Easy Tahini Cookies (Vegan + GF)

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Wood plate with gluten-free vegan tahini cookies

Step aside peanut butter cookies (not too far, we still love you!), there’s a new treat in town: tahini cookies! They’re addictively delicious and SO easy they practically make themselves (just 1 bowl, 7 ingredients, and about 20 minutes required).

These cookies are perfectly nutty, the ideal balance of salty and sweet, plus vegan and gluten-free (but no one will know)! Let’s do this!

Tahini, sesame seeds, salt, tapioca starch, almond flour, and maple syrup

Origin of Tahini Cookies

Tahini is an Arabic name for ground sesame seeds and it’s a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine.

In our search for the origin of tahini cookies, we learned that the treat is popular in Israel and a version called tahin kurabiyesi is popular in Turkey. While we’ve never been so lucky to try either version, we’re kind of obsessed with tahini (and cookies!), so we couldn’t help but make a treat that combined the two.

The following is our inspired take on tahini cookies made gluten-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free, vegan, and butter- and oil-free. They have a tender center and crispy exterior vs. the more shortbread-like style of Turkish and Israeli tahini cookies.

How to Make Tahini Cookies

These cookies begin with whisking tahini and maple syrup into a smooth mixture. Hot tip? Not all brands of tahini are created equal! We find it easier to work with tahini that’s smooth and drippy vs. thick and pasty. We did a review comparing brands of tahini to help you find one that’s easy to work with.

Using a whisk to combine tahini and maple syrup

Once you’ve got a smooth mixture, it’s time to add in the flours, salt, and baking soda. Almond flour gives these cookies a light crumb, while tapioca starch gives them structure.

Mixing almond flour and tapioca starch into tahini and maple syrup

After mixing in the flours, you’ll get cookie dough!

Holding a ball of cookie dough over a mixing bowl

Roll it into balls, dip them in sesame seeds, flatten slightly, and bake until golden!

Unbaked tahini cookies on a baking sheet

Can you say cutest cookies ever!?

Baking sheet with baked tahini cookies coated in sesame seeds

We hope you LOVE these tahini cookies! They’re:

Salty
Sweet
Crispy on the edges
Tender in the inside
Super simple
& SO delicious!

Enjoy these delicious treats with a cup of coffee, chai, or hot chocolate. They’re perfect for afternoon snacks, cookie parties, or any time you’re craving a more sophisticated alternative to peanut butter cookies!

More Recipes for Tahini Lovers

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Holding a partially eaten tahini cookie to show the tender center

Easy Tahini Cookies (Vegan + GF)

Addictively delicious tahini cookies: nutty, salty-sweet, vegan, gluten-free, and incredibly fast! Just 1 bowl, 7 ingredients, and less than 30 minutes required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Plate of vegan gluten-free tahini cookies
4.86 from 96 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Servings 20 (Cookies)
Course Dessert
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 Month (see notes)
Does it keep? 3-4 Days

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup tahini, unsalted and smooth (see our tahini review for our favorite brands)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 ¼ cup almond flour
  • 3/4 cup tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup raw sesame seeds

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F (176 C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • To a medium mixing bowl, add tahini and maple syrup and use a whisk to thoroughly combine. Next add the almond flour, tapioca starch, baking soda, and salt to the tahini mixture. Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to mix well.
  • Place the sesame seeds into a small bowl and set it nearby. Use a tablespoon or small cookie scoop to scoop the dough, then roll them into near perfect balls before gently rolling each ball in the sesame seeds and placing them 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Gently press down on the balls to flatten slightly. Recipe as written should make ~20 cookies and they won’t spread much, so they should all fit on a standard size baking sheet.
  • Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes until golden. Let cool for 5 minutes, then enjoy!
  • Store leftovers covered at room temperature up to 3-4 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month. Enjoy at room temperature for best texture.

Video

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.
*For freezing dough: Complete steps 2 & 3, then place your unbaked cookies into an airtight container or freezer bag. When ready to bake, place frozen cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden.
*You can substitute 1 ¼ cups DIY Gluten-Free Flour Blend or 1 cup traditional all-purpose flour for both almond flour and tapioca starch, but if you do, you should use baking powder instead of baking soda and reduce the salt by half! The texture is not quite the same and the cookies are not as flavorful, but they do work!
*Loosely adapted from Food & Wine’s Honey Tahini Cookies.

Nutrition (1 of 20 servings)

Serving: 1 cookie Calories: 128 Carbohydrates: 10.8 g Protein: 3.4 g Fat: 8.3 g Saturated Fat: 0.8 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.3 g Monounsaturated Fat: 2.7 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 93 mg Potassium: 76 mg Fiber: 1.8 g Sugar: 5.1 g Vitamin A: 1 IU Vitamin C: 0 mg Calcium: 35 mg Iron: 0.7 mg

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  1. Mary Beth Sawyer says

    I’m excited to make these as I haven’t been able to bake GF for several reasons / years. BUT now w/ new physical health issues I’m no longer able to buy much in stores. So… can I make these w/ the arrowroot powder I have on hand? I know it’s not as much recipe calls for. Thanks for all the testing you do!!!!😳🙃👍

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Mary Beth! You should be able to substitute arrowroot starch for the tapioca starch! If you don’t have enough you could try making a half batch of them!

  2. Melissa GC says

    So delicious and easy! My kiddos loved helping roll them into balls and into the sesame seeds. They enjoyed eating these as well :) we will make these again.

  3. Alyssa says

    These needed a couple extra minutes beyond what the recipe called for to finish baking, but they turned out great! Would definitely make them again. I also added a tablespoon of cocoa powder to mine, though I think I could have added more.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yum, sounds amazing, Alyssa! Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing your modification! xo

  4. Zee says

    I tried this and was surprised by how good it was! I will cut down on the honey because I found it a little too sweet. I will also try it with almond butter. Very glad I tried this recipe. Thank you.

  5. Megan Phelps says

    Love these cookies! I’ve made them several times before, and this time I improvised a bit based on what I had on hand. The recipe is very forgiving!

    Flour: In the past, I’ve swapped cassava flour for tapioca flour. This time, I used gluten free all-purpose flour.

    Sweetener: I used agave, reduced the syrup by about 2 TB and added in some monkfruit sweetener and water.

    Decoration: I put pomegranate arils on top to decorate, as suggested by a different blog (but I like this cookie recipe better).

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoy these cookies, Megan. Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications! xo

    • Gillian says

      Yay, thanks. I have also made these wonderfully modest cookies before offered to make some for a GF friend. So I’m glad you shared gluten free flour works too!

  6. Joy says

    Excited to make these cookies!

    I’d like to use the Trader Joe’s Tahini I have on-hand, but it’s already salted (20mg per 2 tbsp so 80mg in 1/2 cup).

    According to the recipe’s nutrition info, the recipe has 93mg of sodium so if I leave the 1/2 tsp of sea salt out, I’m guessing it will balance out. Does this sound like a good plan?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Joy, we think that’s just naturally occurring sodium from the sesame seeds because the ingredients on Trader Joe’s tahini don’t show any added salt. We’d still recommend including the salt!

  7. Rick says

    Wow! I made these today, and they are great! I used arrow root powder instead of tapioca starch. They are beautiful, crunchy, and delicious.

  8. Jacquelyn says

    These cookies were LIFE CHANGING!! I have so many gluten free friends and never know what to make for them, but this recipe is going to be my go-to from now on. Gluten free or not you should definitely give these a go. Can’t wait to share this batch <3

  9. Melissa says

    These are ADDICTIVE! I had to sub tapioca flour for arrowroot today so we will see which version is better. My neighbor calls them crack cookies

  10. Cynthia Laurrell says

    I luh-luh-love this recipe so I make these often, exactly as written! This last time I added 4 Tbsp of cocoa powder, a few Tbsp of water, and baked them 14 minutes. They came out tasty, seems like the right amount of cocoa, but too dry. Would you suggest more water, less time, or ….?

  11. Kimberly Allison says

    I think I flattened mine too much. Recommend leaving them quite thick.
    I also started with 12 minutes…should have taken them out then. I did another 2 minutes for 14 total…they ended up crunchy (good for dipping in coffee or milk) but did not have the desired moist centre.

  12. Josee says

    I used chocolate tahini! The cookies were very good and I will definitely make again. Just a few ingredients not overly sweet. I made half with the sesame seeds and half plain and I prefer them without seeds. Thanks for a great recipe

  13. kGa says

    I followed the recipe exactly but also kept aside a small amount of the dough to which I mixed in a splash of rose water. Both versions were delicious! The rose water helped to blend the flavors of the tahini and maple syrup. I will definitely make these again. Thanks so much!

  14. Caitlyn says

    I can’t get enough of this recipe! I love this website’s feature to scale down recipes, gotta make small batches of this because I’ll definitely eat them all! I’ve made them at least 5 times now and would love to play around with some variations.

    Someone here suggested a cinnamon and a lemon version, both if which sound great. I’ve added a little vanilla extract to one of my batches and spread a bit of date caramel on top, may try these with cardamom next time. Maybe even some rose water, mmm!

    I’ve also made these with peanut butter instead of tahini and they came out wonderfully! Will have to try an almond butter variation. Thank you so much for sharing this simple and wonderful recipe.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Okay, WOAH, your flavor variations sound SO good! Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications, Caitlyn! xoxo

  15. Judi says

    These cookies are delicious!, very easy to make, and with just enough crunch. I’ve made tahini cookies without the tapioca starch, and they weren’t crunchy at all, so these were a welcome change.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed these ones, Judi! Thank you for the lovely review! xo

  16. Chloe says

    I can’t wait to try this recipe!
    What can I use in place of tapioca flour? I have almond flour and oat flour- will that work?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Chloe, we think oat flour will turn out more dense, but a couple other readers did report success using it in place of the tapioca flour. Other options that might work better would be corn starch, arrowroot, or (GF) all purpose flour. Let us know if you try it!

  17. Michelle says

    These are THE BEST COOKIES I HAVE EVER MADE. I can’t get enough of them! I ate nearly half in one day. Thank you for the most delicious recipe. It has the perfect texture and the perfect taste. Wow!

  18. Rachelle Adam says

    I absolutely love this healthy oil-free recipe. I want to share that I added about one third of a cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice and got
    ‘lemon tahini cookie”. Not only does the lemon juice create an unique tahini cookie but it also makes the dough very pliable and easy to roll out and shape.
    And another option – adding cinnamon to the original recipe.
    So out of your wonderful recipe for tahini cookies I also made cinnamon tahini cookies and lemon tahini cookies.
    This is also a great recipe for Passover next week, since it only uses almond flour and tapioca. Thanks so much.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! Thanks so much for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications, Rachelle! xo

  19. Anna says

    Hi! I would like to make these cookies for a friend who’s allergic to nuts.
    Would coconut flour work alongside the tapioca starch? Thank you :)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Anna, it might work but we haven’t tried it. Coconut flour is much more absorbent than almond, though, so we’d suggest starting with half the amount and adding more as needed. Let us know how it goes!

  20. Lauren says

    Hi! I don’t have almond flour or tapioca starch, do you think it would work to just use regular flour in their place? Thanks :)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lauren! You can use 1 cup traditional all-purpose flour for both almond flour and tapioca starch, but if you do, you should use baking powder instead of baking soda and reduce the salt by half! The texture is not quite the same and the cookies are not as flavorful, but they do work!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Zahra, almond meal might work, but they will have a different flavor and might come out a bit drier!

  21. Nicole says

    A perfect cookie! Easy, light and delicious. I’ll be making these again, experimenting with flavor varieties like different nut butters, etc.

    • Nancy A Willis says

      Wow. These cookies very so easy to make and I really loved them. They tasted great. I had to cook in two batches. First group I only pressed down lightly as indicated in the recipe instructions. Second batch I flattened more. Second batch was very crispy and first batch was more chewy. I loved them both but liked the chewy batch more. I added a little maple sugar (not syrup) to the sesame seed mix that we were to roll the dough in. That was my only variation. 5 stars for flavor and ease of making. Only problem is not eating them all at once. Yum.

  22. Kim says

    These were super easy and very delicious! Wonderfully sesame-y and just the right sweetness. For me, it took 1/3c sesame seeds to roll the 1tbsp cookie dough balls in. I also only placed the slightly flattened cookies an inch or even slightly less than an inch apart and while they spread, it wasn’t much and none of them touched! Close but didn’t quite touch.
    I’ll definitely be making these again!