Easy Lemon Tahini Dressing Recipe

Tahini Lemon Dressing finished
Elaine Lemm
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 5 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 6 tablespoonss
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
166 Calories
13g Fat
11g Carbs
3g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 166
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 17%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 1mg 0%
Sodium 180mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 16mg 78%
Calcium 40mg 3%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 156mg 3%
*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.)

Enjoy this unusual and surprisingly easy-to-make dressing. The overriding ingredient here is tahini, a paste made from grinding hulled sesame seeds to a nutty-flavored paste. It is used mainly in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine, but has gained much popularity elsewhere for its gluten-free and vegan properties.

Tahini is a versatile food, and depending on the recipe, it can be used both in its thick form or thinned down for a dressing, as we'll show you here. You can use the dressing in many ways, not just on your salad. Try adding a little to your smoothie or stirred into oatmeal for a great start to the day. A little tahini adds a twist to the flavor in a muffin batter, or you can use it as a dip for crudites, or even spread it over hot toast.


  • 3 tablespoons tahini

  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • Juice from 1 lemon, about 2 tablespoons

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, Maldon or other flaked

  • 1 teaspoon freshly-ground pepper, or to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Tahini Lemon Dressing

    Elaine Lemm

  2. Thoroughly mix the yogurt with the tahini.

    Tahini Lemon Dressing add oil
    Elaine Lemm
  3. Slowly whisk in the oil.

    Tahini Lemon Dressing mix together
    Elaine Lemm
  4. Add the lemon juice to the yogurt and tahini mixture slowly, to taste. Taste as you go along and stir well.

    Tahini Lemon Dressing add lemon
  5. Mix in cold water a little at a time to create a dressing that is the consistency of heavy cream. Season with a little salt and pepper. Store the dressing in the refrigerator in a screw-top jar or bottle and it will last for up to a week. The dressing does not freeze.

    Tahini Lemon Dressing add water
    Elaine Lemm

How to stop your dressing from being bitter

Tahini paste can inherently have a little bitterness. Acidity to the paste will reduce that bitterness. Lemon juice and salt, as used here, is one of the best methods as it also adds a lovely flavor.

How Tahini is Made

Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds, much like peanut or almond butter. The grinding releases the oils and natural fat from the seeds, turning them into a thick paste.

However, not all sesame seeds, and by extension tahini, are equal.

There are many cheap, adulterated versions on the market, and these are often made with hulled seeds gathered from around the world. High-quality tahini comes from a single source; you'll often see it labeled by its country of origin. How well the seeds are grown and roasted will impact the quality of the final paste, much like sourcing and roasting coffee beans. Price can often be a clue to quality. Look on the label to see if they state the seeds' source; cheaper tahini usually does not state the specifics.