Tahini Dressing

published May 5, 2022
Tahini Dressing Recipe

This dressing comes together quickly and can be used in so many endlessly delicious ways.

Makesabout 3/4 cup

Prep7 minutes

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a hand holding a red radish by the greens, with half of it dipped into a pale yellow tahini dressing, and a small, glass jar with the rest of the dressing below.
Credit: Meleyna Nomura

Tahini’s versatility makes it one of my favorite ingredients to play around with in the kitchen. Creamy, nutty, and naturally vegan, it works in a multitude of applications, including dressing. This versatile tahini dressing is easy to stir together and great to keep on hand to drip and drizzle over all sorts of things. 

What Is Tahini?

Tahini is simply ground toasted sesame seeds (think: peanut butter, but with sesame seeds). Its nutty flavor is used in both sweet and savory recipes. When used in dressings, it provides a naturally vegan creaminess that also keeps things emulsified. 

What Is the Difference Between Tahini Sauce and Tahini Dressing?

Tahini is often served as a prepared sauce, mixed with garlic and lemon and thinned with just enough water so that it’s not gloppy. Tahini sauce typically does not contain any oil, getting its richness from the fat of the tahini.

This dressing is more akin to a vinaigrette that’s thickened and made creamy with tahini.

  • Oil and vinegar: A sharp 1:1 ratio of olive oil and rice vinegar play together as the base.
  • Tahini: A few spoonfuls temper the bite of the vinegar and smooth the dressing out.
  • Garlic: A classic pairing with tahini.
  • Maple syrup: Some brands of tahini can be more bitter than others. A spoonful or two of the sweet stuff helps balance any bitterness that can sometimes come through.
  • Spices: A bit of smoked paprika and turmeric echo the earthy depth of the ground sesame seeds. 
  • Water: The consistency of tahini varies a lot by brand. Some dressings may need to be thinned, but add water slowly, and taste as you go. Tahini salad dressing should be more aggressively flavored than a sauce so that it flavors whatever it’s being poured over.
Credit: Meleyna Nomura

What Do I Serve with Tahini Dressing?

This bright dressing works well with greens or as a dip for cut vegetables. Drizzle it over roasted or grilled vegetables or simple proteins like fish

Tahini Dressing Recipe

This dressing comes together quickly and can be used in so many endlessly delicious ways.

Prep time 7 minutes

Makes about 3/4 cup

Nutritional Info


  • 1/4 cup

    rice vinegar

  • 1/4 cup

    olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons

    well-stirred tahini

  • 1 teaspoon

    maple syrup

  • 1 clove


  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    smoked paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground turmeric

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons

    cold water, as needed


  1. Place 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons tahini, and 1 teaspoon maple syrup in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Finely grate 1 garlic clove into the dressing. Add 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika, and 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric, and whisk to combine. If too thick, whisk in 1 to 2 tablespoons cold water as needed until creamy and pourable.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Thin with more water, as needed, before serving.