Tahini sauce and ingredients

How To Make Tahini Sauce

Tahini sauce is a creamy and smooth Mediterranean staple often served with roasted vegetables or warm pita. The nutty, tangy flavor of tahini sauce is the perfect way to elevate any meal. Read this guide to learn how to create a delicious tahini sauce right in your own kitchen. 

Pita and meatballs on a plate Pita and meatballs on a plate

What Is Tahini Sauce?

Tahini sauce is made from tahini, which is a butter or paste made from ground sesame, traditionally used in Middle Eastern or Mediterranean cuisine. Tahini is a main ingredient in hummus and tahini sauce and the sauce made from it is often deliciously drizzled on falafel sandwiches.

Tahini is not only found in savory dishes, though. It also finds its place in sweets such as halva, a sesame-based dessert with a fudge-like texture. Tahini can also be used as an ingredient in baking as its creamy texture and slightly nutty flavor complements banana bread and cookies.

Tahini in a KitchenAid® blender Tahini in a KitchenAid® blender

Tahini Sauce Recipe

Follow this basic recipe overview to get ideas on how to make tahini and tahini sauce with your KitchenAid® food processor or KitchenAid® blender. Customize the recipe with your favorite spices and other ingredients for a unique twist.

YIELDS
1 cup

INGREDIENTS

  • Sesame seeds

  • Mild olive oil

  • Garlic cloves, pressed or minced

  • Lemon juice

  • Fine sea salt

  • Ground cumin

  • Ice water

TOOLS

PREP TIME
40 minutes

COOK TIME
Approximately 5 minutes for toasting sesame seeds

TOTAL TIME
45 minutes

Step 1: Toast sesame seeds

On the stovetop, place the sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring them frequently with a wooden spoon. Toast the seeds until they are lightly colored and fragrant, about 5 minutes. You can also toast the seeds in the oven by preheating the oven to 350°F, spreading the sesame seeds on a rimmed baking sheet and toasting the seeds, stirring once or twice, for about 5 minutes. Transfer the toasted sesame seeds to a plate and allow them to cool completely.

Step 2: Grind sesame seeds

Place the cooled sesame seeds in a KitchenAid® food processor, attach the multi-purpose blade, and grind them for 2 to 3 minutes using the pureé function, until they form a crumbly paste. If you are using a blender, you can use the Ice Crush/Pulse function.

Step 3: Add oil and salt

Drizzle oil through the feedtube of the food processor while continuing to process for 1 to 2 minutes. Use a spatula or spoon to scrape the sides as necessary. Continue processing until the mixture forms a thick, mostly smooth paste. Continue adding oil if you’d like the tahini paste to be thinner. Add salt to taste.

Step 4: Transfer to storage

Transfer any tahini paste you will not be using to a jar or storage container. Set aside some tahini to use in your tahini sauce.

Step 5: Combine garlic and lemon juice

Next, combine the garlic cloves and lemon juice. Let this mixture rest for about ten minutes to allow the garlic to become infused with the lemon flavor.

Step 6: Pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve

Pour the garlic and lemon mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Press the garlic solids with a spatula to extract as much liquid as possible into the bowl and then discard the garlic.

Step 7: Mix Tahini, salt and cumin

Combine the tahini you made earlier with the garlic and lemon mixture, salt, cumin and any other seasonings you choose to add. Whisk until thoroughly blended.

Step 8: Add water

Add water to the mixture a little bit at a time while whisking. Continue adding water until you have the creamy texture and light color you desire.

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Chickpeas in a KitchenAid® food processor Chickpeas in a KitchenAid® food processor

How Long Will Tahini Keep In The Fridge?

In the refrigerator, homemade tahini will last for up to one month in an airtight container or lidded jar. Tahini should be stored in the refrigerator door, where less-perishable items are often kept. If the oil separates from the solids, just stir it.

What Can You Make With Tahini?

Tahini paste can be used in many ways from savory dishes to sweet confections. Tahini is most commonly used in dressings, hummus recipes, drizzled on falafel, as an ingredient in baba ghanoush or moutabel or in baked goods such as banana bread.

Some recipes you might try using tahini include chocolate Tahini cookies, Brussels Slaw Salad with Creamy Maple Tahini Dressing or Falafel

Tahini sauce can be used for dipping raw veggies, dressing a salad, spreading on toast and more. 

Bowl with avocados, chickpeas and other foods

TAHINI VARIATIONS

Many variations of the classic tahini recipe exist and can complement a range of dishes. Some of these creative variations include: 

  • Maple tahini

  • Lemon garlic tahini

  • Spicy tahini

  • Tahini caramel sauce

  • Honey tahini

  • Black sesame tahini

What Is The Difference Between Tahini And Tzatziki Sauce?

Tahini and tzatziki are very different. Tzatziki is a cucumber-yogurt sauce. Tahini sauce is made from tahini, a paste with the consistency of peanut butter, made from ground sesame seeds.

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