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:

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Tahini Dressing

rate this recipe:
4.94 from 89 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
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

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.

88 comments

4.94 from 89 votes (49 ratings without comment)

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Gina
    01.07.2024

    5 stars
    This is my tried and true go to dressing for salads, bhudda bowls, falafel and even fries! The family loves it, and it comes together quickly. If not eaten immediately, I freeze leftovers to prevent it from going mouldy.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.09.2024

      I’m so glad it’s been a favorite!

    • jill
      01.16.2024

      Do you need to refridgerate it after made?

  2. Colin
    01.07.2024

    Delicious dressing. Really great on falafel in a salad. I think the maple syrup must be for US tastes as it’s not really needed and makes it a little too sweet for me.

  3. Kristen
    01.05.2024

    4 stars
    Really simple recipe that tastes good too! I ended up needing to add more salt to really bring out the flavors. Great on my kale and beet salad with chickpeas, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds!

  4. Jeanette
    01.03.2024

    5 stars
    This dressing was amazing on our buddah bowls. Quinoa, sautéed mushrooms and red pepper, fresh chopped kale, air fried sweet potatoes cubes, half bratwurst sausage and roasted chick peas. The dressing was the perfect flavour to add to this delicious bowl! Thank you!

  5. Sharon Butler
    12.20.2023

    Do you think this dressing would work drizzled over smashed avocado and poached egg on toast?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      12.21.2023

      Hi Sharon – yep, it’s great that way!

  6. Deanna
    12.06.2023

    4 stars
    I made this today with rice syrup in place of maple. Soooo good!!! I’m having it by the spoonful. This will be my new go-to tahini dressing recipe, thank you!

  7. JoAnne
    11.20.2023

    Is the sesame oil necessary, I don.t normally keep that on hand. Any substitutions?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.23.2023

      You can use olive oil instead, it just won’t be as flavorful in this as the sesame oil.

  8. Taylor
    11.17.2023

    5 stars
    You are a go to site when looking for recipes. This dressing is great, good on salad, roast veggies, rice ramen, etc. Also thanks for warning about it seizing up- it gets me every time!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.19.2023

      I’m so glad you’ve loved it!

  9. Kaylie
    11.08.2023

    5 stars
    So easy and absolutely delicious!

  10. Fiona
    11.03.2023

    Both New Seasons and Whole Foods in Portland, OR, have lemon tahini dressing on their salad bars. It instantly became my very favorite dressing of all time. I no longer live there but I always make a point to get some when I visit. I haven’t tried this yet but I am getting ready to…from looking at the ingredients I don’t think one could go wrong. Thanks so much!

  11. Maya
    07.04.2023

    Delicious! It made my salad! I made it exactly as instructed.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.06.2023

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  12. Sally
    02.09.2023

    5 stars
    We love this tahini dressing recipe! It is thin with strong sesame flavor so we add to mayo if we want a thicker dressing for lettuce salads. I agree the tahini brand makes a difference. I used Krinos (1# jar at Walmart). It has the smooth consistency with minimal stirring, way better than the last tahini I purchased from Kroger, which came in a can with a plastic lid, an inch of oil on the top and rather solid mass of dried tahini.
    Also discovered there is a taste difference between regular sesame oil and toasted sesame oil. Use toasted if you find it.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      02.09.2023

      Hi Sally, I’m so glad you love the dressing!

  13. Kirstin
    01.06.2023

    FAR too sweet – lots more of all the other ingredients leaves it still too sweet. Leave out the maple syrup is my tip

    • Sheila
      01.18.2023

      Yup, I’m with you. I kept adding lemon juice but it didn’t help much. I also found it had a bitter after-taste and adding extra salt is not good for my high blood pressure. Apparantly I don’t like tahini salad dressing.

      • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
        01.20.2023

        Hi Sheila, the bitterness could be coming from your tahini. What brand are you using? Our favorites are Trader Joe’s, Soom, Seed+Mill, and Cedar’s.

        • Sheila
          01.20.2023

          Hey Phoebe, thanks for the reply.

          I live in a small village on North Vancouver Island in Canada. I’m lucky to be able to lay hands on tahini at all, let alone the brands you’re talking about. I have a brand called Tamam from Montreal.

          I must admit that I don’t fully understand how one brand can be that much different from another when there is just a single ingredient, but perhaps you’re right.

      • Sara
        09.23.2023

        The kind tahini makes all the difference. They are not created equal. I also thought I didn’t like tahini but then I tried some different varieties. I only buy a specific Ethiopian one from Amazon now.

  14. Kim
    01.02.2023

    4 stars
    i doubled recipe to have extra for veggies. it’s fine but it’s very sweet and thin – would start with less water and sweetener if I make again

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      01.03.2023

      Hi Kim, If your dressing is too thin, I’d recommend adding a bit more tahini to thicken it. To balance the sweetness, add an extra pinch of salt or more lemon juice to taste. Hope this helps!

  15. ginger m
    10.30.2022

    Just made this dressing. Lovely. I subbed a smidge of honey for the maple syrup and then added a couple of drops of tamari. Just gave it that extra something. Would make again!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.01.2022

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  16. Melissa
    09.08.2022

    5 stars
    Love it!! I used extra runny tahini like you suggested! I accidentally put too much lemon juice – any advice on how to fix it? Thank you!

  17. Katrina
    06.23.2022

    3 stars
    The dressing did not turn out so well for me as there was a strong bitter after-taste. I’m not sure if this was from my tahini, sesame oil or even the olive oil.

    • LT
      06.28.2022

      5 stars
      Hi Katrina,
      I notice this happens with tahini dressings sometimes too. A good trick I’ve found (learned from a pastry chef but works here too!) is to add a pinch or two more salt. When you’re working with anything bitter, salt is your friend for toning it down.

  18. Nancy
    06.23.2022

    Made this to go with a salad today. Absolutely delicious and easy to make. Already shared recipe with friends . Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.26.2022

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  19. Maria
    06.01.2022

    5 stars
    This is yet another dressing that I’d like to sip through a straw! It’s that good! Where is the 10-star button?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.03.2022

      Ha ha, I’m so glad you’ve loved it!

  20. Birdie
    05.31.2022

    5 stars
    I can’t stop with this dressing. It is so decadent and filling and mild and flavorful. I put it on everything!
    I bought a cute little mason jar, filled it with this tahini dressing and gave it to a friend as a housewarming gift. He LOVED it and now I’m his favorite for introducing him to your recipes.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.03.2022

      Aww, I’m so glad you loved the dressing and thanks for sharing it! You’re the best.

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.