Homemade Hummus Made With Sesame Seeds {aka, Homemade Tahini}

Originally published in 2010, this is a classic AOC recipe that showcases a lot of the blog’s core values: making things simpler, less expensive, and do-able. Adding an easy first step to classic homemade hummus – making my own tahini – resulted in a fantastic, much more convenient end-product! It’s been updated with newer, pinnable pictures and an easy-to-print recipe – I hope you enjoy the ease of this, friends!

Save money and time by making homemade hummus with sesame seeds instead of purchased tahini with this recipe.

When I met Brian’s family back in the 1980s, I had a tiny bit of culture shock since they had traveled and lived in different parts of the world, including Turkey and the Middle East. Brian’s mom had learned to make Middle Eastern dishes like lamb shish kabobs, baba ganoush (eggplant dip), jajik (the yogurt/cucumber dish which has different names & variations, depending on the country- Greek tzatziki, Egyptian zabadi, Indian cucumber raita, etc.), and hummus (garbanzo bean dip) served with pita bread.

No one I knew ate these dishes, let alone made them from scratch.

At that point in my life I was more picky about food, but trying to make a good impression on my new family, I ate them. I found I loved the shish kabobs, and baba ganoush is still the only way I will eat eggplant, but jajik? That I stay far, far away from- as I do with anything that contains fresh cucumbers, ha!

But hummus was our favorite and I actually learned to make it since it was so good. I was not surprised that by the 1990s it became wildly popular and suddenly you could find it in delis and groceries and get the recipe in newspapers. It’s super easy to make, is perfect with vegetables as well as chips and pita and makes a nice dip alternative to the normal creamy-cheese type dips.

How to make homemade hummus with sesame seeds instead of store-bought tahini.

The only bummer with making homemade hummus, though, was that tahini (a sesame seed butter) was one of the key ingredients. It’s a relatively expensive item that we didn’t use for anything but hummus. Since I wouldn’t buy it very often it was feast or famine with my hummus-making- we’d have a lot of it and then none for months. Plus, it was plain irritating to usually be out of tahini when I wanted to make hummus.

This went on for years, really, before I realized that sesame seeds could be ground just like nuts to make a “butter.” Duh. Sesame seeds are something it’s easy to keep on hand- they’re inexpensive and I use them on granola bites, in Asian dishes and more. And guess what? It’s easy to grind the seeds as a first step, as well as convenient and makes a delicious hummus! The texture may not be as smooth as some of the store-bought hummus (which I’m not sure that I like, actually) but the flavor is great. This is the only way I make it, now!

You make this almost the same way as ‘normal’ hummus, except you begin with a step of making your own homemade tahini by processing sesame seeds with olive oil. After a chunky-smooth paste forms (tahini), just continue with the rest of the ingredients. And done, homemade hummus without having to buy tahini!

Homemade Hummus made with sesame seeds instead of purchased tahini.

To serve, drizzle with more olive oil, sprinkle with a bit of paprika and serve with pita bread (it’s even easy to make, too – here’s my pita recipe) and vegetables for dipping. (Storage Tip:This recipe makes about 2-1/2 cups of hummus and if you don’t need it all at one time, I’ve found that hummus freezes great. Put it in a labeled container, drizzle of olive oil on top, and freeze for a couple months.)

The ultimate test to this tahini-less hummus, though, came when I (hesitantly) served it to my in-laws, practically tripping over my words to prepare my mother-in-law for the fact that it wasn’t “real” hummus made with tahini.

Her verdict? “I think this is the best hummus I’ve ever had.”

Homemade Hummus (Using Sesame Seeds Instead of Purchased Tahini)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
An easy hummus recipe that uses sesame seeds to make a homemade tahini (sesame butter) instead of store-bought as a step before finishing the dip. Delicious & convenient!
Recipe type: Condiment
Yield: 2-1/2 c.
  • ½ c. sesame seeds
  • ¼ c. olive oil, plus more as needed and for garnish
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 2 c. garbanzo beans (home cooked or canned)
  • 2 T. lemon juice (about 1 small lemon)
  • 1 t. honey (optional - helps with bitterness that may come from extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 t. salt
  • paprika
  1. Make Tahini: Place the sesame seeds and ¼ cup olive oil in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until a smooth-ish paste forms, adding a little more olive oil if needed.
  2. Continue Making Hummus:
  3. Add the garlic and pulse until evenly chopped.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients, except the paprika. Process until desired consistency, adding more olive oil (or water) as needed. Taste to adjust for salt.
  5. Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with more olive oil and sprinkle with paprika.
  6. Serve with pita bread and vegetables for dipping.
To Freeze: place into 1-cup portions into freezer containers, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, seal, label & freeze. Keeps for a couple of months perfectly.



  1. Cheryl B. says

    Oh thank you for posting. My SIL is Lebanese and his family eats it all the time. I love hummus and it is so expensive. I will try this!

  2. says

    I bought some tahini a long time ago and made my own hummus using a friend’s delicious recipe. Um…mine was not so delish. And I ended up throwing away the tahini because it went bad. Money down the drain. Ugh.

    I’ve been looking for a good cheap hummus recipe–I should have known you would have one! Your blog may very well have become my favorite site for recipes. Can’t wait to try this!

  3. Jenelle says

    You know I just skip the tahini all together, and the hummus still tastes great, but I may have to try the seasme seads. Great idea!

    Also, I add cumen to mine. My family never seems to get enough cumen, we put it in everything. :)

  4. says

    I turned my dad onto the idea of hummus awhile back. It tastes so good, and I usually prefer a simple, plain version. I’ll show him this recipe. He’ll really like it!!! I’m not sure how I convinced about the positives of hummus…but I said this is better than chemical-laden dip..and it’s healthier for you…and I said it was a cheap source of protein…so maybe that convinced him :) :) Thanks for sharing the recipe. Love and hugs from Southern Oregon, Heather

    p.s. I love hummus instead of mayo on my sandwiches. it’s really tasty!!!!

  5. Monkey Mind says

    Mmmm, MMMM! I grew up with all these foods. My tiny little grandma would be working away in the kitchen stuffing grape leaves and such. I have mixed feelings about hummus – sometimes I like it, sometimes I don’t. Your version does look delicious. Thank you for the tip on grinding whole sesame seeds. When I get my new food processor I’m going to give this recipe a whirl(pun intended).

  6. Curbstone Valley Farm says

    I use a lot of hummus, but never tried using sesame seeds in place of tahini. I do make it often just without tahini, but it tends to be missing something. I’ll definitely give this version a try next time I make some. I love to keep it on hand, and make wraps for lunch with leftover grilled vegetables and hummus…now I’m hungry 😛

  7. Marsha Neal Studio says

    Oh, I am so going to have to make some tomorrow! I’ve been wanting to make Hummus for a while now… That and falafel… YUM!!! Thanks! :)

  8. says

    Brilliant idea, making your own tahini. Absolutely brilliant. And it totally makes sense to make it the same time you’re making hummus. Thanks for sharing! BTW I’ve found less expensive tahini at our local ethnic grocer, where it’s less of a specialty item.

  9. says

    Thank you so SO much for this! I am used to living in big cities where things like tahini are EVERYWHERE and there’s a Whole Foods Market on every corner. Now I live in the middle-of-nowhere-Oklahoma. I can make hummus now! I will come back and let you know how it turns out!

  10. says

    Just tried this out after looking around for a recipe that used cooked beans and sesame seeds. I was afraid it would change the texture since usually my immersion blender doesn’t go too fine, but that part worked out perfectly.

    I would’ve been happier without the salt or honey in it, since those ingredients took it from perfect to too much for me. I ended up tweaking madly after that point, adding more of everything else along with some garlic chilli paste (which was a delicious addition). Next time, I’ll add the salt and honey to taste (or not at all) like I probably should’ve done in the first place.

  11. says

    I made this hummus today to bring to a friend. It is very, very good. Yours looks better but I was using a too small food processor. I loved this and shared it on Facebook. Thank you for sharing. Amazing how so few simple ingredients can make something wonderful.

    Next up is the artisan bread – I bought a Dutch oven to try that recipe.


  12. Jami @An Oregon Cottage says

    Yeah, Dixie! I’m so glad you liked it – and thanks for sharing on FB. 😉

    You are not going to BELIEVE how simple and easy the bread is with the dutch oven- it’ll be worth the price of the oven, I guarentee!

  13. says

    I like making hummus with sesame seeds, too! I make homemade chickpeas and then use some of the cooking water (plus the lemon juice, olive oil, etc.) to blend the sesame seeds. Great minds think alike!

  14. says

    wow Jami. you hit it outta the park with this one.
    what’s crazy is that i’ve tried to make homemade hummus before using these same ingredients with no success. but i use your recipe and it tastes perfect.
    frickin’… awesome
    thanks a lot
    Manitoba, Canada

  15. says

    Yum! I never thought about adding honey to hummus! Thanks for the idea. I like to make a big batch and freeze the hummus in small, (cup or pint) plastic containers. They’re freezer friendly and convenient. I also customize the smaller plain batches with fresh garlic, herbs, sun dried tomatoes, or diced roasted peppers.

  16. Anne says

    How long do you pulse the sesame seeds? After a good 10 minutes of pulsing and scraping down the sides I still had quite a few whole seeds. Do I need to give it longer? I’d love to make this work – I have the same issues with the expense of and difficulty finding tahini!

    • says

      I don’t usually have whole seeds left, Anne, after a few minutes of processing. Is your blade sharp? Also, I don’t worry too much about it being smooth – I figure it’s a ‘rustic’ hummus anyway. 😉

  17. Rosemary says

    Fantastic idea! I can’t wait to try it! And it’s so much cheaper than buying tahini in the store! Thanks so much for a fabulous recipe! Yet another one from you I will put in my arsenal!

  18. Heather says

    I’ve been making your hummus for a few years now and we love it. In fact I used the last of my sesame seeds yesterday making a batch! And I don’t add the honey, but that is just personal taste. This time around I was making pesto in my food processor and decided to see how a pesto flavored hummus tried (i.e. I didn’t want to wash the food processor twice in 20 minutes). There was a minimal amount of pesto left after scraping out the food processor, but when my 5 year old tried it with veggies yesterday she declared it the best I’ve made and that I must make it that way again. Two recipes and only doing dishes once….I can do that again!

  19. Michele says

    I also have been making hummus for yrs, it is my ‘go to’ food, eating everyday. I prefer the hulled (brown) sesame seeds. I slowly toast in small batches (maybe a cup-total), then use a spice grinder (actually a coffee grinder turned spice grinder), after seeds have cooled a little, to finely grind seeds. I place seeds in a lidded jar, in the fridge and just add to beans when ready to process. I also use sesame oil to add more flavor. There is a Nigella Lawson recipe which uses peanut butter, instead of tahini, and yogurt. I’ve tried it-it’s good.

    • says

      Hmmm, peanut butter? That’s a new one, Michelle! Can’t decide how I feel about that, but I’ll take your word for it that it’s good. :) Thanks for sharing that tip for the sesame seeds – nice idea!

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