How to Make Middle Eastern Tahini: Recipe and Video

Aimee Amiga
Liz Steinberg
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How to make Middle Eastern tahini Credit: Haaretz
Aimee Amiga
Liz Steinberg

Tahini – this ancient Middle Eastern food is a staple throughout the region. With a few simple steps, raw sesame paste can be turned into a rich-tasting sauce that can serve as a condiment for any number of dishes. 

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The word tahini is based on the Hebrew and Arabic word tchina, which means ground, a reference to the process by which the sesame seeds are ground into a paste. Sesame seeds are toasted before being ground between giant millstones, yielding a thick, sticky, oily paste.

Here, we turn that paste into one of the region’s simplest, most common foods by mixing that paste with water and lemon, creating a light, firm emulsion very different in texture from the original raw tahini.

As a bonus, tahini is full of nutrients, and rich in protein and good fats.


3/4 cup raw tahini (200 grams / 7 oz)

2 garlic cloves

1/4 cup lemon juice (2 lemons)

1/2 cup cold water

1/4 teaspoon salt


Blend all ingredients together until smooth. If desired, adjust quantities to achieve the taste or texture you prefer.