An easy homemade Sesame Dressing made with 5 easy pantry ingredients you probably already have. This dazzling, Asian-style vinaigrette will spruce up leafy greens, cabbage slaws, and vegetables too.

Sesame dressing being poured onto bok choy in a wooden bowl.

This sesame seed-speckled vinaigrette is slightly sweet, a little salty, and perfectly delicious.

Drizzle the dressing over grilled tuna, thinly sliced beef, cold chunks of cucumbers, blanched asparagus, or a bowl of chilled noodles, chicken, and veggies. You can also use it as a dipping sauce for Japanese dumplings or dress shredded cabbage for a fantastic no-mayo slaw.

Because it’s a basic recipe, you can dress it up by adding a little ginger, maybe some scallions, or sesame oil. But chances are you’ll love it as much as I do, just the way it is.

Recipe ingredients:

Labeled sesame dressing ingredients in various bowls.

Ingredient notes:

  • Brown sugar: Or substitute an equal amount of honey.
  • Olive oil: You can also use vegetable oil.
  • Red wine vinegar: Or substitute cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar.
  • Sesame seeds: To toast the sesame seeds, in a medium skillet over medium heat, heat them until golden brown and fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 3-5 minutes.
    Sesame seeds in a black skillet.

Instructions:

  1. Add the ingredients to a jar with a tight-fitting lid and give the jar a gentle shake to mix. Alternatively, you can whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl.
    Sesame dressing in a clear glass dish.
  2. If you’re going to use the dressing right away, let it sit out on the counter to let the flavors meld. Otherwise, store it in the refrigerator and shake it up again before you use it.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • Yield: About 1 ½ cups of dressing.
  • Make ahead: I like to make a double batch of the recipe (for about 3 cups total) and keep it in a jar for the week ahead. But it’s easy to whip up even on the fly, especially if you have toasted sesame seeds ready.
  • Storage: Store the dressing in a jar in the refrigerator. Shake up before using.
  • Grind the seeds: A fun way to make a creamy sesame vinaigrette without mayo is by grinding the toasted sesame seeds before adding them to the dressing. Pulverize using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder (I use a small coffee grinder reserved just for spices) until smooth. The ground seeds will thicken the dressing somewhat.
  • Ginger: With ginger, this simple Japanese salad dressing gets even better. Mix in some grated fresh ginger to really make the dressing pop! Use a fine grater like a Microplane to do this.
  • Black sesame seeds: If you have black sesame seeds, add some to provide contrast.
  • Garlic: A little garlic goes a long way here, but try a clove of grated raw garlic if you like.
  • Scallions: Use the whole green onion (or fresh chives) to boost the soy-sesame flavors. Finely chopped work best.
  • Mayonnaise: Make a creamy dressing by adding a spoonful or two of mayonnaise.

Sesame dressing on bok choy in a wooden bowl.

Enjoy Sesame dressing on:

Sesame dressing being poured onto bok choy.

Sesame Dressing

An easy homemade Sesame Dressing made with 5 easy pantry ingredients you probably already have. This dazzling, Asian-style vinaigrette will spruce up leafy greens, cabbage slaws, and vegetables too.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 2 mins
Total Time 2 mins
Servings 12 servings (2 tbsp each)
Course Pantry, Salad
Cuisine American, Asian
Calories 135

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (see note 1)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (see note 2)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (see note 3)
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds (see note 4)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

Instructions 

  • In a small bowl or in a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine brown sugar, olive oil, vinegar, sesame seeds, and soy sauce.
  • If you're going to use the dressing right away, let it sit out on the counter to let the flavors meld. Otherwise, store it in the refrigerator and shake it up again before you use it.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Brown sugar: Or substitute an equal amount of honey.
  2. Olive oil: You can also use vegetable oil. 
  3. Red wine vinegar: Or substitute cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar.
  4. Sesame seeds: To toast the sesame seeds, in a medium skillet over medium heat, heat them until golden brown and fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Yield: About 1 ½ cups of dressing.
  6. Make ahead: I like to make a double batch of the recipe (for about 3 cups total) and keep it in a jar for the week ahead. But it’s easy to whip up even on the fly, especially if you have toasted sesame seeds ready.
  7. Storage: Store the dressing in a jar in the refrigerator. Shake up before using.
  8. Grind the seeds: A fun way to make a creamy sesame vinaigrette without mayo is by grinding the toasted sesame seeds before adding them to the dressing. Pulverize using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder (I use a small coffee grinder reserved just for spices) until smooth. The ground seeds will thicken the dressing somewhat. 
  9. Ginger: With ginger, this simple Japanese salad dressing gets even better. Mix in some grated fresh ginger to really make the dressing pop! Use a fine grater like a Microplane to do this.
  10. Black sesame seeds: If you have black sesame seeds, add some to provide contrast.
  11. Garlic: A little garlic goes a long way here, but try a clove of grated raw garlic if you like.
  12. Scallions: Use the whole green onion (or fresh chives) to boost the soy-sesame flavors. Finely chopped work best.
  13. Mayonnaise: Make a creamy dressing by adding a spoonful or two of mayonnaise.

Nutrition

Calories: 135kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 1gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 171mgPotassium: 33mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9gCalcium: 38mgIron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @CulinaryHill or tag #CulinaryHill!

Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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