Tahini is a condiment made from toasted and grounded sesame seeds. Although you can also find raw tahini made from untoasted sesame seeds.
Tahini is often used in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and North African cuisines in many different recipes, such as sauces, dips, dressings, marinades, and desserts.
It has a creamy texture and earthy, nutty, slightly sweet-bitter flavor. It is one of the ingredients in classic dips like hummus, baba ghanoush, and many other sweet and savory recipes.
However, what if you are allergic to sesame seeds and you want to make a recipe that calls for tahini or you want to use some other ingredient because tahini has a high-fat content or simply have run out of tahini. Don’t worry! Other ingredients can successfully replace tahini.
Best substitutes for tahini include peanut butter, cashew butter, almond butter, sunflower seed butter, sesame oil, Greek yogurt, kerisik, or some of the following products.
Now, let’s take a closer look at each substitute below!
Best Substitutes For Tahini
You can use these substitutes in your recipes but have in mind that you will get a different flavor from the one you use to get from tahini.
1. Peanut butter
Peanut butter consists of roasted and grounded peanuts. It is often used as a spread in many sandwiches, crackers, toast, and bread, however, is also used as a key ingredient in various desserts and many different breakfast dishes.
Peanut butter has a creamy texture and strong nutty flavor that goes well with other ingredients like bananas, honey, apples, savory sauces, cheese, bacon, and cured meats.
You can even use homemade peanut butter as a substitute for tahini in your recipes. You will not get the same sesame flavor.
However, the texture will be very similar. If you have sesame oil, you can mix it with peanut butter and use it in sauces and savory recipes instead of tahini.
Substitute tahini with peanut butter in a 1:1 ratio.
2. Cashew butter
Cashew butter is another ingredient you can use as a substitute for tahini. It is made of roasted or raw grounded cashews and has a slightly sweet, mild nutty flavor and creamy texture.
Cashew butter works well in different desserts, baked goods, oatmeal, smoothies, sauces, soups, salad dressings, and dips. You can also use it as a spread on fresh fruits, crackers, toast, muffins, bread, and bagels.
You can use cashew butter in a 1:1 ratio as a substitute for tahini to get a creamy texture and a nutty slightly sweet flavor in your recipes.
3. Almond butter
Almond butter consists of raw or roasted, grounded almonds. It has a sweet nutty flavor and creamy texture. It is usually used in sauces, dressings, dips, soups, baked goods, desserts, smoothies, and breakfast recipes.
Almond butter is a good alternative to tahini because it has a similar texture. You can use it in your recipes in a 1:1 ratio. However, have in mind that you will get a different flavor than the flavor you get when you are using tahini.
4. Sunflower seed butter
Sunflower seed butter is another ingredient you can use as a substitute for tahini.
You can even make it at home if you have sunflower seeds. Just toast the sunflower seeds to get a beautiful nut flavor and mix them with a few drops of sesame oil. The butter will get a sesame flavor and, a nice creamy texture.
You can also buy sunflower seed butter but make sure it doesn’t have added salt or sugar. Thus, you can use it both in your sweet and savory recipes.
Some of the recipes where you can use sunflower seed butter as a substitute for tahini are dips, sauces, salad dressings, and baked goods.
Use sunflower seed butter as a substitute for tahini in a 1:1 ratio.
5. Sesame oil
Sesame oil is an ingredient you can use as a substitute for tahini in recipes where you need just the sesame flavor not the texture like salad dressings and marinades.
There are 2 types of sesame oil: light and toasted. The sesame oil made with toasted sesame seeds has a rich nutty flavor and works well in marinades, sauces, soups, dressings, etc. Whereas the light type of sesame oil is suitable for cooking and baking.
You can also mix a couple of drops of sesame oil with any type of nut butter and use it as a substitute for tahini in your recipes in a 1:1 ratio.
6. Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt has a thick texture and refreshing tangy flavor, which is different than the flavor of tahini.
However, you can still use it in some recipes such as dressings, sauces, marinades, and dips as a balance for their sweetness and to give them a nice thick texture. You will get meals with similar texture but different flavor than the one tahini have.
Use Greek yogurt as a substitute for tahini in a 1:1 ratio.
Kerisik, also known as coconut butter, is made from toasted, grounded coconuts. It has a creamy texture, sweet-nutty flavor and is usually used as a thickener in curry recipes.
This butter has a distinctive nutty-coconut flavor which is not the same as the one of tahini. But it will give a beautiful creamy texture to your recipes.
If you like coconut flavor you can use kerisik as a substitute for tahini in a 1:1 ratio.
8. Black sesame seed paste
Black sesame seed paste is made of black sesame seeds. It has a dark color and a stronger nutty-earthy flavor. It is one of the most used ingredients in Japanese cuisine in baked goods, pastries, rice cakes, sauces, ice cream, smoothies, and other sweet and savory recipes.
This paste is usually sweetened with honey or sugar and you can use it as a substitute for tahini in a 1:1 ratio in your recipes.
However, have in mind that it will change the color of your recipe into brown or gray. Therefore, it works best in recipes with dark colors like chocolate cakes, cookies, brownies, and other baked goods.
9. Macadamia nut butter
Macadamia nut butter is made from toasted and grounded macadamia nuts. It has a rich, sweet buttery flavor and creamy texture.
Macadamia nuts work well in curries, stir-fries, marinades, smoothies, dips, as a spread on toast and fresh fruits, and in other sweet and savory recipes.
You can use macadamia nut butter as a substitute for tahini in a 1:1 ratio.
10. Homemade tahini
Homemade tahini is the best substitute for tahini you can make in no time. All you need are sesame seeds, and oil with a neutral flavor(canola oil, sunflower oil).
Lightly toast the sesame seeds until they get a golden color. Blend them with a few drops of oil to get a paste with a thick, smooth, and creamy texture. Your homemade tahini is ready to use in sweet and savory recipes.
Substitute For Tahini In Baba Ganoush
Tahini is one of the key ingredients in Baba Ganoush. You can also make it with some other ingredients such as peanut butter, cashew butter, macadamia nut butter, almond butter, sunflower seed butter, black sesame seed paste, and homemade tahini.
It will have a different flavor but the texture will be similar to when you are using tahini in your recipe for baba ganoush.
Nut-Free Substitute For Tahini
If you are allergic to nuts you can make tahini with nut-free substitutes. You can use sunflower seed butter, Greek yogurt, black sesame seed paste, kerisik, and sesame oil. Just make sure they are not cross-contaminated with nuts during their production process.
Substitute For Tahini In Hummus
Tahini gives a specific flavor and creamy texture to hummus. You can also use peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, sunflower seed butter, Greek yogurt, macadamia nut butter, and black sesame seed paste as a substitute for tahini in hummus.
All these substitutes will give a different flavor to your hummus and a thick creamy texture. Black sesame seed paste will also change the color of the hummus.
Tahini is a healthy and flavorful ingredient that you can use in your diet. It has vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats which can help you with some health conditions like diabetes and heart diseases.
However, other ingredients can successfully replace tahini in your favorite recipes. What are you using as a substitute for tahini? Which is your favorite recipe with tahini as an ingredient? Share your recipe in the comment section below.