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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.

Tahini substitute

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!

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Hummus without tahini

Hummus without Tahini (Best Substitute!)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: About 2 ½ cups 1x


  • 1 medium garlic clove
  • 2 15-­ounce cans chickpeas
  • 1 large lemon (¼ cup lemon juice)
  • ¼ cup aquafaba or water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter


  1. Peel the garlic. Drain the chickpeas into a liquid measuring cup, reserving the aquafaba (chickpea can liquid). Juice the lemon.
  2. 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
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Tahini substitute

Here are some tahini recipes where you could use this substitute:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you’ll want to make again and again.

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  1. I am allergic to nuts and seeds. No almonds, peanut butter, sesame seeds unless baked, peanuts, walnuts etc. I made some homemade hummus with tahini and got a bad reaction. I do not get that from store bought hummus. What can I substitute for the tahini. I think it was too intense as it consists of all sesame seeds.
    Thank you if you have an idea.