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Black Sesame Cookies

Black Sesame Cookies are intriguingly delicious. They’re rich, dense, and chewy on the inside with a crunchy outer shell. Ground black sesame seeds give the cookies striking look—dark, almost black inside and grey on the outside. Their distinctive nutty and fragrant flavor makes them perfectly irresistible.

overhead shot of black sesame cookies on a baking sheet with parchment paper and a red-handled spoon.

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Why you’ll love these cookies

  • They’re crisp on the outside and dense and chewy inside, which makes them totally addictive.
  • The unique flavor makes them taste unlike any cookie you’ve had before. Black sesame seeds have the same nutty flavor as white sesame seeds, but it is more intense and with a bit of a bitter edge.
  • Toasted Chinese sesame paste makes them impossibly nutty, enhancing the flavor of the black sesame seeds.
  • They’re easy and quick to make—similar to making chocolate chip cookies.
  • Their unique appearance will add visual interest to a cookie platter.
Overhead shot of the ingredients needed to make black sesame cookies.

Ingredients you need

Most of the ingredients you need to make this Black Sesame Cookie recipe are basic baking staples. Here’s what you need:

  • Black sesame seeds: These are obviously essential because they provide both the distinctive flavor and appearance for these cookies. You can substitute white sesame seeds if you like, but the flavor will be milder and less unique. You can buy Black Sesame Seeds in Asian grocery stores or online.
  • Butter: I use unsalted butter in all of my baked goods because I like to control the amount of salt myself. If you use salted butter instead, just be sure to decrease the quantity of salt to about ¼ teaspoon. Either way, bring the butter to room temperature before beginning the recipe. To do so, just leave it on the countertop for 20 to 30 minutes (50 to 60 minutes if the butter is frozen).
  • Chinese sesame paste:  Chinese sesame paste is made from toasted sesame seeds. Its intensely nutty flavor enriches the cookie dough, intensifying the flavor. You can substitute Japanese sesame paste (which is similar to Chinese) or, in a pinch, tahini, which lacks the toasty flavor of the Asian versions. You can buy Chinese sesame paste in Asian grocery stores or online.
  • Sugar: Use regular granulated sugar both in the dough and for coating the dough balls.
  • Egg: Use one large egg. Ideally, the egg will be at room temperature when you add it.
  • Vanilla: I always use pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste for the best flavor.
  • Flour: Use all-purpose flour. I love the flour from King Arthur Flour.
  • Baking soda: Just a touch helps keep these cookies a bit light. If you don’t have baking soda, you can substitute twice as much baking powder.
  • Salt: This adds balance to the sweetness and brings out the savory notes of the black sesame seeds.

How do you make them?

This cookie recipe is easy to make. In fact, it’s not much different from making Ginger Snap Cookies or even just basic chocolate chip cookies. The only unusual step here is grinding the sesame seeds. Here’s how to make the cookies:

  1. Preheat the oven and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a spice grinder or food processor, grind the sesame seeds and ¾ cup of the sugar together just until the sesame seeds are finely ground (if you’re using an electric spice grinder, you may need to grind the seeds and sugar in two batches, or just grind the seeds and then mix the black sesame powder with the sugar).
  3. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar-sesame seed mixture until well combined and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the sesame paste, egg, and vanilla.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and beat to incorporate.
  6. Using a small cookie scoop, scoop the dough into equal portions onto the parchment lined baking sheet.
  7. Put the remaining ¼ cup of sugar in a small dish. Roll each of the cookie scoops into a ball and then roll each ball in the sugar to coat well.
  8. Arrange the balls on the prepared baking sheet, leaving a couple of inches between the cookies to account for spreading as they bake.
  9. Bake until the cookies just begin to brown.
  10. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely.
low angle shot of black sesame cookies. There is a hand lifting a half cookie.

More cookie recipes you’ll love

Whether you’re looking for a simple sweet treat to bake for afternoon snacks or are building a decadent holiday cookie platter, these nutty Black Sesame Cookies will fit right in.

overhead shot of black sesame cookies on a baking sheet.

Some of my other favorite cookies are KolackyGinger Snap CookiesFlourless Chocolate Cookies, and Dulce de Leche Cookies.

Lemon Coconut Macaroons and Rhubarb Cookies are a fun change of pace. Hamentashen and Chocolate Rugelach are perfect for Jewish holidays, but even non-Jews love them 

Or try making air fryer cookies like Air Fryer Peanut Butter Cookies or Air Fryer Hot Cocoa Cookies!

Tools you’ll need

Yield: Makes about 36 cookies

Black Sesame Cookies

Black Sesame Cookies

These chewy Black Sesame Cookies are absolutely delicious. They’re rich and dense on the inside with a crunchy outer shell. The black sesame seeds give the cookies an unusual look—a dark, almost black inside and grey on the outside. Their distinctive nutty and fragrant flavor makes them perfectly irresistible. When you pull the cookies out of the oven, they’ll be a bit puffed and rounded on the top. As they cool, they will fall a bit and the tops will crack, which I think makes them look extra scrumptious.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes

Ingredients

  • ½ cup black sesame seeds, plus additional for garnishing
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese sesame paste (see note for substitution info)
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt or 1/4 teaspoon fine grained salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a spice grinder or food processor, grind the sesame seeds and ¾ cup of the sugar together just until the sesame seeds are finely ground (don’t grind for too long or you’ll make a paste).
  3. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar-sesame seed mixture until well combined and fluffy.
  4. Add the sesame paste, egg, and vanilla, and beat to incorporate.
  5. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and beat together until just incorporated.
  6. Using a small cookie scoop, scoop the dough into equal portions onto the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Put the remaining ¼ cup of sugar in a small dish. Roll each of the cookie scoops into a ball and then roll each ball in the sugar to coat well.
  8. Arrange the balls on the prepared baking sheet, leaving a couple of inches between the cookies to account for spreading as they bake.
  9. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the cookies just begin to brown.
  10. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Notes

1. You can substitute white sesame seeds for black sesame seeds if you like.

2. You can substitute Japanese sesame paste or, in a pinch, tahini for Chinese sesame paste.

3. For a softer cookie, you can substitute some or all of the 3/4 cup sugar in the dough with brown sugar.

4. If you don't have baking soda, you can substitute 1 teaspoon baking powder.

5. These cookies are easy to store. You can keep them at room temperature, in an airtight container, for up to 5 days or freeze them for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Information

Yield

36

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 69Total Fat 3gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 9mgSodium 52mgCarbohydrates 10gFiber 0gSugar 6gProtein 1g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.

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Tools you’ll need

By on October 27th, 2022

ABOUT ROBIN DONOVAN

Hi, I’m Robin! I am a full-time food blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. I spend my days cooking, writing about, and photographing food.

I’m the author of more than 50 cookbooks, including Ramen for Beginners5 Ingredient Cooking for TwoSushi at HomeThe Baking Cookbook for Teens, and the bestselling Campfire Cuisine.

My food writing has also been featured in major print and online pubications including Cooking Light, Fitness, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and others. → More about Robin

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