The buzz around tahini paste may have you curious to try a recipe calling for it. But the mystery might continue when you try to find the nutty ingredient. Here are our best tips on how to find tahini in the grocery store.

By Sheena Chihak
Updated January 06, 2021
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If you’ve tried hummus, you're familiar with tahini’s nutty flavor. But you might not know what gave it that flavor. Mystery solved: The creamy texture and savory, nutty flavor in a hummus recipe or baba ghanoush comes from tahini, also called tahini paste, sesame tahini, or tahini sesame paste. It's a pantry staple for anyone that makes a lot of Mediterranean recipes and other ethnic cuisines. If you're new to the nutty condiment, you might not know where to find tahini in the grocery store. Here's how to get your hands on a jar to make your next falafel salad or chicken dinner.

Tahini in a Small White Bowl on beige napkin on light wood surface
Credit: Jason Wilde

What Is Tahini?

Tahini is a thick paste made of ground sesame seeds most commonly used in Middle Eastern dishes like tahini sauce. Though tahini is a sesame seed paste, if your recipe calls for sesame seed paste, it's likely referring to an ingredient more commonly used in Chinese cooking, a paste of roasted sesame seeds. Tahini is made from raw (uncooked) seeds.

Where to Find Tahini

With the boom in hummus popularity and global cuisines, tahini paste can now be found in most large supermarkets; check by the condiments near gourmet olives or in the ethnic foods department. There's no set rule on where to stock tahini so each store will shelve it where they have space and it makes the most sense for them. If you struggle to find tahini at your grocery store, just ask; they'll happily point you in the right direction. Smaller grocery stores may not carry it. Many online retailers carry the paste so you don't even have to worry about where to find tahini in the grocery store if you have time to wait for delivery.

With so many uses for tahini and places you can find it, there's no reason not to grab a jar on your next grocery run. For further encouragement, take a look at these Tahini Rainbow Cookies (yes, it works in desserts too) and Tahini-Ginger Noodles. See? There's good reason to make this ingredient a pantry staple.

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