Black Sesame Salad Dressing

5 from 3 votes
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Black Sesame Salad Dressing |

Black sesame dressing is a creamy sauce with a sweet, sour, and nutty flavor. It uses mayonnaise as the base, but the fruity vinegar gives the veggies a nice kick. I can devour a big bowl of salad in one sitting with this dressing!

Black sesame salad is a copycat recipe from one of my favorite Korean restaurants in Beijing. It was among the free appetizer dishes (banchan), but this one was different from the standard Korean cold appetizer. The first time I saw this dish, it seemed so plain, normal and huge. I didn’t think I’d finish it because it didn’t look special at all. It looked like any other lettuce salad with mayo, and there were two dishes of tender grilled beef waiting for me. But the first bite of salad totally blew my mind!

Black Sesame Salad Dressing |

The salad has a creamy texture and sweet flavor, just like sweet mayonnaise. But it also has a tangy, nutty fragrance from the toasted sesame seeds. Then I noticed the dressing had a pungent and sour flavor that was so appetizing that I couldn’t stop eating until I had cleared the whole plate and wanted more!

I jotted down some notes on the flavor immediately, because I had to recreate it at home!

The cooking process didn’t take too long. I started with a small batch, adding a drop of vinegar, a dash of sesame seeds, a pinch of salt and sugar. After a bit of tweaking and tasting, I figured out a good ratio of ingredients to create a very similar flavor to the one I had in that restaurant. Not identical, but close enough.

Black Sesame Salad Dressing |

Highlights of This Recipe

  • Toasting cooked sesame seeds brings out great flavor. Although I used cooked sesame seeds in this recipe, I found that toasting them again helps to bring out a fresh nuttiness. To toast sesame seeds on the stovetop, cook them slowly on medium or medium low heat. It will take a few minutes and you should stand near the skillet to make sure they are cooked through without getting burnt.
  • Blend in sesame seeds gradually. I used 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds in this recipe because I wanted a strong nutty flavor. But if it’s your first time trying this dish, use half the amount and gradually increase it to find your perfect balance.
  • The key is to create a balanced dressing that is creamy, sweet and sour. I used Japanese mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, and sugar. If you use another type of mayo and the salad turns out a bit too sour, simply add some more sugar.
  • The dressing is simple and good to go with nearly any green salad. My favorite way is to grab a mixed salad from the supermarket and add a few more items on top. It’s quick and easy!
  • Blend in the sesame right before serving, even if you make the salad ahead of time.
  • Try this dressing with roasted sweet potato and pumpkin. It will blow your mind!
  • I don’t suggest you store the leftover dressing (you probably won’t have any left, anyway!).

I consider this to be on the healthy end of the dressing spectrum. Although it contains mayo, the amount is moderate and one serving contains about 100 calories. I feel guilt-free pouring plenty of this dressing on my salad!

Black Sesame Salad Dressing |

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Creamy Black Sesame Salad Dressing

Black Sesame Salad Dressing

5 from 3 votes
Black sesame dressing is a creamy sauce with a sweet, sour, and nutty flavor. It uses mayonnaise as the base, but the fruity vinegar gives the veggies a nice kick. I can devour a big bowl of salad in one sitting with this dressing!
Author: Maggie Zhu
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Korean
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2 -4


  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds , cooked
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 4 cups mixed green salad to serve with *see footnote


  • Heat a nonstick skillet over medium low heat and add black sesame seeds. Cook and stir occasionally until fragrant, in 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Transfer sesame seeds to a mortar and grind with a pestle until turned into coarse flakes.
  • Combine mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, and half the sesame seed flakes in a medium-sized bowl and mix well. Smash garlic into a paste and add it into the bowl. Taste the dressing and add more sesame seeds if you prefer it a bit nuttier. Mix well and let it stand for 10 minutes.
  • Wash and prepare vegetables.
  • Drizzle dressing on salad before serving.


  1. The salad dressing goes well with with various veggies. Common items in a Chinese salad include lettuce, tomato, red onion, cherry (or other) tomato, bell pepper, and egg. For a winter salad, I also like to add some roasted sweet potato or pumpkin strips.


Serving: 201g, Calories: 114kcal, Carbohydrates: 13.1g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 5.9g, Saturated Fat: 0.9g, Cholesterol: 3mg, Sodium: 247mg, Potassium: 33mg, Fiber: 2.5g, Sugar: 7.8g, Vitamin A: 80IU, Vitamin C: 60mg, Calcium: 13mg, Iron: 12mg
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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. mira says:

    5 stars
    This dressings sounds and looks delicious! Thanks for the wonderful tips as always Maggie! Will definitely try it for lunch today! Pinned!

  2. Culinary Flavors says:

    I will definitely make this! Looks fantastic on salad!

  3. 5 stars
    Oooh!! This one has my name all over it! I can just imagine the flavour – I ADORE sesame (black and normal). Drizzling this over any salad will complete transform it!! I could even see myself tossing it through a coleslaw salad!

  4. K / Pure & Complex says:

    I love me a good salad but I’ve somehow never made my own dressing. I have to try this out

  5. Sarah says:

    This looks like it would go great with salad. I eat a spinach salad for lunch every day along with my other lunch food, and actually don’t use dressing most of the time because it would be an extra step to make the dressing. This dressing looks really simple AND tasty (and sesame seeds, YES). After I get some mayo, I’ll be trying this on my next salad!

  6. Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits says:

    I was JUST looking for some salad dressing recipes to try for the new year, and I’m so glad I found this one! I bet the toasted black sesames add some lovely fragrant (xiang) notes to the dressing!

  7. Grace says:

    Can I use black sesame powder instead?

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Grace, yes you can use black sesame powder instead.

  8. Melanie Linda Sparkes says:

    5 stars
    Hi I just tried this sesame salad dressing tonight but I substituted the apple vinegar for a blood orange balsamic I had and I only had some mixed seeds so I grilled those but it turned out lovely. Very tasty! Thank you.

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