I see you looking skeptical over there. Can tahini sauce really be “the best”? Isn’t it all the same? Au contraire, my friend! This tahini sauce is the best I have ever encountered.
This tahini sauce is rich, creamy, perfectly smooth, nutty and tangy. Its subtle garlic flavor enhances the toasted sesame flavor, rather than overwhelms or detracts.
This tahini sauce adds irresistible creaminess and tang to anything it touches, whether that be fresh or roasted vegetables, salad, falafel or pita bread.
When I set out to make tahini sauce, I read everything I could about the subject, like I do. Chef Michael Solomonov gave me some clues, via Serious Eats. (I don’t know the guy, but his techniques also guided my hummus recipe, which has been a smashing success.)
Are you ready to over-analyze tahini sauce with me? Hope so.
How to Make the Best Tahini Sauce
First, marinate the garlic in lemon juice for 10 minutes. The acidity of the lemon juice prevents the garlic from becoming too harsh (here’s why). This way, your lemon juice is infused with delicious, mellow garlic flavor.
Strain the garlic out of the lemon juice. I know, this sounds like extra work, but it’s worth it (I tried both strained and non-strained versions). This step ensures perfectly smooth tahini sauce and prevents the garlic flavor from stealing the show after all.
Time saver: If you’re in a hurry, skip the garlic altogether and whisk in the lemon juice during the following step.
Whisk in tahini, salt and cumin. You can’t make tahini sauce without tahini, and the salt and cumin enhance the other flavors.
Whisk in ice water until the mixture is gloriously smooth and creamy. When you add the tahini to the bowl, it will seize up. It loosens with the addition of sufficient amounts of ice water. It’s a really cool transformation, just wait!
Adjust to taste, if necessary. Add more water for a thinner consistency, more salt for more overall flavor, and/or more lemon juice for more tang. Your tahini sauce is good to go!
Watch How to Make Tahini Sauce
Uses for Tahini Sauce
Generally speaking, tahini sauce complements other Middle Eastern recipe components and flavors. Use it as a dip or a sauce. It’s also lovely with vegetables and other fresh, herbed flavors. Tahini sauce goes well with the following:
- Fresh vegetables
- Roasted vegetables
- Flat bread or toasted pita wedges
- Whole grains, such as farro
- Used as salad dressing (thinned with water as necessary)
- Served as an appetizer with hummus and/or baba ganoush
The Best Tahini for Tahini Sauce
The best tahini comes from Ethiopia. Solomonov recommends Soom Foods, which I bought on Amazon (affiliate link). It’s delicious and I can see why it’s his favorite.
My other go-to? Trader Joe’s organic tahini, which is made from Ethiopian sesame seeds like Soom’s. Whole Foods 365 used to be my go-to, but I encountered a few bad jars that tasted so bad, I’m afraid to try again.
Variations on Tahini Sauce
If you want to change up your traditional tahini sauce, just add herbs! You can whisk in chopped fresh, leafy herbs, such as fresh parsley, cilantro, dill, or basil. If you would like more of a uniformly green sauce, just blend the herbs with the tahini sauce in a food processor or blender. See recipe note for more details.
Please let me know how your tahini sauce turns out in the comments! I bet you come up with some more delicious variations and I’m looking forward to hearing about them.
Best Tahini Sauce
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Sauce
- Method: By hand
- Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Learn how to make ultra creamy tahini sauce! The best tahini sauce is ultra creamy, deliciously tangy and irresistible. This recipe is easy to make, too. You’ll just need a whisk! Recipe yields 1 to 1 ¼ cup; double if desired.
- 4 medium-to-large cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ½ cup tahini
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Pinch of ground cumin
- 6 tablespoons ice water, more as needed
- In a medium bowl, combine the garlic and lemon juice. Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes, to give the garlic time to infuse the lemon juice with flavor.
- Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into another medium bowl. Press the garlic solids with a spatula to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the garlic.
- Add the tahini, salt and cumin to the bowl. Whisk until the mixture is thoroughly blended.
- Add water 2 tablespoons at a time, whisking after each addition until smooth. (It may seize up, don’t worry.) After about 6 tablespoons, you will have a perfectly creamy and smooth, light-colored tahini sauce.
- If desired, thin with additional water for a more drizzly sauce. Adjust if necessary—if you’d like more tang, add more lemon, or for more overall flavor, add another pinch of salt. Your tahini sauce is ready to serve!
Recipe adapted from Michael Solomonov’s cookbook, Zahav, via Epicurious.
Shortcut option: Simply skip the garlic altogether and stir the lemon juice in with the other ingredients in step 3. You’ll end up with a great, basic, tangy tahini sauce this way.
Storage suggestions: This tahini sauce keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for about 1 week. The tahini may thicken with time; whisk in additional cold water as necessary to thin. Solomonov suggests that the tahini sauce can also be frozen for up to 1 month.
Herbed tahini sauce: Whisk ¼ cup (or more, to taste) chopped fresh, leafy herbs into the tahini sauce. Great options include fresh parsley, basil, dill and/or cilantro. If you would like a well-blended green sauce, simply blend the tahini sauce and herbs together in a food processor or blender.
Food processor option: (This makes more sense if you’re doubling the recipe and/or making the blended herbed sauce option.) You can actually toss unpeeled garlic cloves into the food processor, blitz until finely chopped, add the lemon juice, and let it rest for 10 minutes. Then strain the garlic out of the mixture in a strainer as described, and return the garlicky lemon juice to the food processor. Add the tahini, herbs (if using), salt and cumin and blend until creamy. Thin with cold water, added 2 tablespoons at a time, until you have a perfectly smooth sauce.
This is an excellent sauce. It is so good that my 2 year old literally started eating it with a spoon…
That’s amazing! Thank you for sharing, Zoe.
Thanks for this , I’m about to try it x
Excellent! I used a food processor but otherwise made as directed. So good with falafal. It’s my go to now!
Yum really enjoyed this (making it and eating it). thank you!
This was delicious… until I added the cumin. It made the dressing taste bland and took away it’s bold flavor. I would give this recipe 5 stars without the cumin, though.
Just made this for the roasted broccoli….it was so good. Thank you so much! xo
This was delicious! I like many of your recipes this one and the lentil soup are absolutely delicious!
Really good overall but too much lemon juice for me — it was really acidic.
I’m sorry you didn’t love it, Glen. I appreciate your feedback.
I love this sauce! I used garlic powder, & it came together so quickly. We first enjoyed it drizzled over chickpea-stuffed baked sweet potatoes, & then I had it spread on an egg sandwich with two over easy eggs, EBTB seasoning, spinach, & avocado. Thank you for an amazing go-to recipe!
I love your applications, Kori! Thank you for sharing.
This came out delicious! As a rookie cook, this made me super happy!
Love the recipe. However music is annoying in video :-(
This is soooo darn good I have to stop myself from drinking it in shots! Hahaha. Joking….not joking ; )
I love it! Thank you for sharing, Kirsten.
Outstanding tahini sauce! I’ve been making it for more than 40 years- never quite smooth enough….. the strained garlicky lemon juice is truly a game changer! Made it in the food processor and added the oil from the tahini to thin as well…. ice water is a brilliant ingredient also. Just made a quadruple recipe to share with our daughter- such a great sauce! Thanks
OMG I could not stop ‘checking and tasting’ to make sure it was ok. Best best best tahini sauce ever…..thx for sharing this nugget of a recipe. I will be eternally grateful
I don’t use the garlic because my stomach is sensitive to it, but it’s still delicious without it!! I like to dip roasted sweet potatoes in this and make it a bit thinner to use as a salad dressing!! Thanks for sharing :)
Awesome! Cooked the garlic and kept it in the final sauce, sooooooo delicious! Thanks for this recipe!
Love this sauce! I mad with to go with the mujadara recipe and it was perfect
I’m excited you loved it! That sounds like a good combination. Thank you for sharing, Bailey!
So delicious & easy to make! I omitted the cumin. I could just eat it on its own with a spoon.
Yes, I could too and have! Thank you for sharing, Lindsay.
It’s truly the best: easily made and so fresh! I used Joyva Brand tahini. A great olive-bread dip, but also delish on steamed vegetables. Thanks for the recipe.
You’re welcome, Chiller! I appreciate you taking the time to review.
Delish and super simple! Good on pretty much everything…. Thanks!
Hi Kate, your recipes are always so excellent, thanks for this and for the tip about soaking the garlic in the lemon juice. I wanted to let you know about this organic tahini that’s made in NYC – it’s fantastic. www.seedandmill.com. They also have incredible halva. :) I was using the Soom but this is even better.
Thank you, Lynn! I’m delighted you think so.
A great sauce, exactly what I hoped for my falafel. Infusing the lemon juice with garlic was creative and gave the anticipated result. Thank you!
I’m glad you loved it, Jenn!
Way to much garlic for only half a cup of tahini. Followed the instruction and allowed it to soak in lemon juice, maybe I let it soak a few minutes too long but god damn it made it extremely bitter. Added a ton more tahini but still can’t shake the extremely garlicky after taste. Other that that it’s great. Has a great flavor initially but then just gets way overpowered with garlic.
I’m sorry you didn’t love this one. I appreciate your feedback, Jackson.
How you make the tahini sauce
This is hands down the best tahini I have ever made! So creamy. Heck,I even cleaned the bowl with my fingers to get another taste. The cumin was an amazing touch and the lemon/garlic trick was a culinary epiphany! Thanks for sharing. ✌️
That’s great! Thank you for sharing, David.
I’m so pleased with this recipe! It was exactly the taste I was going for. Thank you.
You’re welcome, A!
Loved this over roasted cauliflower, broccoli, and shrimp!
This recipe was delicious and super easy. I had tried making tahini sauce myself without a recipe but it was grainy and unappealing. The creaminess of this recipe was perfect.
Thanks for writing, I very much liked your newest post. I think you should post more frequently, you evidently have natural ability for blogging!
It was wonderful, but I added some chopped parsley, chili oil, and sesame oil. Really made it that much better. Wonderful recipe!
This is THE BEST tahini sauce EVER! I’ve tried so many different recipes out but not one beats this one! We make a new batch three times a week and put in on everything!!!
So, THANK YOU <3
You’re welcome, Cecilie!
OMG!! I very rarely leave comments on recipe blogs but, this is a must. I just added all the ingredients to the Whole Foods (365) Tahini Paste which was beyond bitter on its own. I did not expect the addition of lemon, garlic and salt to change the taste as much as it did.
All I can say is WOW WOW WOW this is an amazing recipe and, yes, it’s the BEST damn tahini recipe!
Thank you for sharing!
I’m happy you did leave a comment and find it the best too, Diana! Thank you for your review. :)
Loved this sauce, made it all through last summer, getting a reminder to make it again ….. many thanks, Kate !
This recipe came out amazing! I used to go to my local middleeastern restaurant and ask for extra of this sauce with my food. Now, I can make it at home and it’s just as good if not better with fresh ingredients! Love it! Thank you!
That’s great to hear it measures up! Thank you for your review, Stacy.
This was delicious!!! And addicting!
I can’t wait to try this. FYI, I love Seed And Mill Tahini. Have you tried it? I use it all the time now to make your great hummus.
I will check it out!
I am a huge Trader Joe’s shopper, but I’ve purchased their tahini several times and thought it was bitter and tasted terrible. I really want to purchase tahini again to make this sauce but it’s an expensive ingredient so I’m wondering if the brand Soom that you recommend is less bitter? Also can I make this recipe without cumin? Thank you!
Hi Carol, sorry you are having trouble! Whole Food brand can be hit or miss. Let me know what you think if you try it!
Wow, best technique for a tahini sauce I have ever encountered. Really amazing outcome.
Absolutely the best. Incredible.
Thank you, Adéle.
Mary A Leck
Hi, Your suggestions about the garlic and lemon make sense. Garlic can be a very overwhelming flavor if not used in the proper ratio, etc. Looking forward to making this dressing again.
This was delicious and oh so easy. I went the food processor route. I often find tahini hard to work with ( even getting out of jar) but came across organic Tahini ACHVA. I found the flavor to be very good and easier to use than other tahinis I’ve tried. Did adjust seasonings at end with tad more cumin & salt.
I served it with a topping of zaartar – looks beautiful!
This recipe is my new go to- fast, easy and all ingredients are generally on hand for unexpected visitors.
Thank you for your detailed comment, Joanne. I’m glad you found a tahini you can enjoy for this recipe!
As many have reported, this recipe creates a beautiful tahini sauce. Tempering the chopped raw garlic in lemon juice is a brilliant technique. I started with the superb tahini from Soom. This sauce paired well with Oven-Roasted Chicken Shawarma, NY Times.
You are right. This is the best tahini sauce ever. The lemon garlic juice is a game changer.
Thank you for sharing your recipe. I just made it today. Perfect for dinner, drizzled on top of grilled salmon and sautéed green beans and spinach. I figure this will be great with crackers for snacks.
Oh my god! I could drink this sauce!!! I drizzled over quinoa, lentil balls and roasted broccoli. It was incredible!!!
That sounds so good! Thank you for sharing, Jenn.
Great sauce recipe and so easy. The taste is just yum and the whole family loved it.
Discard the garlic ! That ain’t happening. I’ll try it in the sauce but if it’s too much I’ll do something with it …
We love it… thanks for sharing.
Kate – thanks for this quick, easy, and tasty sauce. I found some tahini in the pantry and have been wanting to use it. Tossed it with some shredded coleslaw mix. Fabulous side dish but now I am thinking of variations.
I love that! I really like this sauce drizzled on so much.
Wow outstanding sauce!!! We loved it
Paula V MacRae
I took other reviewers advice and made without the cumin. Also added in 1 tsp of the minced garlic. Divine! Super sprinkled with sumac before serving.
So I did make a substitution out of sheer laziness – I used a small amount of garlic powder instead of infusing the garlic into the lemon juice. Even with that sub, it was delicious! I also left out the cumin because I hate cumin. This is a great recipe to start from. I used the sauce to go with grilled shishito peppers and it was perfect!
The only tahini sauce recipe that you’ll ever need – it is perfect and so easy (i skip the garlic straining step for more ease)! It is the best!
So totally yummy, thanks kate
I’m happy you liked it, Patt!
Tasted better than Restaurants. Thank you, this was perfect as written.
Kathleen A. Gad
I was married to an Egyptian and he was an excellent chef ( professional chef) He made it the same way, except added some finely chopped fresh parsley.
I still use his recipe and use the pureed garlic in the squeeze tube cause it’s easier. I can eat tahini dressing thicker as a dip. I love it!!
Your recipe site is fabulous!!
Thank you! I’m glad this one reminded one you have had before. I appreciate your review, Kathleen.
I made this and put it on an oven roasted chick pea shawarma salad and it was so good I didn’t want it to be gone! Thank you
You’re welcome, Amy! I’m glad you enjoyed it.
This recipe is DE-LI-CIOUS! I’m plant-based and on an elimination diet for my migraines. One of the things I can’t have (for the moment), is citrus. In place of the lemon juice, I added 1/8 cup of white distilled vinegar. It came out perfect! About to enjoy it with some Falafels. :)
Thanks for sharing!
I’m glad you enjoyed this tahini sauce, Divi. I appreciate your review!
Yummy and easy!
Great recipe! Went awesome with my falafel. Also great on grilled eggplant. Try adding 1 tsp of Zatar to the tahini sauce , so good.
The best recipe for Tahini sauce
I made it in the food processor My mother in law used to make Tahini sauce every day but she mixed it in a bowl. Brings back memories.
Love your recipes and website. Could you let us know where to find the glass lemon juicer in your video? Looks like best way to get all the juice! Thank you
Hi! Head to the blog for all my kitchen essentials on my shop page. I’m glad you have been loving my blog!
Thank you, I had already looked at your list but didn’t find the glass lemon juicer you used in your tahini sauce video. The glass one is the lemon juicer I’m inquiring about.
Hi Babette, I believe it got it at Crate & Barrel, but it’s been a long time so I’m not sure its available any more.
Am basically drinking this sauce. I can’t get enough. My husband too. I love pouring it over grilled meat or grilled vegetables. I also like the little dash of cumin. Thanks so much. Louise
That’s great! I’m glad you love it and use it on so many things.
This recipe was perfect! I could eat that tahini sauce with a spoon! It was just right to put on falafel sandwiches! Thank you SO much! Can’t wait to try more of your recipes!
This was so delicious, I could practically eat it by the spoonful. I loved it with the falafel wrap I just made. Thank you for sharing the recipe!
That’s wonderful! Thank you for your review.
Beautiful I just made the tahini sauce for lunch on my chicken and salad yummy
This recipe is just the way I like my sauce for falafel and pita bread. If it’s just for me, I add some hot pepper sauce. Thanks
You’re welcome! Thank you for your review, Debra.
I love this! I like garlic a lot, so I didn’t even wring the minced garlic out. I just left it in. I also used lime juice instead of lemon, because limes are what I had. I also didn’t use as much as the recipe called for, but I used a lot more than a pinch of cumin! I love cumin! I could eat this by itself, but I’m going to use it for dipping veggies. I licked the spoon and the bowl, like it was cake batter!
I love the recipe but even with my high speed Ninja the tahini would. Outbreak down. Later I,ll try the ice water. I used the Soon tahini but is old. That might be the problem. Thanks for the recipe. FATCOOK
Wow – I just made this recipe and the corresponding hummus recipe and both are absolutely delicious! Will not buy store bought again. Thank you so much for the wonderful recipes Kate . I am in Perth Western Australia and am using a NutriBullet – which like other readers I had trouble with having to intermittently shake down the ingredients towards the blades which was a pain but not impossible. After reading your comments Kate I decided to google if the Vitamix was available in Australia – and it is! However there is quite a price range between the models and the online descriptions don’t really highlight the differences. I am assuming it is probably something to do with the power of the motor. Can anyone advise which one is best for making these types of recipes (i.e. tahini and hummus)? The ones available here seem to be the A2300i, A3500i, and E310 with prices ranging from $469.95 to $1496.95 at Kitchenwarehouse. Any advice will be gratefully received
You’re welcome! Thank you for sharing your experience, Sharryn. I appreciate your review.
Using this recipe again to use on the falafel recipe again – both yum! . Increased the cumin a pinch and added a bit of the pressed garlic (love garlic!), even though I did marinate it in the lemon juice first. Delicious!!!!
Great sauce. Had some with rice and chicken from our Mediterranean restaurant (it was a little dry). The sauce jazzed it right up. Next time I might roast the garlic and keep it in and omit the cumin. Feel like the cumin overpowered the tahini. But great recipe will def make again.
I’m glad you enjoyed it, Mushell!
Hi, how long will this keep? Thanks!
Hi Alex, please see the notes. This tahini sauce keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for about 1 week. The tahini may thicken with time; whisk in additional cold water as necessary to thin. Solomonov suggests that the tahini sauce can also be frozen for up to 1 month.
Used this as a sauce for falafels. I could literally just eat it with a spoon it was so good. Thank you!!
You’re welcome, Bella! I’m glad you loved it.
Thought I had tahini and was in a rush. Found sunflower butter and used that instead. Was in a rush and didn’t read carefully to infuse the garlic! Whoops. Puréed with a stuck blender. Came out great overall! Thanks for sharing!
Unbelievably delicious! I’m with Zoe’s 2 year-old…all it needs is a spoon. This will be a fridge staple forever and ever and I can’t even wait to try your hummus.
(Would you believe my friend Debby was Michael Solomonov’s babysitter?)
This was amazing and so easy to whip up. I served it with Falafel.
I’m glad you loved this sauce, Elizabeth!
This Tahini Sauce was remarkable and so important to let garlic bloom. Really made a.diffetence. very creamy…lovely… Thank you!
Thank you for sharing!
This stuff is addictive! Love it! I need to eat high Calcium and Magnesium foods so I am so happy to find this recipe! Thank you!!
I don’t know why it taste bitter? What can i do to fix this?
Hi Dorsa, I’m sorry to hear that. If your garlic has sprouted or your tahini could be to blame. I find not all tahini is the same. I hope you try it again!
Hi, at first it was bitter but as the days passed it was less bitter I think maybe it was the lemon juice I added besides the fresh lemon juice I will try again with just fresh ones.
The lemon juice infused with garlic is what makes this sauce so great. The garlic is there, but it’s subtle, and the sauce is silky smooth. This is the yummiest Tahini Sauce I’ve ever tasted, let alone made myself! Thanks!
Very delicious! The texture is perfect. I added the minced garlic that I strained out of the lemon juice to my falafel batter :P Yum!
Delicious! As my tahini was a bit tangy,i added a touch of maple syrup. It balanced well. You can’t find a smoother tahini sauce with this recipe! Excellent!
I can never find Tahini sauce in my grocery stores. So I looked at your recipe and thought I can make from scratch. Then I saw in recipe, add Tahini sauce. So I go to Amazon and do not know if I should buy the already made Tahini or just the Tahini butter they sell to make your recipe♀️
scrumptious recipe..allow me to suggest the following: Instead of water you may add yogurt, also for garnish you may add finly chopped parsley,,,Thanks..
Until I made it I didn’t think the garlic soaking process could make such a difference but it certainly does
This was so incredibly delicious! We love spicy things so I added ancho red pepper, red pepper flakes, and an extra sprinkle of cumin and it turned out so so good. Had to keep my husband from dipping pita in it as we prepped it for quinoa chickpea bowls! I love the cold water trick- will do the same for my hummus in the future. So silky and absolutely Amazing!!!
Thank you for sharing how you made it, L! I like how you got creative. I appreciate your review!
Just made this to pour over buddha bowls Delish!
Sounds like a great combination, Millie!
Amazing! I needed a tahini sauce for some roasted cauliflower and this couldn’t be better. Ended up pouring it on the entree as well, because it was so good. :) Thank you!
You’re welcome, Jenny! Thank you for your review.
I just made this it is so good!! First time I have made a tahini sauce I actually left the garlic in and put it into my magic bullet but I do love garlic so it was perfect! I put it on some broccoli rabe and it was eating it off the spoon
That’s great to hear, Danielle! Thank you for sharing how you served it.
Great recipe. The sauce turned out perfectly per easy and clear instructions. Thanks for yet another excellent recipe.
I’m glad you love it, Cathy! Thank you for your review.
Tried it and loved it!!! Have been doing it the wrong way all this time but now I’m definitely not going back! Perfect! Thank you so much for the recipe!
You’re welcome, Chrystalla!
Fantastic recipe, as described and perfect!
I’m happy you enjoyed it, Gerry! I appreciate your review.
BEST is right! I’ve been making tahini sauce for 30 years but never knew the secret of marinating the garlic. Thanks Kate and Cookie.
You’re welcome, Bill! I’m glad you made it.
This is truly the BEST tahini sauce! I made it to drizzle over roasted cauliflower and it was perfect! I love the step of soaking the garlic in lemon. Makes a huge difference!
Thanks so much for this wonderful recipe – it will be a go-to!
This is an excellent sauce. I use it to top my homemade version of Panera’s Mediterranean bowl.
I love this recipe. I add an extra clove of garlic. I use it for falafel of course but also as a dip for French fries instead of ketchup
This is a great recipe! I used it as a base for my tahini sauce, straying just a little bit by adding a tad more tahini paste and less water. Exceptional!!!
Thank you for sharing, Alexandra! I appreciate your review.
I just made this sauce and it was absolutely delicious! I made some falafel and dipped them in. It’s one of the best tahini sauces I’ve had. Hope to try it next on a chicken and sweet potato bowl. This is definitely going in my recipe book!
First time I made it, I missed the instruction that said discard the garlic.
It might have been a bit too garlicy. lol Got it right the second time. Excellent recipe.
I used Ninja fast blender and there was nothing to strain. I peeled the garlic first of course and cut it in to small pieces. Let it sit in the fridge for a hour or longer to get the full taste. Oh and used half a bulb of garlic and next time I am planning to add more.