Get Your Pita Chips Ready, Because You’re Going to Love This Smoky Sunflower Dip

If you like snacking on sunflower seeds, you'll love the smoky flavors in this easy dip.

Photo: Roberto Caruso

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Who doesn’t love a good dip? Whether you love the combo of a cool, creamy dip on something crunchy, like raw veggies or crispy cracker, or you can’t get enough of the flavor combos dips can offer, there’s just something so satisfying about this popular appetizer food. Dips come in many different forms, but we love recipes that include a whole lot of flavor and plenty of health benefits. That’s exactly what you’ll get each time you scoop up a spoonful of our Super-Easy Smoky Sunflower Dip.

Made with the irresistible flavors of smoked paprika, cumin and cayenne pepper plus the nuttiness of sunflower seeds, this dip doesn’t require many ingredients. But once it’s ready to serve, it has a taste that feels so complex (and we bet you won’t be able to stop dipping into it!). However, we’re even bigger fans of the nutrients you’ll get out of this delectable dip. Sunflower seeds offer an array of vitamins and minerals, including a hefty dose of vitamin E and selenium. These little seeds are also rich in protein and fiber, plus some good-for-you unsaturated fats.

And while sunflower seeds are often thought of as a crunchy snack, they’re surprisingly versatile. How, exactly, did we take sunflower seeds from crunchy to creamy? In this recipe, we use a quarter cup of tahini – a sesame butter that’s a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine – to smooth out the texture and make one seriously rich-tasting dip. Tahini is vegan, gluten-free and both nutty and earthy in its flavor. We love using a thinner tahini, but the best part about this ingredient is it’s totally adaptable. If you prefer a thinner dip, you can add more tahini. For a thicker spread, you can use less.

Super-Easy Smoky Sunflower Dip

Cook Time
5 min
35 min


  • 1 1⁄2 cups raw sunflower seeds
  • 1⁄2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1⁄4 cup tahini
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp each sea salt and ground cumin
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil + additional for garnish
  • 1⁄2 cup reserved soaking liquid


  1. To a medium bowl, add sunflower seeds and enough boiling water to cover them; let sit 30 minutes. Drain, reserving soaking liquid.
  2. Add seeds to a food processor along with all ingredients except oil and soaking liquid. Process until smooth, stopping when needed to scrape down sides.
  3. While food processor is running, add oil and soaking liquid, a little at a time, until mixture is creamy. Add more soaking liquid as needed to achieve desired consistency.
  4. Spoon into a bowl and drizzle with oil for garnish. Serve with pita, pita chips or vegetables. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size
  • Calories 378
  • Carbohydrate Content 11 g
  • Cholesterol Content 0 mg
  • Fat Content 35 g
  • Fiber Content 4 g
  • Protein Content 9 g
  • Saturated Fat Content 4 g
  • Sodium Content 336 mg
  • Sugar Content 2 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat Content 18 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat Content 12 g