This Japanese sesame dressing (known as goma dressing) is creamy and tangy, with a delicious nutty flavour, and aroma to die for. It’s Japan’s most popular creamy salad dressing! The roasted sesame dressing is versatile, and perfect for salad, rice bowls, burgers or even cold noodles!
Japanese Sesame Dressing
Goma dressing is the most popular salad dressing in Japan. You can find it in just about any store. My partner, Andy, discovered this Japanese sesame dressing when he first visited Japan, and has been hooked ever since.
I showed him how to make it, and this sesame dressing is now his secret salad dressing weapon. So I thought it was time to share this Japanese dressing with you straight from our kitchen! Be careful though, it’s addictive.
Ever found it hard to get your family to eat vegetables or salad? Or maybe you’re looking for some inspiration and wondered what are some easy salad dressings to make at home? Perhaps you are tired of eating raw veggies on your diet. I understand because I’ve been there too!
You need to change it up a bit. This sesame dressing recipe is the quickest and easiest way to get you and your family eating more salad and veggies again. Creamy, nutty, and umami rich, it will set your next salad on fire! Bring joy into your life and share it with loved ones. Read on!
What is sesame dressing?
It’s the country’s iconic condiment that everyone loves. Serve this sesame dressing as a dipping sauce, dressing or with cold noodles – just like Japanese restaurants.
It’s creamy with a hint of tanginess, moreish and completely appetizing. Enjoy it with pretty much any savory dish.
What is this sesame dressing made of?
Japanese sesame dressing is often made with ground and sesame seeds, Kewpie Mayo, soy sauce, sugar and toasted sesame oil. Roasted sesame seeds are used. This is because almost all shop-bought sesame seeds are roasted in Japan.
You can make Japanese sesame dressing with roasted ground sesame seeds, Kewpie Mayo, soy sauce, sugar and toasted sesame oil. Grounding the roasted sesame seeds increases their intense aroma and nutty flavour.
How to use sesame dressing
There are many kinds of Japanese salad. Leafy green salad, cabbage or potato salad are among the most common. We also have seaweed or wakame salad. The good thing is, that sesame salad dressing goes well with pretty much any salad. I’m yet to find one it doesn’t bring to life:
It can also be used as a dipping sauce for kabocha squash or potatoes, tempura or gyoza. Be creative – the options are limitless!
Best sesame seeds for this salad dressing
Toasting and grinding the sesame seeds may sound an extra hustle but trust me, the outcome is rewarding. It’s worth making the effort, and that’s also what people in Japan do for this awesome flavour and rich aroma.
WHICH SESAME SEEDS?
There are white, black and gold sesame seeds. Typically, we use gold sesame seeds (kin goma) in Japan, and they’re roasted (iri goma).
Using roasted sesame seeds is the key to making a regular salad dressing something special. It really brings the flavour alive.
I’ll add the link for how to make toasted sesame seeds in the recipe card below. You can try store bought ground sesame seeds, but it’s not as good as toasting them directly before making the dressing.
Ingredients for creamy sesame dressing
Homemade Japanese sesame salad dressing is fresher and richer in flavour than shop-bought. It’s also additive free. The good news is that it can be made easily with everyday ingredients!
Use toasted sesame oil, which has darker colours than non-toasted yellow oil. It’s more flavourful, and the aroma is richer.
Japanese soy sauce is the best for this recipe. There is light coloured (usukuchi) and dark coloured (koikuchi) soy sauce. I use light coloured from Kikkoman. You can use either soy sauce.
Kewpie Mayo is a must. It makes Japanese sesame dressing creamy and smooth. It has a more intense egg-y flavour than regular mayo
Japanese Kewpie mayo is globally available at local supermarkets these days. If you can’t find it, try the attached recipe link in the recipe card below.
Add some tanginess to this dressing. Rice vinegar induces umami and is perfect with soy sauce, sesame seeds and mayo. Japanese rice vinegar is milder, and slightly sweeter than Western white vinegar.
How to Make Sesame Dressing
Roast the sesame seeds. Make sure that the mortar is next to you. This is important.
You need to transfer the toasted/roasted sesame seeds to the morta after their colour starts browning. You want to avoid burning them.
Ground toasted/roasted sesame seeds with the mortar and a pestle. Then combine all the ingredient with a spoon in a bowl.
That’s it! Enjoy using the dressing immediately, or keep it in the container. Enjoy
How to store Japanese sesame dressing
Keep this salad dressing in an air-tight container up to three weeks in the fridge. Shake the bottle a few times before to serve.
Does Japanese sesame dressing have dairy
This dressing doesn’t contain dairy.
Is Japanese salad dressing gluten free
Make sure that you use gluten-free soy sauce and mayonnaise. Other ingredients are all gluten-free in this recipe. Also this salad dressing can be vegan friendly if you use egg-free Kewpie mayo.
Can I use olive oil instead of other oil
I recommend to use sesame oil. Olive oil’s flavour is not ideal for this recipe. It can also become hardened when it’s cooled down in the fridge.
Can I replace with tahini?
It’s not recommended to replace roasted sesame oil to tahini for this Japanese sesame dressing. Their intense and nutty flavour and rich aroma cannot replace with other oil. Since sesame plays central in this recipe, toasted sesame oil is recommended.
Japanese Sesame Dressing Recipe
- ¼ cup roasted sesame seeds (note 1)
- ¼ cup Kewpie Mayonnaise (or homemade Japanese mayo)
- 2 teaspoons sugar (any and I use cane sugar)
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- Place a mortar and pestle next to the frying pan. Preheat a seed toaster or frying pan. Add roasted sesame seeds into the toaster or frying pan. Once the seeds start to make a popping sound, transfer immediately into the mortar. It takes about 10 seconds.
- Ground the sesame seeds with the mortar and pestle while you enjoy the aroma. Set aside.
- Add all the ingredients into a small container, and combine them with a spoon.That's it! Enjoy using it immediately!
- The best is that the toasted sesame seeds are grounded with a mortar and pestle. Ground roasted sesame seeds are available at a shop or online, but the flavour and aroma is not as good as doing it yourself. You can make them easily at home. Check out my how to make toasted sesame seeds recipe.
- How to save: Keep this salad dressing in an air-tight container up to three weeks in the fridge. Shake the bottle before serving.
- For gluten-free needs: Make sure that you use gluten-free soy sauce and mayonnaise. Other ingredients are all gluten-free in this recipe. Also this salad dressing can be vegan friendly if you use egg-free Kewpie mayo.