Salted Tahini and Chocolate Cookies

Salted tahini and chocolate cookies are a riff on the classic North American peanut butter chocolate chip cookie with creamy, nutty tahini and both dark and white chocolate. Rye flour adds a subtle earthiness, too.

A wooden plate with a stack of salted tahini chocolate cookies, with a cookie jar and a partially eaten cookie.

Adapted from Salma Hage | Middle Eastern Sweets | Phaidon Press, 2021

With the richness and unusually high chocolate content of an American-style chocolate chip cookie, this was a hit with the youngest to oldest of my testers while I was developing and writing these recipes.

Don’t be tempted to reduce the chilling time when making these, as I’ve done to my chagrin once or twice, resulting in cookies that spread to make one thin, giant mass.–Salma Hage

Salted Tahini and Chocolate Cookies

A wooden plate with a stack of salted tahini chocolate cookies, with a cookie jar and a partially eaten cookie.
I use tahini here, inspired by the use of peanut butter in American-style cookies, to lend a creamy, nutty character that is offset by the intensity of dark chocolate.

Prep 30 minutes
Cook 12 minutes
Total 5 hours
Middle Eastern
36 cookies
169 kcal
3.67 / 3 votes
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  • 2 cups rye flour*
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • 1 3/4 sticks (7 oz) unsalted butter softened and cut into cubes
  • 3/4 cup tahini
  • 1 3/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
  • 2 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks
  • 9 ounces dark chocolate (at least 65% cocoa solids) roughly chopped
  • 3 1/2 ounces white chocolate roughly chopped


  • In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt, and mix to combine.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, combine butter, tahini, brown sugar, and vanilla and beat on medium speed until lighter in color and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Stop and scrape down the sides as needed.
  • Add eggs and yolks to the tahini mixture one by one and whisk to combine, until completely incorporated.
  • Add one-third of the flour mixture and beat to combine, then repeat twice with the remaining flour until no dry patches are visible.
  • Add both chocolates and mix well. Cover mixing bowl with plastic wrap and chill until firm to the touch, about 4 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Using wet hands, roll dough into golf ball-sized rounds and place 3/4 inch (2 cm) apart on prepared baking sheets.
  • Bake until golden brown around the edges and just firm to the touch, 11 to 12 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Store in a sealed container for up to 5 days.
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*What is rye flour?

Also called “whole grain rye flour,” rye meal contains all of the bran, germ, and endosperm of the original rye kernel. Some dark rye flours have the endosperm or bran sifted out, so if a whole-grain flour is important to you take a look at the label and make sure it says “whole.” Rye meal can be ground fine, medium, or coarse.
Rye flours have a fresh, nutty flavor that distinguishes them from wheat flour. There are different grades and types of rye, much like wheat. For this recipe, we recommend using medium rye flour because it has more flavor than white but isn’t as heavy as dark rye. It’s still robust but won’t weigh down your baking.
Light is made from just the starchy endosperm-meaning it has no bran or germ. That gives it light flavor and color, as well as baking up the least dense of all of them. Dark is heavy-generally all of the parts of the grain are used, giving it a lot of texture and flavor. It’s terrific for dense breads but it might be too heavy for cookies.  

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 169kcal (8%)Carbohydrates: 24g (8%)Protein: 3g (6%)Fat: 7g (11%)Saturated Fat: 3g (19%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 11mg (4%)Sodium: 93mg (4%)Potassium: 148mg (4%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 14g (16%)Vitamin A: 23IUVitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 40mg (4%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

These salted tahini and chocolate cookies are flippin’ delightful! They are everything I enjoy in a homemade cookie and have solved for all the things I don’t. A more complex/elevated flavor than your standard chocolate chip cookie but not any more difficult to put together, subtly sweet, nutty from the rye flour, crisp exterior, chewy interior, the right amount of chocolate.

They’re such a prime blend of sweet, bitter, rich, nutty, I could wax poetic further but I’ll resist. This is officially my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe, especially for an older crowd. 100% worth the purchase of a bag of rye flour, if you don’t already have one, because you will absolutely be making these again. I may have stashed half of my batch in the freezer for future “emergencies”.

Being married to a certified “Cookie Monster,” I am always on the lookout for interesting cookie recipes. These salted tahini and chocolate cookies, with rye flour and tahini and loaded with both dark and white chocolate, caught my eye and I’m glad they did. 

The rye and tahini gave the dough an earthiness with a hint of bitterness that set off the chocolate’s fruitiness and pops of sweetness from the white chocolate. I often find that creaming the butter and sugar mixture for as long as in this recipe results in cookies that spread significantly while baking–I ended up chilling the dough overnight and that took care of that. 

Originally published September 23, 2021


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


  1. 3 stars
    I really like the idea of the rye and tahini together, but these cookies didn’t quite work for me. They were a bit stodgy and didn’t flatten as they baked. Not sure what went wrong, as I followed the instructions to a T.

    1. We’re sorry to hear that these weren’t a success for you, Elizabeth. Did you weigh your ingredients?

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