Tahini vs. Sesame Paste – What’s The Difference?

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Many people confuse tahini and sesame paste with being the same; however, they are not. There is a crucial factor that greatly differentiates the two of them. Raw sesame seeds are used to make tahini, while roasted sesame seeds are used to make sesame paste.

Although the difference between them may seem to be little, however, it’s not. This factor between two greatly affects the flavor of the two. Sesame seeds have great nutritional value and distinct flavor. However, they both are known to add their texture to the dish.

In this article, we will be looking in-depth at sesame seeds and try to understand how their little difference in cooking greatly affects the product in the end. Sesame seeds, when eaten raw, have a mild flavor and do not add too much flavor to the dish.

Raw sesame seeds are also widely used in baking, and as a result, the baked products shine. However, when the seeds are turned into paste, the situation changes. When they are crushed, a strong flavor is added to the buttery and nutty dish.

Sesame Paste

The primary thing that greatly changes the flavor of the sesame paste is the factor that it is crushed. This makes the flavor concentrated and strong. The experience changes when the seeds are crushed to form into a paste.

However, sesame paste is sometimes confused with sesame sauce. Sesame paste is primarily made from one ingredient, roasted sesame seeds; however, sesame sauce has various additives, including spices and oils added to it.

Moreover, there are two kinds of sesame paste that you will find one is black sesame paste, and the other is white sesame paste. The black paste is made of roasted black sesame seeds. They are blended well until they form a thick paste.

They are known to be very rich in flavor and to be nuttier. Sesame black paste is very common in Japanese cuisine. To the extent that they also go by the name of Japanese sesame paste. The paste is made sweet using sugar or honey and then used in desserts.

Sesame white paste is very similar to black sesame paste, but the primary difference is made from white seeds. White seeds are also roasted and very common in Chinese cuisine. It is comparatively harder to get your hands on white sesame paste; however, you may find it if you look for it in certain supermarkets.

Some of the most popular dishes that use sesame paste are listed below:

  • Noodle bowls
  • To flavor stir-fries
  • Used as a sauce in vegetables
  • Served with beef or chicken
  • Used to make peanut sauce
  • Use in hot soups and pots

Due to sesame paste, strong flavor is commonly used in savory dishes. Moreover, sesame paste is also known to be gluten-free. It goes well with just about any dish, and you should give it a try at least once.

Nutritional Facts

A serving of one tablespoon of sesame paste includes the following:

  • Total calories 89
  • Total Fat 8g
  • Saturated Fat 1.1g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 3.5g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 3g
  • Cholesterol 0mg
  • Sodium 5.3mg
  • Potassium 69mg
  • Total Carbohydrates 3.2g
  • Dietary Fiber 0.7g
  • Protein 2.6g

Health Benefits

Sesame seeds are very nutritious; however, you should have a decent serving to get significant nutritional benefits as they are very small. They are known to have many valuable vitamins and minerals. Sesame seeds have been used in folk medicine for thousands of years.

They are a great source of fiber, and a tablespoon of sesame seed will provide about 3.5 grams of fiber. This is 12 percent of recommended daily intake. Fiber is known to keep your digestive health in check and reduce the risk of diabetes and different types of heart diseases.

Studies have shown that eating sesame seeds daily greatly reduces cholesterol and triglycerides. The polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat in sesame seeds greatly lowers your cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart diseases. They are also the best source of plant protein that you can get.


Tahini is also a paste made from sesame seeds, but it’s different as it is made from a different recipe. One of the most differentiating factors between sesame paste and tahini is that while sesame paste is made from roasted seeds, tahini is made from raw seeds.

There might seem to be a little difference, but it greatly affects the flavor and texture of the product. Tahini is blended with other ingredients to be served in a sauce. Tahini is primarily considered to be blended sesame seeds. Some most common additive that it is blended with include:

  • Sesame oil
  • Squeezed lime juice
  • Soy sauce
  • Garlic
  • Fresh herbs
  • Maple syrup
  • Peanut butter

Tahini can be made at home using a blender or food processor at home. A little bit of oil can be added as well to make the paste even. Moreover, sesame paste can be added that will further enhance the flavor of tahini.

Some of the most common ingredients that go well with tahini includes: To make sauces, Used as spread, Salad dressings, Baking cakes and cookies, Making granola bars or protein, Added to pasta sauces or soups and to make meat loves or burger patties.

Tahini that is homemade and doesn’t contain any preservatives will go bad. An unopened jar of tahini will last for at least 4 months; however, a sealed container placed in the fridge can last up to 6 months. One of the best tahini you will find is organic sesame tahini from Kerala, and we highly recommend at least trying it once.

Nutritional Facts

A serving of 1 tablespoon of tahini includes the following:

  • 178 total calories
  • 16g of fat
  • 6g of carbohydrates
  • 2g of fiber
  • 15g of sugar
  • 1g of protein

Health Benefits

Tahini is rich in several nutrients that boost bone health as it is loaded with calcium greatly. Moreover, roasted sesame seeds like tahini also increase the absorption rate of these minerals. Tahini is also a great source of vitamins known to boost metabolism.

Moreover, it contains niacin and thiamine, which greatly help boost brain function. Tahini is also rich in iron and copper, which greatly help in the function and formation of red blood cells. Tahini is a great source of fiber, and a tablespoon of tahini will provide about 3.5 grams of fiber.

This is 12 percent of recommended daily intake. Fiber is known to keep your digestive health in check and reduce the risk of diabetes and different types of heart diseases.

So, What’s the Difference Between Tahini and Sesame Paste?

  1. The primary difference between the two is that tahini is made from raw sesame seeds while sesame paste is made from roasted seeds.
  2. Sesame paste has a stronger flavor and is commonly used in savory dishes, while tahini has a comparatively mild flavor.
  3. Sesame paste has comparatively fewer calories as compared to tahini.