15 Unexpected Ways To Use Tahini

Tahini is such a versatile ingredient. It can be a salad dressing ingredient, a delicious element to baked goods, and can even be enjoyed in drinks. Its range is expansive, as it has a place in almost any type of dish, from soups to salads, to desserts.

If you're not familiar with the sticky and mild-flavored condiment, tahini is simply ground sesame seeds. Typically, they are roasted, but raw tahini can be found in select grocery stores. As with any prepared food item, there are varying flavor and consistency differences depending on the brand you buy, so we've ranked each brand and believe the best store-bought tahini is Bayaz Tahini of Amedi. Look for both a creamy texture and a subtle nutty yet sweet flavor. Both flavor and texture are essential elements of why we use tahini in recipes. It can add density, creaminess, and layers of flavor without overpowering the dish. It's time tahini was used for more than just hummus.

Thicken your latte

Although you may not be used to whisking something into your drink that resembles peanut butter, hear us out. Tahini is the ultimate hot drink thickener, taking any coffee-based beverage and giving it richness and density. It tastes especially dreamy whipped into a latte, cappuccino, or any coffee drink including milk or non-dairy milk. However, dropping a spoonful right into the beverage will result in a pasty mouth full of sesame paste, so it's important that you introduce it like a pro.

Take a teaspoon of tahini and whisk it with about 2 tablespoons of water until it's smooth and turns off-white. When you first begin to stir it, it will look unappetizing and separate in clumps, but this just means you're halfway there, so don't give up. Once you have a creamy drizzle, add a little coffee and keep stirring until it's quite liquid. At this point, you can add it to your coffee. Give it a quick stir before you sip, as tahini is heavier than liquid and it may settle at the bottom of your cup. The nutty flavor and fatty density will bring new life to your drink, and its toasty flavor will playfully mimic that of roasted coffee beans. Add a little cardamom or vanilla for an extra punch of flavor. Enjoy your tahini latte or tahini cappuccino iced or hot.

Create your own tahini frosting

While tahini's overall flavor can be described as nutty, or even slightly bitter, a quality tahini will have a sweet undertone to it. It's mild enough that it can be used in several sweet capacities without overpowering the recipe with savory notes. However, the savory flavor is enough to balance the line of that famous sweet and savory combination we love so much. It has both the flavor and texture to be used as a frosting for cake, or can even be watered down to create a sweet drizzle for pancakes and waffles.

For a thicker frosting, use an electric beater to whisk it with honey, date syrup, or maple syrup. Add a tiny pinch of sea salt, and a hint of lemon juice for extra flavor, and don't forget pure vanilla extract. Once all of your ingredients are added, slowly introduce water until it reaches your desired consistency. Continue to add water for an irresistible drizzle that can enhance any cinnamon bun, french toast breakfast, or waffle.

Make a creamier hot chocolate

When it comes to the sweet traditions of drinking chocolate all around the world, there are some notable consistencies. One of them is the desire to make a richer, creamier cup of cocoa. Whether you're reaching for a savory cup of roasted cocoa and cheese, a spicy cup with chili pepper, or a sweet and heavy cup with sugar and egg yolk, we all know that there's nothing like a heavy, dreamy cup of hot chocolate. And the ultimate way to make your hot chocolate creamier? Add tahini.

Roasted cocoa beans are toasty, nutty, smokey, and powerful. They aren't naturally sweet, but when paired with sugar, maple syrup, or honey the flavor shifts gears entirely. To complement that roasted flavor, consider our new favorite paste, tahini, which has similar notes of flavor but also adds to its density. Simply whisk tahini with warm water until it's smooth, then add it right into your mug. Be sure it's whisked thoroughly, so that no clumps remain, and enjoy the densest cup of cocoa you've ever put your lips to.

Blend it into your smoothies

If you've discovered the power of a peanut butter smoothie, then you're living life right. It's a huge game-changer in the breakfast and post-workout department. Not only does it give your smoothie a protein boost, but it makes it oh-so rich and decadent. Luckily, tahini does the same thing without the intensity of flavor that peanut butter offers. And while peanut butter doesn't necessarily pair with all fruits, tahini has a wider range.

Play it safe and make a healthy and delicious tahini smoothie with cardamom and dates. Tahini and cardamom are a famous pair, and dates are often found tagging along to add sweetness. For a quicker, simpler classic, try frozen bananas, plant-based milk, and a tablespoon or 2 of tahini. Add a splash of vanilla extract, and you've just created the most nutritious "milkshake" out there. Go even further and add cocoa powder, because if there's one thing we know, it's that cocoa and tahini were meant to be together. Simply adding just a tablespoon of tahini to your favorite smoothie, including any fruits you love, will not drastically change the overall flavor, but will add depth and density.

Use it in baking

The incredible thing about tahini is that it can play just as well with savory foods as it does with sweets. And whether you're a cook or a baker, you should have tahini in your pantry. Experienced bakers know that baking is a science, and certain rules must be followed to achieve certain textures while cooking is more like an art with plenty of room for more forgiving creativity. Luckily, tahini can go with the flow and be used in your baked goods. Simply use it as a substitute for oil or nut butter, or if you're confident enough with your baking skills, you can add it right to your recipe.

Tahini can be used to create the most chewy tahini chocolate chip cookies, it can be added to your chocolate cake to make it even more rich, or it can be used in banana bread to give it a pleasing nutty flavor. If you're new to baking, seek out recipes that intentionally call for tahini, and you can't go wrong.

Drizzle on avocado toast

Avocado toast has stolen the hearts of most of us in the 21st century. In fact, a lot of people don't mind paying the big bucks to order it out. However, avocado toast no longer refers to simply just plain avocado spread on toast. No, its boundaries reach no end as we pile on poached eggs, arugula, sprouts, chili oil, roasted garlic, turmeric onions, and pretty much everything but the kitchen sink on top. And tahini is no exception.

Consider whisking the sesame paste with lemon juice and garlic powder until it is creamy-smooth, and drizzling it over avocado toast. Top with toasted sesame seeds cracked black pepper, or red pepper flakes for a little texture. This nutty addition can make even avocado taste creamier than it already is, and it will amp up your avocado toast's flavor profile to new levels. Breakfast just got more interesting.

Make soup extra creamy

Looking for dairy-free ways to make creamy soups and bisques? Look no further than tahini. You don't need heavy cream, butter, and milk to make your soups sing. Tahini has a similar density, and creaminess when added properly, and can make any broth delightfully intriguing. Because of its relatively neutral flavoring, tahini can be added to flavors from tomato bisque to corn chowder. It does particularly well in blended soups that are vegetable-heavy.

Tahini is the ultimate shortcut ingredient for creamy vegan soup, not only because it balances flavor and texture well, but also because it's protein-packed. Be sure to blend it with your broth until it is smooth, creamy, and light before incorporating it into your soup unless you plan to hit it with an immersion blender before it's served. Tahini pairs particularly well with roasted vegetables, as its nutty, toasty flavor complements sweet roasted vegetables, fresh from the grill or oven.

Spread it on a sandwich

Ever tried to make a vegetarian sandwich and realized that something major is missing? Meat is typically the centerpiece of sandwiches, so it can be tricky to load up your slices of bread and not feel like you're missing something. Next time, try playing with the sauces and spreads with more integrity. Tahini, in particular, is a great spread to include because it's heavy which can complement the lighter vegetables. It works well for both roasted and fresh veggies and even some meat-based sandwiches.

Whisk tahini with lemon juice, salt, and pepper and get to spreading. Spread it directly on toasted bread, or drizzle it right onto the bulk of the sandwich. Because tahini sauce is aesthetic, consider it for open-face sandwiches. It's a great option for any wrap that includes fresh greens, to help ground them and give them some bulk. There's no vegetable that tahini clashes with, so get creative with your toppings.

Whip up a dairy-free Caesar dressing

Cashew cream and whipped oil tend to be the go-to ingredients as dairy-free additions for creamy dishes, especially dressings. But as interest grows in the world of vegan cuisine, people have gotten quite creative. One of the best ways to make a vegan Caesar dressing is by using tahini. Some Caesar dressing recipes call for mayo, while others let the oil and parmesan do the talking. Luckily, tahini can fill both voids, depending on how much you add.

For an ultra-creamy plant-based Caesar dressing, include about 3 tablespoons of tahini per cup of dressing, and for a light version, only add about 1 tablespoon. The slight bitterness of the tahini parallels the subtle nip of Parmesan cheese. Use your favorite homemade Caesar salad dressing recipe, swap out the mayonnaise for tahini, and use capers in place of sardines (about ½ a teaspoon of capers per sardine). Be sure to leave out the Parmesan cheese, which can be substituted with nutritional yeast, and enjoy.

Add density to your vegan patties

Upgrade your vegetarian burgers by adding some oomph and heartiness with tahini. It's not only a foolproof way to keep homemade veggie patties intact and will act as a vegan burger binder, but it also will help your culinary creation to mimic the heaviness that meat offers. Don't bother whisking tahini with water before adding it. This time, just plop about ¼ cup per eight patties right into your food processor.

You will notice that it won't add too much moisture to the mix and instead will help the ingredients to stick together. The subtle nutty flavor and fatty mouthfeel will help your burger take on new life, without stealing the show. Use with beans, sweet vegetables, and grains like quinoa or oats. And, of course, since tahini is mild in flavor, be sure to use plenty of sauces and seasonings to help your burger sing.

Use it in homemade ice cream

Nobody is going to argue against making homemade ice cream even thicker and creamier. After all, the richer the ice cream, the bigger the smiles. One of the biggest hurdles of making homemade ice cream is reaching that perfect texture, without any ice crystals. Well, tahini can help you get there. Simply whisk tahini with your cream of choice until it is fully incorporated, without any chunks. Then proceed as usual. Tahini pairs particularly well with chocolate, cardamom, vanilla, greek yogurt, and honey, but choose any fruit or flavoring you like. If you're feeling daring, try a dark chocolate tahini cottage cheese ice cream recipe for a uniquely decadent experience.

For a simple, plant-based ice cream that can be made in minutes, use a food processor to purée frozen bananas, a dollop of tahini, and any flavoring of your choice. Feel free to add unsweetened cocoa powder to the recipe without sugar, because the bananas are loaded with natural sugars.

Enjoy it over pasta

Remember when avocado pasta was all the rage? A simply mashed avocado with lemon juice, salt, pepper, and olive oil was all you needed for a ready-in-minutes pasta sauce that nobody could get enough of. This time, instead of avocado, try using tahini. The key will be to achieve the proper consistency so your pasta isn't watery and isn't too sticky and thick. Add lemon juice, olive oil, and water until you've reached the consistency of alfredo sauce. Feel free to include roasted garlic, cracked black pepper, and enough salt to your liking.

This dairy-free addition to creamy pasta dishes is a perfect alternative to heavy cream and cheese. It's loaded with protein and is hearty enough to stick with you all day long. Get creative with ingredients like roasted garlic or blended basil to add your own personal flair. This five-minute sauce hack will make weekday cooking a breeze.

Mix into your ramen

Remember when Americans thought of ramen exclusively as those packs of noodles in a styrofoam cup? Luckily, we've adapted the more authentic recipes, and are loading those noodles up with savory broths, crunchy vegetables, and soft-boiled eggs. If you're interested in making your own ramen at home and love a mildly creamy broth, try making a miso tahini broth from scratch, or adding miso and tahini to your store-bought broth.

Miso adds a strong umami flavor, while tahini helps to add a creamy element to the broth. Now, this won't be your coconut milk type of soup but instead will add a more subtle creaminess with nutty undertones. Both miso and tahini are thick, so be sure to whisk them together with water until it's in a liquid form before adding them to your broth. Load up with fresh veggies, and savory meats, and don't forget those curly noodles.

Create your own energy balls

If you're on the money-saving train, as many Americans are these days, then it's time to consider dropping protein bars from your weekly grocery haul. Energy balls are super easy to make, tasty, and can be more nutritious than your typical energy bar brand. And, it just so happens that tahini makes a great binder and protein boost for homemade energy balls.

Choose sticky dried fruit like dates, dried cherries, figs, and raisins as a sweetener for energy. Then, add in nuts like peanuts, pecans, or cashews. Next, add a whole grain that doesn't need to be cooked like oats can be used to help absorb any excess moisture. Flax and chia seeds are prime workout fuel. And, finally, tahini makes for the perfect protein-packed binder. Toss all of your ingredients into a food processor and then form into balls using your hands. Bring them to the gym, pack them in your kids' lunch box, or leave them out on the counter to keep you going all day long.

Whisk it into chia pudding or overnight oats

Overnight oats are all the rage because nobody wants to wake up 30 minutes early just to cook breakfast, and, let's face it, they are delicious. Your classic chia pudding recipe does the same thing, just stir, set, and forget until morning. If you have a big day ahead of you, it's never a bad idea to eat a hearty breakfast. Adding a little high-protein kick to your overnight oats or chia pudding might just give you that boost to your need to conquer the long day ahead of you. Tahini is the perfect add-on because it can add creaminess as well as protein to your overnight breakfast recipes.

Add a tablespoon of tahini to your beloved overnight oats recipe, or a teaspoon to your chia pudding. Whisk it with your milk or non-dairy milk until creamy, and set and forget. Pair with cocoa powder and raspberries, or try the decedent combination of vanilla and cardamom. The mild nutty notes of the tahini will enhance the overall flavor, and you'll never go back to plain oats again.