Rich and Creamy Honey Sesame Dressing

published Jun 15, 2022
Sesame Dressing Recipe

Ground toasted sesame seeds add texture and extra nutty flavor to this simple dressing.

Makesabout 1/2 cup

Prep5 minutes

Cook1 minute to 3 minutes

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a closeup photo of a wooden spoon lifting a spoonful of a creamy sesame dressing that light brown in color with visible sesame seeds in it.
Credit: Meleyna Nomura

Over 20 years ago on a summer visit to my aunt and uncle’s house in Maui, we were invited to their friend’s house for a barbecue. An awkward preteen at the time, I parked myself next to the appetizers and busied myself with the veggies and dip to avoid talking to a bunch of adults I didn’t know.

The dip was totally unfamiliar to me. I was used to ranch next to the carrot sticks back at home, but this creamy dip was nutty and slightly sweet. I couldn’t get enough of it. 

I am not kidding when I say I’ve been thinking about this dip for the last two decades. I didn’t have the palate back then to figure out what I was eating. For some reason, it never occurred to me to ask my aunt and uncle if they knew what it was until five days ago. This time, they were visiting me. I shared my memory, and they laughed, immediately guessing who’s house we were at, telling me this sesame dip was a staple, and rattled off a handful of ingredients — mostly mayo, miso, and honey.

This dressing version is a little different from what they described, a little less sweet and a little tangier, more pourable than a thicker dip. I skipped the miso, instead adding a bunch of toasted and ground sesame seeds for nuttiness. Please don’t make the same mistake I did and wait 20 years to make this.

What Is Sesame Dressing Made Of?

This sesame dressing is based on coarsely ground sesame seeds, lending a toasty, nutty flavor with lots of texture. Toasted sesame oil echoes those flavors, with rice vinegar and soy sauce providing tangy savoriness. A couple of spoonfuls of mayonnaise makes things rich and creamy, and a little honey rounds it all out.

Credit: Meleyna Nomura

Do I Need a Mortar and Pestle to Grind the Sesame Seeds?

Traditionally, sesame seeds are ground in a suribachi for sesame dressing. A mortar and pestle will also work. A coffee grinder makes the quickest work of the task. You can also whir all the dressing ingredients together in a personal-sized blender or food processor.

What Do I Serve with Sesame Dressing?

Sesame dressing is versatile. Try it with the following:

  • Salad greens as a main or side salad.
  • Thinly sliced cabbage as a slaw
  • With cut vegetables as a dip.
  • Drizzled over a grain bowl.
  • Served alongside grilled or roasted proteins.

Sesame Dressing Recipe

Ground toasted sesame seeds add texture and extra nutty flavor to this simple dressing.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 1 minute to 3 minutes

Makes about 1/2 cup

Nutritional Info


  • 1/4 cup

    white sesame seeds

  • 3 tablespoons


  • 2 tablespoons

    rice vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon

    toasted sesame oil

  • 2 teaspoons

    soy sauce or tamari

  • 2 teaspoons



  1. Place 1/4 cup white sesame seeds in a small skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside to cool slightly. Meanwhile, place together 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, 2 teaspoons soy sauce or tamari, and 2 teaspoons honey in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth.

  2. Coarsely grind the sesame seeds in a suribachi or mortar and pestle, or pulse 2 to 3 times in a coffee or spice grinder. Add to the dressing and whisk to combine.