5-Minute Harissa Tahini Sauce

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Dipping a piece of roasted cauliflower in a bowl of harissa tahini sauce

Our love of tahini continues, but with a new, smoky twist. Meet our latest obsession: 5-Minute Harissa Tahini Sauce! Inspired by True Food Kitchen, it’s bright, zesty, harissa-infused, and SO easy to make! Just 5 ingredients and 1 bowl to make this extremely versatile, vibrant sauce that’s perfect for tacos, nourish bowls, salads, and beyond. Let us show you how it’s done!

Harissa sauce, lemons, sea salt, smoked paprika, tahini, and water

This simple sauce is a beautiful fusion of some of our favorite cuisines. It draws influence from Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines with the use of creamy tahini. And it’s also inspired by North African cuisine with the inclusion of harissa. Follow the links to learn more about the origins of these versatile and flavorful ingredients.

Whisking harissa with other ingredients to make harissa tahini sauce

Making the sauce is as easy as whisking together the tahini and harissa with a generous amount of lemon juice for acidity, smoked paprika for a hint of smokiness, and salt to enhance all the flavors. Then just thin with water until it transforms into a saucy consistency perfect for pretty much everything!

Pouring water into a bowl to thin the harissa tahini sauce

We hope you LOVE this sauce! It’s:

& SO Versatile!

Whip up a batch to add effortless flavor to your meals all week long! It’s delicious on tacos, nourish bowls, salads, roasted vegetables, and beyond. Try it on our Quick Crispy Cauliflower, Roasted Butternut Squash, Perfect Roasted Asparagus, or Garlic & Herb Sweet Potato Nourish Bowl.

Bowl of harissa tahini sauce next to harissa sauce, a lemon slice, paprika, and tahini

More Tahini-Based Sauces

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Plate of crispy cauliflower and bowl of harissa tahini sauce

5-Minute Harissa Tahini Sauce

A bright, zesty tahini sauce infused with harissa, lemon, and smoked paprika. So versatile and easy to make with just 5 ingredients and 5 minutes required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Top down shot of a bowl of creamy harissa sauce
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 12 (Tablespoons)
Course Dressing, Sauce
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Mediterranean-Inspired, Middle Eastern-Inspired, North African-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 4-5 Days


  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice, plus more as needed
  • 2 Tbsp harissa sauce* (NOT paste // we used Mina harissa mild)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup water (plus more as needed)


  • To a small bowl, add all ingredients except water (so tahini, lemon juice, harissa sauce, salt, and smoked paprika) and whisk to combine.
  • Add water a little at a time, continuing to whisk until you have a creamy, pourable sauce. Taste and adjust as needed, adding more lemon juice for tang, paprika for smokiness, harissa for mild heat, and sea salt for overall flavor.
  • Leftovers will keep in a sealed container for up to 4-5 days. After refrigerating, thin with water as needed. Not freezer friendly.



*Recipe as written makes ~3/4 cup.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with the lesser amount of salt.
*If using a spicy harissa sauce, start with less and work your way up.
*Leftover harissa (for example, the Mina harissa sauce we used) is delicious with eggs or pasta or in shakshuka. It can also be frozen in an ice cube tray for later use.

Nutrition (1 of 12 servings)

Serving: 1 tablespoon Calories: 44 Carbohydrates: 1.2 g Protein: 1.3 g Fat: 4.1 g Saturated Fat: 0.6 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.6 g Monounsaturated Fat: 1.7 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 63 mg Potassium: 27 mg Fiber: 0.7 g Sugar: 0.3 g Vitamin A: 87.7 IU Vitamin C: 1.5 mg Calcium: 4.1 mg Iron: 0.4 mg

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    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi James, we think the texture would be different (not smooth) after freezing, but we haven’t tested it!

  1. Martha Buttenheim says

    Whoops, I’m sorry I wrote that this was originally for that spicy watermelon salad – that salad used the yummy mango dressing! This dressing is great for drizzling over roasted veggies, noodles…..

  2. Martha Buttenheim says

    I LOVED this – it was not only terrific on the spicy watermelon salad, but I used the leftovers on some noodles for lunch and that was delicious as well. This will be in my dressing rotation…. thank you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jasmine, we tested with harissa paste, but found the harissa sauce was key for flavor. Perhaps if you combined the harissa paste with ingredients in the harissa sauce (mainly red peppers, olive oil, vinegar) it could work?

  3. Cat28590 says

    This is lovely. I made a giant slow cooker of ratatouille using late summer produce and then spooned the ratatouille over a mixture of brown rice and lentils for tasty, healthy lunch meals. This sauce was drizzled over it. Delicious! I did add just a slight bit of honey to soften the acerbic bite of the harissa. The sauces from this site are always great. Simple but bright, balanced, appealing flavors.

  4. SS says

    I have a harissa powder that I’d like to use to make this recipe. Do you have any tips on how I can incorporate that?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi there! We’ve never used harissa powder, but what the info we found says “to make paste, mix equal parts Harissa powder, olive oil, and hot water to get to your desired consistency”. Hope this helps!

  5. Maria says

    Good day! Your work is beautiful and inspiring. Do you have a recipe for harissa sauce perhaps? And if I cannot find adobo peppers, which ones can I use instead? Where I live we don’t have them fresh and it is difficult to find them canned. Thank you for your reply.

  6. Serena Åslund says

    Hi! I would like to know if it is possible to make this with a bit of hoisin sauce as well. I love making Vietnamese spring rolls and have not been able to find a sauce I like for them as I really don’t like peanut flavor in my food. I love tahini and harissa and I can imagine it would taste great with a bit of hoisin. I’m just not sure how much to use. I would really appreciate some guidance and professional opinion.

    Thank you!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Serena, hmm we’re not certain how it will taste, but do think it would change the flavor. You could try it in place of some of the lemon juice, maybe? Let us know if you give it a try!

  7. Maggie says

    Fun and easy to make. Really liked it. Thought it could use a pinch of cumin and a dash of garlic powder (or fresh garlic, but I was too tired), so added those and that did it for me. Thank you so much for the idea! I had a jar of Mina mild harissa in my cupboard that I bought for a reason long forgotten, so this was perfect to get it open and start using it. I put the sauce over falafel, black beans & quinoa, and a zucchini, onion, garlic, chili peppers, & corn vegetable medley that we’ve been into this summer.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      How perfect! So glad you gave it a try and enjoyed it, Maggie! Thank you for sharing!

  8. Carolyn says

    This was delicious. Savory and just the right amount of heat. I served it over brown rice and roasted vegetables and it was great. Thanks for such a great, easy sauce!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lise, we think you would need additional ingredients (like red bell pepper, olive oil, vinegar) to have the same effect. But let us know if you do some experimenting!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Grace, we tested with harissa paste, but found the harissa sauce was key for flavor. Perhaps if you combined the harissa paste with ingredients in the harissa sauce (mainly red peppers, olive oil, vinegar) it could work?

      • Grace says

        I will do some experimenting in my kitchen then! I’m always looking for new sauces and I love this idea so I am excited to give it a try!