Asian Salad Dressing and Marinade Recipe

Quick Asian Salad Dressing and Marinade will breathe new life into your lunch routine. Packed with ginger and sesame, it’s fantastic on noodles, slaw or any salad you can dream up. And since it does triple duty as a marinade and dipping sauce, this recipe is a win-win-win.

My Asian Salad Dressing was made for Chinese Chicken Salad, but it's also great on Chicken Lettuce Wraps, served with Pot Stickers, or drizzled over Ahi Tuna. For more salad dressings that get your meals (and budgets) off to a healthy start, grab some olive oil and click here.

Asian salad dressing being poured into a clear bowl with asian salad ingredients.
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Can a salad dressing be exciting? Something you look forward to? Something made from mostly pantry ingredients with a few fresh flavors thrown in?

The answer is yes, and the answer is down below. My easy Asian Salad Dressing might just be your new favorite dressing (read the comments below and you'll see what I mean). Try it out yourself for your next weekday lunch or healthy dinner, especially on my favorite Chinese Chicken Salad.

Making Asian Salad Dressing and Marinade for a big party? Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.

Asian Salad Dressing ingredients:

  • Canola oil. Or any neutral oil, like grapeseed oil.
  • Rice vinegar. Rice vinegar and rice wine vinegar are the same thing—a light slightly sweet vinegar made from fermented rice.
  • Hoisin sauce. Aka Chinese barbecue sauce. A sweet and salty popular Chinese ingredient, sold by the bottle. Used in stir-frys and as a glaze for meat. Most store-bought hoisin sauce is made from fermented soybeans, chili, fennel, and garlic.
    If you haven’t seen it at the store, chances are you weren’t looking hard enough; it’s almost always there.
  • Soy sauce.
  • Ginger. Fresh ginger root, please! Powdered ginger doesn't even come close. If you don't want to commit to a chunk of fresh ginger, don't worry. You can freeze fresh ginger and shave off what you need when you need it.
  • Sesame oil. Toasted sesame oil is crucial. Just a little goes a long way.
    Quick Asian Salad Dressing and Marinade will breathe new life into your lunch routine. Packed with ginger and sesame, it’s fantastic on noodles, slaw or any salad you can dream up. And since it does triple duty as a marinade and dipping sauce, this recipe is a win-win-win.

Optional ingredients:

  • Finely chopped chives or scallions.
  • Sesame seeds.
  • Minced garlic.
  • Peanut butter. Add a tablespoon for a creamier Asian Salad Dressing.

How to make Asian Salad Dressing:

This is truly a one-minute salad dressing, once you get your ingredients sourced.

  1. In a blender or in a small glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine all the ingredients and shake or process until smooth.

Quick Asian Salad Dressing and Marinade will breathe new life into your lunch routine. Packed with ginger and sesame, it’s fantastic on noodles, slaw or any salad you can dream up. And since it does triple duty as a marinade and dipping sauce, this recipe is a win-win-win.

Hoisin sauce substitute:

Hoisin sauce, also know as Chinese barbecue sauce, is located in the Asian foods section of the grocery, near the oyster sauce and soy sauce.

However, here's a substitute for hoisin sauce, in case you can’t find it anywhere. Some recipes for homemade hoisin call for doubanjiang (a spicy chili bean paste) 5-spice powder, plum sauce, or miso (a Japanese fermented soybean paste) but if you can’t find hoisin sauce, you might not be able to find any of those ingredients. This recipe keeps it simple.

  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

All you have to do is mix everything together. You might be left with extra homemade hoisin, so make more salad dressing.

How to use Asian Dressing as a marinade:

All you really have to do is add the dressing to the raw protein of your choice and let it think about things in the refrigerator for a few hours. A glass baking dish or zip-top bag is ideal for marinating.

For safety's sake, though, don't use any marinade that has come into contact with raw meat as a sauce. Discard it and use a fresh batch of dressing if you want it.

How long does Asian Salad Dressing keep?

This Asian dressing will keep for up to 4 days in your refrigerator. That gives you four glorious days of exciting food, unless you can't help yourself and you drink it with a straw in one sitting.

Making gluten-free ginger soy dressing:

Soy sauce still has gluten, so read your labels carefully if you're going GF. Look for La Choy or Kikkoman gluten-free soy sauce, or make this dressing with coconut aminos or Bragg's liquid aminos.

Asian Salad Dressing variations:

  • Miso. Switch out the hoisin for miso and a touch of honey to add some sweetness. Miso ginger Japanese salad dressing--try it on a chopped Asian salad with bok choy, Nappa cabbage, red peppers, scallions, and tofu.
  • Peanut butter. Make a creamy Asian Salad dressing with peanut butter. Drizzle it over cold noodles with scallions and black sesame seeds.
  • Spicy Asian Salad dressing. Add chili flakes or a teaspoon of chili paste (like Sambal Olek) to the dressing. Marinate chicken wings before blasting them in the oven.
  • Honey. Turn the sweetness up by adding honey or maple syrup.
5 from 12 votes

Asian Salad Dressing and Marinade Recipe

Quick Asian Salad Dressing and Marinade will breathe new life into your lunch routine. Packed with ginger and sesame, it’s fantastic on noodles, slaw or any salad you can dream up. And since it does triple duty as a marinade and dipping sauce, this recipe is a win-win-win.
Course Pantry
Cuisine Asian
Keyword salad dressing
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 72kcal
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • In a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine oil, vinegar, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, ginger, and sesame oil. Shake vigorously until combined. Or, combine all ingredients in a blender and process until uniformly combined.
  • Allow flavors to blend at room for at least 30 minutes. Or, refrigerate for up to 4 days.

Recipe Notes

Adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook.
For gluten-free soy sauce alternatives, use La Choy or Kikkoman's gluten-free soy sauce. Coconut aminos are also a great alternative. 

Nutrition

Calories: 72kcal

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  1. Becky

    Made last night for an Asian salad with a mix of field greens, romaine, green onions, mandarin oranges, slivered almonds, edamame and crispy noodles on top. SO good, loved it. Made half the recipe and used the exact recipe, didn’t have hoisin sauce so followed the substitute listed, worked great! Will keep this recipe, the salad would make an excellent summer entree with added grilled chicken. Also would be good on a salad with noodles. Thank you so much!5 stars

    1. Meggan

      Sounds amazing! Glad you liked it! -Meggan

  2. Taylor

    This dressing delivered as promised and it’s a quick and easy staple if you’re wanting to add an Asian salad dressing to your meal. We really like it, thank you Meggan!5 stars

    1. Meggan

      That’s so great to hear. Thank you for your kind words Taylor! -Meggan

  3. Alicia

    Thanks a bunch for this salad dressing recipe! My whole family loved it! It’s the perfect combination of tangy and sweet. Also, love the hint of freshly grated ginger!5 stars

  4. Raj

    Why do you even need any oil????

    1. meggan

      Hi Raj, you can leave the oil out. You don’t “need” it. But, oil gives the dressing a nicer texture, helps the dressing cling to the vegetables, and keeps it from tasting too acidic or astringent. In the case of sesame oil, it provides a lot of flavor too. Some oils help with emulsification. But you can leave the oil out, that’s your choice! Thanks – Meggan

  5. DEE

    Thanks for the great recipe, I love it!5 stars

  6. Kathy

    I made this for a salad that I bought and really liked the salad dressing that came with the salad. But later I felt that I could find a better salad dressing and I came across this dressing. I had all the ingredients, whipped this up and loved it. I took it to work and everyone loved it and wanted the recipe. I haven’t used this for a marinade yet, but I will. Really love this salad dressing!!!5 stars

    1. Meggan

      I’m glad you liked it Kathy! Thank you! :D

  7. Ree

    This is a delicious and crunchy salad. I personally love crunchy toppings,
    but most importantly I enjoy a good salad dressing on any and every salad I eat.
    A delish salad dressing is like a bright shiny bow on a present, yeah I wrote that. But what made this
    Salad so good is the Asian salad dressing it’s so freaking good.!!
    It’s now my fave dressing!
    Thank you for this recipe.5 stars

  8. Sometimes Traveler

    Why does this last only 4 days in the refrigerator when all the ingredients last much longer than that?

    1. meggan

      Hey there, I follow the CDC guidelines for refrigeration when I say how long something will last. It’s true, the dressing could quite feasibly last a week or more in the refrigerator, but the CDC says 4 days so that’s what I say. The other thing is, even if you have a bunch of shelf-stable ingredients like oil and vinegar and soy sauce, once you combine them, things change. There is no chemical preservative or stabilizer to keep mixed Asian dressing ingredients safe, and I just don’t know enough about chemistry to know what would happen. So that’s why I say 4 days. It’s probably longer, but I don’t know how much longer, and I just say what I learned in my food safety program in culinary school (which is what the CDC says). Sorry for the confusion that, I hope this is helpful. Thanks! -Meggan

  9. Cecilia Leffew

    I made it tonight and it was delicious! I didn’t have any fresh ginger so I omitted it. I can’t wait to make it again with all the ingredients. It was quick and easy to make and had a great flavor.5 stars

  10. Dave

    This is perfect timing. I’m on a chicken kick. FYI la Choy brand has always been gluten free and you can also find Kikkoman gluten free here and there.  The coconut aminos is also a great alternative. 5 stars

  11. Evelyn AbdelHamid

    Omg i just used the recipe amd im eating salad right now! This dressing up is amazing!5 stars

  12. I love the tangy taste of rice vinegar and hoisin. Makes a salad oh so yummy and memorable. Thanks for sharing.5 stars

  13. Sharina Wells

    I’m excited to try these recipies. They look delicious!5 stars

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