How To Make Sesame Tahini – Take 2

Raw Sesame Tahini

Raw Sesame Tahini

I think this is a better way to make raw sesame tahini than my previous raw tahini recipe. It is very close, in both taste, texture and consistency, to ‘normal' tahini, and it will keep for much longer too. It takes a longer to make, but only requires a bit more effort since most of that extra time is dehydrating the sesame seeds. Considering you can make a larger batch at a time, because it will keep for longer, I think it's well worth the extra effort.

Sesame seeds are very high in calcium, but the problem with eating them whole is they often pass right through your digestive tract without being assimilated at all. Tahini (ground sesame paste) is a great way to consume sesame seeds because it's so much easier to digest and assimilate. Normally the sesame tahini you find in stores is not raw. The sesame seeds have been toasted prior to making the tahini. I've found it quite hard to find raw tahini, and tahini of any sort is far more expensive than buying sesame seeds and making your own.

This raw sesame tahini is very versatile, I use it in salad dressings, tahini sauce or dip, for a quick and easy nut milk, in smoothies and as the base for quick and easy raw desserts (just add raw cacao or carob, honey or agave for sweetness, mesquite or maca powder for flavor and nutritional boost, and vanilla and cinnamon for flavor).


This recipe is for relative, rather than exact amounts. So use whatever amounts will suit your needs and just follow the general instructions below.

Soak hulled sesame seeds in water for around 4 hours. It's a good idea to gently swish them around occasionally since they tend to float and collect at the top where the topmost seeds get pushed up out of the water.

Drain, throwing away the soak water. Rinse and drain well. You can leave the soaked seeds to sit for up to 4 hours.

Spread thinly and evenly over as many Texflex sheets as you need and put into the dehydrator.

Dehydrate on 115 degrees F (40C) for 4-6 hours (or overnight), until seeds become dry and are easy to scoop up.

Grind sesame seeds in a nut grinder, vitamix, or coffee grinder until they have the consistency of a very fine meal.

Warm some raw coconut oil to liquify by putting it into a bowl and placing it into the dehydrator.

Pour the melted coconut oil into the sesame seed meal and stir thoroughly by hand until it's all creamy and melted. Break up any lumps you encounter with the back of a spoon and continue to stir until there are no more lumps left.

Add a tiny dash of sea salt of you like.

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38 Responses to “How To Make Sesame Tahini – Take 2”

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  1. Scott says:

    I’m curious about your post here. Let me state my confusion and then perhaps you can explain your thinking on these issues.

    1) I’m not sure if you are calling this tahini “raw” or not, but you propose to dehydrate at 239 degrees Fahrenheit. My understanding is that anything above about 108 degrees will kill or deactivate enzymes and changes something from “raw” to some level of “cooked.”

    2) You are taking dry sesame seeds, soaking them and then dehydrating them. Why? They are dry in the first place, so what is your reasoning for this process. If it is for the purpose of deactivating the anti-nutrients* in the seeds, I can understand and this makes sense, but if in the process you cook (see question above) these raw seeds then it would appear you are gaining one thing at the loss of another.

    Why not simply take the raw seeds and grind them into raw tahini? Looking at your previous recipe I see that you DO suggest the soaking process for dealing with the anti-nutrients, but then in this recipe you cook them, so while the resultant tahini will certainly spoil more slowly, it is also no longer raw.

    Anyway, that’s my confusion and if you’d care to share your thinking, I’d love to hear it. Thanks.

    – Scott

    *as per the thinking expressed by Weston A. Price and Sally Fallon

    • Donna says:

      Hi Scott. I’m sorry for the confusion, I meant 115 degrees Fahrenheit but instead wrote centigrade. That’s what happens when I work way past my bedtime 🙂 My bad. I don’t even think my dehydrator goes up that high. I’ve update the article so that’s it’s correct now. Thanks for catching that. To answer your questions:

      1) I’ve seen varying reports of the temperature that enzymes get killed, commonly it’s 118 degrees F. Often people will say to dehydrate at 105F to be on the safe side. I think the temperatures vary because some enzymes are more heat resistant than others. Also when you are dehydrating food, it’s the temperature of the food, not the air temperature that matters. If you have a very wet food, the internal temperature of the food is going to be lower than the temperature you have the dehydrator set to because something similar happens to the process our bodies use when we cool down by sweating. In any case, if you are more comfortable dehydrating at 108F it will still work fine, it may just take a bit longer.

      2) Yes I soak the sesame seeds to deactivate the phytic acid to make them more digestible, and to start the sprouting process so that they are more nutritious and because it also brings out the natural oil in the seeds for some reason. I notice that when I have gone through this process and then grind the seeds the natural oils come out more, making them more of a paste than when I just grind the dry seeds straight from the store.

      • Scott says:

        Thanks for your clarification, Donna. Sounds interesting and yummy. I’ll have to give it a try. BTW, I tend to add coconut oil to most of my smoothies, either that or avocado. Mmmmm.

        Oh, and the engineer in me just jumped in with this thought. Evaporation (expansion, changing from a liquid state to a vaporous state) does indeed create cooling. That’s how air conditioners work. Compression causes the material to get hotter too, conversely. Which leads me to the thought that a well designed dehydrator marketed to the enzyme conscious consumer might have a sensor located in the outflow which would measure humidity, and that sensor would be the input to a regulator which would lower the temperature of the air flow as the food material got dryer so as to be able to rapidly dry food without risking cooking it at too high a temperature.

        If you have any contacts within the dehydrator industry you may want to point them to this thought in case they might want to use it to increase the value of their product. 😉 (But they can’t patent it as I’ve already publicly pronounced the idea here!)

        – Scott

        • Donna says:

          Thank YOU for your quick catch on my late-night brain short-circuit Scott! I could have confused a lot of people who are new to making raw foods, so I really appreciate it.

          It’s interesting to know more about how the evaporation works, and that’s a BRILLIANT idea about the dehydrator. Build it and I’ll buy one! Set up an affiliate program and I’ll sell them too! Probably just about every serious raw foodist would love one as well. Unfortunately I don’t know anyone in the dehydrator industry (yet), but you never know who’s reading this blog 😉 Wouldn’t it be great, it would be like auto-pilot for your dehydrator… you wouldn’t have to worry about figuring out what temperature to set something on. Maybe it could automatically turn off when he humidity gets to a certain user-determined humidity (depending on how dry they want something to be). That would be a great feature too, convenient and energy saving… you can share the profits with me 🙂

          ~ Donna

        • Sally says:

          Should I wait to purchase one then.? I will buy a cheap one and wait for yours. Hurry up and get it made and then present to the shark tank.

  2. Pam says:

    Thanks so much for this recipe. I love that it offers me a way to incorporate coconut oil into my diet, too!

    • Donna says:

      Hi Pam, thank you! You’re right about the coconut oil too. It’s so good for you, and it’s so yummy in this tahini. I use the tahini in my smoothies if I want a super quick and easy nut milk. The coconut oil really works well in that way too.

  3. Scott says:

    Thanks for your clarification, Donna. Sounds interesting and yummy. I’ll have to give it a try. BTW, I tend to add coconut oil to most of my smoothies, either that or avocado. Mmmmm.

    – Scott

  4. jennifer says:

    How long will the Tahini last in the fridge when made this way? I think the previous recipe stated a couple days.

    • Donna says:

      Hi Jennifer, thanks that’s a good question. This one will last much longer in the fridge. I had some in the fridge for 2-3 months, it was still good right up until I used the last of it. So I think this recipe, because it’s been dehydrated to remove the moisture it may last more or less indefinitely.

  5. jennifer says:

    Good to know! Thanks for the response and the recipe. Looking forward to trying it.

  6. Daniela says:

    Hello from Bulgaria! 🙂
    I think this recipe is better and closer to the “real” tahini – we make here tahini traditionally (of course, they roast the seeds 🙁 and some fat is added for certain, apart from the one contained in sesame seeds). Here tahini makers use either sesame oil or sunflower (the cheaper version) but I like your idea with coconut oil – will give it a try!

  7. Jutta says:

    Hi Jennifer
    It was my understanding that hulled sesame seeds were not raw , that the process of removing the hulls involves using heat.

    • Donna says:

      Hi Jutta, that’s interesting I hadn’t heard that. I’ll try to do some research on it to find out more though.

      • Jack says:

        Yes, that’s very interesting–I’d like to know the answer to that too. Please post what you find out.

        Also, concerning drying out the sesame seeds, it’s OK to dehydrate them at any temperature of up to 150 degrees. Although *wet heat* of 118 degrees starts to kill enzymes, it takes *dry heat* of 150 degrees before the same process starts. A lot of folks don’t realize that.

  8. Alaina says:

    Hi, this sounds wonderful and I have so many ideas for Tahini! However, I’ve had a lot of trouble finding sesame seeds (and tahini that isn’t super expensive, although I’ve given up on the latter).

    Thank you!

    • Donna says:

      Alaina what area of the world are you in? You can order sesame seeds from iherb at a good price, they ship anywhere in the world and unlike most companies their shipping rates and service are excellent! They are fast too. They were the best company to deal with when I needed to ship things to New Zealand. Here is the page with the sesame seed products they have available: click here to buy sesame seeds. I think both the Frontier Natural products and Bob’s Red Mill are good because I’ve ordered other products from them. Get the hulled sesame seeds, they will taste better. 🙂 I hope that helps.

  9. valjean says:

    what if you don’t have a dehumidifier?

    • Donna says:

      Hi Valjean, that recipe calls for a dehydrator, it’s slightly different than a dehumidifier. But if you don’t have one, there are a couple of options. 1. you could use your oven, set on the lowest heat, and leave the door open, or at least ajar. You just want to dry the seeds out, not roast them, so very low heat for a long time. 2. you could use my original recipe, How to Make Raw Tahini which does not need a dehydrator (but it doesn’t store for as long though).

      • valjean says:

        ok thanks, i meant dehydrator. if i do the oven on the low setting how long?

        • Donna says:

          I’m not sure because I’ve never used the oven to do it, only my dehydrator. Use something like a baking sheet to put the sesame seeds on. Just keep checking, and maybe stirring the seeds around so they all dry evenly (a dehydrator has a fan to ensure even drying), and keep going until they are dry. Post back if you can and let us know how it worked out.

  10. Stacy says:

    How much coconut oil do you use for thr 1 cup of sprouted sesame seeds? thank you.

    • Rob Catlin says:

      Yes, I was wondering the same thing. Warming “some” coconut oil doesn’t mean anything to me. Hope to hear back. Thank you!

  11. Phoenixbird says:

    Do I use the Brown Raw Seeds or the White Hulled Seeds? Can you tell me what is the difference? Thanks!

    • Donna says:

      You could use either, but the white hulled seeds are nicer… they make smoother tahini and taste better. The brown seeds with the hulls still on are tougher and can be slightly more bitter… not much, just a little.

  12. Debbie says:

    This is fantastic! since I have been raw I can not afford to buy Raw Tahini and use like 1/4 – 1/2 cup for one recipe…this will make a huge difference and I can make what i want…can you tell me how long this will last and do I have to keep it in the frig? Also what about using BLACK sesame seeds ? is there a different flavor or just the color?Thanks

    • Donna says:

      I’m not sure exactly how long it lasts Debbie, I’ve never had it go bad on my though. I’ve probably had it for at least two weeks before using it up, if not more. It will last longer in the fridge, but I don’t always keep mine there. Refrigeration will help keep the oils from going rancid (I keep my seeds and nuts in the freezer for this reason). Oh I’d like to try this with black sesame seeds. It should work. The taste may be different, but it would also be more nutritious. And if the taste is too strong you could maybe try a mix of black and white. Next time I get black seeds I’m going to try it. I often use black, or a mix of black and white for making gomasio (I need to post the recipe that too!).

  13. Sue says:

    Thanks for the recipe. I make tons of tahini based salad dressing and I plan to start making my tahini using your recipe. What type of dehydrator do you use. are the plates in the dehydrator made out of plastic?
    Also, to you and the rest of the community–did anybody found out if hulled seeds was no longer considered a raw food?

  14. Sue says:

    I forgot to check the box to be notified when a new comment was posted.

  15. danny says:

    Can you make thus without adding coconut oil?

    • Donna says:

      Yes, you could use something like sesame oil too. Without added oil it will be drier than commercially made tahini, which I suspect has oil added but also because the seeds are roasted it brings the oil out. So it depending on what you are using it for, you may not need to add oil. If you are adding it to hummus, or smoothies, the oil won’t be as essential. If you want the tahini to be spreadable though, you will probably need to add some oil.

  16. Giorgio says:

    Thank you very much for your recipes!!! I just want to know: in your experience how many time
    I mean how long can you refrigerate the second version of tahini?
    Thank you very much.

  17. Jutta says:

    Despite its high oil content tahini has excellent keeping qualities and will not go rancid even if left unrefigerated after opening. This is because sesame contains the natural preservatives sesamin and sesamol which stabalise it over long periods. The tahini made with unhulled seeds is more vitamin and mineral rich than that made with the hulled seeds but it is also darker and stronger in flavour.

  18. Gwen says:

    I love Tahini. I made it following a different recipe. Yours though includes the process of soaking, which is an important step before consuming the seeds in Tahini.
    I will have to dehydrate my seeds in the oven at very low heat as you mentioned in your recipe. Is the dehydration process in a skillet an option?
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Donna says:

      Hi Gwen, you could dry the seeds in a skillet too. It may be harder to control the temperature, so they may not be technically raw if you do. But unless you’re trying to be strictly raw that’s fine. in fact if you toast/roast them a little it will bring out more of the oil and the flavor of the sesame, and will taste more like the traditional tahini that you can buy. In fact, that’s such a good idea I think I’m going to try it and see how it comes out.