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How Long Does Tahini Last For And How Do You Store It?

Quick Answer: How Long Does Tahini Last For And How Do You Store It? Like most packaged foodstuffs, a jar of tahini will have a best-by date. However, the substance can typically last for a number of months beyond that date.

It should be kept in its jar and out of direct sunlight so the best place to store it is either in the fridge or the pantry, even when it has already been opened. 

How Long Does Tahini Last For And How Do You Store It

How Long Tahini Typically Lasts?

You can expect tahini to typically last beyond its best-by date by a few months. For a total shelf life, tahini should be fine for between one and three years.

That’s for shop-bought tahini as homemade tahini would have a shorter shelf life and should be refrigerated, as well as used, within a month. Beyond that timescale and you would be running the risk of the tahini going bad. 

How long tahini lasts depends on whether it is shop-bought or you have made it yourself.

Homemade Tahini

With a few bags of sesame seeds and a food processor, you can make your own tahini. If you do, you should be aware of how the shelf life differs from a jar you can buy in the grocery store.

This comes down to the production as the tahini from the store will largely be free of bacteria due to how it is heated up to a specific high temperature to get rid of any dangerous microbes.

Pasteurization is a process that producers use to extend the shelf life of their foodstuffs and is largely impossible to do at home.

Without pasteurization, you run the risk of the tahini going off far sooner than you may expect.

While you may expect shop-bought tahini to last for a couple of years under the right storage conditions, your homemade batch of tahini should be fully eaten within four weeks of the creation date.

Don’t get us wrong, it could last for a little longer yet that would not be encouraged as any bacteria could have multiplied by then and the tahini could be spoiled.

Opened Jars Of Tahini

Once you have opened a jar of tahini, that exposure to fresh air will accelerate the quality loss process. Thankfully, tahini is a hardy substance so you can expect it to still be usable in the first 12 months of the jar being opened.

Unlike a jar of jam, for instance, tahini will last far longer once that seal has been breached.

This longevity is largely due to the antioxidants that are contained within sesame seeds that keep it safe to use and eat, especially if you leave it in the refrigerator though it will get a thicker consistency.

Even once the tahini has gone past its best-by date, it should still be fine to use. That may depend on the brand as different companies use different processes and thus their tahini’s shelf life may differ.

For instance, if a brand does not use pasteurization you should not expect the tahini to last longer than a few months so check the packaging.

One general rule to remember with store-bought tahini is that it should last for over a year, likely up to 18 months, and possibly to three years if it is stored properly.

The best-by date will be just that, it is not the expiration date so you will not be harming your health by consuming it, if you are sensible and check the contents first.

That best-by date indicates how long the tahini is at its best quality, not how long you should expect it to last before it spoils.

How To Store Tahini Properly

Tahini outside of its original container should be stored in either a ziplock bag or airtight container to keep it fresh to use and stave away any possible contamination.

Once you have stored your tahini in a container that will keep out air and contaminants, you may want to keep it in the refrigerator but do be aware that it can thicken the consistency. 

  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes
  • Active Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Equipment Labels, Ziplock bags/airtight containers, Tahini


  1. Read the packaging on the instructions of the tahini container to find out how long it has left to last if you have opened it.
  2. Scoop out the tahini and place it in a ziplock bag or airtight container
  3. Label the bag or container with this revised date 
  4. Place the bag or container in a place away from direct sunlight such as the fridge or pantry and make sure that it is tightly closed

If you want to keep your tahini in its original container then there are some typical rules that you can follow.

Put The Jar In The Fridge

If you want to keep your tahini relatively fresh then you should keep it in the refrigerator shortly after you have opened the jar.

Yes, whatever dry air is locked inside the jar can thicken the consistency of the tahini yet this is a fair trade to keep it in good condition for longer. In the refrigerator, it will be kept cool and away from direct sunlight. 

You can always mix in the oil to the tahini to keep it of a looser consistency before it goes into the refrigerator.

The thickening up of the contents is almost inevitable though the jar should always be closed and sealed tight to avoid any contamination.

Should you want to loosen the consistency of your tahini once it has thickened up then just remove the amount you want.

In a separate bowl, add a teaspoon of sesame oil or water to the portion of tahini and it should become more spreadable.

Use The Pantry For A Short While

Though the refrigerator is the best place to store tahini, even though you may have to accept that it will thicken up, you can use the pantry too.

This will keep the jar at room temperature and could be ideal if you intend on using the jar completely in a matter of months.

Ideally, the pantry should be a naturally cool and dark place that can be closed to avoid any exposure to direct sunlight.

Unless the packaging on the jar of tahini explicitly states that it should be kept in the refrigerator, you can be assured that unless your home is in a humid area, the contents will be kept in good condition. 

Keep The Lid Closed

Whether you keep the jar of tahini in the refrigerator or in the pantry, the lid should be closed at all times when it is not being used.

The underlying reason is that tahini can be ruined by the process of oxidation so keep the air out.

How Long Does Tahini Last For And How Do You Store It (1)

You may be tempted to leave the lid off a jar of tahini in the fridge to prevent the paste from hardening yet that would be a mistake as the cold air would remove even more moisture.

Of course, having the lid off if the tahini is kept in the pantry could result in bugs getting in or just simple dust.  

How To Detect If Tahini Has Gone Bad

Even though sesame seeds contain many antioxidants, tahini can still eventually turn bad. This can take a long time, even as long as a year if the jar is kept in a cool, dark place away from direct exposure to sunlight.

One of the main reasons for the longevity and shelf life of tahini is the ingredients it is made from as the sesame seeds and oil combine to naturally preserve the paste from any contaminants. 

If tahini is kept and stored incorrectly, it can turn rancid and you will not want to use it in any recipes. 

Visible Mold

This will be the clearest sign of rancid tahini yet may also be the rarest as it may take years. It is not beyond the realm of possibility yet it is unlikely that a jar of tahini will grow a layer of visible mold due to the oil on top.

However, if it does happen then it is more feasible for mold to appear at the mouth of a jar. Suffice to say, if you do see any mold with your jar of tahini then it should be discarded.

Strange Taste

While the tahini may look good, it may taste a little off. That could simply be the bit at the top so remove a layer and check it properly.

Should that layer of tahini have a strange, metallic taste or one that tastes like oil that has been overcooked then it is time to throw it out. 

Completely Hardened

Should you forgo tightening the lid on a jar of tahini when you leave it in the refrigerator, the cold air can remove any moisture.

What you will be left with is a solid block of sesame. All the freshness will be gone and it will be difficult to rectify.

Bad Smell

Smelling any foodstuff is typically the best way of discovering if it has gone off. This off-putting, rancid smell will be from the oil, not from the tahini.

Though the oil is there to preserve the sesame seed paste, once it is exposed to oxygenation combined with direct exposure to sunlight, the oil can go rancid.

The tahini may be largely unaffected yet the smell may put you off so check the tahini on its own as it may carry a metallic taste itself.

How To Use Tahini As An Ingredient

Tahini is not just used to create hummus, though it does certainly help. The paste can also be used as a vital ingredient to make baba ghanoush while you can also use it in a dessert like cheesecake or with fruits.

Tahini can also be used as a salad dressing as the earthy, nutty flavor works really well as a condiment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Tahini Made Of?

Tahini is made from either roasted or raw sesame seeds and the paste is created by grinding the seeds, either with oil or without it.

This creates a smooth-textured paste that is similar to peanut butter and is stored in similar-looking containers such as jars.

Tahini that has been made from roasted sesame seeds tends to have a mild taste compared to a batch made from raw seeds. Both variations should contain a slight bitterness and an earthy flavor.  

Is It Required To Refrigerate Tahini?

Not necessarily, especially if you intend to use the whole jar within a few months. You can keep a jar of tahini that has been opened and an unopened jar on the shelf of a pantry and it will last.

Even if you do open the jar of tahini, you do not need to refrigerate it to enjoy its long shelf life.

However, keeping an opened jar of tahini in the refrigerator should help keep its quality that bit longer as it will certainly be cool and out of direct sunlight. 

How Long Does Tahini Last For And How Do You Store It

How To Store Tahini

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes


  • Tahini


  • Airtight storage container
  • Ziplock bag (optional)
  • Refrigerator


  1. Check the expiry date: Before you store your tahini, take a look at the label and find out the expiry date. This will tell you how quickly you need to eat your tahini and how long you can store it.
  2. Put your tahini in an airtight container: In order to keep your tahini fresh, you need to store it in an airtight sealed container. Alternatively, you can also use the tahini container and place it inside a ziplock bag.
  3. Store tahini in the fridge: The best place to store tahini is in the fridge. You may also be able to store it in your pantry, as long as it is cool and dry.
Jess Smith
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