This recipe for tahini sauce is a 5-minute masterpiece. This little flavor explosion requires a handful of simple ingredients and can be made in a cinch. Whip up one batch of this divinely delicious dip and you’ll never be able to live without it again.
If you know anything at all about me, you know how much I love sharing recipes for culturally-inspired Spice Blends and Condiments. In my opinion, there is no better way to acquaint yourself with any culinary tradition.
Today’s tahini sauce recipe is a window into the worlds of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and North African cuisine. While it is most commonly associated with those cultures, this silky smooth sauce is endlessly versatile. I’ve included some recipe links to help get you inspired later in the post.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Tahini – The MVP of our recipe, this rich, creamy sesame seed paste is the definition of earthy flavor. It has a subtle sweetness mixed with a slight bitterness.
- Water – Use the coldest water possible for a smooth sauce. Add more as needed to get the thickness to suit you.
- Lemon Juice – Adds a brightening blast of acidity and zingy citrus flavor. Go with fresh lemon juice for this recipe.
- Garlic – Zesty and sharp, freshly chopped garlic adds boldness. To tone it down a bit, marinate the chopped garlic in the lemon juice for about 10 minutes. Then, strain out the garlic and simply use the garlic-infused lemon juice.
- Salt – Harmonizes and accentuates all the flavors of the sauce.
- Cumin – Brings warmth and a smoky earthy flavor.
HOW TO MAKE TAHINI SAUCE
1. Stir the Tahini. Give the tahini paste a thorough stir to make sure all the fats and solids are fully incorporated.
2. Combine All Ingredients. Combine the tahini, water, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, and salt in a small bowl.
3. Stir Until Smooth. Whisk all the ingredients together until they become smooth. Don’t be thrown off by the initial separation of the tahini. Keep mixing and it will smooth itself out.
4. Thin if Desired. The tahini sauce should be about the same consistency as honey. If you prefer it a bit thinner, as I do, simply stir in a tablespoon of water at a time until you reach your desired consistency.
5. Stir & Serve. Store tahini sauce in a clean, airtight container for up to a week. Be sure to stir before serving with all of your favorite dippable snacks!
Tahini Sauce Tips and Tricks
- Stir It Like You Mean It. Tahini naturally separates when it is left alone, and the oil and solid parts can be difficult to reincorporate. This sometimes requires a lot of patience and elbow grease, but it is vital to getting the smoothest sauce possible. In extreme cases, you can transfer the tahini to a food processor to blend. For freshness and to help prevent re-separation, store your stirred tahini in the refrigerator.
- Use Ice Water. When blending, the tahini sauce will have an initial reaction of seizing up. Don’t panic! This is normal, and the longer you stir, the smoother the sauce. Using ice-cold water is a great, easy way to mitigate this issue as well.
- Store In Refrigerator. You can make this recipe ahead of time and safely store it in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for up to a week. I like to make some on the weekends and use it throughout the week. Just be sure to give it a nice stir each time you use it.
How To Use Tahini Sauce
You can enjoy this rich, creamy, and zesty sauce on a surprising number of dishes. Seriously, it makes just about every savory dish out there ten times better. Here are just a few simple ideas to get you started, but don’t be afraid to branch out and get creative.
- Drizzle it over grain dishes like Moroccan Couscous, Ptitim, or Turkish Bulgur Salad.
- Spoon some oven-grilled meats like Pork Shish Kabobs, Persian Chicken Kabob, or Lamb Shawarma.
- Serve it as a dip for fresh vegetables and flatbreads like Khubz (Pita Bread) or Zaatar Bread.
- Dip or drizzle your next batch of my Master Falafel Recipe.
- Use it as a salad dressing for a Lebanese Fattoush or other garden salad.
- Add a few drizzles to roasted vegetables like this recipe for Greek Roasted Vegetables.
Tahini Sauce Variations
Tahini is a remarkably versatile ingredient! Once you master this basic recipe, there are tons of ways you can tweak the ingredients to customize your tahini sauce. Here are a few ideas for inspiration. You could add:
- Fresh chopped herbs like rosemary, oregano, cilantro, parsley, or thyme.
- Hot, fiery spices like cayenne or jalapeno peppers.
- Smoky, sultry spice blends like Garam Masala, Moroccan Spice Blend, or Baharat Spice.
- Cocoa powder and honey to make a sweet chocolate tahini sauce.
- Ginger, honey, and a dash of soy sauce to make a ginger tahini sauce.
- Yogurt to make it even creamier like in this recipe for 5-Minute Tahini Yogurt Sauce.
Tahini Sauce + Video
- Stir the tahini paste to thoroughly mix fat and solids if separated.
- In a small mixing bowl add the tahini, water, lemon juice, garlic and spices.
- Initially the tahini paste will seize, but continue to stir using a whisk until mixture becomes smooth. The sauce should have the consistency of honey, but I like it a liitle thinner and add a tablespoon more water at a time more to achieve this.
- Store in clean container for up to a week. Stir before using.
- Wonderful served as a dipping sauce with vegetables and breads, drizzled over falafel, spooned over roasted vegetables and meats.
- Sometimes depending on the consistency of the tahini more or less water is needed. Add more to get the desired consistency you prefer. Season with salt or more lemon if desired.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.