If I don't have tahini is there anything similar to use to make hummus?

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    We make hummus but not that often. We got tahini for it and don't really use it for anything else. The 1 jar we've bought has lasted a really long time in the refrigerator and has been well worth it. – Dinah Jul 18 '10 at 23:57
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    @Dinah: you can make Tahini salad out of Tahini: mix 1 portion of tahini with one portion of water, add 1 crushed garlic clove, some lemon juice, salt, cumin and chopped parsley. – Electric Monk Jul 19 '10 at 18:56
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    As a Lebanese person I can tell you that no, there is not. Tahini is necessary. Now, you can use some alternatives, but we have to then debate the label "hummus." While the word "hummus" is commonly used, the real name is "hummus be thini", of "chick-peas in tahini." Hummus can refer to another variety we eat for brunch, as well as chick-peas themselves. – Mohamad Jul 19 '11 at 18:12

15 Answers 15


Sort of.

If you have sesame seeds on hand, grind some up. You could also use toasted sesame oil, and even combine it with the ground seeds.

You can also use all-natural peanut butter. Don't use mass market crap with sugar and other additives. The ingredients should list only: peanuts, salt. Obviously, this will taste like peanuts. It will still taste good in a hummus, but it will be a distinctly different hummus than with tahini.

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    I have some toasted black sesame seeds, I might try them. – fryguybob Jul 17 '10 at 3:13
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    I am a little apprehensive about calling it "hummus" when in fact it uses peanut butter. The name "hummus" merely means chick-peas. The full name is "hummus be t'hini", which means "hummum in tahini". – Mohamad Jul 19 '11 at 16:35
  • Lacking toasted sesame seeds, toasted sesame seed oil works quite well. – Wayfaring Stranger Dec 24 '16 at 0:30

You can make something vaguely approximating hummus just by leaving out the tahini, but it won't have the characteristic tanginess of an authentic hummus and will end up tasting more like a chickpea salad.

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    Agreed. Tahini is a central ingredient of hummus. Accept no substitute! – Mike Sherov Jul 17 '10 at 3:05
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    Yeah I tried that a few weeks ago and it was definitely missing something. – fryguybob Jul 17 '10 at 3:14
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    I agree that without tahini it's more like chickpea-spread but if the tahini is being omitted because of an allergy it'll still be pretty good. Just make sure there's garlic and maybe an herb and yogurt to make it tasty. – Eric Goodwin Aug 8 '11 at 13:48

Making tahini is quite a simple process, it's simply a combination of sesame seeds and olive oil. To make toast a quantity of sesame in the oven, on a moderate heat, for 5 to 10 minutes, but don't let them burn. Allow the to cool then, combine them in a food processor with olive oil. Add enough oil to reach the consistency you desire.

  • Tahini is traditionally made with a neutrally flavored oil. – hobodave Jul 17 '10 at 4:12
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    That really depends. As you travel around the Middle East you will find that it's very often made with Olive oil. – Pulse Jul 17 '10 at 4:39

You could try peanut butter (or any other nut butter, especially one with a light flavor and no salt or sugar added). Another option is sesame oil, but only add a little bit at a time, checking the flavor and consistency of your hummus as you go.

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    Sunbutter or sunflower seeds might work too. Their flavor is a little different but definitely not unpleasant, and not as strong as most nut butters. – GalacticCowboy Jul 23 '10 at 14:59

I loved hummus but then found out that I am allergic to sesame seeds. To substitute, I have used sunflower seed butter, almond butter or cashew butter. I have also tried combining a few of the nut butters for a more complex taste with good results. I have heard peanut butter works, but I am also allergic to peanuts so I cannot say much about it. Whatever you use as a substitute, make sure it does not contain a lot of ingredients, like sugar. My best substitute is to take raw, unsalted cashews and either soak them overnight or simmer them in water for about 20 minutes. The cashews will get really soft. Drain, then add 1:1 cashews and fresh water. Blend. The consistency will be very creamy like tahini. I know that what I make is not authentic hummus, but I still enjoy it.


I'm allergic to sesame (it sucks), so I use sunflower seed butter. I really like it, but I don't really know what I'm missing.


I'm sensitive to sesame seeds and usually use hemp hearts instead. They're several times the price, though.

Neat thoughts on just using a nut butter, y'all. I can't have peanuts, but I can have other nuts… I was about to make some cashew butter anyway, so that works!


I've used lentils with good results.

My kid is allergic to sesame, so I've tried different things and the best results where with some plain lentils.

It doesn't have the same tanginess but it definitely changes the flavor from chickpeas to hummus. Most of people don't seem to notice the difference, but I haven't tried with people that had been raised on hummus.

I cooked them with a bit of salt and them add 3 tablespoons, but I hold a bit on the water of the original recipe to correct for it and add a bit more olive oil.


Tahini is sesame seed butter, so you could reasonably substitute any nut butter. It won't taste the same, but it'll be edible! Some people don't like tahini in their hummus and use olive oil and ground cumin in its place.


I mix one part flax seeds and one part Olive Oil. It's pretty good, and you get more fiber. ;)


Not all hummus needs tahini. For example at a tunsian restaurant down the street they are tahini free.

  • Do they add something else instead, or just leave out the tahini? – Erica Feb 26 '16 at 10:29
  • They just leave it out – Jeef Mar 1 '16 at 15:31

To help reduce the fat content, I have used the concentrated flavor of roasted sesame oil. It tastes pretty good. Use about one tbs. of oil to a can of processed chick peas. I also have flavored with garlic, harrisa, diced tomato (meat only, no juice) or concentrated tomato paste, parsley.


Peanut butter can be used. While it makes a tasty hummus, the flavor of tahini is definitely more authentic.

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    You can cover that lack of authenticity with a tablespoon or two of toasted sesame oil, available at most asian groceries. The oil keeps well, and is also very tasty in homemade coleslaw. – Wayfaring Stranger Apr 21 '11 at 23:12

What about using pine nuts, as used in Pesto?

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    How would you prepare the pine nuts for use in a hummus recipe? – SourDoh Oct 28 '13 at 17:04
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    I think that pine nut butter could actually work, if the OP finds the taste change and price acceptable, so I am not deleting this despite flags. Still, expanding it to a real answer would have been much better. – rumtscho Oct 28 '13 at 17:06

Oddly enough I am just making some Humus. chickpeas, olive oil, lime, salt and pepper and garlic, whizz up in the blender, NO TAHINI...

  • why was this marked down, when I sit here eating humus made without tahini, made 10 mins ago... – Hoooray Dec 23 '16 at 18:03
  • Perhaps it's because while it's possible to make hummus without tahini, it's not the same as hummus made with tahini, so it's not really a substitute, just a similar dish that's also good. Sure, you can still call it hummus, but it's not what the OP wanted. – Cascabel Dec 23 '16 at 18:25
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    Or maybe it's because there's already an answer from six years ago suggesting leaving out the tahini but with a more realistic assessment (it won't be the same at all), so you're not really adding much new here. – Cascabel Dec 23 '16 at 18:30
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