Tahini Sauce

5 from 54 votes

This is an authentic Lebanese Tahini Sauce recipe you can make with only four ingredients and no special equipment - includes step-by-step tutorial & video!

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Tahini Sauce is a versatile Middle Eastern condiment made with tahini paste, lemon juice and garlic. It’s vegan, very flavorful and takes only a few minutes to make. If you’ve ever had falafel or beef shawarma restaurants, you may have noticed this tahini sauce is often served with them. The flavor is garlicky, tangy and nutty and makes the perfect accompaniment to many Mediterranean salads, sandwiches and finger foods.

Tahini sauce in a large bowl with juiced lemons

What is tahini sauce

Tahini sauce is a Middle Eastern condiment that is served with many dishes from the region. It’s made with only 3 ingredients: tahini paste, which is crushed sesame seeds, lemon juice and garlic. Tahini is made by grinding toasted, hulled sesame seeds to create a creamy, smooth spread. It’s similar to the process of making peanut butter actually. Once it’s in paste form, it has a savory and nutty flavor, but more slightly bitter than nut butters.

Ingredients

  • Tahini Paste: This sesame seed paste is wonderfully earthy and nutty. You can find it usually in the condiments section of your local store, or in the ethic foods aisle.
  • Lemon Juice: Lemon juice adds a great fresh and zingy flavor. Use fresh lemon juice rather than bottled, it makes all the difference.
  • Garlic Cloves: Finely mince the garlic cloves for the boldest flavor.
  • Salt: A little salt helps to bring out the natural falvors of the tahini. I like to use kosher salt so that it’s not too harsh of a flavor.
  • Water: Add more or less depending on how thick or thin you want the sauce. Add more for a dressing, or less for a thick dip.

How to make tahini sauce

This is how my mom and her mom (and I think her mom’s mom probably) have been making tahini sauce since forever. So I didn’t mess with the recipe at all, and I’m sharing the classic Lebanese way I grew up eating it.

As with many Lebanese condiments and recipes though, there is truly an art to this one. So, I recommend starting with the recipe below and adjusting to your taste by adding more lemon juice or more salt. That’s because every jar of tahini will be different and the acidity of lemon juice can also vary.

To start, place the tahini paste in a large bowl. Add lemon juice, crushed garlic and salt. Make sure to crush, not mince, the garlic. It allows the garlic to mellow out evenly into the lemon juice and eliminates any harsh lingering taste.

Collage showing two bowls, first with sesame seed paste and second with lemon juice and crushed garlic added

Using a fork or a whisk, start whisking vigorously. It will take a few minutes, and the tahini sauce will evolve as you can see below. After a few minutes, it will become homogenized, lighter in color and thicker.

Collage showing two bowls or the mixing progress of the sesame seed paste, lemon juice and garlic

Finally, when it’s well blended, start whisking in some water. I like to add ¼ cup, but you can start with as little as a tablespoon and adjust as necessary. Continue whisking until the mixture is smooth and velvety. Finally, taste and adjust the lemon juice and salt. It’s your art 🙂

Mixing the ingredients together in a bowl with a fork until well blended

How To Use

This sauce is vegan, gluten-free and versatile, especially with Mediterranean recipes. You can use it in salads, in sandwiches or as a dip. You can thin it out with more water when using it as a salad dressing versus a dip or sandwich sauce. Here are my favorite tahini sauce uses:

Large plate of air fryer fries served with Middle Eastern sauce

Tips for making this recipe

  1. Adjust consistency depending on how you’re using the tahini sauce. If you’re using it as a dip with fries or vegetables, keep it thick and creamy. If you’re using it as a sauce to add to sandwiches or salads, add more water for a more liquid sauce.
  2. Use a food processor to make it faster. The traditional way of making the tahini sauce is by manually whisking in a bowl, which takes a few minutes and some elbow grease. However, using a food processor eliminates the need to crush the garlic in advance and creates quicker emulsification.
  3. Add seasoning or herbs to switch it up. I usually just add chopped parsley to keep it traditional. But you can add cumin, paprika, coriander or cayenne pepper. You can also switch up the herbs by using cilantro, mint or dill.
Smooth, creamy vegan tahini sauce

Frequently asked questions

What is the best tahini brand for tahini sauce?

I recommend the Ziyad brand on Amazon (affiliate link). Not all tahini is created equal. Look for high quality brands that only have one ingredient – mechanically hulled sesame seeds. And make sure the tahini is not separated. If you notice separation, give it a good stir before adding it to the food processor. Bad tahini paste will be bitter and chalky, so you want to avoid that.

Can you freeze tahini sauce?

Yes, you can freeze the tahini sauce. Just place it in a freezer-safe container, and it’s good for up to 3 months!

What do you do if the sauce comes out bitter?

This could be due to the the type of tahini paste you’re using since there are so many different varieties. I would recommend trying another brand to see if you have a similar issue. To remedy the current batch, try adding some olive oil to the mixture.

Tahini sauce served with fries

Tahini sauce is a smooth and creamy condiment that really enhances many Middle Eastern dishes. It’s vegan, gluten-free, and made with only 3 ingredients in a few minutes. I love how versatile it is and how the flavors of the nutty tahini, lemon juice and garlic all combine so well for a rich taste and texture. Growing up in a Lebanese house, this has always been my go-to-sauce!

More Sauces and Dips

If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Tahini Sauce recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!

Lebanese Tahini Sauce

This is an authentic Lebanese Tahini Sauce recipe you can make with only four ingredients and no special equipment – includes step-by-step tutorial & video!
5 from 54 votes
Servings 8 servings
Course Sauces
Calories 92
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Total Time 5 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup tahini paste
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves pressed/minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4-1/2 cup water depending on desired consistency

Instructions

  • Place the tahini paste in a small bowl. Add the lemon juice, crushed garlic and salt. Use a whisk or fork to combine mixture. Alternatively, you can blend everything in a small food processor or blender, stopping periodically to scrape down the sides as necessary.
  • After a few minutes of mixing, the sauce will turn into a smooth thick paste. Slowly add water to the mixture and whisk until you reach the desired consistency.
  • Taste and adjust by adding more lemon juice, salt or water.

Video

Notes

Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. The sauce will last up to 2 weeks in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer.
Make Ahead Tips: You can make the tahini sauce up to 2 weeks in advance and double or triple the recipe to have it on hand to use throughout the week.
Sourcing: You can find tahini at Middle Eastern markets, natural-foods stores or even in large supermarkets, often located with other Middle Eastern ingredients or next to the nut butters in some grocery stores. I recommend the Ziyad brand on Amazon (affiliate link). 
Nutritional Data: Please note that the nutrition label provided is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. It will vary based on the specific ingredients you use.

Nutrition

Calories: 92kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 79mg, Potassium: 79mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 10IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 23mg, Iron: 1mg

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Tahini sauce in a large bowl with juiced lemons

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Comments

  1. Easy and delicious! I enjoy Tahini sauce with just about everything of course chicken and falafel and veggies (grilled) and on top of grilled chicken salads. It’s amazing with avocado smashed on AK Mak crackers and I dip in Tahini sauce or garlic sauce (from restaurants I take home). I think it would be amazing with a spicy/chocolate type recipe like on top of Chicken Mole with parsley.

    Would love to get more Lebanese recipes from you for Cabbage salad and healthy leaner meat recipes that make your body feel good that you mentioned in your video. I eat a lot of chicken and fish. Once in awhile lean pork and occasionally red meat.
    Looking forward to more!

    1. Thank you! The ways to enjoy tahini sauce are truly endless. Can’t wait to hear what you think about my other recipes! Thank you for the suggestions!

    1. It’s not necessary in this recipe, but if the sauce comes out bitter, you could remedy the current batch by adding some olive oil to the mixture.

  2. So easy to make!! So delish.
    And to think how much I’d spend on Lebanese takeout. .
    This sauce partnered with shawarma chicken/falafel as recommended by Yamna, is just delightful!
    These recipes are helping me realize what really goes into food and how I can eat in a healthy, wholesome manner.

    1. Yay, I’m so happy to hear that! Thanks so much for sharing and it’s good to see you cooking more at home!!

  3. I make my own tahini it’s easy and cheap I put sesame seeds into a small coffee grinder and grind till it goes to a dry paste put into a jam jar add olive and stir close up and keep it in the fridge and it can last for months ……