Tahini Sauce

5 from 361 votes

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

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Making your own Tahini sauce is not only simple, but it’s also a great way to get that delicious, nutty flavor into all sorts of dishes. It can be used as a dip, a spread, or even a dressing. This recipe uses tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and just enough water to give it the perfect consistency. I like to serve my Tahini sauce with shawarma or grilled chicken, but it would be great on any type of meat or vegetable dish.

Tahini sauce in a large bowl with juiced lemons

Table of Contents

  1. What is tahini sauce?
  2. Why you’ll love this Tahini Sauce Recipe
  3. Ingredients to make The Best Tahini Sauce
  4. How to make authentic tahini sauce
  6. Tips for making the best tahini sauce
  7. What to eat with tahini sauce
  8. How to store tahini sauce
  9. Frequently asked questions
  10. More Sauces and Dips:
  11. Lebanese Tahini Sauce Recipe

Tahini Sauce is a versatile Middle Eastern condiment, also commonly referred to as Tarator in Arabic. It’s vegan, very flavorful, and takes only a few minutes to make. If you’ve ever had falafel or beef shawarma sandwiches in 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.

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 main 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.

Why you’ll love this Tahini Sauce Recipe

  • No complicated ingredients. This recipe is simple and only requires three basic ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen, making it quick and easy to make.
  • Perfect balance of flavors. A creamy tahini paste mixed with just enough garlic and lemon juice provides the perfect balance of flavors that will elevate any dish.
  • Health benefits. Tahini is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. It contains healthy fats that boost your immune system.
  • Lasts 2 weeks. I usually double the recipe to use it as a condiment with different Lebanese recipes throughout the week or even as a salad dressing.

Ingredients to make The Best Tahini Sauce

  • 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 ethnic 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 crush the garlic cloves for the boldest flavor.
  • Salt: A little salt helps to bring out the natural flavors 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.
Ingredients for recipe before prepping: water, garlic, tahini, salt, and lemon.

How to make authentic tahini sauce

  1. To start, place the tahini paste in a small bowl.
  2. Add lemon juice, crushed garlic, and salt.
  3. Using a fork or a whisk, start whisking vigorously. After a couple of minutes, it will become thick, homogenized, and lighter in color.
  4. Start whisking in the water. I like to add ¼ cup, but you can start with as little as a tablespoon and adjust as necessary.
  5. Continue whisking until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  6. Finally, taste and adjust the lemon juice and salt.
6 image collage making tahini sauce in one bowl.


Tips for making the best tahini sauce

  1. Use high-quality tahini paste. You want to make sure the only ingredient is hulled sesame seeds because that’s tahini paste in its purest form, which will give you the best flavor and consistency here.
  2. Make sure to crush, then mince, the garlic. It allows the garlic to mellow out evenly into the lemon juice and eliminates any harsh lingering taste.
  3. 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.
  4. Use a food processor to make it faster. The traditional way of making tahini sauce is by manually whisking in a bowl, which takes a couple of minutes, and some elbow grease. However, using a food processor eliminates the need to crush the garlic in advance and creates quicker emulsification.
  5. 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.
  6. Taste and adjust. As with many Lebanese condiments and recipes, 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.
Bowl of tahini sauce next to a jar of Ziyad tahini sesame seed paste and a halved lemon.

What to eat with tahini sauce

Tahini 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:

Spoon lifting up sauce from a bowl to show smooth, creamy, and runny consistency.

How to store tahini sauce

This recipe makes about 8-10oz of tahini sauce, depending on how much water you add to it. I like to store mine in a mason jar in the fridge. You can store it in any container you have on hand, though.

How long will tahini sauce last in the fridge?

You can expect your tahini sauce to last for up to 14 days in the fridge (if you can keep from eating it that long!)

Can i 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!

Frequently asked questions

What is the best tahini brand for tahini sauce?

I recommend the Ziyad brand on Amazon. 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.

What is the closest thing to tahini?

If you can’t find tahini, there are a few alternatives that will help make this recipe come together. The closest substitute is almond butter, which has a similar nutty flavor and creamy texture. You could also try peanut butter or cashew butter as substitutes for tahini. It won’t taste the same, but it is still good.

What do you do if the sauce comes out bitter?

This could be due to 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.

Bowl of tahini sauce with fresh chopped parsley garnish.

Tahini sauce is a smooth and creamy condiment that 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:

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Lebanese Tahini Sauce

This is an authentic Lebanese Tahini Sauce recipe you can make with only three ingredients and no special equipment – includes step-by-step tutorial & video!
5 from 361 votes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 92
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes



  • 1/2 cup tahini paste
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves pressed or grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup water


  • Place the tahini paste in a small bowl. Add the lemon juice, garlic and salt. Use a fork or whisk to combine the ingredients until completely combined and they form a thick paste.
  • Slowly add water to the mixture and whisk until completely combined, smooth with a pourable texture.
  • Taste and adjust by adding more lemon juice, salt or water.


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.


Calories: 92kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Sodium: 79mg, Potassium: 82mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 0.3g, Vitamin A: 11IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 23mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

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Recipe Rating


    1. I find the tahini is oily enough for this sauce and while it may be fine to add a little olive oil, I have not tried it yet myself.

  1. I was making this sauce for shawarma, so wanted a slightly runny sauce for pouring.

    I followed the recipe (mostly), but changed the method a little. More on this below. For the lemon juice, I only had one lemon, which gave slightly less than 1/3 of a cup – maybe just 1/4 cup – so I topped up with some bottled lemon juice. On tasting the sauce, I found it tangier and a bit more lemony than I like. Next time, I’ll just use the one lemon.

    In the past, I’ve found that using 1/2 cup of tahini and then adding water takes a long time and a lot of elbow grease, and makes a big quantity of sauce that goes very thick in the fridge (almost like peanut butter) and requires repeated thinning.

    So this time, I started with the lemon juice, water, salt and garlic in a small container and used a hand blender to finely blend them. Then I added the tahini a couple of tablespoons at a time and blending until I got the consistency I wanted. Very easy!

    Not sure if I reached a half cup, but I think I used about 8 tbsp of tahini, so it should be close.

    Thanks for this recipe – I think it will be great with my shawarma!

  2. It would be easier to make the recipe if you put the measurements BEFORE the steps instead of making us scroll all the way down.

    1. Hi Richard, thank you for the feedback. You actually don’t have to scroll at all as there is a button at the top under the recipe title that let’s you jump straight down to the recipe card.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!!

  5. 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 ……