Sesame Paste vs. Tahini: What’s the Difference?

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Sesame seeds, formerly consigned to the humdrum chore of adorning a bagel, have subsequently acquired quite a reach for such a little seed! Sesame is now found in a wide variety of meals, goods, and components.

Sesame paste and tahini are two such items that, although sometimes confused, are really separate. While both sesame paste and tahini are created from sesame seeds, they are processed differently, giving each a distinct look, flavor, and use. The main difference between these two items is one: raw sesame seeds vs. roasted sesame seeds.

We’re going to take a deep dive into the world of sesame paste vs. tahini, learning how each of these items is manufactured and how to use them in your own kitchen. We’ll even go through a short recipe for making your own homemade tahini. Let’s learn all we can about these tiny little seeds known as sesame!

What is Sesame Paste?

Sesame Paste vs. Tahini: What’s the Difference?

Sesame paste, often known as Chinese sesame paste, is a thick purée produced from roasted sesame seeds. The texture is similar to nut butters like peanut butter or almond butter. The seeds are often fried in a frying pan or wok before being pureed into a smooth purée with sesame oil.

Because the seeds darken as they toast, the finished product is considerably more vibrantly colored than tahini. Other nuts, such as peanuts, are sometimes used into the paste to offer texture and a more rounded taste. To prevent misunderstanding, combination mixes like this are commonly branded as sesame sauce.

Sesame paste is available in two varieties: black sesame paste and white sesame paste. The color variation is due to the kind of sesame seeds used to manufacture each, not the degree to which the seeds are roasted. White and black sesame pastes are produced from roasted white and black sesame seeds, respectively.

Because black sesame seeds usually retain their outer shell after processing, black sesame paste has a coarser, somewhat less homogeneous texture than white sesame paste.

How Does Sesame Paste Taste?

With roasted sesame seeds as a key component, sesame paste should have a very flavorful, incredibly nutty taste. The flavor is quite close to that of toasted sesame oil, which, as you may know, tastes very different from plain sesame oil.

Roasting or toasting seeds (and nuts, for that matter) brings out their innate nuttiness while also lowering the natural bitterness and astringency of these foods. As a result, sesame paste will be less bitter and have a warmer, nuttier flavor than raw sesame seeds or tahini.

White sesame seeds and black sesame seeds have a comparable taste, with black sesame being somewhat more powerful in flavor and crunchier in texture than softer and milder white sesame seeds.

How is Sesame Paste Used?

Sesame paste is frequently used in Chinese cuisine, serving as a foundation for cold noodle meals, spreads, dipping sauces, and even soups.

Because sesame paste has a thick thickness that is comparable to natural peanut butter, it is simpler to utilize it as a nut butter than tahini, which is often too watery to be used in this manner. Sesame paste may be readily transformed into an all-purpose sesame sauce for dipping or a spread for sandwiches and wraps by combining it with a few additional flavoring components.

What is Tahini?

Unlike sesame paste, which is produced from roasted seeds, tahini is created from raw, hulled sesame seeds that have not been heated before being blended. Tahini is often produced with white sesame seeds, however there are variants that utilize black sesame seeds instead!

Because the seeds are uncooked, tahini prepared from white sesame varies in color from off-white to beige to light tan rather than the deep brown colour of sesame paste.

Tahini is far more liquidy than other nut and seed butters, as seen by its appearance. Straight tahini is made using just sesame seeds, sesame oil, and sometimes salt. However, be cautious that many items that look to be and are labeled as tahini may already include additional additives or flavorings. Furthermore, tahini served in restaurants is often mixed with other seasonings.It’s no surprise that the tahini at your favorite Greek or falafel restaurant is usually delicious!

How Does Tahini Taste?

Tahini has lots of rich sesame taste, although it has a less nutty flavor than sesame paste. This is owing to the seeds not having been toasted. As a result, they retain some astringency and have not undergone the flavor development that occurs throughout the cooking process. Having said that, tahini is all about pure, somewhat bitter sesame taste.

How is Tahini Used?

Tahini is a famous taste in well-known foods such as hummus, baba ganoush, and falafel, and it originated in and is widely encountered in the cuisines of the Mediterranean and Middle East. Tahini’s distinct flavor also makes it an excellent basis for salad dressings, and when combined with additional flavorings such as garlic and lemon juice, it produces an incredible dipping sauce!

Tahini’s applications are not limited to savory meals; it may also be a terrific taste profile for sweet dishes and baked products such as cookies, breads, cakes, and tarts.

Sesame Paste vs. Tahini: Allergen Info

Nut Allergies

Because sesame goods, such as sesame paste and tahini, are so similar in taste and texture to peanut butter and other nut butters, one often asked concern is if sesame products, such as sesame paste and tahini, are appropriate for persons with nut allergies.

In brief, sesame paste and tahini are both excellent solutions for those who are allergic to peanuts or other particular nuts, but care must be taken to verify that these products have been handled in a cross-contamination-free way. Many facilities that manufacture seed goods such as sesame paste and tahini also manufacture a range of nut products, so exposure to these things is undoubtedly a worry.

Gluten Intolerance

We are pleased to inform anybody with a gluten allergy or sensitivity that both sesame paste and tahini are completely gluten free! Whatever product you choose, double-check that there are no extra ingredients that might be gluten sources, such as soy sauce.

Can You Use Sesame Paste and Tahini Interchangeably?

These two sesame goods aren’t a great match for one another. While both will add sesame flavor to the equation, the difference in taste between roasted sesame seeds and raw sesame seeds is rather significant. If you try to substitute tahini for sesame paste, you’ll lose out on the richness of nutty flavor and wind up with a somewhat bitter taste instead.

One alternative is to combine tahini with any roasted nut or seed butter you may have on hand; just be careful to account for any allergies! Alternatively, add a few drops of toasted sesame oil to the tahini to add another layer of rich flavor. This sort of sesame oil is created from roasted seeds, and although it does not have the same viscosity as sesame paste, it has a similar taste.

Can You Make Tahini at Home?

Yes! There’s no need to depend on store-bought tahini when it’s so easy to create your own at home. Making tahini in your own home is a terrific way to stretch a dollar and make it last longer, since even the finest tahini has a limited shelf life by the time it comes in your market shopping basket. Here’s a quick and easy recipe for homemade tahini:

Step 1

Collect your ingredients. To create tahini at home, you’ll need white sesame seeds, a neutral-flavored oil (such grapeseed or very light olive oil), and salt to taste. Plan on using roughly 1 tablespoon of oil for every cup of sesame seeds.

Step 2

Put the seeds in the bowl of a food processor or a high-powered blender. Pulse the seeds until they are crumbled and broken up, but don’t expect them to make a puree just yet!

Step 3

Blend the oil into the food processor or blender until the seeds are completely broken down and the mixture is smooth, runny, and consistent in consistency. Stop the machine regularly to give the mixture a thorough stir and ensure that all of the tahini combines evenly. Stir in the salt to taste, and you’re done!

Sesame Paste vs. Tahini: Recapping the Differences

Despite the fact that both sesame paste and tahini are prepared by combining sesame seeds, their flavors and uses vary! Let us summarize the significant distinctions:

  • Tahini is produced from raw sesame seeds, while sesame paste is created from cooked (roasted or toasted) sesame seeds.
  • Tahini is lighter, runnier, and somewhat bitter, while sesame paste is thicker, darker, nuttier, and richer.
  • Tahini has the flavor of pure sesame seeds, while sesame paste tastes rich, toasty, and nutty.
  • In contrast to tahini, which is normally used as an ingredient in recipes or seasoned and used as a sauce, sesame paste may be used as a standalone component like nut butter.
  • Tahini is a prominent flavor component in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern recipes, although sesame paste is more extensively used in Chinese cuisine and accessible in Asian stores.

Whatever sesame product you have on hand or pick up at the shop, know that you’re in for a treat since sesame taste is unique and well worth incorporating into your culinary routine.


Is sesame paste and tahini the same thing?

Mediterranean sesame paste differs from Chinese sesame paste in that it comprises hulled, raw sesame seeds.Chinese sesame paste (zh ma jiàng, ) is a thick, strongly flavored paste produced from roasted white sesame seeds. While you may be familiar with tahini, a Middle Eastern condiment,

Can I use sesame instead of tahini?

Seeds of Sesame

If your recipe asks for tahini, a sprinkling of sesame seeds will provide the same nutty flavor accent. Only the texture will alter. You can produce very fresh tahini by grinding your own sesame seeds in a high-powered blender.

Why is sesame paste called tahini?

Tahini is of Arabic origin and derives from a colloquial Levantine Arabic pronunciation of ana (), or more precisely aniyya (), from which English tahina and Hebrew t’china are derived.

What is the difference between sesame paste and tahini hummus?

Tahini is produced from raw sesame seeds, while sesame paste is created from cooked (roasted or toasted) sesame seeds. Tahini is lighter, runnier, and somewhat bitter, while sesame paste is thicker, darker, nuttier, and richer.

What is the best substitute for tahini?

Cashew or almond butter are the greatest tahini substitutes. These nut butters have a similar consistency to tahini and a mild taste. Some believe that peanut butter may be used as a replacement, but we prefer the more neutral taste of cashew and almond butter.

What is sesame paste?

Sesame paste, also known as zhma jiàng in Chinese, is formed from unhulled white sesame seeds that have been roasted till brown and mashed into a thick and creamy paste. The versatile condiment complements both sweet and savory foods with its rich, nutty punch and deep, earthy scent.

What can replace tahini in hummus?

Replace the tahini with equal parts peanut butter, sunflower seed butter, Greek yogurt, chopped roasted peppers, pitted olives, roasted beets, cooked sweet potato, avocado, or thawed frozen peas, to mention a few options.

Is tahini in all hummus?

Is tahini required for hummus? Sure thing! Tahini, along with chickpeas and olive oil, is one of the key components of hummus. That’s why our favorite dip is so rich and delicious—tahini provides smoothness to the texture of hummus, as well as a range of vitamins and minerals.

What is another name for tahini?

Tahini, commonly known as sesame butter, is a sesame seed-based condiment. It has a texture and consistency comparable to nut butter, and the ingredients are typically basic. Hulled sesame seeds, toasted or raw, are crushed into a creamy paste.

Does tahini need to be refrigerated?

Store-bought tahini may be stored in the pantry or in the fridge (we recommend the pantry since the fridge might affect the consistency of your tahini, making it less silky smooth). If you’ve combined tahini with other ingredients to produce a sauce, store it in the refrigerator and consume it within 5 days.

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