Here Are [4] Suitable Tahini Substitutes

Is tahini a must-have ingredient for hummus or not?

Believe it or not, hummus can be great with or without tahini.

Keep in mind that not everybody can have sesame seeds, so if you’re making a hummus dip from scratch, you may need to omit the tahini from the recipe.

Or, you can use a tahini substitute or alternative and add that to the hummus recipe.

So, what are some suitable alternatives and substitutes to tahini?

The Top 4 Tahini Substitutes for Hummus


Tahini Substitute #1: Sesame Oil (Best Tahini Substitute)

sesame seeds oil

People who are allergic to sesame seeds will need to stay away from this tahini alternative.

However, it can be a suitable one for those who can, and most likely, people already have the tahini substitute in their pantry.

It offers a nutty flavor that tahini also has to offer. Remember, tahini comprises of two ingredients – ground sesame and sesame oil.

Keep in mind that sesame oil will produce a more robust flavor than actual tahini, so you may need to adjust your recipe slightly. You can check out this tahini-free hummus recipe to give you an idea of how to use sesame oil as a substitute.

Tahini Substitute #2: Nut and Seed Butters

sunflower seeds butter

Some people like the idea of using peanut butter in their no-tahini hummus, but peanut butter is a powerful ingredient for many recipes.

Other nut butters like almond, cashew or walnut butter can be a suitable tahini alternative.

Here’s something to keep in mind, though:

  • Cashew and sunflower seed butters have a similar quality to sesame seed tahini in that they are light in flavor and have a savor quality to them.
  • Almond and walnut butters are more expensive, but they have grown in popularity over the last few years.

Since many people are also allergic to peanuts, many of these products have a suitable alternative, bringing down their prices and increasing the chances of finding them.

Special Note – You can also use hemp, watermelon or pumpkin seeds as a tahini substitute. You can keep the hull or not. Just blend until the seeds are smooth, and they’ll be ready for use. You can do the same thing for nuts – blend and use for any no-tahini recipe

When it comes to no-tahini substitutes, there is little doubt seed and nut butters are suitable because the flavor and texture closely resemble the tahini texture.

However, not everybody will be able to have them because of the nut and seed allergy aspect.

Tahini Substitute #3: Sour Cream or Yogurt

yogurt bowl

It’s the creaminess that tahini paste has that makes it one of the reasons it tastes so delicious, and sour cream and yogurt still offer the creamy texture that people look for. But, they give the recipe a bit of a tangy flavor.

If you’re going to swap out tahini for an ingredient that’s low in fat, then you can use yogurt or sour cream to do this effectively.

There is no change to the sweetness, and it actually maintains the bitterness some recipes call for.

If you want low-fat hummus, both tahini alternatives are the way to go.

While you may not be able to drizzle it on toast, it does make for a suitable alternative to other dishes.

Bear in mind that if you don’t like the flavor the alternatives bring to the recipe, consider adding olive oil.

Tahini Substitute #4: Kerisik

kerisik bowl

The kerisk ingredient is normally seen in Indonesian, Malaysian and Singaporean dishes and is a paste made from fried or toasted coconut shreds.

Its fat content is nearly identical to tahini. Despite how delicious kerisik can be, it’s expensive and takes a lot of time to prepare.

If you use bagged unsweetened shredded coconut, you can skip several steps in the preparation process.

However, unlike an actual coconut, you will need to address the moisture and sweetness content to get it just right for use.

The great thing about making kerisik is that you can make a big batch and freeze it for several months. The finished product can go into curries, batters and other tahini-replacing recipes. 

If you decide to go with raw coconut, you want one that’s mature. This means shaking it before buying it to hear the water sloshing around.

The more you hear, the more mature.

Less mature coconuts have a jelly-like substance and are unable to be used for kerisik.

You’ll need a hammer or similar tool to open the coconut and grind it. Chunks of the flesh will come out, then use a cheese grater to grind it up.

The finer the grate, the better it’ll be to get it to a pulp.

Once you do this, place it in a frying pan without oil to get it golden brown. You’ll then need to beat blend the coconut to the consistency you desire, using a food processor or blender.

The finer the consistency is, the better it is for salad dressing or hummus.

You can also leave it chunky and add it to your sweet potato brownies recipe.

If you’re in a hurry, then kerisik won’t work.

It takes time to prepare, and you need to get the calculations done right. But, when you do prepare it, you’ll find it’s a taste and a flavor that were worth all the hard work.

Tahini Replacements Have Never Been Easier

As you see, it’s never been easier to replace tahini in a recipe.

As the old saying goes, “where there is a will, there is a way”.

Each tahini alternative or substitute will add a distinct flavor to the dish, but you can still imitate the flavor tahini would produce in that recipe.

With the right tools, you have the power to keep a recipe’s flavor and taste.


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