These tahini brownies are the best gooey, fudgy, chewy brownies with a perfect shiny, crackly top and a delicious tahini swirl for a little nuttiness. If you love brownies and if you're a fan of nutty flavors, you need to trust me on this one. It's like an elevated brownie, and the flaky salt on top just seals the deal. Plus this recipe can easily be made gluten-free and dairy-free!
What is Tahini?
Tahini is basically the peanut butter of the Middle East. Instead of peanuts, sesame seeds are ground into a luscious, nutty butter. High quality tahini has only one ingredient: sesame seeds. So check your labels!
Hence the one and only ingredient in it, tahini tastes like concentrated sesame flavor. It's deep, nutty, and a little earthy. Some people think it tastes bitter, though a good quality tahini should not taste excessively bitter.
And just like peanut butter, tahini has both savory and sweet applications in the Middle East. It is most known for being in hummus and baba ghannoush. But in Lebanon, we love to dip pita bread in tahini and carob molasses after a meal for a quick and light dessert.
Tahini is also the base of halva, which is a delicious, sweet confection that is very popular in the Middle East. In Lebanon, halva is most commonly mixed with pistachios or chocolate. So it is really a no brainer to combine tahini with super chocolatey brownies!
If think chocolate and tahini is an unusual flavor combo, wait till you see my Lebanese avocado and strawberry cocktail. Don't knock it till you try it, right?
And if you have a jar of tahini at home but you're not sure what to do with it, you need to make a batch of tarator, which is a delicious tahini sauce and dressing.
Once you make it, you can drizzle it over my roasted rainbow carrots and radishes or serve it with the best ever beef and lamb shawarma wraps. Just buy some tahini and don't worry about how you're going to use it up. I'll make sure you do.
Here's what you'll need to make the best tahini swirl brownies:
- Butter: Unsalted is preferred but if all you have is salted, use half the amount of salt in the recipe.
- White sugar
- Brown sugar: You can use either light or dark brown sugar. I used dark brown sugar in this recipe because I like it's deeper, toffee-like flavor.
- Vanilla extract
- Tahini: Look for tahini with only sesame seeds in the ingredient label. We will use it in both the batter and the swirl on top.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder: I prefer Dutch processed cocoa powder for a darker color and more chocolatey flavor. It's what I used while testing this recipe. But you can use natural cocoa powder instead.
- Instant coffee: This is optional but highly recommended, as coffee brings out the chocolate flavor.
- Kosher salt
- Chocolate: Chopping chocolate bars is way way better than using chocolate chips. Buy chocolate bars that you'd want to eat. I like using a combination of semi-sweet and dark chocolate.
- Powdered sugar
- Flakey salt: It's optional, kinda.
Please note that weight measurements are provided for this tahini brownies recipe. Volume measurements are unreliable when it comes to baking, while weight measurements can guarantee you success. If you choose to use volume measurements instead of weighing your ingredients, you may not have the same results.
Make The Brownie Base
Preheat your oven to 350°F and make sure the oven rack is set in the middle.
Place the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl, and put in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, until the butter is fully melted.
Add in the white and brown sugars and whisk until fully combined and smooth.
Next, add the eggs and whisk them into the mixture until smooth and light.
Add in half the tahini and vanilla extract and stir to combine.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, instant coffee, and salt into the bowl, then gently fold them into the batter with a rubber spatula. Do not use the whisk here and do not over mix. Once you don't see any dry flour or cocoa powder, stop folding.
Roughly chop the chocolate and fold it into the batter.
Transfer the batter to a parchment lined 9x13 inch baking pan. Use the spatula to distribute the thick batter evenly and smooth out the top.
Swirl The Tahini and Bake
In a small bowl, whisk together the rest of the tahini and powdered sugar. You can sift the powdered sugar to make it easier. But don't worry if you see a lot of lumps, just keep whisking and it will eventually smooth out.
Dollop the sweetened tahini over the batter, then use a paring knife or a toothpick to swirl the tahini into the brownie batter.
Bake the tahini brownies for about 25 minutes, or until the brownies are set on the edges and barely jiggle in the center when you tap on the pan. If you insert a toothpick, it should come out gooey. This will result in a perfectly fudgy and gooey brownie.
If you like brownies that are more done, leave them in for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the center is fully set.
Let the tahini brownies cool in the pan for about 20 minutes. Then transfer them to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Brownies continue to set while cooling, so try to be patient before you cut into them!
Substitutions and Variations
- Gluten-free: Although this recipe is not naturally gluten-free, it can easily be made that way by substituting an equal amount of measure-for-measure gluten-free flour for all-purpose flour.
- Dairy-free: This recipe can also be made dairy-free by substituting oil for the butter. You'll need to reduce the amount of oil by 25%. So if following this recipe as is, use one cup of oil in place of butter. You can use vegetable, canola, or avocado oil.
- Tahini: If you don't love tahini and simply want to enjoy these delicious fudgy brownies, you have a couple of options. Substitute two tablespoons of melted butter or oil for the tahini in the batter, and omit the tahini swirl. Or substitute any nut or seed butter for the tahini.
- Sugar: If you don't want to use white sugar, you can use use an equal amount of coconut sugar or maple sugar. I haven't tested it with them though, so you may need to adjust baking time.
- Chocolate: If all you have is chocolate chips, you can use them but they won't have the same effect as chopped chocolate.
Tips On Making The Best Tahini Brownies
- Use high quality chocolate and cocoa powder. They will make or break your brownies since chocolate is the star here!
- Do not overmix the batter. When you fold in the dry ingredients, stop as soon as you don't see any flour or cocoa powder. If you keep mixing, you will incorporate more air into the batter. This will result in spongy, cake-like brownies instead of dense, fudgy brownies.
- Don't overbake the brownies. This is not a cake, so don't wait until the toothpick comes out clean. If you like gooey brownies, they key is to remove them from the oven when there is a very slight jiggle in the center. The edges should be firm and the top should have a thin, shiny film on top. Set the timer!
- Be patient and don't cut into the brownies right away. If you cut into the brownies as soon as you take them out of the oven, you will make a mess and think they are underdone. They need time to set as they cool. Trust the process.
Frequently Asked Questions
The difference lies in the ratio of fat, sugar, and flour that is used in the recipe and whether or not there are any leavening agents. Cakes are spongier and lighter, whereas brownies are generally denser, chewier, and more chocolatey.
For gooey, fudgy tahini brownies, bake them for about 25 minutes, or until the edges are set and the center barely jiggles when you tap it. For drier, more done brownies, bake them for about 30 to 35 minutes or until the center is fully set.
Store leftover brownies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. To keep them soft and chewy, place a piece of bread in the same container with them.
Yes! These tahini brownies can be cut into squares and individually wrapped with plastic wrap, then placed in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can thaw them at room temperature or in short bursts in the microwave.
See My Latest Recipes For More Delicious Ideas
- Lebanese Red Lentil Soup (Instant Pot & Stovetop)
- Two-Ingredient Pita Bread
- One-Minute Homemade Mayonnaise (Immersion Blender)
- Cucumber Mint Yogurt Salad (Cacik)
- Smoked Tomato Confit
If you’ve tried making the best Tahini Brownies or any other recipe on Forks & Foliage, then please don't forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! I would be so happy to hear how it turned out for you. And if you took any photos or videos, please share them with me on Instagram @forksandfoliage so I can see the deliciousness you made!
- 282 grams unsalted butter, melted
- 325 grams white sugar
- 200 grams packed brown sugar
- 5 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 70 grams tahini
- 170 grams all-purpose flour
- 125 grams Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 3 grams instant coffee
- 5 grams kosher salt
- 250 grams semi-sweet and/or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- Flakey salt, optional
- 70 grams tahini
- 18 grams powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9x13 inch metal baking pan with parchment paper. Leave an overhang on both sides.
- Combine the melted butter, white sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl and whisk until smooth.
- Add the eggs and whisk until fully combined and smooth.
- Stir in the tahini and vanilla extract.
- Sift the flour, cocoa powder, instant coffee, and salt into the wet ingredients. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the dry ingredients until just combined.
- Fold in the chopped chocolate.
- Transfer the batter into the lined pan and use a spatula to spread it evenly and smooth out the top.
- In a small bowl, combine the rest of the tahini and powdered sugar and whisk until smooth.
- Dollop the sweetened tahini all over the brownie batter, then use a paring knife or toothpick to swirl it into the batter.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until the edges are set, the center barely jiggles when you tap on it, and the top has a thin, shiny film on top. Let it cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Wait until the brownies have cooled before you cut into them. Sprinkle flakey salt on top and serve.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and may vary.