What can I substitute for Tahini?

In this concise article, we will answer the question, “What can I substitute for Tahini” with an in-depth analysis of tahini and the possible substitutes for tahini. 

But if someone is not having tahini around, then he/she can use its substitutes that are discussed in this article.

What can I substitute for Tahini?

If someone is not having tahini around, then he/she can substitute it with nut butter, sun butter, smooth peanut butter, sesame seeds, sesame oil, and greek yogurt.

Globally, sesame is produced over an area of 8.8 mha and annual production around 2.8mt with average productivity of 382kg/ha. In Africa, Sudan is the major sesame producer followed by Nigeria, Somalia, Uganda and Ethiopia. Due to the increase in price as a result of increasing demand for the crop, production of sesame is increasing in Ethiopia. Ethiopia’s export share of 1.5% in volume and 1.9% in value to the World market in 1997 had grown to 8.9% and 8.3% in 2004 respectively (1).


Tahini has a paste-like texture that is made from ground sesame seeds. It is widely used in cooking to add flavor. It is also used in sweet dishes so that the flavor is balanced, it contains numerous nutrients as well. It is used for salad dressings, soups, brownies, and smoothies. Tahini should be stored in a dry and cool place.

Roasting of sesame seeds is a basic operation for the production of tahini. Sesame seeds are roasted in order to promote the flavor, desired color and changes in texture which ultimately increase the overall palatability of the product. In recent years there have been a number of reports of Salmonella outbreaks related to the consumption of contaminated tahini. Studies showed that the reduction values obtained indicated that viability of Salmonella serotypes at 4°C (refrigerated temperature) was significantly higher compared to at 22°C (room temperature) (2).

Substitutes for Tahini

There could be various reasons for using the substitutes of tahini; if it’s not available in your area, if its price is too high, if you have an allergic issue with it, if you are on diet (because it contains too many fats). 

It is totally fine to replace the tahini with its substitutes because these substitutes also have the same benefits, not only in flavoring the dish but also for a healthy body.

So, to overcome all these problems there are substitutes for tahini. These substitutes are mentioned below briefly:

Nut butter:

Nut butter is the replacement for tahini. It gives the same creamy texture to the dish as tahini does. Using nut butter would bring a slight change in the taste of your dish but that’s not a big deal.  For many consumers, spreads represent an attractive way to incorporate nuts and seeds into their diet. While many conventional spreads contain a significant amount of sugar and added vegetable oils, a novel category of these products has quite recently appeared on the market to meet the growing demand for natural, healthy products. So-called ‘natural’, ‘pure’ or ‘old fashioned’ nut and seed butters are produced purely by grinding nuts or seeds into a fine paste, with no other ingredients or additives (4). Here are a few benefits listed below.

Benefits of nut butter (3):

  • Lower risk of cardiovascular disease
  •  It reduces the LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol level.
  • Nut butter is helpful in weight control
  • Nut butter can help protect against colon cancer
  • Using nut butter could prevent and control type 2 Diabetes

Nut butter is mostly used in several sauces to the top of vegetables, and pasta.

Sun butter:

Sun butter is sunflower seed butter. It is also the best substitute for tahini. It would give the same flavor as tahini. Sunflower butter is also an alternative to peanut butter for those who are allergic to peanuts. Nutritive properties of sunflower butter are equivalent to those of peanut butter with sunflower butter having 8 times more vitamin E and 4 times more iron. Sunflower seeds are a good source of protein, fiber, vitamin E, zinc, and iron (5).

Benefits of using sun butter:

  • Sunflower seed butter is rich in nutrients. 
  • These seeds are a rich source of getting protein, healthy fats, and vitamins like vitamin E and magnesium.
  •  Using this sun butter keeps you energetic due to the presence of these proteins and healthy fats.
  • Sun butter contains 5.5 grams of protein in a portion of 1 once 

Smooth peanut butter:

Smooth peanut butter can also be used as a substitute for tahini. Peanut butter gives a strong flavor to the dish. If you are using it in large quantities, then it could cause the dominance of peanut flavor.

But if you don’t like peanut flavor, you can skip this substitute.

Other than adding flavors to the dishes it also maintains human health. It is better to store it in a pantry or fridge.

Benefits of using smooth peanut butter:

  • It helps lose weight, it helps in boosting heart health (7), it helps in bodybuilding (8). 
  • It can also reduce the risk of breast disease (6).
  • Too much consumption of peanut butter could cause problems so keep it to 1 to 2 tablespoons each day.

Sesame seeds:

Sesame seeds are the substitutes for tahini. Using sesame seeds as a top ingredient would give the same nutty flavor. It may cause a little change in the texture. You can also grind sesame seeds to make fresh tahini.

Benefits of sesame seeds (9):

  • Sesame seeds are a rich source of fibers
  • Sesame seeds could help in lowering cholesterol level
  • They may help in lowering blood pressure
  • Contains minerals like phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, calcium, copper, iron and potassium.
  • Inflammation is reduced by consuming the right amount of sesame seeds
  • Sesame seeds are a rich source of vitamin B

Greek yogurt:

Something is going to be lost once you substitute spread with Greek dairy products, however looking at the recipe, that may not be such a foul thing. This selection isn’t nice for recipes wherever tahini is employed to offset sweetness—like once it’s drizzled on sweet potatoes or spread on toast with jam. 

Except for several alternative functions (like in zesty dips and glossy dressing), Greek yogurt incorporates a thick and creamy consistency that closely mirrors the feel of tahini—just with a bit further tang.

Benefits of using Greek yogurt (10):

  • It is rich in protein
  • It contains less sodium
  • It has less amount of lactose in it, so it is easier to digest
  • It is a rich source of calcium which helps in improving bones.

If you consume 2 cups of Greek yogurt every day, it will provide you with protein, calcium, iodine, and potassium.


In this concise article, we have discussed possible substitutes for tahini that could provide the same taste, flavor, and texture to our dishes.


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  2. Torlak, Emrah, Durmuş Sert, and Pınar Serin. Fate of Salmonella during sesame seeds roasting and storage of tahini. Int J Food Microbiol, 2013, 163, 214-217.
  3. Ros, Emilio. Health benefits of nut consumption. Nutrients, 2010, 2, 652-682.
  4. Rektorisova, Michaela, Monika Tomaniova, and Jana Hajslova. Nut and seed butters: lipid component quality and its changes during storage. Euro Food Res Technol, 2022, 248, 2531-2538.
  5. Lima, Isabel M., and Harmeet S. Guraya. Optimization analysis of sunflower butter. J Food Sci, 2005, 70, s365-s370.
  6. Liu, Ying, et al. Adolescent dietary fiber, vegetable fat, vegetable protein, and nut intakes and breast cancer risk. Breast cancer res treat, 2014, 145, 461-470.
  7. Mattes, Richard D., Penny M. Kris-Etherton, and Gary D. Foster. Impact of peanuts and tree nuts on body weight and healthy weight loss in adults. J nutr, 2008, 138, 1741S-1745S.
  8. Hermann, Janice R. Protein and the Body. Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, 2019.
  9. Tufail, Tabussam, et al. Functional and nutraceutical scenario of flaxseed and sesame. Int J Biol Sci, 2020, 17, 173-190.
  10. Chandan, Ramesh C., Akanksha Gandhi, and Nagendra P. Shah. Yogurt: Historical background, health benefits, and global trade. Yogurt in health and disease prevention. Academic Press, 2017. 3-29.