Tahini Dressing

Keep this lemon tahini dressing on hand in the fridge, and you'll eat more salad than you ever have before! It's creamy, nutty, bright, and delicious.

tahini dressing recipe

Of all of the homemade salad dressings out there, this lemon tahini dressing might be the one I make most often. It’s really versatile – it tastes just as good with tomatoes and cucumbers in the summer as it does with roasted sweet potatoes, cauliflower, or broccoli in the fall. It consists of a short list of ingredients that I always keep on hand, and it’s super easy to stir together. No blender or food processor required!

Nowadays, most home cooks I know are familiar with tahini, but in case you haven’t heard of it, it’s a paste made from ground sesame seeds that originated in the Middle East. It’s what makes dips like hummus and baba ganoush so velvety and rich, and if you’re a fan of falafel, there’s a good chance you’ve drizzled nutty tahini sauce on top. In my kitchen, I use tahini in oatmeal, cookies, ice cream, and more, but I especially love it in this simple tahini dressing recipe. It’s creamy, rich, nutty, and bright. I like to keep it on hand at all times, and once you try it, I think you will, too.

Tahini dressing recipe ingredients

Tahini Dressing Recipe Ingredients

Ready to make tahini salad dressing? You’ll need these simple ingredients:

  • Tahini – It makes up the dressing’s creamy base. For the best results, use really smooth, runny tahini here, not the dry, stiff stuff that you might find at the bottom of a jar. Tahini’s consistency can also vary from brand to brand; my favorites are Soom, Cedar’s, Trader Joe’s, and Seed+Mill.
  • Fresh lemon juice – It makes the dressing nice and bright.
  • Sesame oil – It highlights the tahini’s rich, nutty flavor.
  • Garlic – For sharp depth of flavor.
  • Maple syrup – For balance! It tames the bright lemon juice and sharp garlic.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – It adds body and richness.
  • And sea salt – To make all the flavors pop!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Hands whisking olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, sesame oil, and maple syrup in a small bowl

Add the ingredients to a small bowl along with 3 tablespoons of water, and whisk to combine.

Hands whisking creamy lemon tahini dressing

As the dressing starts to come together, the tahini will seize up, and the sauce will thicken. Don’t worry about it! It’s totally normal. Keep whisking, and you’ll have a smooth, creamy tahini salad dressing in no time.

If the dressing is still thicker than you’d like it to be, add more water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, until it reaches your desired consistency. Season to taste with more lemon juice, salt, maple syrup, or sesame oil, and enjoy!

Hands whisking tahini salad dressing

How to Use Lemon Tahini Dressing

Clearly, this lemon tahini dressing is fantastic on salads. I call for it in this Sweet Potato Salad recipe, but it’d also be great on this kale salad, this roasted cauliflower salad, this pomegranate salad, this beet salad, or this butternut squash salad. Not in the mood for salad? No problem. Here are a few more delicious ways to use this tahini dressing:

How do you like to use lemon tahini dressing? Let me know in the comments!

tahini dressing

More Favorite Dressings and Sauces

If you love this tahini dressing recipe, try one of these flavorful dressings next:

Tahini Dressing

rate this recipe:
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Serves 4 to 6
This tahini dressing is fantastic on almost any salad, but your options for using it don't end there! Drizzle it over roasted veggies, grain bowls, and more. Find additional suggestions in the post above.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup smooth tahini*
  • 3 tablespoons water, more if needed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, water, lemon juice, olive oil, maple syrup, sesame oil, garlic, and salt until smooth.
  • If the dressing is too thick, add more water, ½ tablespoon at a time, until it’s a drizzleable consistency.

Notes

*For the best results, use really smooth, runny tahini here, not the dry, stiff stuff that you might find at the bottom of a jar. Tahini's consistency can also vary from brand to brand; my favorites are Soom, Cedar’s, Trader Joe’s, and Seed+Mill.

3 comments

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  1. Katalina
    09.22.2020

    5 stars
    So lovely.thanks for sharing

  2. Karen
    10.22.2020

    5 stars
    Really delicious – wonderful consistency. I used TJ’s tahini. Thank you!

  3. Sam
    10.25.2020

    5 stars
    I just made this dressing for roast veg buckwheat bowls and it is dreamy and delicious!!!

    I used 1 less Tb of EVOO and added a touch more tahini from the bottom of the jar to make the consistency just right (mine came out quite watery as I used very smooth tahini as well as all 3 Tbs water by mistake at the start) Oh and I used garlic powder instead of grated garlic (not a fan of raw garlic is all)

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.