Japanese Sesame Salad Dressing

Japanese sesame salad dressing in a bowl with chopsticks nearby

The Spruce Eats

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
103 Calories
8g Fat
5g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 103
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 440mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 124mg 10%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 95mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Sesame salad dressing is very popular in Japan and is sometimes known as goma dressing (goma means sesame in Japanese). Sesame seeds have a nutty, slightly sweet taste and contribute a wonderful flavor to this simple salad dressing. You may find bottled sesame dressings at your local supermarket, but it is very easy to make at home and won't contain all of those preservatives—and this recipe calls for ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.

Although there are mayo-based sesame dressing recipes that people enjoy, this soy sauce-based one flavored with sesame oil is mayonnaise free. This will make it nondairy, save you calories, and make it a healthier—but still delicious—choice.

Drizzle this sesame dressing over thinly sliced beef, pork, fresh tuna, or salmon garnished with chopped cucumber. Enjoy it on steamed vegetables tossed with cold noodles. Or use it as an Asian-inspired marinade for chicken, shrimp, or steak. It makes a delicious dressing for Asian coleslaw by combining shredded cabbage and carrots with a mixture of crunchy ramen noodles and toasted sesame seeds. You can also use this dressing as a dipping sauce for gyoza or dumplings.


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"Excellent everyday salad dressing. Toasting and grinding the sesame seeds may seem a bit tedious, but the end product makes It worth the effort. Sugar and vinegar can be adjusted to your taste if you find it too sweet or tangy. Whole toasted sesame seeds can be added for texture and to enhance the flavor." —Rick Horiike

Japanese sesame salad dressing in a square bowl
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Japanese sesame salad dressing recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats

  2. Put the sesame seeds in a frying pan and toast them over low heat. When 2 to 3 sesame seeds start popping, remove the pan from the heat.

    Sesame seeds toasting in a frying pan

    The Spruce Eats

  3. Grind the toasted sesame seeds with a mortar and pestle, food processor, or clean coffee grinder until a fine powder forms. Transfer to a bowl.

    Ground and toasted sesame seeds in a white bowl

    The Spruce Eats

  4. Mix in the rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil.

    Japanese sesame seed dressing in a bowl with chopsticks alongside

    The Spruce Eats


  • The vinegar in this dressing may make it too sour for some. To play it safe, start with 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar and then taste the dressing before adding any more.
  • Instead of toasting and grinding your own sesame seeds, you can also use store-bought ground sesame seeds, but the dressing may not have as rich of a sesame flavor.

Recipe Variations

  • Enhance the taste of this dressing by using a 1/2 cup of virgin olive oil. Or sweeten it up with 2 tablespoons of mirin.
  • If you prefer a creamier dressing, add 2 tablespoons of Japanese mayonnaise or another high-quality mayo. Or, alternatively, pulse the mixture in a blender for 15 to 30 seconds until it's thick and emulsified.
  • Garlic and ginger are two other welcomed additions for spicing up this recipe (add about a 1/2 teaspoon of each).

How to Store Japanese Sesame Salad Dressing

The dressing will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.