick paste made from ground sesame seeds. It’s very popular in Middle Eastern dishes such as hummus and falafel, and serves as an excellent base for dressings and creamy sauces. For many vegans, it’s a dream come true.

If you decide to use it, you’ll come to discover that not only is it delicious and nutritious, it’s also expensive. Since I use it regularly, I decided it was time to figure out how to make it on my own. This way I save a few bucks, and I know there is nothing else in there other than sesame seeds. To my surprise, it was much easier to make than I expected–all I needed were the right tools. Now, I’m tickled pink that I always have a stash in the fridge I can use on a whim, at half the cost of what I would pay at my health food store.


Raw Tahini vs. Roasted Tahini

Sesame seeds are high in minerals such as calcium, zinc and manganese. They also contain adequate quantities of thiamin and B6. When ground into a paste, these vital nutrients are much easier to absorb and assimilate. However, most brands of tahini you buy in the store are made from roasted sesame seeds. Since roasting can potentially destroy a lot of the nutrients, I prefer to make my tahini from raw sesame seeds. I don’t find any difference in taste, and who wants to go the extra step of roasting them? Just use raw! 😀

This is a loose recipe and you may have a different experience based on the strength of your food processor. I suggest experimenting and have fun with the process.


2 cups hulled sesame seeds, raw (cost $5.50)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil  (couple of tablespoons, give or take)



I added 2 cups of raw, hulled sesame seeds, flipped the switch and let it go. After a few minutes, I added a little bit of olive oil. I cannot remember the exact measurement, but it wasn’t too much.



After several minutes the seeds start to break down, and you’ll see large dough-like clumps start to develop. Simply turn off the machine and scrape the sides of the processor and continue. You will need to do this several times.



Eventually, almost magically, you’ll start to see the dough-like balls begin to liquify. Stop the processor and check the texture. It should be a little gritty. Scrape the sides once more, and continue to blend for several more minutes. Once the texture is smooth, you’re done!

This took at least 20 minutes, so hang in there!



Add the tahini to an air-tight jar and store in the fridge. It should last for a few weeks or so.

Like I said before, tahini is versatile and can be used in a variety of recipes. Check out my Cilantro Lime Slaw and Cilantro Lime Dressing. Yummers!


There you have it. Easy peasy tahini. Do you have a unique way to make tahini? Any secret weapons? If so, please share in the comments section below. And as always, if you enjoyed this post and would like more recipes like this, please join me at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.



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  1. Hi…I am assuming that the raw seeds you are using in the tahini have been soaked and dehydrated first or did you just use them raw right from the store. I want to try this but I am not sure if they should be soaked first. Also, can I soak them and then grind them wet without dehydrating them? Sorry for all the questions but I am new at this. I get confused as to weather ALL nuts and seeds should be soaked first regardless of what I am doing with them . Thanks

    • Bob, since I do not use teflex sheets for my dehydrator I skipped soaking & dehydrating the sesame seeds. I’m not really sure you need to, however it’s always best to err on the side of caution. If you have something to spread the seeds over while dehydrating, I say do it. I do this with my almonds to make almond butter, so I’m sure it will work with sesame seeds.

  2. Hi Kim. Love your website!! tried making your Raw Tahini recipe . 🙁 my tahini stayed as a paste and never turned creamy. Could it be the power of my food processor is not strong enough , or maybe added too little EVOO . Would water do the trick?
    Best regards
    Stan Jhb South Africa

    • Hey Stan! Thanks for your question. It may be that your processor isn’t strong enough, or that you may have needed to add more EVOO. I didn’t keep track of the exact time it took for the paste to liquify, but I know it took at least 10-20 minutes. I will have to make it again and give the exact measurements of EVOO and time. I don’t think water will help, but if you decide to give it another try hang in there and keep blending! 🙂

      • Hey Kim . Thanks so much for replying! Well I didnt give more than 6 minutes Im sure. Will put paste back in and try give longer proceesing time and see what gives 🙂
        I have also printed out many of your recipes and cant wait to try them!!!
        Keep up the good work
        Best regards

        • Good luck with the Tahini Stan! I hope you enjoy the recipes too! I will be adding some new ones shortly, so stay tuned! 🙂

          • :)Thanks Kim , Will stay tuned for sure sure!

  3. How much tahini do 2 cups of seeds produce? Thanks!

    • Pam, it should yield about 2 cups.

  4. Hello Kim…Thanks for your recipe and great information regarding raw tahini. I find it very hard to find and a bit more work to make than roasted or toasted tahini (as you probably know the heat releases the oils so quickly and easily!) The reason why I’ve searched so much for raw tahini preparation techniques – mainly what type of processor will do the job best – is because all of the most authentic Middle Eastern hummus recipes I find for hummus call for raw, hulled tahini paste. Personally, I have found there to be a huge difference in taste – raw tahini tastes like sesame seeds and roasted or toasted starts to taste so “roasted peanut butter” like it really clashes with the chick peas in my opinion. I roast it sometimes for convenience but cut the portion in half when I make hummus. Raw sesame paste compliments hummus so beautifully so I’ve decided to stop questioning my favorite recipe finds (from mainly Lebanese and Israeli sites) who adamantly claim that raw tahini paste is the only way to make hummus. Just for what it’s worth, besides being healthier, this is definitely the way to go for my hummus recipes. Thanks again…Cheers!

    • Ha! Thanks for sharing Shelly. I definitely prefer raw tahini for everything. Have you found a food processor that can blend the seeds quicker? My Cuisinart isn’t terribly strong and it takes at least 20-30 min to make the tahini.

      • I haven’t found anything yet…just doing some research before I decide what to buy. My blender doesn’t work well for raw seeds. I heard that coffee/herb grinders work well but the oils make for a hassle to clean. The pictures of your tahini look like you get a much better result than my blender for sure! I don’t have a food processor but feel like I’ll probably need a pretty high powered one. I’ve read that vitamix does a good job but they are so expensive! How did they manage before all of these electric appliances…haha!

        • I doubt any regular blender would do the job. I have a Vitamix, but I haven’t tried making tahini with it yet. I’ll have to use it next time, and I’m sure it will blend it quickly. A Vitamix is expensive, but it’s soooooo worth it. You can make so many things. 🙂

  5. Sorry what ‘s EVOO ?

    • haha! Extra Virgin Olive Oil. 🙂

      • Hi! Great info! Do you need the EVOO? Thanks!p

        • Thank you Missy. I’m not really sure if you need the EVOO or not because I’ve never made tahini without it. I’m assuming you don’t need it since most store-bought brands list only sesame seeds in the ingredient list. It may take a lot longer without the oil. If you give it a try, please let me know how it goes.

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