Tahini Shelf Life: Can It Go Bad? HOW TO TELL…

image of how long does tahini last

The consumer palate for global flavors is growing rapidly. Fusion foods, or culturally mixed up meals, dot many tables. One of the products you may see (or buy) comes from Persia: Tahini.

As a product made from sesame seeds, you can use store-bought Tahini paste on its own or as part of soups, sauces, salad dressings, and spreads like Hummus, just to name a few.

A 16oz. Jar of Tahini is full of sesame seed flavor, but it may take a long time to use it up unless you do a lot of Middle Eastern, Turkish, or Israeli cooking.

Reaching for a half-open jar of Tahini paste in the pantry or fridge, you realize it sat there for months, even possibly beyond its expiration date. But the party is tonight!

Questions fly through your mind:

These are all great questions and the ones we will answer in this article.

Read on!

Does Tahini Go Bad?

Jars of unopened Tahini typically have a use-by date printed on the label. The focus of this date is ultimately freshness and Quality.

Most commercial products have a date ranging from six months after production to two years. Can a Tahini expire after that?

Even if the best-by date has slipped by, the common consensus is that the sesame paste is still suitable for consumption provided there are no other signs of spoilage.

There is no need to toss out food haphazardly!


If you cannot locate a date, the degree of separation in a Tahini jar is a good indication. More separation means an older container.

Using Leftover Tahini

Most people don’t have information on whether Tahini goes bad, and if so, when. Thankfully the basics aren’t that difficult.

As a rule, unopened Tahini paste, with proper storage, won’t go rancid as quickly as an opened jar.

When you understand good storage practices for Tahini, you can keep your Tahini edible for a long time.

Preserving the Taste; Keeping it Safe

Sesame seeds have oil, giving the food natural longevity. If you’re unsure if the Tahini is safe or still flavorful, Follow these three steps:

  • Step One: Think back to when you purchased it.
  • Step Two: If it’s been under 6 months, or the best-before date, all is well so long as no signs of spoiling exist.
  • Step Three: If you want to extend the leftover Tahini’s Quality and useful life, put it in the refrigerator

The sesame seed oils in this product give it natural longevity.

Learn more: Do Sesame Seeds Go Bad?

image of how long does tahini last for

How To Tell If Tahini Is Bad?

Tahini can go bad, affecting the smell and taste due to humidity exposure as well as heat fluctuations.

  • Look for green or black spots around the edges of the jar or in the crevices of the top. These are mold. If you are sensitive to mold, you’ll have a bad reaction. It’s best to throw it out.
  • A malty or sour taste. While this might not be wholly unpleasant, it may indicate bad Tahini.
  • Nasty odor. When oil goes bad, your nose knows! Give it a good sniff!

Check the dates on the label. If it’s been open in the pantry and is now 6 months past that date (or more), the shelf life is probably finished. Consider disposing of it.

Learn more: What Does Tahini Taste Like? (A Spread Like No Other)

What’s The Best Way To Store?

It’s a good idea to keep the Tahini paste in your pantry so long as it is:

  • Cool
  • Dark
  • Dry
  • Away from heat (like the stove) and sunlight

Some manufacturers may recommend keeping it in the fridge, but the USDA considers Tahini paste shelf-stable or shelf-durable), meaning it will last a long time at room temperature. (*)

Food Safety Tip To Remember!

When using a jar of Tahini in cooking, always use clean cups or silverware for portioning. That way, when you return the product to storage with a firmly tightened lid, you decrease the risk of cross-contamination. (*)

Does Tahini Need To Be Refrigerated?

Keeping Tahini in the fridge will extend longevity, particularly in an opened container. Just be sure to put the lid on tight to keep out moisture (which can cause mold).

Tahini in the fridge changes consistency. If you don’t like it, add a little water or sesame oil to the jar of paste until you’re happy with the texture.

We don’t suggest taking it out and letting it warm on the countertop only to repeatedly return it to cold storage.

Tahini is temperature-sensitive, so the less change, the better.

Can You Freeze Tahini to Maintain Quality?

Yes, but we don’t suggest leaving it in the original glass jar, which is prone to breaking.

Instead, transfer it into a freezer-safe good bag

Do not fill the bag completely, and carefully remove as much air as possible. Add a second bag over the original one, which keeps both moisture and random smells out of the Tahini.

Alternatively, if you have covered ice cube trays, these work great! You can pop out exactly what you need when you need it and return the rest to the freezer for next time.

Learn more: Can You Freeze Tahini? Your Guide To Proper Doing

Interesting Facts:

What is Tahini Exactly?

It is a sesame paste prominent in Mediterranean food, in dishes like Babaghanoush and Halva. (*)

It has a slightly nutty flavor that may be an acquired taste for people. (*)

How is Tahini Made?

The production of Tahini is marvelously simple. Once removed from the pods, sesame seeds are soaked, roasted, and ground.

No chemical additives are necessary to preserve its shelf life.

By the way, it is an ingredient, while Hummus is a dish that uses Tahini as a key component along with chickpeas, garlic, lemon, olive oil, and salt and pepper. (*)

Hummus has a far shorter life span before it will go bad, only 3 months unopened in the refrigerator and 7 days after opening. (*)

Two Types of Tahini

Tahini has two variations, hulled and unhulled. The unhulled variety is darker and slightly more bitter but higher in nutritional content, like calcium (*)

Both have a similarly long shelf life when unopened and stored at room temperature.

We recommend shopping for either at a Middle Eastern grocery if you have one. You’ll find more options here.

Plus, the store personnel can answer many of your questions and help you find a product you’ll buy time and again.

Tahini Trivia

It was used as currency in the ancient world and was so expensive only the wealthy could buy it.

It was a common component in Indian and Greek healer’s kits, thought to aid overall nourishment.

Today, Tahini continues in popularity, giving those with peanut allergies a more costly but safe alternative to peanut butter.

The price point is another reason why people want to learn safe storage methods, giving you a greater bang for your consumer dollar.



Tahini is a plant-based (sesame seed) condiment that can be healthy for you. It contains iron, zinc, protein, and fiber while being low in saturated fat.

While Tahini can go bad, it takes a long time before it’s rancid.

By storing it in an airtight container in a cool setting, Tahini resists oxidation, but it always tastes best when it’s fresh.

image of does tahini go bad

Up Next: The Shelf life of Canned Foods

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top