5 Ingredients or Fewer

Estela's Candied Sesame Seeds

May 20, 2021
8 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Makes about 1 pint (250g)
Author Notes

This is one of the more rewarding ways to spend 10 minutes. As you stir sesame seeds in a sticky syrup, suddenly the water disappears and a dry crystalline layer of sugar pops to the surface. At Estela, chef Ignacio Mattos’s curve-shattering restaurant in New York City, they roll scoops of caramelized white chocolate in the candied seeds, but the seeds are also just as good sprinkled over ice cream or paletas, or topping a brownie or a slice of cheesecake—anywhere you want a little crunchy sesame-flavored twinkle. Recipe from Genius Desserts: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Bake (Ten Speed Press, September 2018). To read the whole story, go here, and to get the recipe for Dori Sanders' No-Churn Fresh Lemon Ice Cream, go here. —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120g) water
  • 1 cup (150g) white sesame seeds
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it by the stove. Heat the sugar and the water in a wide saucepan over high heat until the syrup just begins to bubble. Add the sesame seeds and stir constantly until the water evaporates and the surface of the seeds turns dry and powdery and just barely golden, 5 to 10 minutes—don’t let them brown more. Pour the candied seeds onto the baking sheet, spreading them evenly, and let cool completely. Break up any big clumps and store airtight.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Laurence Tillett
    Laurence Tillett
  • Mother Daniel
    Mother Daniel
  • Kristen Miglore
    Kristen Miglore
  • soo
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

7 Reviews

soo August 22, 2021
could I use black sesame seeds for this? I suppose the only issue might be that it won't show how brown or toasty they are getting... and if they toast too much, will they burn and will that ruin the taste?
could we also use honey instead of sugar? I feel like honey flavor would work really well with sesame.
also, could we use this recipe with slivered almonds or other nuts?
thank you!
shayna June 22, 2019
Delicious and very easy! One hitch for me - the seeds did not look "dry and powdery" until I removed them from the heat. I pulled them because I was worried they were going to burn but they were still glossy. As I was pouring stirring them to pour onto the cookie sheet they turned dry.
Karen S. June 19, 2019
has anyone tried adding this to a salad..or is it too sweet for that?
Laurence T. July 7, 2018
Oh my! This was easier than easy. I halved the recipe (due to lack of a full cup of seeds on hand). Worked great. Looking forward to topping my no churn lemon ice cream later tonight. YUM!
SassyinClifton July 2, 2018
My eight year old daughter and I just made a batch of these in conjunction with the No Stir Lemon Ice Cream. We added powdered ginger and salt which we believe will compliment the lemon in the ice cream. Now if we can resist eating this candy before the ice cream is finished freezing--wish us luck!
Mother D. June 27, 2018
Is there any reason I could not do this with poppy seeds?
Kristen M. June 28, 2018
No reason not to try it—they won't show browning like the sesame seeds do and I could see them forming more clumps, but that might be a great thing.