The Best Tahini Sauce Recipe for Pretty Much Everything

The Best Tahini Sauce Recipe for Pretty Much Everything

You’re going to want to keep this 10-minute recipe in your fridge at all times

Photos by Olga Ivanova with food styling by Julie Smith

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I never met a recipe with sesame seeds that I didn’t love, from sesame chicken to sesame granola. But recipes made with tahini (sesame butter), especially homemade tahini sauce? That’s the stuff. You get the sweet, earthy, nutty flavor of the sesame seeds — which includes just a smidge of bitterness to keep things interesting — combined with the brightness of lemon, a hit of garlic, and a little chili. Which brings me to our fabulous new Yummly original recipe for Lemony Tahini Sauce.

Created by Martha Holmberg, the talented author of Modern Sauces and other cookbooks, this easy tahini sauce recipe has the perfect balance of flavors and proportions and takes only 10 minutes to make. I’m thinking of it over falafel, grain bowls, grilled chicken, salmon, green salads, and avocado toast, just for starters. 

While I don’t want to belabor the details (as I said, a mere 10 minutes total time, and you got this!), there are a few fine points to cover before we jump to the recipe.

What is tahini sauce? Tahini sauce, sometimes called tahini dressing, is a rich, creamy blend of sesame paste (tahini paste) with water, lemon juice, and seasonings.

What ingredients are in tahini sauce? To make Martha’s tahini sauce, you need tahini (aka sesame seed paste), fresh lemon juice, a garlic clove, water, salt, and chili — either Aleppo pepper, hot sauce like Tabasco, or a touch of cayenne. Coarsely ground Aleppo pepper is a Middle Eastern chili with a rich fruity flavor and mild heat, and you’re going to want it over scrambled eggs, guacamole, and so many more recipes. Some cooks add olive oil, ground cumin, or cilantro to their tahini sauce, but this recipe doesn't include those.

How to make tahini sauce? To make tahini sauce from scratch, you don't even need a food processor or blender. Just whisk all the ingredients together! Then taste and adjust the flavor with a little more salt, lemon juice, or Aleppo pepper if you like.

Is tahini sauce vegan? Yes, tahini sauce is vegan.

What is tahini sauce used for? Use the creamy sauce as a dunk for raw vegetables and pita bread; a drizzle for falafel, roasted vegetables, meats, and fish; and a salad dressing for Buddha bowls and green salads.

Ready to try the recipe?

Lemony Tahini Sauce Recipe


Favorite ways to use tahini sauce

Once you have a batch of sauce, you’re that much closer to enjoying falafel with tahini sauce, shawarma with tahini sauce, cauliflower with tahini sauce … you get the picture.


What to do with the rest of the jar of tahini?

You've used 1 cup tahini to make sauce. What's next? Tahini is good for so much more than drizzling and dunking. How about a batch of Tahini Cookies? Read all about it:

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