Made from ground black sesame seeds and either sesame oil or honey, Black Sesame Paste (or Kuro Neri Goma) is used as a flavoring to make sweet and savory dishes in Japanese and Asian cuisines. Learn how to make it at home today!
In Japan and other East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines, black sesame seeds are used extensively in cooking, baking, and desserts. We use the black sesame seeds in their original form, and in powder and paste forms. It is one of my favorite flavorings for making pastries and sweets. When summer comes around, I would make a jar of homemade black sesame paste and store it in the fridge so I can always whip up black sesame ice cream and other treats.
How Does Black Sesame Paste Taste Like?
To make black sesame paste, the unhulled sesame seeds are first toasted and then ground into a thick puree before being sweetened with honey.
With a glossy, jet-black color and uniquely rich nutty flavor, black sesame paste can change the dynamic of a dessert completely. I would also describe the flavor as slightly earthy with a mildly bitter undertone, which provides a nice counterbalance to any sweets.
You can find many popular Japanese sweets and pastries such as macarons, purin (Japanese pudding), chiffon cake, mochi, bread, ice cream flavored with black sesame.
Black sesame paste (黒練りごま) is typically sold in a small jar at Japanese (or Chinese) grocery stores or on Amazon, but you can easily make it at home.
How to Make Black Sesame Paste – 2 Simple Ingredients!
It’s so easy to make homemade black sesame paste! You’ll need only black sesame seeds and honey (for sweets) or sesame oil (for savory).
Using a food processor makes the process faster than grinding with Suribachi and Surikogi (Japanese mortar and pestle). You need at least 1/4 cup sesame seeds to get it running.
As you grind the sesame seeds will start releasing natural oil, so there’s no need to add any liquid if you use a commercial-grade machine. If you’re using a smaller processor, you may need to add a little honey or sesame oil to get the grinding going to reach the pasty texture. Allow the processor to take breaks in between before you run it again.
Once you make the paste, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 month!
In addition to black sesame ice cream and black sesame dan dan noodles, you can also use black sesame paste to make filling for mochi, or include it in your smoothie, to make creme brulee and pudding or as a dipping sauce for fruits like banana and apples. Black sesame is known to be an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, iron, and healthy fat, so that’s a double win!
Homemade Black Sesame Paste (Kuro Neri Goma)
For Black Sesame Paste for Sweets
- 1 cup toasted black sesame seeds
- ½–1 tsp honey (optional)
- Gather all the ingredients. Please note: I used ½ cup (60 g) of black sesame seeds in this step-by-step instruction; however, I noticed it was much easier to make a paste when I used 1 cup in a 3-cup food processor. If you use less, or use a bigger food processor, the blades will spin without engaging the sesame seeds and you won‘t be able to make a paste. Therefore, I updated the ingredient list with 1 cup of sesame seeds [revised March 2023].
- In a non-greased pan, toast 1 cup toasted black sesame seeds to bring out the aroma.
- Put the toasted sesame seeds in the food processor and start processing. You can also grind the black sesame seeds by mortar and pestle (but it will take some time).
- It will take some time for the sesame seeds to release the oil, so be patient.
- Scrape the sesame seeds from the sides as needed and run again. Depending on the machine, you may need to take a break to avoid breaking the motor.
- [Optional] Add ½–1 tsp honey or ½–1 tsp toasted sesame oil, but only if your food processor is struggling. Sesame seeds themselves contain oil that naturally releases during toasting and grinding, so it’s usually enough to create a thick sesame paste. However, if your food processor is struggling to crush and grind, you can drizzle a little bit of sesame oil onto the seeds to add volume, help bind them, and thin out the paste.
- The sesame seeds will start to look pastier. Continue processing.
- Once the sesame seeds are all ground, liquidy, and pasty, transfer to a sterilized mason jar.
- You can store homemade sesame paste in the refrigerator for up to 1 month and in the freezer for half a year. Bring the paste back to room temperature before using it.