Tarator Sauce

A bowl of tarator sauce

Ikonact / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0


Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 5 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
245 Calories
21g Fat
11g Carbs
7g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 245
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 27%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 200mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 6mg 32%
Calcium 65mg 5%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 227mg 5%
*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.)

If you read the name of this recipe quickly you may think it is for tartar sauce, but this is a completely different item. Tarator sauce is a Middle Eastern sauce that is perfect for meats, vegetables, and seafood. It's even better on pita sandwiches like shawarma. A simple combination of tahini (sesame paste), lemon juice, garlic, and parsley, this mixture adds a nutty, fresh tang to almost any dish.


  • 1 cup tahini, store-bought or homemade

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped parsley

Steps to Make It

  1. In a food processor, combine tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and salt together. Process, adding the water as you are combining the ingredients. Mix until it forms a smooth sauce.

  2. Remove from processor and scoop into a small bowl. Stir in parsley.

  3. Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator for up to a week in an airtight container.


  • Tahini is readily available at the supermarket, most often in the Middle Eastern or natural foods sections of the store, but it is also very simple to make. Just toast sesame seeds in the oven until fragrant and then process with olive oil until a paste forms. If you are purchasing tahini, make sure it is made with 100 percent sesame seeds and that the container doesn't seem like it has been sitting on the shelf for a very long time. If you can, check to see that the tahini isn't completely separated (liquid on the top, paste on the bottom); there should be some emulsification present.
  • Tarator sauce (also referred to simply as tahini sauce) can be served with a wide array of dishes, from steamed vegetables to Middle Eastern specialties like falafel and kofta. Tarator is also the perfect dipping sauce for Turkish fried mussels and is an ideal accompaniment for spiced fried fish, pita sandwiches, and a meze platter.

Recipe Variations

  • Tarator sauce is one of those recipes you can easily alter to your liking. If you prefer more garlic, increase the quantity to 3 cloves. Like a lot of lemon? Add 1 cup of juice instead of 3/4. And you can spice it up a bit with the addition of cayenne, cumin, chili powder, or sumac.
  • In Turkey, tarator sauce actually refers to a mixture including walnuts instead of sesame seeds. The recipe calls for bread that has been soaked in water and can feature other nuts, such as pine nuts. Garlic and lemon juice remain important ingredients. Some Turkish recipes include tahini as well.