Don’t have this popular sesame paste, or working around an allergy? Here’s the best tahini substitute to use in hummus and other recipes.
Making a recipe that calls for tahini and don’t have it? Tahini is a paste made of sesame seeds often used in Middle Eastern or Mediterranean dishes. The most famous recipe with tahini? Hummus! It also can used for making creamy sauces for salads and sandwiches, desserts like cookies and cakes, or as a replacement for peanut butter for peanut allergies. Tahini has a slightly bitter flavor right out of the jar; it’s not sweet like most nut butters or seed butters.
Tahini is found in the condiment aisle at most groceries. It’s so unique that if you can grab it, it’s worth making a special trip! But if you’re in the middle of the recipe and need a quick fix, here’s the best tahini substitute.
Some recipes are best with the real thing!
Are you making a Tahini Sauce or another recipe with the word “tahini” in the title? If so, it’s usually best to opt for the real thing. Calling it out in the recipe title means it’s a star ingredient, so it’s worth waiting to make the recipe until you can find it.
Best tahini substitute
1. Cashew butter or almond butter
The best substitute for tahini? Cashew butter or almond butter. These nut butters have a similar consistency to tahini and their flavor is fairly neutral. Some people claim you can use peanut butter as a substitute, but we prefer the more neutral flavor of cashew and almond butter. Don’t have them but have nuts? Whip up homemade cashew butter or homemade almond butter. This substitute works in lots of recipes like hummus, cookies, and more.
2. Sunflower butter
The next best substitute for tahini? Sunflower butter! This option is great if you have a nut allergy and need another seed butter.
3. In a pinch: peanut butter + olive oil (hummus)
If you don’t have any of the above and you’re trying to make hummus without tahini: you can also use peanut butter. It’s best with natural peanut butter so it’s not too sweet. Substitute half of the tahini for peanut butter and half for olive oil. It’s not perfect, but it does the trick in a bind.
Scroll down to see the recipe!
- 1 medium garlic clove
- 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas
- 1 large lemon (1/4 cup lemon juice)
- 1/4 cup aquafaba or water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- Peel the garlic. Drain the chickpeas into a liquid measuring cup, reserving the aquafaba (chickpea can liquid). Juice the lemon.
- Add the garlic to the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add chickpeas, lemon juice, aquafaba and olive oil, kosher salt and peanut butter. Puree for a few minutes until very creamy.
- Category: Snack
- Method: Blended
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keywords: Tahini substitute
Here are some tahini recipes where you could use this substitute:
- Best Tahini Sauce
- Vegan Tahini Cookies
- Couscous Bowls with Tahini Sauce
- Fudgy Flourless Brownie Pie
- Raw Falafel Buddha Bowls
- Loaded Mexican Fries
- Vegan Buddha Bowl with Tahini Sauce
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.