A Recipe: Sesame-Honey Candy

Sesame honey candy, or pasteli, is a traditional Greek confection which combines the simplest of ingredients to create a wholesome, natural treat featuring three simple ingredients: sesame seeds, honey and unrefined sea salt.  Often served for Easter, though a charming treat any time of the year, sesame honey candy are dense with sesame flavor and offer pleasantly chewy candy.

Sesame seeds offer a rich source of minerals including calcium and zinc, and they frequently make the list of the best sources of vitamins and minerals.  Indeed, sesame seeds are a rich source of thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, calcium and magnesium.  The hulls of sesame seeds contain oxalates, and, for this reason, I recommend using hulled sesame seeds not only for better mineral absorption, but also for improved flavor.

sesame honey candy [pasteli]

By Jenny Published: May 4, 2010

  • Yield: approximatley 96 candies
  • Prep: approximately 15 to 20 min

A traditional Greek confection, sesame honey candy combines the simplest of ingredients – gently toasted sesame seeds, unrefined sea salt and honey – for natural treat. An alternative to overly sweet candies, sesame honey candy is wholesome but should, like any sweet, be eaten as a rare treat.


  • olive oil (for greasing the baking sheet)
  • 3 cups hulled sesame seeds
  • 1 cup honey
  • unrefined sea salt (to taste)


  1. Generously grease a baking sheet with olive oil and set aside.
  2. Heat a well-seasoned cast iron skillet over medium-high flame until it becomes hot to the touch.
  3. Pour three cups sesame seeds into the hot pan and stir them continuously with wooden spoon until they’re well-toasted and golden-brown in color – about four to six minutes.
  4. Stir honey and a generous dash of unrefined sea salt into the toasted sesame seeds until they become well-coated and the mixture stiffens.
  5. Pour the mixture of honey and sesame seeds onto your greased baking sheet and pat down and smooth out the mixture with a wooden spoon.
  6. Score the candy into pieces of 1/4-inch by 1-inch and set the pan aside until the candy is cool enough to handle comfortably.
  7. When cool to the touch, but still warm enough to be malleable, grease your fingers with olive oil and roll the pieces of honey candy into small small, round logs.
  8. Allow to cool completely before serving.

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What people are saying

  1. Maxime says

    You just made my day. When I lived in the Netherlands, I would get stuff at the Turkish store. It is SO good. I’ll definitely be making this soon. Thanks so much!!!!

  2. Teresa says

    Just curious, have you ever tried mixing in any other nuts or perhaps dried fruit bits with the sesame seeds? If so, how did it turn out? (Thinking cashews or almonds maybe).

    My always inquisitive brain is making me wonder about making this into an even healthier treat bar type thing.

  3. Monique says

    I love all the recipes but I do wish the size of the recipes were not so big.
    3 cups of sesame seeds is a huge amount in this recipe. The Baked oatmeal recipe recently called for half a dozen eggs! I sometimes wish your recipes were not so big.
    Best wishes,
    Monique -x-

  4. Rachel, Michigan says

    Could you give a photo of the un-hulled seeds for clarification on which seeds are better? I’ll be trying this soon!

  5. Yen says

    Have you used other sweeteners? I cannot use honey and would like to know if agave nectar would produce the same results?
    I like this site but have many intolerances so need more substitution help.
    Thanks – I love the writing in your posts.


  6. says

    This looks so good. I wish my son were not allergic to sesame seeds. I made a sesame milk for my daughter when she broke her arm. It heal so much faster than the doctor expected AND not only that, but when she x-rayed it after the cast was off to make sure it healed, she could not find where the break was! She says that does not happen – you ALWAYS see SOMETHING where the break was. But my daughter’s break had healed completely!!

  7. says

    This look really good and simple. Unfortunately I would probably eat the entire batch but I may give it a try anyway.

  8. says

    I am sending this to the printer! I LOVE recipes are are very simple and easy to make. I don’t remember the last time I made something that called for only 3-4 ingredients!

  9. says

    Oh my! Our local health food store sells these candies, only they are rectagular and not in little balls…. looks like I’ll be making my own from here on out!!! YUM!!! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe. So simple :o)

  10. cindy says

    Made these and they are delicious! My only question is I don’t understand the measurements for scoring the candy. I made 1/2 a batch and would have gotten over 200 candies if I cut them 1/4-inch by 1-inch. Am I misunderstanding something? How thick should I spread the mixture? What size baking sheet? Sorry to be so clueless! Thanks!

  11. Julie says

    I just made these! What a nice treat, although I have to tell you, they are addictive. I added about 1/4 cup of pecans and about1/4 cup of raw shredded coconut to the sesame seeds as they were toasting. I spread the hot mixture out onto parchment paper. When the mixture was cool enough, I pressed it out and then cut into small rectangles. I will make these often–thank you for sharing this healthy and easy to remember and make recipe.

  12. Michelle says

    These look really good and I am interested in trying them. I am wondering how to store them and how long they last. I have 5 boys so I am not sure they will be around too long but it’s nice to know.

    Thanks so much!

  13. olivia says

    does toasting the sesame seeds do the same as soaking them? I heard that sesame seeds should be soaked to make them more digestible but I haven’t tried it yet. Would appreciate peoples thoughts on this :-)

  14. says

    OHHHHhhhh, these look so yummy!! Like an earlier commenter, Jenn, I would probably eat the whole batch. Now I need to get some sesame seeds!

  15. Cyndi says

    Just made these. Great no bake treat. The five year old used her well oiled hands to roll (and sample). Oil helps the whole operation along quite nicely. She is on a honey kick, and this was a nice way to finish up our supply. Plenty more coming up. Use good local honey is my only tip. Crummy honey would surely ruin this. Where do sesame seeds come from is my only question. I was able to find them very cheap and froze them, but wondered where they are most likely imported from, since I don’t think they’re harvested in Maine….

  16. marina says

    I will be making these tonight, thanks! Great after school snack for kids who keep asking for different snacks all the time :)

  17. says

    just made these for Christmas:) Very Yummy–but, some of mine were too hard to roll when I got to them–maybe just waited too long? anyway, love it that I’m putting healthy things into kids stockings! Thanks!!

  18. carol says

    I know this is an old post but I have a question after reading it all and re reading to be sure I did not miss the answer….how long will they keep and how do you store them? Will they keep wrapped in wax paper for a week? I am thinking making them as lunch snacks.

    • Jenny says

      They will keep indefinitely – months and months in an airtight container. We like to give them as Christmas/Easter gifts.

  19. Skye says

    I also try to be eco-friendly and struggle with that as well. Dime store toys are a great alternative, but they take so much energy to produce, package, ship, and often end up in the trash within a week or so anyway. How to strike a good balance?

    Love the idea for a home-cooked seasonal meal to mark the day! We are leaning towards the traditional holidays and this time of year is about letting the “light” go and preparing for the “dark”. The sun is growing weaker and weaker in this hemisphere so we should put on a party for him! And prepare ourselves for the dark days ahead. :)

  20. Amanda Munhollon says

    May I please Pin your pics & recipes on my pinterest boards, I will be sure to link them back to you of course. Love this recipe!

  21. says

    Hi there, just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed your recipe! I used vodka-honey infused sesame seeds, then toasted them in the oven and roughly followed your directions. They worked out great. Thanks for the inspiration!

  22. Debbie says

    Where can I purchase the seeds and is there a special type I need to look for? Can they be purchased at places like WalMart? Thank you for the recipe. :)

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