Creamy Sesame Dressing Recipe

If you’re looking to take your salads to a whole new level, my creamy sesame dressing recipe is for you! 

This Japanese-inspired dressing is the perfect blend of creamy, nutty, sweet, and tangy flavors, making this a delectable and satisfying dressing to add to your meals. Not only is this dressing incredibly delicious, it only takes 10 minutes and 6 ingredients to prepare! Plus you can make this in advance and keep a bottle of this homemade dressing in your fridge to enjoy whenever you want. 

I love using this dressing on salads, but you can also enjoy this with noodles, pasta salads, sandwiches, or even as a dipping sauce. It’s incredibly versatile and addicting, so I won’t be surprised if you fall in love with this salad dressing!

Why you’ll love this recipe

This creamy sesame dressing is incredibly versatile and delightful from its nutty aroma, rich flavors, and velvety texture. It can be served in a multitude of ways – the choice is yours!

The combination of roasted sesame seeds, rich sesame oil, savory soy sauce, creamy mayo, and a hint of sweetness from the sugar gives you an explosion of umami flavors. With the addition of rice vinegar, it adds a refreshing tangy taste that balances out the nuttiness of the sesame seeds and oil. 

If you’ve been looking for delicious ways to get your veggies in without sacrificing flavor, this dressing will get the job done. It’s an all-around crowd-pleaser and loved by children and adults alike!

Ingredients & Substitutions

White sesame seeds: If using white sesame seeds, it’s important that you toast them in a pan before grinding. You can also find roasted sesame seeds, which come already toasted. Black sesame seeds are a good substitute for white sesame seeds. It’ll give the dressing a darker color however, it will not change the flavor of the dressing. 

Japanese kewpie mayo: Japanese kewpie mayo is richer, creamier, and slightly sweeter than American mayo. It’s my preferred choice of mayo however, you can substitute it with any mayo that is readily available to you. To make this vegan-friendly, check out my Vegan Mayo recipe!

Sugar: I prefer to use white sugar for this recipe, but you can also use any type of sugar or sweetener you prefer, including brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup.

Low-sodium soy sauce: Using low-sodium soy sauce will help you control the saltiness of the dressing. You can use regular soy sauce but I recommend reducing the amount added by half. Be sure to taste as you go and adjust accordingly to your preferences!

Rice vinegar: rice vinegar adds a sweet and tangy flavor to the dressing, but it can also be substituted with apple cider vinegar, white balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, or lemon. If using rice vinegar, try to look for the unseasoned version.

Sesame oil: in addition to the sesame seeds, the sesame oil imparts a deep sesame flavor to the dressing. As a substitute, you can double the amount of ground sesame seeds to add to the mixture. Just keep in mind that the dressing will be very thick, so I recommend loosening it with a few splashes of water. 

Salad Combination Suggestions

If you’re wondering what vegetable combinations will taste phenomenal with this sesame dressing, here are a few of my favorites:

  • For a rainbow salad, here are some vegetable ideas for each color of the rainbow,
    • Red – red tomatoes, radishes, beets, red bell peppers
    • Orange – orange tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, orange bell peppers
    • Yellow – yellow bell peppers, yellow tomatoes, corn, golden beets
    • Green – cucumbers, edamame, spinach, peas, kale, avocado
    • Blue – blue potatoes, blue carrots, blue corn
    • Purple – purple cabbage, red onion, purple cauliflower
  • For a crunchy salad, combine romaine lettuce, carrots, red onion, celery, and red bell pepper. To make it more filling, you can also include peanuts or a protein of your choice.
  • For a spicy and creamy salad, combine avocado, kale, red onions, assorted mini sweet peppers, and chili flakes. If you want to level up the heat, feel free to add a couple of your favorite chili peppers, including green peppers, serrano, or Thai chili peppers. You can also add toasted cashews for a nutty and crunchy twist.

How to Prepare Creamy Sesame Dressing

This no-fuss creamy sesame dressing is incredibly easy to make. To get started, just follow these simple steps below!

Step 1: Toast the sesame seeds

Heat a shallow pan over medium-low heat. Then, add the sesame seeds making sure they’re spread out evenly across the pan. Toast for 3 to 5 minutes while stirring constantly to prevent the sesame seeds from burning.

Step 2: Grind the sesame seeds

Once the sesame seeds are slightly brown and fragrant, transfer them to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Grind them into a fine powder and transfer the sesame seeds to a small mixing bowl.

Step 3: Combine the ingredients

In the bowl with the ground sesame seeds, combine Japanese kewpie mayo, sugar, low-sodium soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Make sure to mix the dressing well until the ingredients are well combined. 

Step 4: Taste and adjust

At this point, you want to taste the dressing and make any adjustments according to your preferences. If you want it to be sweeter, just add more sugar. If you need it to be saltier, add more soy sauce.

Step 5: Serve

Once you’re satisfied with the taste, serve it with your favorite salad and enjoy! Store any leftover dressing in an airtight jar in the fridge. 

Preparation Tips for Creamy Sesame Dressing

To ensure your dressing comes out consistently delicious, here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind: 

  • Toast the sesame seeds to deepen the flavors. This will amplify the nuttiness and roasted flavors of the sesame seeds. 
  • If you don’t have a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, you can transfer the sesame seeds into a food storage bag (like Ziploc). Just be sure to allow the sesame seeds to cool completely before transferring. Remove as much air as possible from the storage bag and seal it well. Using a rolling pin, press down firmly over the sesame seeds to crush them. This will result in a more rustic texture but it won’t affect the flavors of the dressing. 
  • If the dressing is too thick, you can loosen it by adding a teaspoon of sesame oil at a time until it reaches your desired consistency. If the dressing is too thin, add a teaspoon of more toasted sesame seeds or mayo. 
  • Get creative with this dressing by customizing it with your favorite flavors and ingredients. For example, if you want to add some heat to the dressing, you can also add a few spoonfuls of your favorite brand of chili oil or my easy 5-minute Korean Chili Oil recipe!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you toast and grind the sesame seeds?

Toasting the sesame seeds before grinding is a simple trick but it’s very effective for enhancing its nutty flavor. Grinding them also releases their natural oils which will help thicken the dressing and make it creamy.

If you like, you can also toast a big batch of sesame seeds to use for other recipes. That way, you’ll just need to grind them up the next time you’ll want to make this dressing. Toasted sesame seeds can stay fresh for up to 6 months if you store them in an airtight container in the fridge. 

Is Kewpie just mayonnaise?

Yes, it’s a Japanese-style mayonnaise! If you’re wondering what’s in kewpie mayo that makes it so addictive, it’s made with pasteurized egg yolks, apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, red wine vinegar, distilled vinegar, vegetable oil, salt, and monosodium glutamate (MSG). It’s the perfect blend of sweet, umami, and tangy flavors, that complement the ingredients in this recipe. 

Do take note that American kewpie mayo contains sugar and yeast extract instead of MSG, so make sure to seek out the Japanese version if you want to stay true to this recipe. Aside from salad dressings, you can also add kewpie mayo to egg and potato salads, okonomiyaki, poke bowls, or sandwiches. It’s my favorite and preferred choice of mayo!

What is sesame dressing made of?

This creamy sesame dressing is made of a blend that includes roasted sesame seeds, creamy kewpie mayo, sugar, low-sodium soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Not only is this great as a dressing, but it can also be served with noodles, pasta salads, sandwiches, dipping sauces, and marinades. 

Can I use this dressing as a marinade?

Yes, absolutely! This creamy sesame dressing works great as a marinade for proteins including chicken, pork, fish, or even tofu. Marinate the protein for at least 1 hour or up to overnight in the refrigerator. 

How long can you store Creamy Sesame Dressing? 

You can store this dressing recipe in the fridge for up to one week, as long as you keep it in a tight-lid jar or airtight container. The dressing may separate as it sits, but if that’s the case, just give it a good shake or mix and it’ll be ready to use. 

Looking for more easy and delicious Japanese-inspired recipes?

Here are some of my all-time favorite recipes! Check them out below:

1. Carrot Ginger Miso Salad Dressingfor a thicker salad dressing that’s packed with nutrients, give my carrot ginger miso salad dressing a try. It’s made with apples, carrots, ginger, and onions for a sweet and tangy twist. 

2. Spicy Salmon Poke Bowlthis is the perfect recipe to make when you’re feeling lazy but still want a delicious meal. If you have extra cooked rice laying around, you can easily whip this up in 10 minutes!

3. Tuna Onigirithis tuna onigiri is the easiest and simplest way to make a super delicious onigiri (rice ball)! Only a few ingredients are required to make a tasty quick lunch at home.

4. One Pot Miso Mushroom Rice Bowlthis one-pot mushroom rice bowl is healthy, and delicious, and comes together in under 30 minutes! If you’re a mushroom lover like me, you’re going to love this recipe. 

5. Uni Pasta RecipeIf there’s one dish you should make for a date night in, it has to be this 15-minute rich and creamy uni pasta! The richness of the uni is perfectly balanced with a delicate sweetness and a hint of brininess for an incredibly unique taste. 

Creamy Sesame Dressing Recipe

Servings 8 people
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 1/2 cup white sesame seeds toasted
  • 1/2 cup Japanese kewpie mayo substitute with regular mayo
  • 4 tsp sugar adjust to taste
  • 4 tsp low-sodium soy sauce if using regular soy sauce, reduce amount by half then adjust to taste
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar unseasoned
  • 2 1/2 tbsp roasted sesame oil


  • Heat a shallow pan over medium-low heat. Add the sesame seeds and spread them out evenly across the pan. Toast for 3 to 5 minutes, constantly stirring to prevent the sesame seeds from burning. Once the sesame seeds are slightly browned and fragrant, transfer them to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Grind into a fine powder then transfer to a small mixing bowl.
  • In the bowl with the ground sesame seeds, add Japanese kewpie mayo, sugar, low-sodium soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Mix until the dressing is well combined. Be sure to taste and adjust according to your preferences. For example, if you prefer a sweeter dressing, just add a bit more sugar.
  • Serve and enjoy with your favorite salads!

How to Store

  • Transfer the dressing into a glass airtight container or jar. Store in the fridge for up to one week.
Course: Condiment, Salad
Cuisine: Japanese

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