Easy tahini replacements for any recipes, sweet or savoury, that call for tahini. This sesame seed paste is versatile and delicious but whether you've just run out or don't like it, here are some great substitutes!

Almost any nut or seed butter can be used. See below for what to choose when and use these suggestions in recipes that call for tahini like hummus, vegan lettuce cups, or Greek chopped salad.

Hummus in a bowl on a plate surrounded by vegetables and drinks.
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About Tahini

Tahini is a seed paste or butter made from sesame seeds. You can get roasted and raw, in several different colours and shades. It's used in a lot of Middle Eastern recipes, like hummus, and has a slightly bitter, creamy taste.

Whether it's the more common brown tahini, black, or white, the taste is pretty similar. White tahini is milder (the seed doesn't contain the hull) while black is usually stronger.

Keep your opened jars of tahini refrigerated for the longest shelf life, or keep them in the cupboard for a few days if you know you'll be using it up quickly.

Best Tahini Substitutes

Keep in mind how the tahini is being used, because this will inform which substitution is going to work the best. See below for more on this (what to use when).

Sesame seed paste has a distinctive flavour but it very versatile, and most of the options listed below will work as a 1:1 replacement for tahini and still give a great taste to whatever dish you're making.

Sunflower Seed Butter

Earthy and slightly bitter, just like tahini, this is one of the best possible subs to use. You can make your own sun butter or buy it in the store, but make sure it's unsweetened. Roasted or raw are both good.

This will give the closest flavour to tahini but can be a bit thicker, so you might need to add a splash of milk or water.

Cashew Butter

Super creamy and quite sweet, cashew butter is one of the better options, especially for a sweet dish like a cookie or crumble. A toasted cashew butter will be more tahini-like in flavour.

This has a really similar texture to tahini, runny and smooth, so it's a perfect 1:1 substitute without needing to add any other liquid.

Other Nut Butters

Almond, hazelnut, pumpkin seed, just about anything you can think of can be used to replace tahini. While the two above are the best alternatives, you can use almost anything you have on hand, even peanut butter for some recipes.

Yogurt

Choose a thick, unsweetened yogurt. This won't work for most recipes, but often works will in things like sauces and dips like this dressing. Some traditional hummus recipes call for yogurt and it works well in hummus.

Sesame Oil

While this doesn't work on its own, adding some sesame oil to either the above options will add some of that sesame flavour that is otherwise missing.

What to Use When

Nut and seed butters can be used to substitute for tahini in any recipe, no matter the context. Depending on the consistency, you might need to thin them out a bit, but that's more for baking.

Yogurt can only be used sometimes, but is a good option for dressings and dips.

Sesame oil should only be added as a flavour booster to imitate the taste of tahini, rather than a full replacement. Use it in conjunction with something like sunflower seed butter.

More Kitchen Staples

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Hummus in a bowl on a plate surrounded by vegetables and drinks.
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5 from 1 vote

Tahini Replacements

Easy tahini replacements for any recipes, sweet or savoury, that call for tahini. This sesame seed paste is versatile and delicious but whether you've just run out or don't like it, here are some great substitutes!
Total Time5 minutes
Servings: 1

Instructions

Sunflower Seed Butter

  • The best 1:1 substitute for tahini, this can be used without any changes to the recipe needed. You can add a teaspoon or so of sesame oil to get a more tahini-like flavour.

Cashew Butter

  • Almost as good as sunflower butter, but a bit on the sweet side, this is excellent for any recipes that are sweet or baked, like cookies.

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