Tahini Shortbread Cookies

4.93 from 14 votes

The classic holiday shortbread cookie recipe is updated slightly to add tahini - which gives it a Mediterranean flavor that's rich and nutty.

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This Tahini Shortbread Cookies recipe post is sponsored by Danish Creamery, although the content represents my own personal opinion and experience using the product.

Buttery and rich shortbread cookies are made with tahini for a delicious sesame flavored bite with Mediterranean flare. If you are looking for a new recipe to add to your Christmas baking, then these cookies are it!

Tahini shortbread cookies on a plate
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Ingredients & substitutions

  • Butter: I use Danish Creamery Premium Sea Salted Butter in this recipe. It is made from a high quality cream from pasture-raised cows and a touch of sea salt. Because shortbread cookies are all about the butter, it’s so important to use something that is extra rich because that’s where all the flavor is!
  • Tahini: To add a Mediterranean flavor to these shortbread cookies, I’m using some tahini in the place of what would normally be more butter. Tahini is made from ground sesame seeds so it acts as fat in this cookie recipe while adding a unique and nutty taste.
  • Powdered sugar: Powdered sugar is very fine and it mixes in easily with the other ingredients to form a very smooth dough that’s deliciously sweet.
  • Vanilla extract: For flavor and sweetness. For the best results use a pure extract, but imitation will also do the job nicely.
  • Flour: These cookies are made with all-purpose flour. We haven’t tried it, but would expect these to come out well using a 1:1 GF flour.
  • Sesame seeds: The shortbread cookie dough is rolled in sesame seeds. This enhances the flavor of the tahini and adds a great texture, but it’s optional.
Ingredients to make the recipe with danish creamery butter

How to make tahini shortbread cookies

  1. Add the butter, tahini and powdered sugar to a bowl.
  2. Use an electric mixer to cream together until smooth.
  3. Mix in the flour, a little at a time to make it easier.
  4. Use your hands to work the dough together into a ball.
4 image collage to show how to make the cookie batter

form into discs & bake

  1. Divide the dough in half and roll into a log.
  2. Roll the logs in sesame seeds to coat.
  3. Wrap the logs in plastic and chill in the fridge.
  4. Cut the logs into discs.
  5. Place the discs onto a lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake until firm, but you’ll notice the color won’t change much.
6 image collage to show how to roll the batter into a log and cut into discs

Tips for making shortbread cookies

  1. Soften your butter before using it. Softened butter will combine more easily with the other ingredients to create an even texture. I like to take it out of the fridge about an hour before I want to make the recipe.  If you’re running out of time, cutting the butter into thin slices before mixing will help a lot.
  2. Use a stand mixer or electric mixer with paddle attachment for best results. You can mix by hand, but make sure that the ingredients are really well combined.
  3. Don’t skip the chilling time. Shortbread cookies contain a lot of butter, and this needs to be thoroughly chilled before baking. If you don’t chill them, the butter will melt too quickly and your cookies will spread together.
  4. Cool the cookies completely. Cool them on a cooling rack so that the air can circulate all around. This will stop the bottoms from getting soggy.
Tahini shortbread cookies on a plate with danish creamery butter and milk nearby

Frequently asked questions

How do you know when they are baked?

Shortbread cookies don’t brown much, so it can be tricky to work out when they are done. They should be a very light golden brown, very slightly darker than the raw dough, and they should be firm. It will take around 10 minutes for them to bake.

What is tahini?

Tahini is a sesame paste that is widely used in middle eastern cooking. It has an earthy and nutty flavor, and you only need a little as it is quite rich. Check out these other tahini recipes:
Tahini Milkshake
Tahini Sauce
Artichoke Tahini Dip
Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies

How long do they keep?

Shortbread cookies have a good shelf life and will keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. You can also freeze them for up to a month. Let the cookies cool fully before storing.

Tahini shortbread cookies stacked on a plate rolled in sesame seeds

Adding a little tahini to these shortbread cookies really makes them stand out from the crowd! Their long shelf life also makes them ideal for gifting! Rich and buttery, this is one delicious Christmas cookie recipe!

If you try this healthy-ish feel good Tahini Shortbread Cookies recipe or any other recipe on Feel Good Foodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. We would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots, share it on Instagram so we can repost on Stories!

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Tahini Shortbread Cookies

The classic holiday shortbread cookie recipe is updated slightly to add tahini – which gives it a Mediterranean flavor that's rich and nutty.
4.9 from 14 votes
Servings 36 cookies
Course Dessert, Snack
Calories 83
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes



  • In a large bowl of a stand mixer or using an electric hand mixer, cream together the softened butter, tahini and powdered sugar. Add the vanilla extract and beat until dissolved.
  • Add the flour, a little at a time, and use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to mix until well combined. Remove the dough from the bowl and use your hands to tightly pack the dough. Divide the dough in half.
  • Shape each half portion of dough on a plastic wrap into a log about 1-2 inches wide. Roll each log in sesame seeds, if using, until well coated.
  • Wrap each log in the plastic wrap, twisting at each end and chill in the fridge for at least one hour or overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Slice the logs into ¼ inch thickness and place on the prepared baking sheets, arranging them so they’re about 2 inches apart.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cookies are firm, slightly expanded and the bottoms are lightly golden.
  • Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to finish cooling completely.


Storage: Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
Freeze: Freeze the cookies solid on a baking sheet before transferring to a container or bag. They will keep well for a month and can be thawed at room temperature.
Tip: Soften your butter before using it by taking it out of the fridge an hour before you want to use it.
Tip: Don’t skip the chilling time! Chill the cookie dough for at least an hour before baking.


Calories: 83kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 7mg, Sodium: 24mg, Potassium: 32mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 81IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 27mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Dessert, Snack

Rate and comment

Recipe Rating


  1. We enjoyed these. We used real butter.. maybe will try adding a little more next time just to see if it helps give it a less crumbly texture and a more buttery melt.. but held together well and we find them very moorish.
    Halva in a biscuit 🙂

  2. Disclaimer: i did not rate as I felt it was unfair given I made these with miyokos and not real butter — so that may have impacted my results (dairy allergic partner)… these were so crumbly as to be almost unworkable. I did manage to get a few cookies out of the recipe and I’ll probably use the crumbs as ice cream topping, but likely won’t try this again unless I have the opportunity to try it with real butter. The flavor is great tho!

    1. I definitely think real butter will make a huge difference! Hope you enjoy it as an ice cream topper nonetheless!