black sesame paste
| | |

Black Sesame Paste Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to make a purchase through the link, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost for you.

Black sesame paste is a popular culinary ingredient in Japanese and other East Asian cuisines. It can be used in various sweets or savoury dishes. Nowadays, since this ingredient gained popularity outside of Asia too, black sesame desserts can be found in many restaurants worldwide.

black sesame paste

In this article, I included a simple recipe for a pure black sesame paste (or black tahini), as well as classic East Asian versions that include two to three ingredients: unhulled black sesame seeds, a liquid sweetener and/or sesame oil.

Ingredients for the black sesame paste

In order to make the perfect black sesame paste, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Black sesame seeds – the only absolutely necessary ingredient; everything else is extra. I actually love making pure black sesame paste from 100% black sesame seeds – basically a black tahini.
  • Maple syrup or honey (optional) – sweetened paste is suitable for use in sweets such as black latte and black sesame ice cream. Adding some maple syrup or honey will also make the paste creamier. This is particularly useful if you don’t have a high-speed blender or a strong food processor and therefore cannot get a smooth paste by simply blending your sesame seeds.
  • Cold-pressed sesame oil (optional) – it will make the paste even more creamy; it can be used along with maple syrup, or instead of it. I prefer using only one of the two, so I will use some natural sesame oil if I don’t want any additional sweetness in my sesame paste.
black sesame paste

What does it taste like?

Black sesame paste has a flavour somewhat similar to regular tahini, but with a bit more pronounced nutty and earthy notes. It is more intense than light sesame, which gives a lovely “special touch” to various desserts or sweet beverages.

How to make the black sesame paste

Black sesame paste is made from toasted black sesame seeds. They can be used alone and ground into a smooth paste, or ground a bit less finely and made into a paste with the addition of a liquid sweetener or sesame oil. 

black sesame seeds
Raw, unhulled black sesame seeds. In order to bring out their flavour and make them softer for blending, they will need to be toasted over low heat.

1. Sugar-free and without added oil (100% sesame seeds)

This first version is my favourite. It is made the same way as tahini, just with unhulled black sesame seeds instead of light sesame. I simply toast the sesame seeds in a pan over the lowest heat, let them cool down a bit, and blend using a high-speed blender.

toasting black sesame seeds
First step: toasting the black sesame seeds.

In order to make this tahini-style paste with only black sesame seeds, you will need a good blender or a strong food processor. Whatever you use needs to be strong enough to break the sesame seeds so well that they release their own natural oil. This will make the paste smooth and spreadable.

black sesame seeds
Toasted sesame seeds need to be cooled down a bit, and transferred into a blender while they are still warm. I found it perfect to fill up approximately half of my blender volume, which is 500 grams of sesame seeds. This gives me the best results for blending.

If you are using a high-speed blender, you will probably need a stick to keep the sesame seeds moving and get them equally blended. 

black sesame paste
After a few minutes of blending at high speed, they turn into a smooth paste. At this point, I like to leave it as it is and transfer into jars, without any sweetener or added oil. In case you prefer some sweetener/added oil, I described it later in the text.

If using a food processor, you will get the best results if you stop and open it several times during blending, and scrape down the ground sesame that gets stuck to the walls of the bowl. It will ensure that all of the sesame gets well blended into a smooth paste.

In case you don’t have such a strong food processor or a high-speed blender, I would recommend using some liquid sweetener or some sesame oil to form the paste, as described in the following methods.

2. Sweetened (black sesame + honey or maple syrup)

After grinding the sesame seeds as finely as you can (assuming you cannot blend it well enough to make a smooth paste from pure sesame), transfer the ground sesame into a bowl and add just enough sweetener to hold it together.

Some of the sweeteners can be:

  • Maple syrup
  • Honey
  • Agave syrup
  • Oat or rice malt syrup.

For the best result, add the sweetener AFTER blending the sesame as finely as you can. It is best to stir in the sweetener with a spatula or a spoon.

Of course, if you prefer having a sweet paste no matter how fine a paste you got from pure sesame seeds, you stir in some sweetener in your black tahini too. My personal preference is to leave it as pure as possible (which means without any sweetener or oil), but there is no right or wrong way.

3. Black sesame seeds + sesame oil 

The same goes for sesame oil. If your sesame seeds are not blended into a smooth paste, you can achieve the paste consistency with some sesame oil. Just like with liquid sweeteners, add enough oil to bind the ground sesame into a thick paste.

Some people prefer to make a paste with both sweetener and sesame oil in order to make it extra creamy. If you are interested in trying that out, I would recommend an approximate ratio of sweetener to oil to be 3:1. 

But feel free to experiment with the quantities and figure out what works best for you and your taste. There is not much that can go wrong here. 

The only thing I would recommend being careful about is not using too much sweetener or oil. Adding only the amount necessary to make a thick paste will be perfectly enough.

black tahini

Using black sesame paste in recipes

Black sesame paste is an amazing ingredient for many desserts or beverages. These are some of my favourites:

Storing the black sesame paste

In order to keep it as fresh as possible, I like to store my black sesame paste in the fridge. It can usually last at least a month (probably even a couple of months, but we usually eat it sooner).

If you are planning to spend it super quickly, within a week or so, it is also okay to keep it at room temperature, just like a regular tahini paste.

Freezing the black sesame paste is a good option if you’d like to store it for a couple of months or longer.

Black Sesame Paste Recipe

black sesame paste (tahini)

Black sesame paste is an excellent ingredient for many sweets and desserts, as well as savoury dishes. This is a simple recipe for pure black sesame paste (or black tahini) and more classic East Asian versions that include two to three ingredients: unhulled black sesame seeds, a liquid sweetener and/or sesame oil.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  1. Toast the black sesame seeds in a dry pan over low heat until they start smelling nutty (a couple of minutes). Stir regularly to toast all the sesame evenly.
  2. Let the seeds cool down a bit; they should still be warm, but not too hot to touch.
  3. Transfer the black sesame seeds to a blender or a food processor and process until you get a really smooth paste. Alternatively (if your blender is not strong enough), grind them as finely as possible and proceed to the next step.
  4. If you would like to make a sweet black sesame paste, add some sweetener of your choice to the finely ground sesame seeds or to the pure sesame paste. The amount of sweetener depends on how well-blended your sesame seeds are. I recommend starting with a few tablespoons, stirring them in with a spoon or a spatula, and adding more as needed (little by little).
  5. In case you would like to make a savoury paste, do the same but with sesame oil instead of sweetener.
  6. Transfer the paste into glass jars and store it in the fridge.


I used 500 g of black sesame seeds because that was the perfect amount for my high-speed blender. If you have a smaller blender, you can use less. Have in mind that the volume is going to decrease more and more the longer you blend the seeds.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *