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Black Sesame Paste

Black Sesame Paste is an versatile ingredient that can be used as the base for many desserts and drinks. Most people buy black sesame paste from the market but you can make your own at home! Our recipe is made from three simple ingredients: black sesame seeds, honey, and sesame oil (optional).

Homemade black sesame paste.
Homemade black sesame paste.

Why This Recipe Works

Black sesame paste is an ingredient that appears in many recipes on this blog! We use it as a key ingredient in making everything from Black Sesame Toast to Black Sesame Soy Milk, Black Sesame Pudding and so much more.

We often buy black sesame paste from the Japanese market, but if you have the time and lots of black sesame seeds on hand, it’s fun to make your own black sesame paste.

It tastes delicious and it’s cool to see how everything comes together (it also makes you appreciate the patience that goes into making black sesame paste).

This recipe is simple and you can adjust the sweetness and consistency of the black sesame paste. Roasted black sesame seeds are the foundation of this recipe. We gently toast and then grind it up in a small food processor. Then we mix in honey to help turn the mixture into a more paste-like texture. You can also add in sesame oil to help make it more spreadable. Super easy.

I love the aromatic, and nutty flavor of black sesame paste. The honey gives it a rounded sweetness, and a little bit of sesame oil is great for balance. I happily snack on any leftover black sesame paste by the spoonful ^_^

Roasted black sesame seeds and honey.
Roasted black sesame seeds and honey.

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need:

Let’s get started!

Making black sesame paste in the food processor.
Grinding the black sesame seeds.

Step by Step Directions

Here’s the process:

Toast the black sesame seeds.
Place the roasted black sesame seeds in a small pan and lightly toast over medium heat until the seeds are warm and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.

Make sure to keep stirring frequently (or shake the pan gently) so that the sesame seeds don’t burn. Once it is all nice and toasty, turn off heat and let cool to room temperature.

Grind in the food processor.
Once at room temperature, place the sesame seeds in a small food processor. Grind for 5-10 seconds at a time.

Rest for a few seconds (it’s important to give your food processor a break because you don’t want to burn the motor) and then repeat the 5-10 second grind over and over again. The sesame seeds will eventually break down and start resembling a paste.

The paste will look gritty at first, but you just need to have patience and keep on going.

Adding honey to the toasted, roasted black sesame seeds in the food processor.
Adding the honey.

Add honey and keep grinding!
After it reaches the gritty looking step, then pour in the honey, and continue to grind in 5-10 second increments. Keep going the mixture slowly becomes a smoother paste.

Note: this homemade black sesame paste paste will not be super silky smooth like the store bought version.

Is it the right texture?
First, decide what you want to use this black sesame paste for. If you want the texture of the black sesame paste to be more thin (which will be easier for spreading on toast!), you have two choices:

  • Add more honey
  • Add more sesame oil (go with this option if you want the texture to be more thin but you don’t want to mixture to be any sweeter).

Feel free to adjust the amounts of honey and sesame oil used until the black sesame paste reaches both the consistency and sweetness that you like.

Ready to use!
Store the prepared black sesame paste in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It is now ready for use in any recipe that calls for black sesame paste.

P.S. It is also super onolicious by the spoonful! ^_^

Buying Black Sesame Paste

If making black sesame paste is too much of a hassle, you can also buy high quality black sesame paste. There are 2 main brands:

  • Wadaman
  • Kadoya – Note: this is the same brand that produces the sesame oil we use in many recipes.

Or you can buy one jar and also make your own at home to compare!

Toasting the roasted black sesame seeds on the sove.
Toasting the roasted black sesame seeds.

FAQs and Tips

Why toast when it’s already roasted?

The black sesame seeds you buy at Asian markets will most likely be roasted black sesame seeds. That’s good! That’s what we want.

But it’s important to do this secondary toasting step for two important reasons: 1) it will make the seeds more fragrant, and 2) it helps warm up the seeds so that the oils release more easily when we grind it up in the food processor.

How long does the black sesame paste keep?

Try to use it up within two weeks. Make sure to store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Recipes featuring black sesame paste?

You’ve come to the right place ^_^
– Black Sesame Toast – you know how people like peanut butter and jelly on toast? We like black sesame and honey on toast!
Black Sesame Dessert Soup – a classic Chinese dessert (and so nutritious).
Black Sesame Sauce on Tofu – can also use this as a sauce/dressing for other vegetables
Black Sesame Pudding – So creamy and velvety, but light! The pudding is whipped and served chilled.
Black Sesame Soy Milk – The black sesame version of our Homemade Soy Milk recipe.
There are so many delicious options!

Black Sesame Paste Recipe

See below and enjoy ^_^

Homemade black sesame paste.

Black Sesame Paste

Yield: 1/2 cup black sesame paste
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Black Sesame Paste is a versatile ingredient that can be used as the base for many desserts and drinks. Most people buy black sesame paste from the market but you can make your own at home! Our recipe is made from three simple ingredients: black sesame seeds, honey, and sesame oil (optional).

Instructions

  1. Place the roasted black sesame seeds in a small pan and lightly toast over medium heat until the seeds are warm and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Make sure to keep stirring so that the seeds don't burn. Turn off heat and let cool to room temperature.
  2. Once at room temperature, place the sesame seeds in a small food processor. Grind for 5-10 seconds at a time. Rest for a few seconds (to give the food processor a break because you don't want to burn the motor). Then repeat over and over until the sesame seeds start resembling a paste. It will look gritty at first, but you just need to have patience and keep going.
  3. After it reaches the gritty looking step, pour in the honey, and continue to grind in 5-10 second increments. Grind until it gradually becomes a smoother paste (note: this homemade paste will not be super smooth like the store bought version).
  4. If you want the texture to be more thin, there are two choices: add more honey or add more sesame oil (if you don't want to to be sweeter).
  5. Feel free to adjust the honey and sesame oil amounts until it reaches the consistency and sweetness that you like.
  6. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To use: spread on toast, use for black sesame dessert soup, black sesame sauce on tofu, black sesame pudding, and black sesame soy milk. So many delicious options!

Notes

If making black sesame paste is too much of a hassle (most people don't make the paste at home), you can totally just buy black sesame paste from a Japanese market or online. The homemade black sesame paste is wonderful but requires a bit of patience and will not come out as smooth as the store bought version ^_^


Karen

Sunday 27th of June 2021

Hi, Kathy! Thanks for this post! Ever since your steamed tofu with black sesame paste, I have been intrigued with this paste. After much research, I could not figure out how to make the paste as I was concerned about the consistency. The photos of the jarred product seem pretty liquid and I did not know how to achieve that. Your recipe is more like what I figured mine would be, so I am feeling much better about jumping into this process. By accident, I purchased black sesame powder, so it would seem that I'm halfway there. BUT - I'm going to toast it a bit more, grind it a bit more, add some honey (and maybe some sesame oil), and make the pudding. So looking forward to the end product. Then, I want to tackle ice cream. I was afraid the honey would seize up in the ice cream freezer, but it seems that with a coarser product, it will be fine! One question, though: is there any "grit" in your end products? Love all your recipes, thanks for researching and making them! Best, Karen

Kathy

Sunday 27th of June 2021

Aloha Karen! So happy the posts are helpful. No issues with grit texture (though it doesn't taste AS super silky smooth if you're making the black sesame sauce for the tofu). The rougher homemade paste is also soooo delicious by the spoonful. I haven't used the paste to make ice cream, though I think a little texture could be neat in ice cream (almost like with cookies n cream ice cream?). Hope it turns out delicious ^_^ - Kathy

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