Make Ahead

Lemon Tahini Dressing

December 21, 2021
11 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • makes 1⅓ cups
Author Notes

This dressing is perfect for fresh salads. If you like, add less water to make it more of a sauce. —Gena Hamshaw

Test Kitchen Notes

This lemon tahini dressing recipe is one of our favorite ways to use up any extra tahini you may have on hand. It's super-easy to make, and you'll be able to use it in a variety of ways. But it also goes to show that homemade dressings taste so much better than store-bought. All it takes is four ingredients, as well as water, salt, and pepper. It'll also store for a few days in the fridge. Just blend or whisk all of the ingredients together, and your dressing is ready to go. And feel free to use this as a base recipe—taste as you go, depending if you want more lemon juice, less tahini, or a thicker or thinner dressing. Add more garlic, a touch of red pepper flakes for some heat, or as one commenter suggests, omit the salt and add miso paste. You'll love that hit of umami that goes well with the savory, brighter notes of the dressing.

The dressing complements any kind of fresh herbs. You can use it for any kind of dinner bowl with grains. Drizzled over a fresh salad, roasted vegetables, or whatever protein you're serving, you'll turn to this recipe again and again. Experiment with the ratios and ingredients to make this dressing your own and suit your and your family's tastes. Whatever you come up with, definitely let us know how it goes in the comments, as well as the changes you made that will make you completely forget about going out to buy the store-bought stuff. —The Editors

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Lemon Tahini Dressing
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 to 3/4 cups water (as needed)
  1. In a medium bowl or blender, whisk or blend the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, oil, salt, pepper, and ⅔ cup of the water, adding more until you reach the desired consistency.
  2. Do Ahead: The dressing can be made 6 days ahead. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • BarnOwlBaker
  • cyn
  • Melissa
  • Angela Parsons
    Angela Parsons
  • Nance

12 Reviews

Renee April 25, 2022
Who needs a salad, worthy of just a spoon!
BarnOwlBaker February 28, 2020
Delicious and appreciated the comment to use miso paste I/o salt. In my opinion, the balance of tahini and lemon was great. Thank you Gena!
Bistro632 January 6, 2020
Delicious and so easy! I used my favorite tahini from a local Israeli grocer; it’s much thinner than the ones I’ve purchased from Trader Joe’s and the supermarket. I didn’t use the minimum amount of water and it was so thin I added more tahini. I will be using this on so many dishes...
cyn April 5, 2019
made this with just eyeballing everything but added a bit of extra lemon juice and a little of the zest, plus ground sumac, a teeny bit of dried orange peel, and a little crushed aleppo pepper. sooo good, and i am not the hugest straight-tahini fan! we poured it over some grilled eggplant with fresh mint, parsley, feta, and pine nuts. 👏👏
Melissa November 12, 2018
This has quickly become a family favorite. And don't be discouraged by come of the reviews-- it's so easy to tweak depending on mood and the flavors of your ingredients that day. I start with the proportions in the recipe, and then add more of whatever it needs to bring it into balance. Absolutely delicious drizzled on to asparagus!
beejay45 October 22, 2015
This is A lemon tahini dressing, just a template. You adapt it to your preferences, people. Really. Do you (and you know who you are) really have a stone tablet with THE lemon tahini dressing recipe on it??? If so, maybe you should take the time to post it. People post recipes that work for them and the people they cook for. Make it your own without the value judgements, can't you??? Not Gena Hamshaw, btw, so don't blame her. /;)
Maebe June 25, 2015
wayy too much tahini and not enough lemon. all I could taste was tahini, had to change a lot.
Angela P. February 11, 2015
Can you freeze this?
Nance January 10, 2015
Even better if you omit the salt and substitute miso paste.
Dominique June 9, 2014
I really enjoyed the combination of brown rice, kale, avocado and lentils (but beans would be equally good), but I found the dressing lacking a little punch, so I added 2 garlic cloves, very finely crushed, a bit of freshly squeezed orange juice and a few drops of siracha. Then, it was absolutely delicious !
Josie M. May 21, 2014
I thought this was heavy on tahini and light on lemon, unless you really like the taste of tahini.
Fred G. May 4, 2014
Chili pepper of some kind, better than black.