Where Is Tahini in the Grocery Store? Here’s Where to Find It

The buzz around tahini paste may have you curious to try a recipe calling for it, but it can be hard to find.

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.

jar of tahini paste on small cutting board with spoon

BHG / Ana Cadena

What Is Tahini?

Tahini is a thick paste made of ground sesame seeds most commonly used in Middle Eastern dishes like tahini sauce or the super-popular dip hummus. 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.

hummus plate

BHG / Ana Cadena

Where to Find Tahini in the Grocery Store

With the boom in hummus popularity and global cuisines, tahini paste can now be found in most large supermarkets, Start by heading to the condiments section, looking near gourmet olives. You might also find a jar 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 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 Blossoms (yes, it works in desserts too) and Tahini-Ginger Noodles. See? There's good reason to make this ingredient a pantry staple.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does tahini need to be refrigerated?

    Tahini does not need to be stored in a refrigerator, but it should be kept (for about 4 to 12 months) in a cool, dry area that is safe from moisture and excessive heat. That said, tahini can turn rancid, and refrigeration can help it last a little longer (about 6 to 24 months). Just keep in mind that—like with peanut butter—storing your tahini in the fridge will change the consistency. 

  • What is the best tahini substitute?

    Another nut or seed butter—like sunflower, cashew, peanut, or almond butter—could work for some recipes, but be aware that some of these substitutes have a higher sugar content than tahini does. You could also substitute sesame oil (which lends a similar flavor profile to savory dishes like salad dressing or dips) or Greek yogurt (which offers a creamy, thick consistency, but less fat and fewer calories). 

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