Sesame Dressing 胡麻ドレッシング

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Sesame Dressing | Easy Japanese Recipes at

Today’s recipe Sesame Dressing was one of the readers’ request a while ago.  Since my son loves Japanese sesame dressing, I keep making different versions.  This particular dressing is actually my husband’s favorite.  I wrote down the recipe so that I can make it again, but usually I keep altering the recipe to see if I can improve it.  He likes this particular one because he likes the taste of vinegar in it (so yes, it may be a little sour for some of you).

Sesame Dressing | Easy Japanese Recipes at

Some sesame dressing is too creamy (more mayonnaise) and he doesn’t like it too much.  This dressing on the other hand has just enough mayonnaise to be called “sesame dressing”.  I’m happy because it’s healthier version by using less mayo.  You might want to add more mayo if you prefer the dressing to be more creamy. Have a great weekend everyone!

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Sesame Dressing
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: Serves 3-4
  1. Put sesame seeds in a frying pan and toast them on low heat. When 2-3 sesame seeds start popping, remove from the heat.
  2. Grind the toasted sesame seeds with a motor and pestle until smooth.
  3. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk everything together. Drizzle on top of a simple salad of ice burg lettuce topped with tomatoes, boiled eggs, wakame, and corn. You can keep the dressing in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

Update: Photos updated in November 2013

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  1. Yes Yes! Seasame Dressing is one of my fav salad dressings too but the one we have over here at the supermarket was a bit more towards sourish taste. Emmm shall give yours a bit as it look really simple to hands-on at home :) Thanks for sharing your quick sauce. Have a great weekend Nami.

  2. My husband used to work in a Japanese Restaurant in Sydney during his ‘student’ days, where he learnt to make this dressings. We were hooked by the first taste. Kids love it and they would definitely be having second helping of salad (which is quite ‘unusual’ in my house)… Beautiful taste 😀

  3. I got a bottle of this in Japan because my kids loved it too, especially on broccoli. But I never made it at home, usually I just do sesame, miso and a little dashi mixed together as a dressing for vegetables, mostly because I don’t like vinegar so much. And I learned the expression ‘goma suru’ :-).

    What do you think if I were to make it with a little mayo and lemon juice, and maybe no sugar and vinegar… fussy me eh!!


    • Alessandra, I think lemon works. Let me know if you try with lemon. I assume the result will be pretty close. Right, we have 2 meanings for “goma suru” 😉 Ciao!

  4. Have I told you I put grilled sesame seeds practically everywhere? I am a huge sesame freak and even though it’s not me who asked for this recipe, I feel as if I did! I will never have enough of dishes, sauces or salads calling for sesame. You dressing sounds so good, I could bet any amount of money that I will love it. Actually I am making it for today’s lunch! (I’s not a joke!). Thank you, Nami, once more, for sharing such a lovely idea!
    I will have to think what else you could write about… but you have already so many recipes and ingredients included…

    • Mirin is an essential condiment used in Japanese cuisine and it’s one of the ingredient for Teriyaki Chicken. It consists of 40%–50% sugar, so we often replace sugar with mirin. Mirin is one of three condiments used for Japanese cooking including soy sauce and sake. :-)

  5. I love sesame dressing! A lot of the time I base whether I like a sushi restaurant or not off of their salad dressing (I probably should do it more off of the sushi but consider both 50/50). I’ve never tried making it and have always wondered which recipe to use. Looks like I have one now :) Quick question, what is the difference between japanese mayonaise and ‘american’ mayonaise?

    • Hi Claire, Japanese mayonnaise is made with egg yolks instead of whole eggs, and apple cider (or rice) vinegar instead of distilled vinegar. Over all it is creamier in both color and texture. A lot of people I know got hooked after trying Japanese mayonnaise, and I hope you will like it. Here’s the link of common Japanese mayonnaise brand: Kewpie (QP) mayonnaise. It’s much cheaper at Asian/Japanese supermarket.

  6. I find the flavour of roasted sesame so addicting! And funny coincidence: I hast had a Koulouri (greek circular bread with sesame) with a tart-spicy tomato-sesame dip from a street vendor for lunch. Completely different country and culture, yet two ways to have sesame with a sour note. 😉

    Now I’m having salad-cravings…


  7. I find the flavour of roasted sesame so addicting! And funny coincidence: I hast had a Koulouri (greek circular bread with sesame) with a tart-spicy tomato-sesame dip from a street vendor for lunch. Completely different country and culture, yet two ways to have sesame with a sour note. 😉

    Now I’m really having salad-cravings…


  8. Susie

    I love a sesame dressing but not all are created equal that is for sure. The ingredients in this sound really good, I will have to make some. I’m with you now that school has started I’m super busy. :)

  9. I am not sure that I have ever tried a true Sesame Dressing – but I always gravitate towards the Asian flavored dressings, so I am sure this would be great. I have to make a salad to bring to a party tomorrow, I might have to see if I can find the ingredients to try this one.

  10. Nami the sesame dressing looks wonderful! On my last trip to the Asian market, I bought a HUGE bottle of Ponzu sauce and a thing of Japanese mayo, can’t wait to use them to make something healthy! Have a great weekend!

  11. Oh, Nami, this looks like a delicious dressing for a fabulous salad! Gorgeous photos as always.

    PS…I’m looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow! Hooray for the weekend~

  12. This looks like such a great dressing! I have never tried sesame in my dressing but I am sure I will love this new flavour!
    I also struggle a lot to make time for my blog so i understand what you mean… I think you are far better than me in replying to all your comments! I just can’t keep up though I have just a few comments on my posts!

  13. My sister in law introduced me to this sesame dressing she bought at Costco. I absolutely loved it! Every time I’m there she makes sure she has a bottle. I eat it straight up with some baby leaves lettuce. Nothing else needed. I’ve been thinking about trying to remake it, so can you imagine how happy I am to see your post today? Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this recipe!

  14. This is great, I like to adjust the vinegar and sugar in many recipes, just my preference. This one I have to try… Now I have to make sur I still have some Japanese mayonaise :)

    Nami, I am always impressed with how much blogging you do do and especially with everything else you do. I can’t believe you answer everyone’s comment! You’re the best!

    • Unfortunately I don’t have time to respond to every single comment (I enjoy reading them them all!), but I try to at least visit everyone’s blog…but I’m usually running behind (did you notice?). I leave my answer to questions here so others can benefit and also email the answer back to the person via email. Enjoy the dressing!

  15. Jamie @ the unseasoned wok

    I’m so glad you posted this Nami. I’m always buying sesame dressing when I would love to make my own. I’m going to try this as soon as my current bottle runs out. Thanks!!

  16. Ooh Nami I love sesame dressing as well and I bet it would be great drizzled over sesame grilled tuna that’s on a bed of greens. I will definitely file this recipe.

    As for your photography maybe I need to spend more time reading the manual. What type of camera do you use? Hopefully my skills will change after I read up. Later next week I actually have someone coming by to give me some pointers.

    Thanks for that reply. Have a great weekend.

    • Hi Vicki, I use Cannon T2i and 50mm F1.4 lens and 60mm F2 macro lens. I really need to read manuals but it’s been so hard to find time to read something besides food blogs! :-)

  17. i have a bottle of sesame dressin gcalled makoto’s that my friends from florida send me. i discovered this divine sauce in a bottle 4 years ago and im hooked ever since.
    It’s been awhile since I came over here, well ta-dah im back. And I’m glad I am. Nami, I am so proud of you, I know I miss the CBS award thingy but GO GIRL, Im so PROUD of you! Keep it up and make you still “know” me when you are way up there hihihih, I know you would haha!
    Congrats again, and have a great weekend.

  18. Tracey

    I love sesame dressing. I learned it’s yummy for nearly everything. I dipped chicken in it, I dipped beef in it, and of course, I used it on salads.
    I have a different question for you, though. Another of my favorite dressings was called Wafu Dressing. Have you ever heard of it or how to make it?

    • Hi Tracey, thanks for dropping by. :-) Yes, sesame dressing/sauce is very versatile! Wafu means Japanese style, so as long as it’s using Japanese ingredients (soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, etc), it is wafu dressing. I have a basic wafu dressing recipe so I’ll share it one day. As you can imagine every household has different kinds of wafu dressing, so I hope you will like mine. Thanks!

  19. Nami, you know I am a big fan of Japanese cuisine, and thanks to you, I am slowly trying to prepare Japanese dishes here at home! I will get sesame seeds, and I think I’m good to go ;-).

    Thank you for sharing!

  20. Nami-that’s a wonderful homemade Japanese dressing. Love the crushed sesame seeds, and the Japanese mayonnaise which I did not hear of (I’m certain I can find this in our Asian market)
    Salad looks real yummy:DDD
    Stopped over from foodbuzz…buzzed you!

  21. I don’t have kids in school but it seems like everything is moving at warp speed. Thankfully I only teach 2 days a week or I’d really feel burned out. Time for baking seems few and far between. I happy that I have yummy recipes like this one to take my mind off being busy.

  22. Hi Nami. This is a wonderful recipe and am totally trying this one out this week. You always take such lovely photos too. I think all us mommies are struggling to fit it all in. Not enough hours in the day. We all adore you. I read because I love you and your blog and will read whether you have time to reply or not. Enjoy your time with the kids. They’re only young once. Have a great weekend. xx

  23. i always have a bottle of japanese sesame dressing in my fridge, it makes any type of salad extra delicious! and now i know how to make it from scratch! it seems much much healthier :)

    btw, im glad you tried the avocado egg salad on toast and liked it 😀

  24. I only you sesame dressing on salads!! I am obsessed. I make mine a little different then yours (toasted sesame seeds, oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and sugar) but I love the look of your recipe. I will most definitely be trying it once I use up the batch of dressing I have!
    Hope you had a great weekend!

  25. Hi Nami, I am so sorry for not visiting for such a long time! I see there are many new delicious recipes here :). I have always wondered how to make Japanese sesame dressing because sometimes when I buy a bento box from a sushi shop I normally visit, I always get a small container of sesame dressing which tastes wonderful…! Now I know how to make it myself, thanks for the recipe Nami :)!

    • Hi Chef Dennis! Japanese mayonnaise is made with egg yolks instead of whole eggs, and apple cider (or rice) vinegar instead of distilled vinegar. Over all it is creamier in both color and texture.

  26. Hi Nami! I just love the cold sesame salad served at Japanese restaurants. It’s such a refreshing appetizer and the dressing really speaks for itself. Your version must be even better, so it’s a must try for me!

  27. Ohhhh this sounds like a great dressing! Sesame seeds are so yummy and I like the idea of keeping them a little coarse for more texture! Also, I love vinegar (sigh), so I think I would love this healthier version! :-)

  28. This sesame dressing post is quite useful for me, since I keep on changing salad dressings for some variation to my regular salad. I know, sometimes it becomes challenging to manage kids and blogging, together!

  29. I was introduced to the sesame dressing by my cousin-in-law few years back when it was launched in SG and I fell in love with it immediately! 😀
    The cost of a bottle is quite expensive so I don’t always buy it but now I can make my own sesame dressing with your recipe! 😉

  30. First time here and i am loving being here. All the gorgeous pictures are just tempting.

    Loved this sesame dressing, would like to make it with some changes as we don’t gey some of the ingredients here in India…

  31. Funny… sesame was a flavor that I didn’t like growing up but now I actually crave. I guess those taste buds really do change as we age. My daughter though, has loved the flavor since she was born. This would make a neat dipping sauce for her veggies!

  32. MMMmmm sounds delightful. I Love making homemade dressing. I want to try this out soon. I cannot get japanese mayo here so I will have to substitute regular. Japanese mayo is sweeter, isn’t it??
    You know that we are all impressed with your great time management to have small children and do a blog. No worries with taking a bit more time to do things. Home life and family are priority and that is good. You are doing a fantastic job!!!!

  33. Jenn

    Hi Nami, I am a new Mom learning to cook. I saw yr sesame dressing recipe. Looks interesting and very do-able. May I know how long can the dressing be stored in the fridge section? Appreciate your advice. Thanks.

    • Hi Jenn! Thank you for asking. I usually try to use it in less than a week. I keep the dressing in an air-tight jar and store in fridge. Probably 7-10 days should be okay. Please check the dressing’s condition before you eat it. :-)

  34. John Pierre L. Dormido

    I made some hummus last week and had some homemade tahini left in the refrigerator. I was trying to figure out what to do with this left-over when I saw your recipe for sesame dressing. I made this for dinner tonight and drizzled it over a big bowlful of vegetable salad and it was awesome! Thank you very much.

    • Hello John! I’m so happy you enjoyed this dressing! Your homemade hummus must be delicious too. Thank you so much or taking your time to give me your feedback. :)

  35. hozugranny

    Tried this dressing yesterday. My hubby and I both fans of the wafu salad dressing. Now we can add this to our fav list =)
    Thanks Nami-san for the wonderful recipes.

  36. Krista

    Thank you so much! I just made it and it’s pretty much perfect. I kept wanting to buy it, but it’s awfully expensive at asian markets, and I thought I’d be able to make it if I just got the ingredients right. You’re awesome!

    • Hi Krista! Thank you for your feedback! Yeah once we know how to make it (easily), there is no need to buy a store-bought, especially it has some additives etc. I’m happy to hear you enjoyed it. Thank you so much for taking your time to write your feedback! :)

  37. Lf

    Hi, Nami,
    What is rice vinegar, is it Japanese type of vinegar ? I am staying Msia. Can be easily getting this product?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Lf! Japanese dishes use rice vinegar for cooking. I think you can get it in Japanese department store there (I heard some Malaysian food bloggers go there to get some Japanese products). Rice vinegar is mild compared to regular vinegar, so it helps to get the right flavor for this dressing. :)

  38. felicity

    great recipe followed it exactly and it was amazing! probably would use a blender next time as mortar and pestle made the sesame seeds a bit too paste like but may not have toasted them enough. delicious either way!

  39. bee ai


    the soy sauce you use is Usukuchi shoyu or Koikuchi shoyu? I use chinese light soy sauce, i feel the dressing salty rather than sourish. I would like to try again, but i will buy the Japanese soy sauce. The soy sauce in your recipes is using which type? Thanks.

    • Hi Bee! Please use Japanese soy sauce for this recipe as Chinese soy sauce tastes different from Japanese one. I use Koikuchi shoyu for all my recipes unless I mention Usukuchi. Hope you will like this dressing! :)

  40. Beth

    I searched for a good Goma Dressing recipe for a while. We have many Asian shops around, but the dressing is so expensive for such a little bottle. This recipe is super easy and tastes great. I even made it for my Japanese friends. Now they use this recipe. I use an electric grinder in place of hand grinding when I am in a hurry.

    • Hi Beth! I’m so happy to hear you like this recipe. Yeah it’s true, the goma dressing usually costs $4-6 here, but homemade one costs so little and we can change the portion a little bit so we don’t get tired of the same flavor too. Thank you so much for your feedback!

  41. Hey Nami, just wondering if this dressing is similar to the Japanese roasted sesame dressings that you can get at Asian supermarkets, or if this is something different?

    • Hi Von! I would say those store-bought one has more sugar, but it’s pretty much same/similar in terms of taste. Adjust the vinegar and sugar amount according to your liking. I hope you enjoy this dressing. :)

      • Hi Nami, I tried your recipe recently! :) It was very good- definitely will be making again!! I actually found that the biggest difference between your recipe and the commercial bottled ones is in the sesame oil- the commercial ones seem to add a LOT of sesame oil. I quite liked how I could actually taste the nuttiness of the sesame in this recipe. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  42. Fiona

    I have just discovered sesame dressing and am addicted!
    Definitely going to try your recipe…a question, can the recipe be increased to make more that can be kept in the fridge? How long would it keep?
    Many thanks.

    • Hi Fiona! Oh I’m so glad you discovered sesame dressing! You’ll enjoy this, and a lot cheaper than buying a store-bought sesame dressing (less sugar, and over all healthier). You can keep it for up to a week in the fridge. Hope you enjoy it!

  43. Megumi

    I was just wondering if it was possible to be able to make this Sesame Seed Dressing using black sesame seeds instead of white ones because at the moment, I only have the black ones. Thanks, Nami!

    • Hi Megumi! Black sesame and white sesame seeds taste differently. Black ones are stronger in flavor, it’s rather bitter while white ones are sweeter and nuttier. I’ve never used black sesame seeds for this dressing. I think you “can” make it, but I think it’ll be personal preference. If you have both sesame seeds next time, try tasting them. You will know the slight difference in flavor. :)

  44. Susi

    I tried this one after your carrot-dressing recipe, and both are excellent. I didn’t have time to toast the sesame, but it was very good anyway: tangy and creamy. Thank you!

    • Thank you Susi! Toasting just brings more fragrance and adds flavor, but it’s only optional. :) I’m glad you liked this recipe! Thank you!