Lemon Tahini Dressing


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Lemon tahini dressing is oil-free, dairy-free and vegan. It’s a tasty, creamy, zesty salad dressing that’s super versatile and adaptable. Even better, it can be made quickly with just a handful of ingredients – and it uses my tahini recipe as the base.

This lemon tahini dressing is oil-free, dairy-free and vegan. It's a tasty, creamy, zesty salad dressing that's super versatile and adaptable. #LemonTahiniDressing #Tahini

Easy Lemon Tahini Dressing

I had a request a couple of weeks ago over on my YouTube channel for an oil-free salad dressing. And I had to think about it. Because I tend to be that person that just splashes olive oil and balsamic vinegar straight on top of my salad. Not creative at all, but it’s simple and tasty.

With an entire jar of tahini sitting in my fridge, leftover from my recent how to make tahini video, it only made sense to whip up this creamy and flavorful lemon tahini dressing. And to be honest, I just love receiving comments and recipe requests from you guys, so I’m always happy to oblige.

Lemon Tahini Dressing Recipe Video

While it’s really easy to whisk this dressing together, it always helps to watch a step-by-step tutorial video. Give it a watch below!

Lemon Tahini Dressing Ingredients

Want to know what’s in this recipe? Just a handful of simple ingredients including:

  • Tahini
  • Water
  • Lemon juice
  • Garlic clove
  • Maple Syrup
  • Salt and pepper
This lemon tahini dressing is oil-free, dairy-free and vegan. It's a tasty, creamy, zesty salad dressing that's super versatile and adaptable. #LemonTahiniDressing #Tahini
This lemon tahini dressing is oil-free, dairy-free and vegan. It's a tasty, creamy, zesty salad dressing that's super versatile and adaptable. #LemonTahiniDressing #Tahini

How to Make Lemon Tahini Dressing

Most salad dressings are fairly easy to whip up and this one is no different. Add all of the ingredients to a small bowl and whisk together.

But what makes this lemon tahini dressing awesome is that it’s oil-free and super creamy. Tahini (if you don’t know) is just toasted and ground sesame seeds. And sesame seeds (like all seeds and nuts) have natural oils. So there’s no need to add any extra oil into this recipe. Bonus, it’s got that delicious nutty, seedy flavor to it.

This lemon tahini dressing is oil-free, dairy-free and vegan. It's a tasty, creamy, zesty salad dressing that's super versatile and adaptable. #LemonTahiniDressing #Tahini
This lemon tahini dressing is oil-free, dairy-free and vegan. It's a tasty, creamy, zesty salad dressing that's super versatile and adaptable. #LemonTahiniDressing #Tahini

Tahini Dressing is Naturally Creamy

This lemon tahini dressing (and maple mustard tahini dressing) is also a great dairy-free alternative for those who might be used to creamy ranch dressings. It can be made thicker or thinner with more or less water, so feel free to adapt to your liking.

A thicker version would make a great tahini sauce or dip, for vegetables or my Ultimate Seed Crackers. And a thinner version (with just a bit more water) makes for lightened up lemon tahini dressing.

You could also add another clove of garlic for a more zesty flavor or sprinkle in some dried spices, like parsley, thyme or rosemary. If you need a little inspiration on dried spices, make sure to watch my Spice Drawer Organization video.

This lemon tahini dressing is oil-free, dairy-free and vegan. It's a tasty, creamy, zesty salad dressing that's super versatile and adaptable. #LemonTahiniDressing #Tahini

More Creamy Dairy-Free Sauces

For more deliciously creamy sauces, make sure to check out these recipes – they’re tasty and versatile!

This lemon tahini dressing is oil-free, dairy-free and vegan. It's a tasty, creamy, zesty salad dressing that's super versatile and adaptable. #LemonTahiniDressing #Tahini

Lemon Tahini Dressing

4.96 from 22 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Servings: 5 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan


This lemon tahini dressing is oil-free, dairy-free and vegan. It’s easy to make and very versatile. Watch my video above to see how quickly it comes together!



  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  • Add all ingredients to a small bowl and whisk together.
  • Store it in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week.

Lisa’s Tips

  • Add more water as needed for a thinner consistency.
  • This recipe makes approximately 2/3 cup of dressing.


Calories: 78kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 85mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 12.1mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 0.7mg
Course: dressing
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Lemon Tahini Salad Dressing, Tahini Dressing, Tahini Salad Dressing
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. yummy but now I am really confused. It is called Oil free, but the tahini has 18 gms of fat per two Tab. Is Fat the same as oil? or is animal fat not considered oil? Or is the recipe just olive oil free but not fat free? so confused. ty. it was yummy, but with FH, I have specific concerns.

  2. This is simply one of the best (if not *the* best) dressing I’ve ever tasted in my life! I love it on salad but I adore it with my quinoa bowls, as it really ties everything together while bringing all the flavors together.
    A weekly staple in my kitchen!5 stars

  3. Holy moly! I’ve made my fair share of salad dressings, but this one? It exceeded my expectations – just pure deliciousness!!! This will be a regular in my rotation. Thank you, Lisa!!5 stars

  4. Thank you Lisa. I wanted to make and oil-free, lemon tahini dressing to go with a Warm Kale and Quinoa Salad. This was perfect, the only difference was that I added a little cumin. It tasted great.

  5. So so so good, i added a little smoked paprika. Definitely not oil free though, tahini is about half sesame oil oil by nature.5 stars

  6. It definitely works. Tastes good. Easy to make.
    For some added flavor and since I was using the juice of one lemon, I also added the zest from the lemon.5 stars

  7. This is such a simple and delicious recipe. I’ve already added it to my collection. Thanks so much!!5 stars

  8. I don’t know enough about tahini to figure out what was wrong with this recipe, but it did not appeal. I tried more lemon. Nope. More tahini. Nope. More garlic. Nope. More honey. Nope. More water. Nope. Nothing made it palatable. 

    1. Hi Anne – tahini does have a bitter taste, and not everyone loves it. Usually more of those extra items you added help though. Perhaps you’d like some of my other vinaigrette recipes more?

  9. Easy/quick recipe with good results. It’s a little on the thin/watery side due to no additional oil but it taste great and is a good dressing for salads and low calorie too!4 stars

  10. It is PERFECT! Exactly the delicious, fresh, all-natural dressing I was looking for. I think I’m going to be eating salad a lot more often now. 5 stars

  11. Excellent and simple!

    Only change is I reduced maple syrup to 1 1/2 teaspoons.

    Drizzled this on top of avocado toast with cherry tomatoes and roasted chickpeas.

    Fantastic!5 stars

  12. Definitely a nice change from my usual balsamic! Also –  zested the lemon and added to the dressing. Someone suggested sesame oil, which I’ll try next time. 5 stars

    1. Why add sugar (honey/syrup) to the mix? Traditional sauces don’t have it. It tastes great without it. A little less water closer to 1/4 cup made a thicker, more drizzly sauce. Definitely don’t go without the garlic.5 stars

  13. Fantastic dressing! Great flavor (I used maple syrup–a tad less than in recipe). Later this week, I will also drizzle on roasted veggies!5 stars

  14. Fantastic dressing! I think it is perfect. Later this week, I will also drizzle this on roasted veggies!5 stars

  15. Great recipe!! Quick, easy and delicious. I cut back a little on the sweetener and it still tasted great.5 stars

  16. Way too much water. Even if you like a thinner dressing, which I do. Add the water last by the teaspoon until getting to the desired consistency. I had to back add tons of tahini to make this work. The elements of this dressing are fine, but tweak to your preferences.

  17. The flavor was ok, but consistency was too thin & watery. Way too much water. Next time I’ll use  1 tablespoon or 2,, definitely not 1/3 cup! 

    1. Hi Ilona – this recipe is meant to be thin as it’s a pourable dressing. If you’d like a thicker tahini sauce, I have a separate recipe for that. :)

    1. Hi David – most store-bought options of tahini don’t contain added oils, they’re just blended sesame seeds. I do add a little oil in my homemade version to make it smooth, as I don’t have commercial equipment to make it. So you could use a store-bought tahini in this dressing recipe and keep it oil free.

  18. What is the size of the serving used for the nutritional facts of this dressing? 
    Recipe sounds delicious! 

      1. Yes but what is the size of the serving!? Is the whole recipe ONE serving? In other words there is one serving per recipe of 2/3 cups? That can’t be right as tahini has 89 calories per tablespoon. I’m gonna guess there will be 5 servings of 2 tablespoons per recipe.

      2. Hi there – there are about 5 servings in this recipe. The nutrition facts are for one serving.

  19. Such a flavorful and amazing dressing. Salads to definitely taste amazing. Easy and perfect to try.5 stars

    1. Ok, so I put this on top of a roasted eggplant kebab served on a bed roasted kale. Bright flavor with great depth!  I added a pinch of fresh mint and fresh parsley. Otherwise I followed exactly, using the maple syrup option. I was eating it with a spoon out of the blender waiting for the eggplant kebabs to come out of the oven. Both thank you and curse you for introducing me to this delicious dressing!! I have a feeling I will be making a lot of this! 😂🥰5 stars

      1. This dressing sounds amazing drizzled on top of an eggplant kebab! Glad you enjoyed it :)

  20. I love this dressing! The perfect topping for Spring and Summer salads. Can’t wait to make this.5 stars

    1. Thanks for the kind comment, Sharon! Agreed, such a great dressing for the spring and summer. :)

  21. I absolutely adore tahini dressing, it is probably one of the most versatile sauce that I love to drizzle over salad or roasted veggies! And even yummier with lemon!5 stars

    1. Thanks, Sylvie! I’m so glad to hear you love lemon tahini dressing as much as I do. :)

  22. I’ve made this several times now and it is a very good recipe! But as I do with most recipes, I play with it. My favorite variation is just adding some raw honey and a little sesame oil. The honey balances some of the bitterness you can get with store bought tahini and the sesame oil just bumps up the nutty sesame flavor. Keep up the good work Lisa!

    1. Hi Mark – Thanks for all the great tips. I’m glad you enjoyed the lemon tahini dressing recipe and really making it your own. :)

  23. That sounds great, like you I am a straight up olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice kinda guy, but gotta give this a try.