These darling polka-dotted Tahini Cookies have the texture of shortbread and a perfect, not-too-sweet nutty flavor. They’re guaranteed to captivate even the pickiest cookie lover, so grab a jar of tahini and get baking!
Tahini, a sesame spread, is widely popular in Israel, Turkey and throughout the Middle East. These cookies take full advantage of tahini’s subtle yet powerful allure. If you’ve got some serious peanut butter cookie fans in your life, it may be time to introduce them to the joy of tahini–they’ll be grateful! One bite of this Tahini Cookie= instant converts.
These cute little sesame honey cookies are easy to make; the dough is rolled into little balls, dipped in black and white sesame seeds, and gently baked. This cookie has lots of gluten free and vegan options, too, which are offered down below.
Making this Tahini Cookie recipe for a cookie exchange? Make some extra to keep for yourself! Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
What is tahini?
Tahini, a condiment made from ground, hulled sesame seeds, is a staple of Mediterranean and Israeli cuisine. It’s drizzled into pita bread sandwiches, mashed into hummus, even enjoyed on breakfast cereal. Tahini sauce is fabulous on just about everything!
It’s mostly savory but a little sweet, too. Tahini happens to be nut-free, made from seeds. And it makes one heck of a cookie!
When shopping for tahini, look for jars that are smooth and pourable, that haven’t separated, and don’t have a layer of oil on top. Check the expiration date, just to be sure that what you’re getting is fresh. Store the jar in the refrigerator between batches of this cookie.
How to make gluten free Tahini Cookies:
Easy! Make Tahini Almond Cookies, switching out the flour for almond flour. Look for almond flour, also known as almond meal, at health food stores, well-stocked grocery stores, specialty food markets, or online.
Or, exchange your favorite GF flour blend and go from there.
How to make Vegan Tahini Cookies:
In place of honey, you can use agave syrup. And instead of butter, make the dough with your preferred brand of vegan vegetable-based spread or margarine.
Tahini Pistachio Cookies:
For a pop of color, press a shelled pistachio into the tops of the cookies to bake, with or without the sesame seeds. Or add a handful of chopped pistachios to the dough.
Fruit and Nut Tahini Cookies:
If you’d like to add some nuts or fruits to all of your cookies, add them with the butter and tahini. Try dried Zante currants, chopped candied orange peel, bits of dried apricot, or chopped pistachios or pine nuts to the dough.
Cookie Baking Tips:
- These gentle little cookies bake quickly and can darken on the bottoms, especially when baked a dark-colored baking sheet. Line the baking sheets with baking parchment to prevent discoloration.
- As they bake, the cookies stay about the same color, so it’s a little tricky to know exactly when to take them out of the oven. Fortunately, it doesn’t matter much if they’re a little over or under done. Just keep an eye on the timer!
- Like other shortbreads, this Tahini Cookie is a little fragile. To get the best results, let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool. Doing this will allow them to firm up a bit.
How long do Tahini Cookies last?
Store the cookies in an airtight container– they stay fresh up to 3 days. But, of course, there’s no way they’ll last that long! Before you know it, you’ll be making more!
Tahini Cookie Recipe
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter or 1 1/2 sticks, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup tahini
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds mix of black and white
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, sugar, and honey together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in tahini, then add dry ingredients in three batches, beating after each addition until fully combined. Dough will be slightly sticky.
- Place sesame seeds in small bowl. Scoop out tablespoons of dough (about 1 ounce) and roll into balls. Dip one side of balls in sesame seeds, gently pressing to adhere, and place, sesame side up, on two parchment-lined baking sheets roughly 2 inches apart.
- Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until they are golden brown, about 13-15 minutes. Allow to cool on baking sheets (cookies will firm as they cool).