Easy Wafu Dressing Recipe

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By Barbara Hodge • Last Updated: December 25, 2023
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Easy Wafu Dressing Recipe

This delicious Wafu Dressing will bring your next salad to life. This wafu salad dressing is made with traditional Japanese ingredients, soy sauce, rice vinegar, vegetable oil and cane sugar. Enjoy a tangy, slightly sweet umami explosion with this Japanese style wafu salad dressing recipe!

Wafu Dressing in a container served with slaw

Wafu Dressing

I love salad, and this wafu dressing is one of the best ways to enjoy it. It’s been a favourite Japanese dressing recipe of mine since my childhood.

This Japanese style salad dressing is tangy, slightly sweet and very moreish. The secret to this salad dressing is the inclusion of grated onion and carrot which are combined with rice vinegar and soy sauce!

This wafu dressing recipe is based on my mother’s, with a couple of improvements made along the way. It’s close to my heart, as my mother used it regularly to entice us to eat more vegetables.

So I’m pretty confident that kids will start loving salad with this dressing! And if you feel you hate salad but are trying to get healthy this is the dressing for you.

And of course, home-made dressing is far better than shop bought – it’s fresh and healthy with no additives or preservations.

Bring joy into your life and share it with loved ones. Read on!

Wafu Dressing in a glass container with a gold spoon

What is wafu dressing?

It means a vinigrette-type salad dressing made with traditional Japanese ingredients – soy sauce and rice vinegar. Wa means Japan or Japanese, another expression of nihon (Japan), and fu is a style in Japanese language. Wafu means a Japanese style. (source)

What is wafu sauce made of?

What makes this salad dressing ‘wafu’ is the use of Japanese ingredients, soy sauce and rice vinegar. The combination is powerful. It’s also used in sunomono, Japanese traditional vinegary salad, and Japanese cucumber salad. Unlike some Japanese sesame dressing or Asian salad dressing, this wafu dressing doesn’t use sesame seeds and sesame oil.

How to use wafu dressing

Japanese salad is often quite similar to Western leafy salad and slaw. We also eat edible seaweed in a seaweed salad. So I wanted this dressing to be something that works for both Western and Japanese style salad.

This Japanese style dressing can be used for wakame salad and smashed cucumber. It also works as wafu sauce for grilled mushrooms and vegetables, or a green leafy salad.

Ingredients for wafu dressing

All the ingredients are easily available in your local supermarkets or online.

Wafu Dressing ingredients, soy sauce, rice vinegar, olive oil, ginger, onion and salt

Oil – I use both olive oil and vegetable oil (canola). I’ve found when two different vegetable oils are combined, the flavour is improved. Sesame oil is not suitable for this recipe as the flavour is too strong. It overwhelms other ingredients.

Soy sauce – I use Japanese soy sauce from Kikkoman, a leading Japanese soy sauce maker. I especially like their organic soy sauce, Yuki Soyu. If you need to, make sure your soy sauce is gluten-free.

Rice vinegar – I recommend using Japanese rice vinegar. It’s slightly sweetened and milder than Western white rice vinegar. I use pure rice vinegar with no additives from Marukan, a leading Japanese rice vinegar producer.

Onion – I tried red onion but it didn’t work for me with this recipe. So please use regular onion.

How to Make Wafu Dressing

making Wafu Dressing with a Mason jar

Rich, deep and flavourful, this Japanese style dressing can be made in no time at all! The easiest way is to use a Mason jar, an air-tight glass container. Add all the ingredients into the jar, put a lid on and start shaking.

mixing Wafu Dressing ingredients in a Mason jar
Wafu Dressing in a Mason jar

Once all the ingredients are nicely combined, it’s done. Pour it over the salad just before you serve!

This dressing can be used immediately, and if it’s rested overnight, the flavour become more intense.

That’s it! Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Wafu Dressing in a Mason jar with a gold spoon


How long to save wafu dressing

You can save this fabulous dressing for a week in the fridge. Keep the dressing in an air-tight glass bottle. Or if you see separated, shake the bottle before using.

Is wafu dressing gluten-free?

Yes! Our wafu dressing is gluten-free. Just make sure that you use gluten-free soy sauce. This salad dressing is also vegan friendly.

Easy Wafu Dressing Recipe

Wafu Dressing Recipe

Barbara Hodge
This delicious Japanese wafu dressing will bring your next salad to life. This wafu salad dressing is made with traditional Japanese ingredients, soy sauce, rice vinegar, vegetable oil and sugar. Enjoy a tangy, slightly sweet umami explosion with this Japanese style wafu salad dressing!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Dressing
Cuisine Japanese, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings 1 cup


  • ¼ grated onion (45g)
  • grated carrot (35g)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (I use cane sugar)
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt


  • Add all the ingredients into a Mayson jar (an air-tight glass jar), and put the lid on. Shake the jar until all the ingredients are combined and sugar disappears. Or (if you don’t have a glass jar) add all the ingredients into a bowl and combine them all well with a whisk.
  • You can keep the wafu dressing in an air-tight glass container and leave in the fridge for one week


This wafu dressing is made with Japanese ingredients and can be used both Western style leafy and slaw salads as well as Japanese seaweed wakame salad, sunomono and Japanese cucumber salads, or Asian slaw.
For the gluten-free need, make sure to use gluten-free soy sauce.

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