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Tahini Shortbread Cookies

These gluten free tahini shortbread cookies are super delicious, with an incredible flavour and a gorgeous buttery, slightly chewy, melt-in-the-mouth texture. They’re slice-and-bake cookies, and they’re incredibly easy to prepare. You’ll love them!

A stack of gluten free tahini shortbread cookies on a wooden board.

These are, without a doubt, one of my all-time favourite cookies. You see, I adore tahini. Be that in hummus (which I could eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and never get tired of it) or in sweet treats, it just adds the most wonderful flavour to everything.

If you’ve never had tahini in a dessert: you’re seriously missing out and you should try it out ASAP – starting with these AMAZING gluten free tahini shortbread cookies.

In addition to giving them the most wonderful flavour, tahini also transforms the usual buttery, slightly crumbly shortbread into a slightly chewier, but still melt-in-the-mouth cookie. Let me tell you: a slightly chewy shortbread is my new favourite thing. And once you have a bite, it will be yours too.

Tahini shortbread cookies on a lined baking sheet.

Here’s why you’ll LOVE these tahini shortbread cookies

  1. The AMAZING flavour. With ingredients like tahini, light brown sugar and vanilla bean paste, you know these cookies are going to be spectacular. They’re basically the type of cookie where you go to have “just one bite” and all of a sudden, you’ve somehow eaten two cookies already and are reaching for the third. Yes, they’re that good.
  2. The buttery, slightly chewy, melt-in-the-mouth texture. I use a mix of butter and tahini in these cookies. While the butter gives them a slightly crumbly, melt-in-the-mouth texture typical of shortbread, tahini adds the most wonderful chewiness.
  3. They’re incredibly easy to make! In addition to the dough coming together in no time, these are slice-and-bake cookies, which are arguably some of the easiest cookies you could possibly make.
  4. And they’re gluten free – not that you could possibly tell.
  5. Plus, they’re super pretty. Rolling the logs of cookie dough in a mix of white and black sesame seeds gives these cookies the most gorgeous black-and-white speckled edges.

Slicing the cookie dough log into individual cookies before baking.

Before we get to the bits and bobs of making these wonderful cookies – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!

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Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.

How do you make tahini shortbread cookies?

Making these tahini shortbread cookies is incredibly easy. They’re slice-and-bake type cookies, which makes them very quick to assemble, as you don’t have to roll out the dough and cut out the individual cookies with a cookie cutter.

Instead, you just form the dough into a log and chill it, before slicing it up into individual cookies ready for baking. This also means that you can prepare the dough logs a few days in advance and then slice and bake them later.

However, do keep in mind that these cookies are at their very best after you’ve kept them in a closed container on the counter for a few days. This gives the flavours time to meld and mingle, which results in even more delicious cookies.

The ingredients

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for these tahini shortbread cookies:

  • tahini paste
  • unsalted butter
  • light brown soft sugar
  • vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • gluten free flour blend
  • cornstarch (cornflour in the UK)
  • xanthan gum
  • salt
  • a mix of white and black sesame seeds

How to make the tahini shortbread

  1. In a bowl, mix together the tahini paste, softened unsalted butter, sugar and vanilla. Don’t whisk or aerate the mixture, you just want to combine it until smooth.
  2. Sift in the gluten free flour blend, cornstarch, xanthan gum and salt, and mix it all together until you get a smooth, homogeneous cookie dough. The dough shouldn’t be sticky to the touch.
  3. Chill the dough in the fridge for for 15-30 minutes. This will firm it up, which makes it easier to shape it into logs.
  4. Divide the dough into two equal portions and shape each into a log about 7 inches (18cm) in length and about 2 inches (5cm) in diameter.
  5. Roll each log in the sesame seed mix, then wrap them tightly in cling film or baking paper, and chill in the fridge for about 2 hours or until solid.
  6. Using a sharp serrated knife, slice the logs into about 1/2 inch (1cm) portions and place them onto a lined baking sheet.
  7. Bake at 350ºF (180ºC) for about 12 minutes or until golden. The cookies will spread slightly in the oven and will have small cracks on their surface.
  8. Immediately out of the oven while they’re still very hot, you can correct the shape of the cookies using a round cookie cutter slightly larger than the cookie diameter. Use the cookie cutter to nudge the cookies into a more round shape if necessary.
  9. Allow to cool and enjoy!

Slicing the cookie dough log into individual cookies before baking.

Tahini shortbread cookies on a lined baking sheet before baking.

Correcting the shape of tahini shortbread cookies with a round cookies cutter.

Tahini shortbread cookies on a lined baking sheet.

How long do tahini shortbread cookies last?

You can keep these cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for about 2-3 weeks.

They actually improve both in texture and flavour the longer you keep them – but let’s be honest, once you have a bite and realise just how incredibly delicious they are, they’ll be gone in no time.

That’s it, friends. Everything you need to know about how to make the most amazing tahini shortbread cookies. Hope you’ll love them as much as I do.

Happy baking!

Signature of the author, Kat.

Tahini shortbread cookies on a lined baking sheet after baking.

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Tahini Shortbread Cookies (Gluten Free)

These gluten free tahini shortbread cookies are super delicious, with an incredible flavour and a gorgeous buttery, slightly chewy, melt-in-the-mouth texture. They’re slice-and-bake cookies, and they’re incredibly easy to prepare. You’ll love them!
Print Rate
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook/Bake Time 24 mins
Chill Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 9 mins
Servings 32 cookies

Ingredients

  • 180 g (¾ cup) tahini paste
  • 165 g (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 170 g (¾ cup + 1 ½ tbsp) light brown soft sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 270 g (2 ¼ cups) plain gluten free flour blend (I used Doves Farm Freee plain gluten free flour blend, which doesn't contain added xanthan gum. You can also mix your own blend with 50% finely ground white rice flour, 30% potato starch and 20% maize flour by weight. Note that maize flour in the UK is equivalent to corn flour in the US.)
  • 75 g (½ cup + 2 ½ tbsp) cornstarch (US)/cornflour (UK)
  • ¾ tsp xanthan gum (Omit if your gluten free flour blend already contains xanthan gum.)
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp black sesame seeds

Instructions

  • Adjust the oven rack to the middle position, pre-heat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and line two large baking sheets with baking/greaseproof paper.
  • In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, mix together the tahini paste, softened butter, light brown soft sugar and vanilla bean paste until combined. Don’t cream the butter mixture – just stir it all together until smooth and all ingredients are well combined.
    Tip: You don't want to cream the tahini, butter and sugar together, as that aerates the mixture (that is, it incorporates air into it), which can cause the cookies to spread too much in the oven.
  • Sift together the gluten free flour blend, cornstarch, xanthan gum and salt, and add them to the butter mixture. Mix well with a wooden spoon until the dough starts coming together, then knead it by hand until smooth. The dough shouldn’t be sticky to the touch.
  • Chill the dough in the fridge for for 15-30 minutes. This will firm it up, which makes it easier to shape it into logs.
  • Divide the dough into two equal portions and shape each into a log about 7 inches (18cm) in length and about 2 inches (5cm) in diameter.
  • Mix the white and black sesame seeds together and sprinkle them in an even layer on a large plate or platter. Roll each cookie dough log in the sesame seed mix, then wrap them tightly in cling film or baking paper, and chill in the fridge for about 2 hours or until solid.
  • Using a sharp serrated knife, slice the logs into about ½ inch (1cm) thick cookies and place them onto the lined baking sheets. Space them out slightly, leaving about ¾ inch/2cm of space between them.
    You should get about 16 cookies per log, 32 in total.
  • One baking sheet at a time, bake at 350ºF (180ºC) for about 12 minutes until light golden brown. While one baking sheet is in the oven, keep the other one in the fridge.
  • Immediately out of the oven while they’re still very hot, you can correct the shape of the cookies using a round cookie cutter slightly larger than the cookie diameter. Use the cookie cutter to nudge the cookies into a more round shape if necessary.
  • Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Storage: The cookies keep well in an airtight container in a cool dry place for about 2-3 weeks.
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