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These tasty black sesame cookies have a wonderful nutty flavor with a perfectly chewy texture. Pair them with a cup of coffee or tea for a delicious snack, or enjoy as dessert any time of day. Plus, you can easily make them vegan or gluten-free with a few simple swaps.
Black sesame seeds are a common ingredient used by Asian cultures for savory dishes, but are equally tasty in Asian desserts! You might be familiar with white sesame seeds, but you might be surprised to learn that sesame seeds come in all kinds of colors – including black, brown, tan, gray, and even gold!
The main difference between all of these colors of sesame seeds and white sesame seeds, is that black sesame and the other colored varieties still have their hulls, while white sesame seeds have their hulls removed.
I love cooking with black sesame because not only do they have a deeper, earthy, more complex flavor than white sesame, they also have quite a few vitamins, minerals, and health benefits (source).
These black sesame cookies are the perfect way to try out this unique ingredient if you’ve never had it before. They’re sweet but not too sweet, with an indulgent, cake-like texture that will totally satisfy your sweet tooth!
They are full of healthy vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium, and B vitamins. These treats are the perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth while getting a healthy dose of nutrients. If you liked my sesame tahini cookies, you’ll love these cookies too!
With just 10 minutes of prep time needed, this cookie dough whips up quickly with minimal effort. You can even throw in different mix-ins like dark chocolate, nuts, or matcha to customize it however you like. This is a versatile recipe that everyone will absolutely love!
- Unique Flavor: The whole black sesame seeds and tahini provide a rich, nutty flavor for these cookies.
- Perfect Texture: You will instantly fall in love with these chewy black sesame cookies! Thanks to the classic ingredients like butter, sugar, and eggs, you’ll get that beloved cookie texture with crisp edges, and a soft, cakey interior.
- Customizable: Add your own special touches to these cookies! See my favorite ideas in the variations section below.
- Easy To Make: These simple cookies require very minimal effort with only 10 minutes of prep time. You’ll just let them chill, then pop them in the oven for about 10 minutes, and they’re ready to eat!
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This recipe calls for classic cookie ingredients with a couple special additions! See the recipe card at the bottom of the post for more information.
- Black Sesame Seeds: These seeds are the key ingredient in this recipe for sesame cookies, providing them with their amazing flavor. You can even add a sprinkle of seeds over the top of the cookies!
- All-Purpose Flour: This black sesame cookie recipe calls for standard all-purpose flour for the classic taste and texture.
- Baking Soda: This is used as a leavening agent to help the dough rise and slightly spread into the perfect baked cookies.
- Salt & Vanilla: I love using sea salt for this recipe, but you can use any salt you have on hand. Both vanilla and salt will enhance all the other flavors in the cookies.
- Butter & Egg: The egg will help bind the cookies and the butter provides fat and moisture. Use unsalted butter at room temperature for this black sesame cookie recipe!
- Sugar: Brown sugar and white sugar combine for perfectly sweet cookies, with great texture!
- Sesame Paste: You can use regular tahini or black sesame paste. Asian grocery stores should carry the black tahini or you can find it online!
🍲 Ingredient Substitutions
- Sesame Seeds: If you struggle to find black sesame seeds you can use white sesame seeds. The flavor will be a little bit different, but still delicious!
- Flour: Use any flour you have on hand, but the texture may vary! Try almond flour, almond meal, oat flour, or cassava flour.
- Sugar: Coconut sugar or maple syrup can be used to sweeten these cookies instead of brown or white sugar.
- Vanilla: If you don’t have vanilla extract, try any of these substitutes for vanilla extract instead!
- Egg: Swap the egg for other alternatives like applesauce, flax egg, or chia egg.
Making these nutty black sesame cookies for the first time might seem daunting, but I promise they are so easy! Here are the step by step instructions:
Prep Trays, Make Black Sesame Powder: Line 2 cookie sheet pans with parchment paper. Set prepared baking sheets aside for later. Transfer the sesame seeds to a spice grinder or food processor and grind to form a fine powder.
Combine Dry Ingredients, Beat Wet Ingredients: Whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the butter, both sugars, and the sesame seed powder. Beat for 2 minutes on high until light and fluffy.
Add Rest Of Ingredients: Next, add the tahini, vanilla extract and egg, continue to beat until well incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
Fold In Flour: Remove the large bowl from the stand mixer and gently fold through the flour mixture until just combined.
Scoop Cookie Dough: Using a cookie scoop, scoop the batter into cookie dough balls and place on the lined baking tray.
Chill & Preheat Oven: Chill the cookies for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
Flatten Cookies: Remove the cookies from the fridge and gently press, with the base of a glass, to flatten the cookies into a round shape.
Bake: Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes in the preheated oven until golden brown.
Cool: Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Serve and Enjoy!
💭 Expert Tips
- Do Not Over Grind: When grinding the sesame seeds be sure not to grind them too much as they may begin to form a paste. You want them to remain as a dry powder!
- Type Of Grinder: Any spice grinder, food processor, or coffee grinder will work to grind the seeds. I don’t recommend using a blender because it’ll be hard to prevent them from turning into a paste.
- Fold The Flour: Gently folding the flour into the butter mixture prevents over working the batter.
- Bolder Flavor: You can toast the sesame seeds in a saucepan over medium heat with a little bit of sesame oil for a stronger flavor.
- Chill The Dough: I really find that this improves both the texture and flavor of these cookies. It’s not 100% necessary but does make a difference!
- Grind Your Black Sesame Seeds Fresh: While you can keep black sesame seed powder in the fridge for 1-2 weeks, I find the flavor is best when you grind the seeds and incorporate them into the batter immediately.
- Matcha Black Sesame Cookies: Mix 1 tbsp matcha powder into the cookie dough for a vibrant green color and bold flavor in these Japanese sesame cookies.
- Black Sesame Chocolate Chip Cookies: Mix chocolate chips into the batter for added indulgence! Try out dark chocolate, milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, or even chocolate chunks. Add as many or as few as you like – just keep in mind the nutritional information below will change!
- Tahini Thumbprint Cookies: Add a shallow indent in the center of each cookie and fill with your favorite topping like jam or tahini before baking.
🍽 Serving Suggestions
Enjoy these black sesame seed cookies alone or paired alongside your morning coffee or afternoon tea! Here are a few other serving suggestions I love:
- Warm Beverages: Enjoy these simple sesame cookies with your favorite drinks like an oat milk hot chocolate or lavender latte. Or try out this golden latte recipe!
- Other Desserts: Pair these cookies with a scoop of ice cream! I love making homemade ice cream for a healthier option. Try out this lychee ice cream, vegan matcha ice cream, or tofu ice cream which all complement the flavors of the black tahini cookies perfectly. Soft serve ice cream is great too!
🙌 Dietary Adaptations
- Gluten-Free Option: Substitute the all-purpose flour for a gluten free flour option like Bob’s Red Mill.
- Vegan Option: Use vegan butter and a flax egg in place of the regular butter and egg. This will result in the best vegan sesame cookie recipe!
- Storing: Store black sesame paste cookies in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 4 days.
- Freezing: Cookies can be frozen for up to 1 month in a freezer safe bag until the next time you want to enjoy this treat.
- Reheating: If frozen, allow cookies to thaw and warm up for a few minutes in the oven or toaster oven.
When baking with black sesame seeds you can use warm spices like cinnamon or nutmeg to complement the black sesame flavor. Chocolate and vanilla also pair really well with the nutty taste! If you are looking for more savory flavors try out matcha. This unique combination will really satisfy your taste buds!
You can purchase black sesame seeds online or from most local grocery stores. You also will find them at any Asian market! Just be sure to grab the black variety, as they are different from white sesame seeds. White sesame seeds have been hulled and have a more mild flavor. You want the unhulled black seeds for this recipe to provide a bolder taste.
If you are familiar with the white variety, you will find that black sesame seeds taste stronger with a nutty, slightly bitter flavor. The bitterness is masked with the sugar and other ingredients in this black sesame cookies recipe!
To prevent the cookies from spreading too much use a silicone baking mat or parchment paper instead of greasing the pan. Greasing a pan with oil is effective in preventing cookies from sticking, but also can encourage them to keep spreading as there is no friction. Additionally, chilling the dough beforehand will slow down the spreading process!
You’ll actually use a combination of sesame paste (either black sesame paste or tahini) along with ground black sesame seeds in this recipe. I would recommend keeping the black sesame seed powder, as this is the main ingredient for these delicious cookies. However, if you need to make a change you can grind up white seeds instead. The flavor will be a little different, but this will still yield good results!
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Love this plant based dessert recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating 🌟 in the recipe below and/or a review in the comment section further down the page!
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🎥 Watch How to Make It
Black Sesame Cookies
- Line 2 baking trays with baking paper and set aside.
- Transfer the sesame seeds to a spice grinder or food processor and grind to form a powder.
- Whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking soda and salt, set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the butter, both sugars and the sesame seed powder. Beat for 2 minutes on high until light and fluffy.
- Next, add the tahini, vanilla extract and egg, continue to beat until well incorporated.
- Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and gently fold through the flour mixture until just combined.
- Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the cookie dough and place on prepared baking trays.
- Chill the cookies for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F / 180 C.
- Remove the cookies from the fridge and gently press, with the base of a glass, to flatten the cookies.
- Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes.
- Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- When grinding the sesame seeds be sure not to grind them too much as they may begin to form a paste.
- Gently folding the flour into the butter mixture prevents over working the batter.
- Store cookies in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 4 days.
- Cookies can be frozen for up to 1 month.
- Substitute the all-purpose flour for gluten free flour for a gluten free cookie.