This Japanese sesame dressing has it all – it’s creamy, nutty, sweet, and full of umami. It’s so good I always keep a bottle in my fridge! 

Sesame Ginger Dressing

If you love Japanese dressings, you are going to fall head over heels for this one!

I usually don’t like store bought dressings except for one Japanese brand I absolutely adore – Pietro. They make the best Asian dressings! What I love about Pietro is that each dressing tastes authentic and isn’t too sweet.

So you can imagine how pleased I was when I tasted my own sesame dressing and realized it tasted just like Pietro’s sesame dressing!

That put a huge smile on my face and I’ve been excited to share this recipe with you ever since! I hope you love it as much as I do 😊.

What is Sesame Dressing?

Sesame dressing is a popular Japanese salad dressing that’s primarily used for green salads and tomato salads. Ingredient combinations can vary but you will usually find toasted sesame oil, sesame seeds, rice vinegar, sugar, and salt, as common ingredients. Sesame dressing is used for salads, cold pasta dishes, and can also be used as a marinade to meats, seafood, and tofu.

While Japanese restaurants in the Western world like to dress their green salads with carrot ginger dressing, in Japan you will find that sesame dressing is the more popular choice.

how to make sesame ginger dressing

Ingredients for Japanese Sesame Dressing

  • Sesame paste: You can find sesame paste in Asian grocery stores or grab a jar of tahini at your local grocery store. Using 2 tablespoons makes the dressing creamy and super nutty.
  • Water: I’m using 3 tablespoons to dilute the flavors and thin the dressing, so it’s easier to use.
  • Soy sauce: The soy sauce adds saltiness and umami to the dressing.
  • Sugar: I’m using cane sugar but you can also use granulated sugar or light brown sugar for this recipe.
  • Rice vinegar: There’s nothing quite like plain rice vinegar to add tanginess! Substitute with apple cider vinegar if you cannot find, or are out of rice vinegar.
  • Extra virgin olive oil: Using a high quality extra virgin olive oil will infuse the dressing with beautiful floral notes. However, it’s also perfectly fine to use something neutral like grapeseed oil or vegetable oil.
  • Toasted sesame oil: You can use regular sesame oil but I encourage you to shop for a good toasted sesame oil. The flavors are much more intense and come with a hint of smokiness. It’s the best!
  • Salt: Salt is always the last thing I add to my dishes to balance out the flavors. In this case, I found that using 3/4 teaspoon was just the right amount.

To make sesame ginger dressing:

Add 1-2 tablespoons grated ginger to the recipe for a little heat.

Asian Sesame Ginger Dressing

How to Make Japanese Sesame Dressing

  1. Whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl until the sugar has dissolved. You can also use a salad dressing shaker and shake until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. The dressing is ready to use but I recommend chilling it in the fridge for at least one hour if you are planning to use it on a salad. Salads always taste better when all the ingredients are fresh and cold.

How To Store Homemade Sesame Dressing

Keep this Asian salad dressing refrigerated in an airtight storage container or jar.

Or you can do like I do which is to keep it in the salad dressing shaker I made it in. Mine comes with a spout which makes it perfect to drizzle on salads.

How Long Is It Good For?

A homemade sesame dressing will keep refrigerated for about two weeks.

Sesame Ginger Dressing

What to Serve with Sesame Dressing

This Asian salad dressing goes well with more dishes than you would think!

Sesame dressing can be used:

  • As a dressing for green salad, tomato salad, or coleslaw.
  • As a finishing sauce for beef, chicken, tuna, salmon, or tofu.
  • As a sauce for cold pasta dishes and cold vegetable sides.
  • As a marinade to meats, seafood, and tofu.
  • As a dipping sauce for a veggie plate, gyoza, dumplings, or mandu.

If you are planning to serve a simple green salad with this sesame dressing, I suggest cooking other Japanese inspired dish to pair well with the flavor. Some of my favorites are:

Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing

Did you like this Japanese Sesame Dressing Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!


Japanese Sesame Dressing (Restaurant Style)

5 minutes is all you need to make this creamy, nutty, umami, and sweet Japanese sesame dressing. 

  • Author: Caroline Phelps
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: about 1/2 cup 1x
  • Category: Dressing
  • Cuisine: Japanese


  • 2 tablespoons sesame paste or tahini
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cane sugar
  • 2 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon high quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil (regular sesame oil is also okay)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt


  1. Whisk all the ingredients in a bowl until the sugar has dissolved. Or shake the ingredients in a salad dressing shaker.
  2. Use immediately or chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour(I prefer to let the dressing chill before using it as I find it makes the salad colder and fresh tasting).


Storing the sesame dressing

Keep the dressing refrigerated in an airtight storage container, jar, or salad dressing shaker. It will keep for up to 2 weeks.

Keywords: Salad dressing, vinaigrette, sauce, marinade

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