Japanese Sesame Dressing: What Is It, Making & Using It

Apr 15, 2024

Japanese sesame dressing is a delightful condiment that can be added to a variety of Japanese and Asian dishes.  

We love sesame dressing for its creamy and nutty taste. We use it to effortlessly transform ordinary ingredients into flavourful meals. 

In this article, we'll explore everything you need to know about Japanese sesame dressing. We’ll uncover its origins, share our secret homemade recipe and some ideas on how you can use it to liven up your cooking.

What is Japanese Sesame Dressing?

Japanese Sesame Dressing is a delightful blend of roasted sesame seeds and a mixture of other core ingredients. The sesame seeds are ground into a smooth paste and then mixed with soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar. Occasionally you may find additional ingredients added. For instance, we love adding some Japanese mayonnaise for extra creaminess. 

Japanese sesame dressing is versatile and can be used in many Asian and non-Asian dishes. It adds a rich, umami-packed taste that enhances whichever dish you add it to. We love using it to make healthier dishes such as vegetables and salad taste more exciting.

So why not try using it as a salad dressing, drizzling it over grilled meats, or dipping vegetables into it? We most certainly do!#

Japanese sesame dressing

Origins and Cultural Significance of Japanese Sesame Dressing

Sesame is a popular and essential Japanese ingredient that has been used for centuries throughout the cuisine. You could say that sesame seeds were essentially a status symbol in Japan and used to symbolise good luck and prosperity.

The use of "Goma Doreshingu" or sesame dressing, however, is a relatively modern innovation. It is thought to have been developed during the first part of the 20th century. Nevertheless, in such a short time, Asian sesame dressing has managed to become a popular pantry staple across the world.

How to Make Japanese Sesame Dressing

It’s possible to make your own Japanese sesame dressing at home. We find that creating sesame dressing is not only relatively easy, but also a rewarding experience. Here is our very own homemade Japanese sesame dressing recipe you can use to get started.

Homemade Japanese Sesame Dressing


  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds (black or white)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil


  1. In a small blender or food processor, grind the toasted sesame seeds until they turn into a fine powder. Alternatively, you can use a pestle and mortar.
  2. In a bowl, combine the ground sesame seeds with soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil.
  3. Whisk together until the sugar dissolves completely and the mixture is consistent.
  4. We find it tastes best when you allow the dressing to rest for at least 10 minutes before use as this brings out its full flavours.
Grinding sesame seeds

Feel free to play around with this recipe as you see fit. It’s super easy to adapt it to be gluten-free and vegan-friendly by choosing the appropriate ingredients.

We love making a slightly creamier version of sesame dressing. To achieve this, add some Japanese mayonnaise such as Kewpie to the mixture. Then whisk vigorously until the dressing achieves a creamy, smooth consistency. Don’t forget to allow the dressing to rest for a while before using it - you’ll notice a difference.

How To Store Japanese Sesame Dressing

Once complete store the dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator. We find that it can last for up to 2-3 weeks. This should make it convenient to use anytime.

Ten Recipes Featuring Japanese Sesame Dressing

We’ve shared how easy it is to make your Japanese sesame dressing at home. But the real fun starts when you add it to your favourite dishes to add a Japanese flair. Feel free to get creative however here are some ideas to get you started. 

#1 Cucumber Salad

Dress thinly sliced cucumbers in sesame dressing for a crisp, refreshing starter.

Cucumber salad with Japanese sesame dressing

#2 Cold Noodles

Drizzle this Asian sesame dressing over chilled soba or udon noodles for a light but delicious savoury treat.

#3 Spinach Salad

We love adding sesame dressing to enhance our favourite vegetables. Take some tender spinach leaves and coat them with sesame dressing for a perfect blend of leafy greens and wholesome flavour.

#4 Grilled Chicken

Japanese sesame dressing is also popular as a dipping sauce. Why not marinate and grill some chicken thighs, before serving with a side dip of sesame dressing.

Sesame dressing on grilled chicken

#5 Tofu Steaks

Pan-fry some thick slices of tofu until golden and drizzle with a coating sesame dressing.

#6 Broccoli and Carrot Salad

We love this dish when looking for something tasty but healthy. Steam some broccoli and carrots. Then add sesame dressing on top for a crunchy, vibrant side dish that pairs beautifully with the deep flavours of sesame.

#7 Potato Salad

A novel take on the classic potato salad, replace mayonnaise or infuse with sesame dressing for an Asian twist.

#8 Asian Slaw

Combine shredded cabbage, carrots, and peppers in a tangy sesame dressing for the perfect side or burger dressing.

#9 Avocado and Crab Salad

Enjoy a decadent combination of creamy avocado and fresh crab meat, enhanced by a rich sesame dressing.

#10 Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roast some Brussels sprouts and toss them into some sesame dressing for a delightful finish.

Final Word

I hope we’ve convinced you that Japanese Sesame Dressing is more than just a condiment you ignore on the shelves.

With its easy recipe, delicious flavour and versatility, it transforms simple ingredients into delightful meals.

Whether you're dressing a salad, adding flavour to a grilled dish, or looking for a flavourful dip, sesame dressing is a must-have for every pantry.

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