Tahini Sauce Recipe (5 Minutes!) - Wholesome Yum (2024)

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Table Of Contents hide

  • Why You’ll Love This Tahini Sauce Recipe
  • What Is Tahini Sauce?
  • How To Make Tahini Sauce
  • Tahini Sauce Recipe Variations
  • Storage Instructions
  • Ways To Use Tahini Sauce
  • Recommended Tools
  • Tahini Sauce Recipe (5 Minutes!)

If you’re bored with the same old sauces, you need to change it up and learn how to make tahini sauce. It’s delicious, it’s versatile, it takes just 5 minutes, and I think you’re going to want to put this tahini sauce recipe on just about everything! Whether you use it as a salad dressing, scoop it as a dip, or drizzle it over your zucchini noodles, this sauce has become one of my new faves — and soon yours, too. 😉

Why You’ll Love This Tahini Sauce Recipe

  • Nutty, tangy, and savory toasted sesame seed flavor
  • Smooth, creamy texture
  • Simple ingredients
  • Naturally low carb, gluten-free, vegan, nut-free, and just plain healthy
  • So many ways to use it
  • The best tahini sauce in just 5 minutes!
Tahini Sauce Recipe (5 Minutes!) - Wholesome Yum (2)

What Is Tahini Sauce?

Tahini sauce is a creamy Mediterranean or Middle Eastern sauce made from ground sesame seeds and common pantry staples. The flavor is somewhat similar to hummus. Tahini paste by itself is like a nut butter in texture, but tahini sauce is thinner and used for drizzling over vegetables, salads, meats, and more.

Ingredients & Substitutions

This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for homemade tahini sauce, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.

  • Tahini Paste – Sometimes just labeled tahini for short, this is simply sesame seeds that have been ground to make a seed butter, similar to how almonds are ground to make almond butter. It’s the key ingredient in tahini sauce (and also the key ingredient in hummus).

Tahini Sauce Recipe (5 Minutes!) - Wholesome Yum (3)

VARIATION: Make your own tahini!

I usually buy tahini (this is my favorite brand), but you can also make your own from sesame seeds. Simply blend (raw or toasted) sesame seeds in a food processor for about 5 minutes, until a smooth sesame seed butter (tahini) forms. If it’s too thick, you can add a little sesame oil.

  • Garlic – Fresh garlic cloves give this sauce the best flavor, but you could use 1 teaspoon jarred garlic instead. 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder would also work in a pinch, but is less ideal.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – You can also try sesame oil, or a neutral oil like avocado oil.
  • Water – Thins out the sauce.
  • Lemon Juice – Adds a tangy flavor. Fresh lemon juice tastes best, but I sometimes use bottled lemon juice for convenience. You can also use lime juice for a different flavor.
  • Spices – A combination of ground cumin, smoked paprika, sea salt, and black pepper.
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How To Make Tahini Sauce

This section shows how to make basic tahini sauce, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.

  1. Blend the ingredients. Combine the tahini, garlic, olive oil, water, lemon juice, and spices in ablender or food processor. Puree until smooth.
  2. Thin out as needed. Add more water, a tablespoon at a time, until the tahini sauce reaches your desired consistency.

Tahini Sauce Recipe (5 Minutes!) - Wholesome Yum (5)

TIP: Adjust the thickness based on how you’ll use it.

Leave it thicker if you plan on using it as a dip, and add water to thin it out if you are going to use it as a dressing or sauce.

Tahini Sauce Recipe Variations

This is a basic lemon garlic tahini sauce recipe, but you can also customize it with different flavors. Try these variations:

  • Spicy – For a spicy tahini sauce, add a tablespoon of sriracha or a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Herby – Make a green tahini sauce by adding 1/2 cup of fresh herbs! Try fresh parsley, cilantro, basil, dill, chives, mint, or a combination.
  • Sweet – Add a tablespoon of maple syrup or honey for a hint of sweetness. You can also use zero sugar maple syrup or zero sugar honey for this!
  • Yogurt – Stir in 1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt. Any of the fresh herbs above would also work nicely in tahini yogurt sauce.

Storage Instructions

  • Store: Keep in a jar in the fridge for up to 1 week. If it gets too thick, bring to room temperature first, and if it’s still thick, whisk or blend in some water to thin it out again.
  • Freeze: Transfer to an airtight container or freezer bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. I love freezing in this silicone tray for perfect portions!
Tahini Sauce Recipe (5 Minutes!) - Wholesome Yum (8)

Ways To Use Tahini Sauce

This tahini sauce recipe goes with all kinds of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes, but it also works well on simple, neutral foods. Here are a few ideas:

  • Salads – This sauce doubles as a tahini dressing! Swap out the dressing in a Mediterranean chickpea salad, classic Greek salad, Mediterranean quinoa salad, or a simple cucumber tomato salad.
  • Raw Veggies – Use it as a dip for cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, carrots, or bell peppers.
  • Cooked Veggies – Drizzle it over roasted asparagus (pictured above), sweet and smoky shish*to peppers, tender roasted cauliflower, or my personal favorite, sauteed eggplant recipes.
  • Falafel – One of the most popular uses for tahini sauce!
  • Bowls – Make a bowl with rice or cauliflower rice, your protein of choice, and veggies, then drizzle the sauce over it. I even like it on burger bowls!
  • Noodles – The original reason I made this sauce was to serve over cucumber noodles, but it would be just as delicious on regular pasta if it fits your lifestyle, spaghetti squash, or zoodles.
  • Meats – Pair it with lamb kofta kebab, use it instead of tzatziki sauce for gyros (with or without pita bread), or serve over grilled foods (I love it with Mediterranean chicken kabobs).
  • Blender – I use this blender daily and it makes this tahini dressing recipe so easy.

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Recipe Card

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5 from 13 votes☝️ Click stars to rate or click here to leave a review!

Tahini Sauce Recipe (5 Minutes!)

Make this tahini sauce recipe in 5 minutes, with simple ingredients: tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and spices. Amazing on everything!

Prep: 5 minutes

Total: 5 minutes

Author: Maya Krampf from WholesomeYum.com

Servings: 6 (adjust to scale recipe)

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Recipe Video

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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.

  1. Combine all ingredients for the tahini sauce in a blender. Puree until smooth.

  2. Check the consistency and add more water, a tablespoon at a time, if needed to thin out to a dressing consistency.

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  • Homemade Ranch Dressing Recipe

  • Mediterranean Chicken Recipe

Recipe Notes

Serving size: 2 tablespoons

Makes 3/4 cup.

Nutrition Facts

Amount per serving. Serving size in recipe notes above.




Total Carbs2.8g

Net Carbs2.2g



Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.



Keywords:tahini sauce, tahini sauce recipe

Calories: 121 kcal

© Copyright Maya Krampf for Wholesome Yum. Please DO NOT SCREENSHOT OR COPY/PASTE recipes to social media or websites. We’d LOVE for you to share a link with photo instead. 🙂

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Why does tahini seize with lemon juice? ›

Tahini is simply sesame-seed butter, made by grinding hulled sesame seeds into a paste. Much of its makeup is carbohydrates, and when a small amount of juice (or any water-containing liquid) is added to tahini, a portion of each carbohydrate molecule is drawn to the water.

Does tahini go bad after opening? ›

The shelf-life is 2+ years (fridge or pantry), but please reference the “best by” date for the freshest, most delectable flavor. How long does Soom Tahini last after opening? Soom Tahini can last for a year after opening. The only thing that will make tahini “turn” is contamination with moisture.

How do you make tahini sauce not bitter? ›

If it is too bitter, stir in 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup or honey. And if the flavor is too sharp, mellow it with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon olive oil.

Why is my tahini sauce not smooth? ›

The key to smooth and runny tahini is to give it time, so keep blending. Transfer to a container and enjoy!

Does lemon thicken tahini? ›

The acid in the lemon juice causes a very runny tahini sauce to thicken up and become stiff and solid.

Does lemon juice thicken tahini? ›

When a small amount of lemon juice (or water) is added to the tahini or peanut butter, the hydrophilic dry particles are drawn to the water. As a result, it clumps up. As water is added, more clumps develop, causing the tahini to thicken overall.

What does rancid tahini taste like? ›

Although its shelf life can vary depending on factors related to how it is made, such as roasting, it will generally stay good for months, if not years. Like other nut and seed pastes, expired tahini has a musty, stale smell and tastes noticeably bitter and funky.

Why should you not refrigerate tahini? ›

However, you don't have to relegate tahini to the cold temperatures of the fridge — this spread is actually stable at room temperatures. Much like peanut butter, tahini stored on the shelf tends to have a softer, more malleable texture that makes it easier to pour over food.

Can I freeze tahini? ›

Or you can also freeze tahini for 3-4 months, which is a great way to extend its shelf life. To freeze tahini, be sure to first give the tahini a thorough stir. Then transfer it to an airtight jar or container, leaving some headspace as the tahini may expand slightly as it freezes.

Why does my tahini taste weird? ›

The taste will be sour, kind of metallic, and just plain weird. Utilizing a trusty sniff test is another way of finding out if it's time for your tahini to take a one-way trip to the bin. But something that's important to remember is that ground sesame seeds do naturally have a slightly earthy, bitter aftertaste.

Why does my tahini sauce taste bitter? ›

Bitterness is generally part and parcel of tahini - it's how ground sesame seeds taste. What you will find, however, is that some tahini can taste more bitter than others. This is down to a few things; like how that particular tahini is processed, or the levels of something called oxalic acid in the hulls of the seeds.

Why does my tahini taste bitter? ›

Your tahini has probably gone bad if it's bitter. Though if you had Asian style sesame paste, you should water it down before using.

Do you stir tahini before using? ›

Stir your tahini well before using, as the oil separates during storage. Once opened, you may have to vigorously stir the oil back into the sesame paste. Store the jar in your fridge to prevent spoiling. Tahini keeps for many months, but the oils will go rancid over time.

Is it cheaper to make your own tahini? ›

Making your own tahini at home is not only easy, it's cost effective and super delicious! This recipe requires just 2 ingredients, 20 minutes, and a food processor to prepare!

What's the best way to mix tahini? ›

If you would like a well-blended green sauce, simply blend the tahini sauce and herbs together in a food processor or blender. Food processor option: (This makes more sense if you're doubling the recipe and/or making the blended herbed sauce option.)

What to do when tahini hardens? ›

I used a fork to break up the hard bottom that had settled and then I used an immersion blender and that worked great! The immersion blender made it very smooth and completely incorporated the liquid and solid into a smooth creamy tahini paste.

What does soaking garlic in lemon juice do? ›

Soaking the garlic in lemon juice tempers its alliinase, the enzyme that creates garlic's harsh flavor.

Why might lemon juice be added to flaky pastry? ›

Tenderizing for Pastry and Pie Doughs:

Add one teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice as part of your liquid for each cup of flour in pastry and pie dough recipes. This won't affect the flavor but will result in more tender baked products.

How do you loosen tahini? ›

Whisk cold water into the tahini to loosen it.

The water will cause the tahini to clump together at first, but these clumps will disappear as you add more water. Continue to add spoonfuls of water until the tahini is as thin as you want it. Keep in mind that the tahini may lose some of its flavor if you thin it a lot.

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