The ultimate indulgent frozen treat. Tahini is a staple across Middle Eastern cuisine, best known for its savory additions to hummus and falafel wraps but it’s even more incredible in sweets too, and pairs unbelievably well with chocolate–the darker, the better.–Salma Hage

Dark chocolate and tahini ice cream in a metal ice cream tin with a swirl on top, with a metal ice cream scoop laying beside it.

Dark Chocolate and Tahini Ice Cream

5 / 2 votes
Toasted sesame tahini has a wholesome, nutty flavor that balances out the bitter intensity of dark chocolate. The cocoa solids and flecks of tahini throughout this ice cream mean that it’s rich, distinctive, and luscious to eat, and a small portion goes a long way.
David Leite
CuisineMiddle Eastern
Servings6 to 8 servings
Calories656 kcal
Prep Time35 minutes
Chill Time8 hours
Total Time8 hours 35 minutes


  • Generous 1 cup heavy cream
  • Generous 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • Generous 3/4 cup golden or white superfine sugar (or blitz granulated sugar in the food processor until finely ground)
  • 7 ounces dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
  • 1/2 cup tahini paste*
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt


  • In a large saucepan, combine the cream and milk. Split the vanilla bean with a sharp knife and scrape the seeds into the pan. Toss in the pod too.
  • Gently heat the milk and cream mixture over medium-low until just under the boil. Remove the vanilla pod.
  • Meanwhile, in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat egg yolks with sugar until pale and thickened.
  • Pour half of the hot milk mixture into the beaten yolks and whisk to combine. Pour the egg mixture back into the remaining hot cream in the pan and use a wooden spoon to stir continuously over low heat until it thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  • Break chocolate into a heatproof bowl or the top of a double boiler and suspend the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the base doesn’t touch the water.
  • Stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted and glossy, 3 to 6 minutes. Add tahini and salt and stir to thoroughly combine.
  • Allow the chocolate and tahini mixture to cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes. Add it to the milk and cream mixture and beat until it is an even color.
  • Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  • Pour mixture into a loaf pan or an 8- by 8-inch (20 by- 20-cm) deep baking dish. Cover and place in the freezer.
  • Remove every 30 minutes and beat with a fork to break up the ice crystals. Repeat this 6 times (over 3 hours). Remove again after 2 hours and beat with a fork before returning to the freezer to freeze completely. (Alternatively, you can use an ice-cream maker to churn to a soft-serve consistency, then transfer to a container to freeze completely.)
  • Remove from the freezer 5 minutes before serving.


*What is tahini paste?

A staple in Middle Eastern cooking, tahini is essentially just ground sesame seeds mixed with oil (usually a mixture of olive and sesame) until you have a rich, thickly unctuous, nutty-tasting spread.
Most tahini is made from toasted seeds, giving it a deeper and richer flavor but “raw” is also available–check the label if raw is your preference. The sesame seeds can be hulled or unhulled—unhulled sesame seeds are a little bitter but they do have a higher nutritional value.
Middle Eastern Sweets

Adapted From

Middle Eastern Sweets

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Serving: 1 servingCalories: 656 kcalCarbohydrates: 50 gProtein: 12 gFat: 47 gSaturated Fat: 22 gMonounsaturated Fat: 15 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 248 mgSodium: 169 mgFiber: 5 gSugar: 37 g

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

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2021 Salma Hage. Photo © 2021 Liz and Max Haarala Hamilton. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This dark chocolate and tahini ice cream perfectly combines the flavor of chocolate and sesame seeds, with a creamy texture. I love this combination of flavors, as an alternative to the traditional chocolate flavor. The preparation, despite requiring several hours in the cooling phase, is compensated by the final result, a creamy and homogeneous ice cream.

This dark chocolate and tahini ice cream is rich and tasty. It’s almost scoopable right out of the freezer so it needs less time at room temp than many other types of ice cream. I was hesitant to make this at first, thinking of tahini as more of a savory ingredient, but then I remembered all the wonderful sesame-based sweets I used to eat when living in Japan. This recipe is super easy and tastes nutty, chocolatey, delicious.

I make a lot of custard-based ice cream, and I always chill the mixture overnight. This mixture is REALLY thick, and I wish I had let it warm up a bit before putting it in my ice cream maker. It wouldn’t pour, so I made quite a mess. But it was no big deal. Because it was so thick, it didn’t take very long in the machine–I worried that it didn’t get enough air into it but it was still quite creamy and delicious.

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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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This ice cream turned out wonderful. I added about 1/8 cup of Dutch cocoa to the chocolate chips because I only had semi-sweet and wanted it a little darker. So rich and wonderful! It’s gonna be my go to chocolate ice cream now!

    1. Wonderful, Beth! Thank you so much for taking the time to let us know how much you liked it.