My friend Erin requested a tahini dressing recipe, and here it is! This tahini dressing is luxuriously creamy yet plant-based (no mayo!). It’s a fun alternative to your standard vinaigrette.
This tahini dressing is versatile and goes with a wide variety of salad ingredients. I listed a bunch of those ingredients below to help you craft your own salad. The tahini dressing will bring it all together.
I shared my go-to tahini sauce recipe a couple of months ago (have you tried it yet?). This salad dressing is similar but designed specifically for drizzling on salads, rather than using as a dipping sauce or on sandwiches.
For this salad dressing, I omitted the garlic and made up for the lost flavor by adding Dijon mustard. I also incorporated some olive oil in this dressing to make it extra luxurious. It’s easy to whisk together at a moment’s notice, and keeps well for about a week. I think you’re going to love it!
Watch How to Make Creamy Tahini Dressing
Tahini Dressing Tips & Notes
Buy good tahini! They vary a lot in flavor and consistency. The best tahini comes from Ethiopia, and my favorite brands of Ethiopian tahini are Soom Foods (affiliate link) and Trader Joe’s organic tahini.
Ice-cold water is key. Fill a glass with water and ice before you make this dressing so your water is very cold. The cold water ensures that the mixture emulsifies instead of getting all gloppy and weird. It also turns an already-creamy mixture into a remarkably creamy dressing! You’d almost think there’s mayonnaise in this dressing, but there’s not.
Balance tahini’s bitterness and tang with a little sweetener and some extra salt. A little bit of maple syrup or honey go a long way in making this salad taste well-balanced, complex, and totally delicious. This dressing also calls for a little more salt than most of my other dressings. Salt helps balance bitterness and brings out tahini’s best.
Tahini Dressing Salad Suggestions
This tahini dressing would be great on a salad with any of the following ingredients:
- Greens: kale, arugula, romaine, spring greens
- Bell pepper
- Summer squash
- Red onion or green onion
- Fresh herbs: basil, cilantro, chives, dill, parsley
- Beans: chickpeas, lentils
- Whole grains: quinoa, farro, wheat berries
- Nuts and seeds: almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds
- Cheese: goat cheese, feta
Please tell me how you like this dressing in the comments! I’m so eager to hear how your salads turn out!
Looking for more homemade dressings to liven up your salads? Don’t miss my mint dressing, basic vinaigrette with variations, healthy honey mustard dressing, or carrot ginger dressing.
Creamy Tahini Dressing
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: ¾ cup 1x
- Category: Salad dressing
- Method: By hand
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
You’re going to love this delicious creamy tahini dressing recipe! It’s simple to make, full of nutritious ingredients and goes with everything. Recipe yields about ¾ cup.
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup tahini
- 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons ice-cold water, more as needed
- In a liquid measuring cup or jar, combine the olive oil, tahini, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, mustard, maple syrup, salt, and several twists of black pepper. Whisk until thoroughly blended.
- Add the cold water, and whisk again. The dressing should become remarkably creamy. Taste, and add more lemon juice (for zing) and pepper, if desired. If your dressing is too thick to drizzle, whisk in more cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Serve!
- This dressing will keep well in the refrigerator, covered, for about 1 week. It may thicken with time; simply thin it with a little more cool water as needed.
Make it vegan: Use maple syrup instead of honey.
Change it up: You can stir in a couple of tablespoons of finely chopped fresh herbs (dill, basil, mint, cilantro or parsley) for an herbed tahini dressing. For full-blown green goddess flavor, see the herbs and amounts suggested here.
I cannot even begin to describe the amazing deliciousness of this sauce/dressing!! I didn’t make any moderations whatsoever and it was absolutely perfect. Definitely our go-to sauce from now on. By the way, we made vegan Buddha Bowls and drizzled that on top, with some seeds and nuts = DELIGHTFUL! Thank you so much for sharing this awesome recipe.
I love it! Thank you for sharing, Kai. Sounds delicious with a Buddha bowl.
I add paprika and sometimes pressed garlic and go a little light on the dijon. SO GOOD! Definitely the creamiest tahini dressing I have made.
That’s great to hear, Claire! Thank you for your review.
This was delicious! I’m so thankful for the tip to add iced cold water to make it creamy, too. It’s nice to not have “chunks”. Love it!!
I’m happy you enjoyed it! Thank you for your review, Christine.
This dressing is delicious! I googled a tehini dressing and this came up….made a huge jar…and kids approved!! Thank you!
That’s great! Thank you for sharing, Chaya.
I always find the best dressings here! Usually the recipes on c&k call for more sweetness than I prefer, so I halved the maple syrup here and it tasted right to me. Having this over a lentil salad tonight.
Deliciousness! looking forward to trying it with herbs next making your Fresh Greek Nachos. Been following you on FB. Get lots of compliments on your recipes
Thank you, Vivian! I’m happy you enjoyed it.
I just made this and it’s really good! The tahini makes the dressing taste really savory. I’ve been adding it to a bowl of crispy romaine lettuce and quinoa. I add tofu or beans for some protein and the tahini dressing goes so well with it. For sure creamy and it stays that way and doesn’t separate. Thanks for the great recipe :)
Thank you, Shawdi! I appreciate your review.
The cold water completely separated the blended ingredients and made it very thick. Anyone else?
Hi Ella, how much water did you add? Did you add a little at a time and keep mixing until it became creamy? It will seize up (see the instructions), but once the optimal amount has been added, it will turn creamy.
Hi, I just wanted to thank you for this recipe, I’ve been using it over and over since I found it only a couple of weeks ago, it’s perfect! <3
Hooray! I love it. Thank you for commenting, Julia.
We live on this tahini dressing! Thank you so much! The cold ice water is the key to a creamy dressing! Love your blog!
Thank you, Mary!
This dressing is so good I have to keep myself from eating it with a spoon. I love it! The ice water trick is great!
Mindblown! I had a jar of unused tahini and this dressing was so easy to make, I couldn’t pass it up. It’s delicious and creamy and filled with tons of healthy fats. This will be my go to dressing for salads and perhaps dips too.
Hooray! I love this will now be a go-to dressing for you. I appreciate your review.
Amazing tahini dressing love it
Wonderful recipe! I had no fine salt so used soy. Love the mustard kick!
Delicious, thank you! Just what I was looking for. I used only 1/4 tsp salt and 1 tsp of stone ground mustard which is all I had in the fridge.
Claire C Lematta
I was invited to a vegan picnic and was a bit panicked about finding a recipe that would be flavorful and interesting, and that I could make with ingredients I have on hand. I thought of tahini dressing and stumbled, virtually, upon yours. The flavor profile is just right! I used it on a garbanzo bean/veggie salad. It will be a go to recipe now for my household, which is not vegan but hey, we can all use recipes that make veggies and fish delicious. thank you!
This stuff is to die for. I honestly struggle to not just drink it all when transferring to a container for storage. I go a little heavy on the lemon juice but otherwise don’t make any changes at all. Thank you!!
You’re welcome, Justine!
How long does it keep in fridge?
I think it keeps well! You may just need to remix if it looks like it has settled some. Enjoy!
Many positive comments such as, “What is this delicious salad dressing you used?!” at yesterday’s party. Even from the men! It was easy to make and I used a lot more lemon juice as suggested because that’s my preference.
Enjoyed preparing and consuming this tasty Tahini-Lemon Dressing, which I used in an organic mix of various shredded cabbages, carrots, and radishes. The tahini-lemon slaw was the perfect topping for grilled southwestern-inspired ahi tuna steaks, served on toasted pretzel buns with a generous splash of Texas Pete! Awesome flavors complemented each other so well. Thank you for this terrific recipe, which I’ll be using many more times.
This is my very favorite dressing forever. It’s so malleable and always delicious and the easiest ever to make!
I’m glad you love it, Meghan! Thank you for your review.
Hi. I was wondering if I could substitute date syrup as the sweetener?
Hi Nora, I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure.
I used silan (date syrup) as the sweetener. Delish!
This is creamy deliciousness! Followed the directions except I added 3 tablespoons of lemon. Drizzled over a bowl of quinoa with steamed broccoli and cauliflower. Having seconds for lunch tomorrow. Thank you for this amazing recipe!
I can’t wait to make this dressing. I wonder, has anyone tried this on potato salad instead of mayo? Thank you
Anna Rae Goethe
This was so delicious! Adding that ice water really did the trick in making it so creamy.
This salad dressing is so creamy that it is our households “caesar salad” alternative. We double the amount of lemon juice in the recipe and enjoy it with butter lettuce, roasted chicken and croutons.
Thank you for sharing, Emily! I’m glad you love it.
This is my favorite salad dressing! I double it in a cuisinart and it gets very thick like butter cream. I keep 1/2 to put on cooked veggies and beans and I thin out the other half with cold water for salad dressing. Thanks cookie and Kate!
This dressing is SO good I could literally eat it with a spoon!
Yes! Thank you for sharing, Sarah. I think a spoon is a great option. :)
Dear Kate, thank you so much for sharing the recipe of this dressing! I was impressed with the creamy outcome by using just a whisk, no blender! And it fitted perfectly to the salad I made.
Received at least 3 compliments. They’re all yours!
Thanks a lot!
You’re welcome! I’m glad you loved it.
Can you use store brought hulled tahini?
Hi Caitlin! Yes, it should resemble like a nut butter.
I’m glad you loved it, Sarah! Thank you for your review.
Loved this dressing.. creamy and full of flavor.. I added basil to mine…
Quick and very easy to make. Poured it on my buddha bowl and steamed veggies
I agree with a previous poster that said when licking the spoon and tasting it that it seemed bitter BUT when I put it on my wrap all of the bitter goes away. It’s a really good sauce and I’m saving this for my go to.. I also added a tiny clove of garlic … very good thank you!
You’re welcome, Sarah! I appreciate your review.
This recipe was fantastic! Perfectly balanced sweetness, acidity and saltiness. I substituted the lemon juice for rice vinegar (as I didn’t have any on hand) and it still worked well. Thanks so much for sharing.
You’re welcome, Belle! Thank you for your review.
I made this with about a cup of fresh basil leaves in the food processor! It was delicious, bright and tangy and I used it on a veggie Buddha bowl.
Thank you for sharing, Katie!
Love this! Always make and keep a huge jar.
But I add garlic powder and sometimes also za’atar.
What a tasty dressing! I reduced the amount of maple syrup but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. It came out great.
This is my favourite version of this dressing; I particularly like the advice of adding ice cold water – works every time! Can you freeze this salad dressing?
Hi Kym, I’m glad you love it! I don’t have experience freezing this recipe. Sorry!
LOVE THIS! I did not have lemons, so I used lime juice (1 Tbsp) and I did not use any water. SO good!
Just delicious…..made a three green salad, arugula, frisée, and radicchio. Added some crumbled goat feta cheese and pumpkin seeds and some pickled onions….mmmm good!
Thank you for your review, Jen!
Deee-lish! I had all of the ingredients on hand (substituted lime juice for lemon juice), so I decided to give this recipe a shot! Soooo good! I used it to dress my bowl of quinoa, BBQ tofu, cherry tomatoes, spinach, pickled onions, roasted chickpeas, and avocado! This dressing will now become a part of my weekly/biweekly rotation of meals. I will try one of your suggestions for the “best” tahinis, too. Thanks!
Honestly, this is fantastic! I don’t use oil and it still came out creamy and delicious!! Thanks a million!
This is one of my favorite dressings. There are so many tahini lemon dressings out there and this one is the best. The Dijon mustard really gives it an extra special kick.
I’m glad you enjoy it, Sally!
Absolutely delicious! I was looking up away to use some leftover tahini and hit the jackpot finding this recipe. Now I am finding excuses to eat salad! My new favourite. Thank you.
I’m glad you loved it, Beth!
What is the perfect food to pairing this delicious dressing?
Hi! Crispy Falafel over a set of greens is a great option!
Delicious, so simple, had all the ingredients in the cupboard and was ready in minutes. I drizzled it over some quinoa, roast veg and chicken skewers
Sounds delicious, Sinead!
I had run out of Mayo and had used a similar dressing to yours in a tuna salad once, so I used your recipe in a chicken and salad wrap instead of Mayo, because I wanted it quiet thick though I didn’t add the water.
I cut back on the tahini just a bit and used maple syrup and love it. I tried full on tahini from the recipe and honey the first time and didn’t like it as much. With the tweaks, it’s perfect!
Jay in Toronto
What about garlic?
I prefer this dressing as written.
I might have done this wrong. I used the measurements then added the glass of water but it didn’t turn out creamy, just really watery. Did i miss a step?
Oh no! Did you use US measurements?
I made this last night for Quinoa bowls: black beans, cooked carrots, broccoli, green beans and chicken, and raw spinach and zucchini. I forgot the feta and it didn’t need it because it was so good! However, as I was making the dressing, all went really well until I added the cold water which separated the olive oil from the rest, it basically curdled and got worse and worse as I mixed it more. Any idea why?! We ate it anyway and thankfully it was just for my family so I didn’t have to worry about serving it to guests as it was quite unsightly – the kids said it looked like bread dough in olive oil!
Sounds delicious, Lauren! Thank you for your review.
Delicious. Used both honey and maple syrup and added extra lemon juice. Used it on a quinoa, black bean, sweet potato etc bowl. Husband loved it.
Hi – The same thing happened to me — added water and the dressing separated. I added a tiny bit more lemon juice and whisked and that fixed the problem. Then, while whisking, added cold water slowly to thin it out. Phew!
This was delicious! It was exactly what I wanted.
That’s great to hear, Janet! Thank you for your review.
Delicious recipe!! YUM!! Thank you. I’m a picky eater and a trained chef, so this says A LOT! Cheers
anne van holde
It is a good recipe but I wish I had left out the honey- too sweet for me and masked the tahini flavor.
So easy & yummy! I added one Tbl of low-sodium tamari to make my husband happy, but I think this dressing is perfect as is. Thanks!
You’re welcome, Tatum! I appreciate your review.
Do not add cold water! It coagulates by binding with the tahini solids and separating the oils, turning the whole thing into a thick oily glob!
Hi Mark, you need enough cold water for it to get creamy. It will seize at the start, but as you slowly add more it changes. I hope you try it!
I Love all the recipes I’ve made from you, and they always turn out as expected. I did have to add quite a bit more ice water to this one, as the tahini seizes. It made a great dressing over a salad of roasted sweet potato, red pepper and paprika chicken pieces. Added green beans, a few leaves and pomegranate seeds from the freezer needed using up. Likewise some cashews I’d sauteed in coconut oil. Will definitely use this tahini dressing loads I’m sure!
Oh my goodness, this dressing is amazing! I’ve tried several tahini based dressing recipes, and they were all just okay to me, but this one was perfect! So creamy and delicious, and I’m already thinking of all this things I can do with it. I’m going to try it next time with dill and parsley to make a ranch flavored dressing. I’m sooo excited about this. Thank you!
Oh my goodness, this recipe is absolutely amazing. You’re right that you would not be able to tell there’s no Mayo in it. I made it the first couple times as is, which was so good, then the next time I was in the mood for a ranch dressing, so I blended a little dairy free yogurt in (I used the plain forager liquid yogurt), plus some ranch spices, like parsley, dill, garlic, and onion, and it was a delicious substitute for ranch, and I love knowing I’m getting extra nutrition from the tahini and olive oil instead of what’s in the store-bought dressings. Thank you so much for this recipe!
I made this dressing today for salad with leftover grilled chicken kebabs with roasted veggies. I used honey and will try maple syrup next time. Creamy and so delicious!
I’m glad you loved it, MB! Thank you for your review.
Amazing!! The best tahini dressing I’ve ever made or had!
Thank you so much!!
I’m excited you enjoyed it, Kim! Thank you for sharing.
I made this! Sooo yummy!! I didn’t make any changes either.
I added Beet juice to the recipe! Fantastic
This is amazing! Simple to throw together and just delicious. I drizzled a little on my vegetable korma and quinoa, and it made the dish next level! Thanks so much for the wonderful recipe.
Wonderful, Angela! I appreciate your review.
This dressing is amazing! I had it on a mixed salad with roasted pumpkin, quinoa and crumbled goats cheese. It all went beautifully inside a wrap the next day too. This one’s a keeper!
That’s great to hear, Treena! I appreciate your review.
Delish. Just made it. Best tahini dressing EVER!
That’s great to hear, Robin! Thank you for your review.
So simple and just perfect! Enjoying on a bed of power greens with roasted butternut squash, chickpeas, cucumber and sprinkle of feta. I can see this working with just about anything. Thanks, Kate!
You’re welcome, Sonja! I appreciate your review.
This dressing is divine!! Creamy, flavorful, tangy, and zesty. This will be my new go to!
I could eat this by the spoonful! It makes everything taste amazing. Raw veggies or roasted, kale, salads, bowls you can’t go wrong.
Maple syrup > honey and half a lemon is perf in my opinion.
I made this tonight for roasted vegetable bowls and it was delicious! The ice water makes it the perfect consistency! Thanks for always giving us the best recipes!
This is an awesome dressing! Easy to make and perfect with falafels. Thank you!
For anyone who makes homemade hummus and typically has tahini at the ready, this is a delicious way to try something different. Definitely recommend!
Absolutely delicious dressing!! I made this exactly as written and it did not disappoint. I put it over a salad of quinoa, shredded red cabbage, carrots, sliced cucumbers and pepitas. Perfect combination! Thank you!
I’m glad you love it, Lisa!