If cookies went to finishing school, these tahini chocolate chip lovelies would graduate with honors. With shatteringly crisp edges, tender centers, and a subtle nuttiness, they’re quite refined and utterly irresistible.Angie Zoobkoff

A few tahini chocolate chip cookies on a torn piece of parchment paper.

Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies

5 / 2 votes
These tahini chocolate chip cookies are as easy as the classic Toll House cookies but a lot more memorable thanks to ample chocolate chunks and subtle nuttiness from the tahini. We and everyone we know think they’re utterly irresistible with their crackly edges and soft centers.
David Leite
Servings30 servings
Calories119 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time1 hour 45 minutes


  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • A generous pinch of sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 (4-ounce) stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup tahini, well stirred
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 10 ounces chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate or regular or mini chocolate chips (about 1 3/4 cups), or more, if desired
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds


  • In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed, beat the butter, tahini, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until fluffy and fully incorporated, 3 to 5 minutes. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times if needed.
  • Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix for 1 minute more.
  • With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate, being careful not to overmix. Cover the dough and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and preferably overnight. (If you can find the patience to let the dough chill overnight it’ll be well worth the wait for the richer, more nuanced flavor. Trust us.)
  • Position 2 racks in the top and bottom third positions and preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  • Scoop out a generous tablespoon of the dough, roll it into a ball, and place it on the prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the cookies about 2 inches (5 cm) apart and dividing the cookies between the prepared pans.
  • Lightly moisten your palm and gently push the cookies down to flatten them. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and press them lightly to make sure they adhere to the dough.

    ☞ TESTER TIP: If the dough is sticky when you go to shape it, simply wet your hands with water prior to rolling the dough into balls.

  • Bake for 6 minutes. Then rotate the pans 180° and switch their positions from top to bottom and bottom to top. Bake until the cookies are almost a deep golden brown around the edges but still somewhat pale in the center, 8 to 10 minutes more for a total of 14 to 16 minutes.

    ☞ TESTER TIP: If you don’t want to bake the full batch of cookies, extra cookie balls can be frozen and baked, without thawing, at 350°F (177°C) for about 16 minutes.

  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle the cookies with the sea salt gently pressing it into the cookies to adhere. Let the cookies cool for at least 5 minutes on a wire rack then serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Store in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Adapted From

Rage Baking

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Serving: 1 cookieCalories: 119 kcalCarbohydrates: 14 gProtein: 2 gFat: 6 gSaturated Fat: 3 gMonounsaturated Fat: 2 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 13 mgSodium: 33 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 8 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2020 Katherine Alford | Kathy Gunst. Photo © 2020 Jerrelle Guy. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

These were a pleasant surprise. The texture is tender and buttery. The tahini flavor is subtle and not overwhelming.

Admittedly, I only baked them because I had all the ingredients, most especially a tub of tahini that was collecting dust. I spent more time stirring the tahini than it took to actually assemble the dough. I used bittersweet baking chips. The recipe came together in less than 10 minutes.

I chilled some of the dough for just over three hours and froze the remaining scooped-out dough. There are only two of us in the house and we are trying very hard to not get fat during quarantine. I baked four last night for us to try and they were delightful! I then baked eight of them (from frozen) to drop off to a friend of mine this morning. She devoured them happily (and she owns a very popular bakery, so that is a stellar review). I will absolutely make these again!

Update: I wanted to share that I made the tahini chocolate chip cookies again. Only this time I used mini chocolate chips (283g). They made these wonderful cookies even better! Just thought I would share.

I loved this recipe. It resulted in a tender, well-baked, slightly sweet chocolate chip cookie. It’s like the sophisticated version of the “back of the package” chocolate chip cookie recipe!

I used chopped bittersweet chocolate from a bar and refrigerated the dough for 1 hour. Portioning and rolling the dough was much easier with slightly wet hands as the dough is very sticky.

My cookies were in the oven for 18 minutes but didn’t reach a deep golden brown around the edges, despite my leaving them in a little longer than I was comfortable with, but they were perfectly baked.

“Sheltering in place” is keeping our freezer well stocked with cookie dough. I have been making cookie dough often. OK, truth be known, very often. I bake some of it and enjoy a number of the cookies right away and then I roll the rest into balls, which I freeze along with the baking directions when the urge hits for warm, freshly baked cookies. The urge hits all the time. What I like about doing it this way, is that the cookies are always fresh and warm and wonderful. There is nothing as nice as biting into a chunk of chocolate that is warm and dribbles down your lip.

These cookies are delicious. The tahini adds a certain something that some of the people who tasted these couldn’t quite identify. If I hadn’t known that I had put tahini in the dough, I don’t know if I would have known, either. However, bottom line…these are delicious. I refrigerated these overnight. I actually did bake some the next day and then baked some the day after that. They did improve after being in the refrigerator.

I used 72% chocolate that I chopped into chunks from a huge bar. The recipe calls for 10 to 12 ounces of chocolate. I’m a smart gal. I used 12 ounces.

I did not care for the sesame seeds on the cookies, so after the initial baking of the cookies, I did not use them on subsequent batches.

These are now my Mum’s official favorite cookies. They are INCREDIBLY good. The taste of tahini gives it such a nutty, moist quality that amps them up from just chocolate chip cookies to the best chocolate chip cookies you’ve ever had. The sesame flavor isn’t overwhelming at all. In fact, you might not be able to put your finger on the ingredient, but you’ll still know something is different.

The amount of chocolate in this recipe is, by far, more than I expected but I would caution against leaving any out. I used semi-sweet bars that I chopped up. The randomness of the sizes meant that there were occasional big chunks throughout that further upped the decadence of these beauties.

I love the addition of sea salt and toasted sesame seeds. The sea salt cuts through the chocolate and gives a nice little bite to the cookies. I would also strongly suggest refrigerating them overnight as well. I couldn’t resist and baked 2 from the fresh dough; the rest made the next day were far superior in taste as well as texture.

I am writing this review 20 minutes after the cookies came out of the oven and I’m on my fourth cookie (and seriously trying to not go back for a fifth, because that would be wrong). The tahini imparts a nutty flavor and slightly sandy texture that is very appealing. And the salt and sesame seeds on top of the cookie make them irresistible. Sesame seeds are a favorite of mine, so I was pretty sure I’d enjoy them, but I thought my husband who wonders “why people would put anything other than salt on popcorn,” might not enjoy them. But he did like them and even used the term “good mouthfeel.” (I am having an effect on him!)

I used a mix of chunks and chips in both semi-sweet and bittersweet. I let the dough rest overnight and would highly recommend it. I have started doing that for most cookie recipes as it really does seem to have a marked effect on the cookies. I refrigerated the dough overnight and took it out to soften for about 15 minutes before scooping the dough.

Also, I used flaky Maldon sea salt, both in the dough and on top. Do make sure you add the salt to the top of the cookies as soon as they come out of the oven so it will stick. I waited until both cookie sheets were out (one cooked faster than the other) and the salt stuck to the ones just out of the oven a bit easier. Another tip: it helps to take the tahini out of the fridge for a while to make it easier to stir. I took out the butter, eggs and tahini a couple of hours before I was ready to make the dough and they were all ready to go.

These cookies are just so yummy and perfectly sweet with a nice ratio of chocolate chips. If you have some time (and tahini), make these cookies and share them with someone you like.

I placed the cookies about an inch apart from each other and that was just right.

My husband, with a well developed sweet tooth, declared these to be much better than the average chocolate chip cookie. I would have to agree. These cookies are delicious. They have a lovely crispy texture around the edges and are pleasantly soft in the middle. We ate them cool but before the chocolate had solidified. The sesame seeds and salt sprinkled on the top were a nice touch

I used a 10 oz bag of bittersweet chocolate chips. To me, that was enough chocolate. Each bite had plenty of chocolate. After the dough chilled in the fridge for 24 hours it was firm but not overly firm. The dough at the bottom of the bowl was a little softer. I used a scoop to portion the dough. The only fussy thing about the recipe was the use of 1 egg and 1 egg yolk. I never know what to do with the remaining egg portion (in this case I froze the egg white and hope to eventually acquire enough whites to make a pavlova).

My husband would be very happy if I made these cookies again! I am a bit reluctant to do so as they are dangerous to have around!

The first thing we noticed about these cookies was the great texture: crispy at the edges and tender in the middle, and the entire cookie was beautifully light. As to how they tasted, the tahini made these cookies pretty special. We loved the unique nuttiness that is unlike the ubiquitous peanut butter. I especially enjoyed biting into the sesame seeds themselves, which released the sesame flavor even more (I HIGHLY recommend using unhulled sesame seeds, which are more flavorful and aromatic, and have a way better crunch).

I baked the cookies for 16 minutes to achieve golden brown edges. Although tasty, the cookies spread and many touched each other during baking, squishing part of the edges. I suspected that would happen, when the chilled dough (chilled overnight—15 hours) quickly became soft and sticky as I was rolling scoops of dough into 24 balls.

Determined to bake the same delicious cookies but that are not misshapen, I baked a second batch with one tweak and it worked! All I did was swap two steps: after mixing the cookie dough, I went ahead and formed it into 24 balls and chilled them overnight in a covered container. After the oven was preheated, I took the dough balls out of the fridge, QUICKLY got them ready to bake on two baking sheets, and put them in the oven at once. I baked them for the same length of time and the cookies came out looking wonderful—all separate and round. They were scrumptious and had that nice light texture just like the first batch.

Twelve baked tahini chocolate chip cookies.

This is a grown up chocolate chip cookie. As such, it won’t appeal to all palettes, especially those that favor nostalgia. However, taken on its own merits, it’s a damn good cookie. This recipe uses less sugar than others and the sesame seeds on top should serve as a warning we are leaning close to savory territory. I’m convinced the tahini must affect the structure, because I’ve never made a cookie with edges so shatteringly crisp and light, somewhere between a potato chip and honeycomb candy. It lacks the sugary fatigue of other chocolate chip cookies, and you’ll find yourself eating one after another until the the cooling rack is empty. Everyone agreed they were excellent and couldn’t stop eating them.

I had concerns during an initial tasting of the batter (it is cookie dough, after all, begging to be snacked on while you bake), but the flavor really develops during the rest and bake. You could probably add more tahini for those that prefer that, but that would upset the delicate balance and you wouldn’t taste the brown sugar notes. You could (as I did for one batch) roll the balls of dough in sesame seeds before flattening them, but when fully enrobed in seeds the cookie comes off as busy, now having the crisp edges and chocolate puddles drowned out. However, I do recommend using roasted sesame seeds instead of white, which worked great in my tests. Part of me wonders if a small crumbling of halva on top before baking would help bring the sesame taste through a little more while maintaining the chocolate chip cookie flavors extra tahini would mask in the batter.

A stack of tahini chocolate chip cookies.

These cookies have a perfect delicate crispy bottom and soft-gooey center when warm. They continue to firm as they come to room temperature, but the crisp on the bottom remains as the center becomes more grainy rather than gooey in a very pleasant way. The tahini is very subtle. No overpowering roastiness and not cloyingly sweet, but perfectly balanced in flavor and texture.

I determined to freeze some of the dough even before I started making these. In my household, fresh baked goods don’t last long, and I’m in a remarkably intense squirrelly mood with everything else going on around us. It’s a good time to save some extra sweetness for later.

I followed the recipe as closely as I could, and I must say that has sometimes been a struggle for me in the past. I love free-form creativity in the kitchen and often have urges to adjust spices and textures. But I am very pleased that I followed the recipe so truly, the results are evidence of a brilliant recipe. As is the feedback from friends and housemates who managed to get their hands on at least one.

I only tweaked what I needed to based on available ingredients (vanilla extract became whiskey), and even with slightly sweeter chocolate than I usually prefer, these are standout cookies. I had previously used up my remaining vanilla extract, so I exchanged it for a small splash of whiskey. Specifically Basil Haydens Caribbean Reserve Rye (which is a blend of whiskey and rum!) to add the slight vanilla quality plus a hint of spice. I do not regret that substitution.

For Chocolate Chips I used Artisan Kettle Organic Chocolate Brand- 10oz bag of Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips @44% Cacao. Personally I prefer Dark Chocolate varieties @60+%, but I wanted to stay close to the recipe which asked for Semisweet or Bittersweet.

I wonder what the addition of more tahini would do to the texture and flavor, but the proportions here work out so well. Love this. I will likely revisit in future and mess around with other nut varieties or different flours and see what happens, but that would be for curiosity’s sake and nothing more!

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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    1. Hey Lee, we only tested these as cookies so I’m reluctant to say with certainty that they would work as bars. If you try it, please let us know as now we are curious.