Sunflower seed butter spread on bread. Sunflower seed butter spread on bread. Israeli Kitchen Sunflower seed butter spread on bread, topped with bananas. (Photo: Tracy Benjamin /Flickr)

How to make sunflower seed butter and sunflower seed tahini

Two tasty spreads to bring healthy sunflower seeds into your life.

  • Yield: 1 cup
  • Level: Easy
  • Prep time: 5 minutes

I'd been reading about the excellent nutrition in sunflower seeds. And I recalled a picnic lunch with a friend who'd brought a jar of sunflower seed butter to spread on our baguettes. So I took a walk out to the local health food store and looked around. There was sunflower seed butter, but it was pricey. The ingredients were nothing but sunflower seeds, oil and salt. I put the jar back on the shelf and thought, I can make this myself.

So I headed for the market, where sunflower seeds are plentiful and inexpensive. You can get them in their shiny black shells, or shelled; roasted or raw. I chose shelled, raw seeds. At home, I pulled out my trusty food processor and got to work. The butter took almost no time to produce. It’s worth making small batches, because it's really tastiest fresh. And while this spread usually winds up on bread as a snack, you can dilute it, add seasonings and make a tahini. Read on, you'll find out.


    For sunflower seed butter

  • 1 cup shelled, roasted sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (not olive oil unless it's very light-tasting)
  • Pinch of salt (start by adding only a pinch, then add more to taste)
  • For sunflower seed tahini

  • 1/2 cup sunflower seed butter
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 small, mashed garlic clove
  • Salt to taste


Blend all. That's it!

Tips and notes:

Spread sunflower seed butter on bread and top with one of the following:

  • A slice of tomato
  • Slices of hard-boiled egg
  • Thinly sliced leftover roast chicken

Garnish the open sandwich with olives, pickles and sprigs of fresh herbs like parsley or arugula.

Spoon the tahini over salads, cooked vegetables, chicken, fish or rice, just as you would with conventional tahini.

Refrigerate the sunflower butter or tahini. It will keep a week, tightly covered.

Related Topics: Mediterranean, Vegetarian

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