Tahini is not the easiest item to find in the grocery store. The reason? Blame its versatility.
It can be used as a dip, dressing, spread, baking ingredient (the list goes on) and doesn’t neatly fit into one product category. Because of this, tahini is found in various kinds of grocery aisles.
We’ve put together a list of the places you’ll find tahini so anytime you’re looking for a jar - you have a plan!
What section is tahini in the grocery store?
As we’ve said, there’s no one aisle you can be sure to find tahini. The place you’ll find tahini in really all depends on how a particular grocery store is organized, as well as what kind of store it is.
Below is a list of the aisles you’re likely to come across tahini (as well as the types of grocery stores you’ll be more likely to find this delicious product in).
Seed & Nut Butter Aisle: The first place to check is the nut butter aisle. Since tahini is a creamy paste made from sesame seeds, it’s often compared to things like seed and nut butters. Look for tahini on shelves alongside peanut butter, almond butter, hazelnut butter etc.
International/ Middle Eastern/Kosher Aisle: The next place to head is the international aisle. International aisles are normally home to a hodgepodge of all kinds of worldly products from coconut milk to ramen. Tahini, which originates from the Middle East, is sometimes placed here so have a good look around there to see if you can spot it on the shelves (note, international aisles aren’t found in every store - normally just your bigger grocery stores).
Sauces & Condiment Aisle: A few stores choose to put tahini in their sauces and condiment aisles - the place you’d go to find things like mustard, sriracha, harissa, sesame oil etc. This is done because tahini serves as a great base ingredient for a variety of sauces. Our Tahini & Pesto is an example of a delicious ready-to-go tahini sauce, perfect on pastas!
Deli/Refrigeration Aisle: It’s not unusual to find tahini near the refrigeration aisle. 40% of real hummus is made out of tahini (sesame paste) so some stores (normally delicatessens and health food shops), put it near this aisle. And if you’re wondering how tahini is best stored, we’ve written a piece answering the commonly asked storage question - does tahini go bad?
Why is tahini located in so many different places?
Like we’ve mentioned, one of the big reasons tahini is located in different places has to do with its versatility. It’s a paste made from sesame seeds that can be used and enjoyed in endless ways. Depending on who you ask, tahini is a sauce, a condiment, a seed butter, an ingredient…that’s part of tahini’s magic!
Types of grocery stores you can find tahini
For a long time, tahini could only be found in international supermarkets or smaller, independent health food shops. Tucked away, it was considered a specialty item - needed for the odd recipe, or enjoyed as a superfood by those aware of its nutritional benefits.
These days, tahini is growing in popularity. More and more people are not only aware of how tasty and nutritious it is, but also catching on to the endless ways it can be used.
As such, it is now found in more and more grocery stores. These are the kinds of stores you should be able to find tahini:
- Natural, health-food type stores (you should even be able to find it in the smaller health stores)
- International, Middle Eastern or Kosher Aisles (tahini has long been a much-loved mediterranean staple)
- Major grocery stores like Whole Foods and Walmart
Tip: if you want to walk into a shop and guarantee you’ll find tahini, or at least be confident it will be there - try a health food shop. Trader Joes, Wholefoods, or your local health food shop.
What to look for when you are choosing a tahini brand
The first thing to be aware of is, not every tahini is the same. If you’ve tried a few tahini before, you'll already know this. It can be found in jars, cans and even big containers. Even if they contain the same ingredients - how they are ground, whether they are roasted, the type of sesame they are made from all contributes to the overall flavor and texture of tahini.
We try our best not to be tahini snobs, but firmly believe that tahini should contain minimal ingredients and no preservatives or chemicals (that’s how we make all our tahini).
If you’re never tried tahini before and are curious what it tastes like, check our post where we asked our followers to describe what tahini tastes like to them.
Use our handy tahini finder to see where your closest tahini store locator is.
Where to find tahini sauce
If you are looking specifically for a ready-to-go tahini sauce, our Tahini & Pesto has our signature creamy consistency with a pesto flair. It’s perfect for pastas, but also great as a herby base for sandwiches and drizzled on salads.
To taste a little bit of everything, the Tahini Sampler is a treat.