New-Fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookies With All Tahini & No Butter

September 5, 2018

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: These newfangled chocolate chip cookies use tahini instead of butter. Yep! Like, 8 ounces of tahini instead of 8 ounces of butter. I learned this method from Lisa Mendelson, one of the owners of Seed & Mill, a tahini and halva shop in New York City. You can thank her later.

I started with Dorie Greenspan's Classic Best Chocolate Chip Cookies and adjusted from there.
Emma Laperruque

Makes: about 32 cookies
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 40 min


  • 8 ounces (227 grams) tahini (1 scant cup)
  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
  • 2/3 cup (142 grams) brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups (256 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 12 ounces (340 grams) bittersweet chocolate chunks (about 2 cups)
In This Recipe


  1. Heat the oven to 375° F. Line a couple sheet pans with parchment or silicone mats.
  2. Combine the tahini, sugar, and brown sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium for a couple minutes, scraping down with a rubber spatula once or twice. It will be crumbly, not creamy.
  3. Add the eggs, water, and vanilla extract. Continue to mix on medium for another couple minutes, again scraping every so often. The mixture will look glossy and fudgy.
  4. Add the salt and baking soda. Mix on low just to combine. Add the flour and mix until almost combined. Now add the chocolate chips and mix again.
  5. Scoop rounded tablespoons of dough onto the prepared sheet pans. Fill a glass with water, dip your fingers in, then use them to flatten the cookie dough blobs—figure to a little over 1/2-inch thick. (Don’t worry if you leave the top of the cookie slightly wet!)
  6. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes until the edges are turning golden brown but the centers are still tender. (If you like slightly underbaked cookies—you aren’t alone!—lean toward the shorter time. If you like crispier, keep them in the oven slightly longer.)
  7. Let cool on the tray for a few minutes before using a spatula to transfer to a cooling rack. Repeat the above with the remaining dough.
  8. P.S. These freeze well!

More Great Recipes:
Chocolate Chip Cookies|Cookie|American|Chocolate|Butter|Bake|Sheet Pan|Dessert

Reviews (80) Questions (0)

80 Reviews

ornedgar January 11, 2019
Could folks who were pleased with their results share the brand of tahini they used? I find that tahini varies a lot in flavor and texture and I'd like to use a brand that's yielded a good result.
Jennifer K. January 11, 2019
The last batch I made, I used the entire 8 oz jar from Trader Joe's. The one before that, I think was from Costco. I had great results from both.
Eunice December 16, 2018
I just made these & the came out nice and golden brown. They have an interesting texture of crispness exterior and chewy inside. I like the tahini flavor of it but can't quite decide if I love them. While my cookies be beautifully golden, they didn't have the pretty crackling tops. The only thing I did differently was I made the dough a 2 days prior kept it in the fridge. The dough keeps well, scoops well, and spreads minimally.
Julie Y. November 9, 2018
I can't wait to give these a go. Thank you for the share! :)
Mariah G. November 4, 2018
WOW!! I think these just might be the best choc chip cookies I've ever had!! Amazing.<br />
sarah P. October 13, 2018
Afraid I got in a bad mood right off the bat when I opened the tahini can and had to spend 10 messy minutes (should have spent longer) trying to integrate the oil and blend the lumps of tahini paste. The resulting dough, once I'd cleaned the oil off the counter and the floor and my hands was super stiff. So stiff that I had a very hard time mixing in the chocolate chips!
kstone November 4, 2018
I had the exact same experience plus it was on the floor too ;-/
Naomi G. October 12, 2018
These are amazing! Slightly cakey but still chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside. And the mild nutty tahini flavour is incredible! I'll never make chocolate chip cookies with butter again!
Linda Z. October 10, 2018
Heavy and somewhat caked. Flavor meh...rather taste tahini in hummus. Will not make again.
Author Comment
Emma L. October 10, 2018
Sorry they weren't for you, Linda! Speaking of hummus, here's a particularly tahini-forward (and particularly good!) version:
Jennifer K. October 9, 2018
So I just made these for the second time. Lowered the cane sugar to 2/3 cup, everything else the same. I swapped half the chocolate chips with peanut butter chips. I baked them for 11-12 minutes, 'cause I like mine a little on the crispy side. Oh.My.Goodness! I don't think I'm going back to butter in my chocolate chip cookies ever again!
Author Comment
Emma L. October 10, 2018
Thanks, Jennifer! And thanks for reporting back on how you adapted the recipe.
Jennifer K. October 10, 2018
By the way, Ms. Emma ... I also made your turmeric sugar cookies last week. Holy moly, woman! Those were the most amazing flavor, I just can't decide what the flavor is. My neighbor says it's "love" and will never eat any other sugar cookie ever again! Keep the amazing recipes coming!
Author Comment
Emma L. October 11, 2018
Aw, thank you so much! I love developing cookie recipes...because it means eating a lot of cookies!
breakbread October 6, 2018
These are outrageous. Salty and sweet. The tahini is an adulterated peanut butter - sophisticated and alluring. Out of curiosity, I did use 1/4 cup of almond flour in place of 1/4 c of the AP. Delicious. Also lowered the cane sugar to a 2/3C (142g) as others suggested. I could go even further down to about 240grams in total sugar (which someone did review). <br />I do not have grey-beige cookies. I have a theory...I spent a lot of time to be sure my tahini was fully mixed so there were no clumps of dry paste in my weight measurement. Since the oil in the tahini replaces the butter, I wonder if my cookies browned OK because I had a full ratio of oil from a solid stir of the tahini? <br />Baked for 12 minutes and have crisp edges and soft interior. These are just unbelievable.
Author Comment
Emma L. October 7, 2018
Thanks so much, breakbread! And thanks for reporting back on your adaptations, too.
Michelle P. September 27, 2018
I made these and had great success! I gave them to a few friends and they could only describe them as "different, but delicious". There's a hit of salt at the end that make them crazy addictive. <br /><br />I do agree with some other reviewers that mine were not nearly as brown as the picture. Mine were almost beige, gray but I think that's due to the coloration of the tahini. <br />
Author Comment
Emma L. September 30, 2018
So glad you and your friends liked 'em, Michelle!
mckenzie September 26, 2018
I'm not sure why my comment isn't showing up. Anyway, I'm so disappointed that these weren't a success for me. They were very "meh." I weighed each ingredient on a scale, so I'm wondering if it was the brand of tahini I used. It must be because clearly I'm in the minority! I'm determined to nail this one, so I'm going to try it again with a new jar.
Author Comment
Emma L. September 30, 2018
So sorry they didn't turn out as you hoped, Mckenzie! The no-butter element does yield a different flavor; in case that's what's creating the meh-ness to you, here's another recipe that uses both butter and tahini:
Alexandra Z. September 26, 2018
I made a bunch of changes to turn it into a gluten free, vegan cookie with less sugar, and have to say it worked too well, to the point that I cannot stop eating them. I used gf oat flour instead of the AP flour, used 1 tablespoon psyllium husk and 1 tablespoon flax meal and increased water to 1/2 cup total, left out eggs, and cut sugar down to 240 grams, using coconut sugar instead of both, white and brown sugars. Used 10 oz (1 package) Enjoy Life chocolate chunks (which are vegan). We loved them!
Author Comment
Emma L. September 30, 2018
Wow! That's awesome. Thanks so much for reporting back with these substitutions, Alexandra.
Kim September 23, 2018
Thank you for the recipe - these cookies are such a nice change from the traditional chocolate chip cookies I make all the time! My only concern is they didn't brown as shown in your recipe photo. I tried baking them longer, but this didn't help. I see other people commented on the same thing. Any advice?
Michelle P. September 27, 2018
Hi Kim! <br />Mine also didn't brown. Mine were grayish beige, a very similar color to the tahini that I used. So, I'm thinking the cookie is just the same color as the tahini. This is the brand I used:
Author Comment
Emma L. September 30, 2018
Hi! I wouldn't worry too much about the color; they might not brown in quite the same way as classic choc chip cookies because of the missing butter.
THEToughCookie September 22, 2018
These are cooling on a rack now as I made them for a dear friend who loves chocolate chip cookies, but has a heart condition & doesn't eat dairy. He's gonna love me even more now. I baked mine off a couple of minutes longer...these are great crispy cookies!
Author Comment
Emma L. September 30, 2018
You are a good friend!
Kathryn September 19, 2018
I’ve been experimenting with Tahini in my gluten-free/dairy free baked goods, since figuring out that Xanthum gum really upset my stomach. I was looking for something that would help bind my desserts. Anyway, I was so happy to find these cookies. I made them gluten free as well and they turned out fantastic! Hard not to eat 20 in one sitting. Thank you!
Author Comment
Emma L. September 20, 2018
Thank you for reporting back, Kathryn! That's great to hear that they worked successfully with a gluten-free flour swap.
Mimi September 22, 2018
Hi Kathryn...what kind of flour did you use? Thanks Mimi
Faith D. September 17, 2018
I made these over the weekend and splurged on some bittersweet Valrhona discs from Central Market. I really loved this recipe, and while the tahini flavor was a little mild once baked, it added a wonderful complexity. My only qualm was the cookies never got much color to them and were a pale greyish tan after 10 minutes. I like my cookies slightly underbaked, so I never cooked the full 11 minutes. I ended up also making David Lebovitz's salted chocolate chip tahini cookies and preferred his over these. The butter helped add color to the final product, plus it created a more crispy edge while still maintaining a soft center. I know tahini doesn't have the same fat content as other nut/seed butters, but I'm eventually going to tinker with this recipe and sub out other nut/seed butters as I love the concept of this cookie. Thank you!
Author Comment
Emma L. September 20, 2018
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Faith! If you try any other variations, let us know how they go :)
Abdo September 16, 2018
Hi — why use cold water ?? Thanks
Author Comment
Emma L. September 17, 2018
Hi! Many people (often including me) use cold-ish eggs, recently from the fridge, in cookie dough, so I was matching that temperature. You could use room temp and it would be fine, too.
Enigmander September 16, 2018
I just tried both this recipe as is and a vegan version using an egg replacement. It was very successful! I used the suggested substitution for 2 eggs of the “Follow Your Heart” brand. (4 Tbs of powder plus 10 Tbs of water. ) <br />Taste was excellent tho a bit less cakey. <br />
Author Comment
Emma L. September 16, 2018
Yay! Thanks for reporting back!
[email protected] September 16, 2018
I decided to follow the tip from another, used my food processor, and dumped in the entire jar of Trader Joes Organic Tahini that I needed to use up. The jar size was slightly more then the recipe called for, I think 10.6 oz. The dough it created is beyond sticky (think super sticky wet paste), but the flavor is awesome! So, once I got it off my hands, I used 2 tablespoons, run under really hot water, to make each dough ball. Worked like a charm!
mbelmel September 15, 2018
What do you mean by tahini, as an ingredient? Do you mean the stuff in a jar? That's really tahini paste, which you mix with water (& often lemon juice, seasonings) to make tahini. Is that what you mean?
Author Comment
Emma L. September 16, 2018
Hi mbelmel—sorry for the terminology confusion! On the site, we treat "tahini" and "tahini paste" interchangeably—most jar labels just call it "tahini"—so yes, the recipe just means the stuff in the jar. When we add water, lemon juice, seasonings, etc, we call that "tahini sauce," or something like that. Hope that helps!