The Best Homemade Tartar Sauce Recipe (2024)

If you find yourself unable to use an entire bottle of tartar sauce before the expiration date, making some homemade tartar sauce might just be the solution.

The Best Homemade Tartar Sauce Recipe (1)

Tartar sauce is a must-have for nearly any dish with seafood or fish. Why buy it from the store when you can make this tasty homemade tartar sauce in seconds with just a handful of ingredients?

This tartar sauce recipe is easy to whip up just hours before dinner and tastes better than anything you’ll find in the store!

Why You’ll Love This Homemade Tartar Sauce Recipe

A creamy condiment that pairs well with fish and a whole slew of other things- what’s not to love!

  • Better than store-bought – I always prefer making homemade sauces, because I know exactly what’s going into them. No preservatives or nastiness.
  • Easy to make – You only need a handful of simple ingredients and ten minutes to make this super simple sauce.
  • Tastes great on anything – Besides fried fish, this sauce tastes great on tuna, as a salad dressing or just about anything else you can think of.

What is Tartar Sauce?

Tartar sauce. It’s a condiment pretty high on the “love it or absolutely hate it list”. Either you think it belongs with nearly every fish or seafood dish you make, or you don’t even want it in the house. It is a mayo base with some sort of pickles and mustard.

As a child, ketchup was the only thing that belonged anywhere near my fish sticks but as an adult, I’ve grown to love and appreciate tartar sauce (and also remoulade and co*cktail sauce, but that is another story).

The Best Homemade Tartar Sauce Recipe (2)

Tartar Sauce Ingredients

The ingredient list is pretty short and quite frankly, probably items you already have in the fridge.

  • Mayonnaise- Homemade or store bought. I haven’t experimented making this recipe with plain yogurt base, but it is possible.
  • Pickles or cornichons- Minced super small, these are the little green bits. Customize your sauce by using speciality pickles like habanero honey or bread and butter.
  • White wine vinegar- This is our secret ingredient and serves two purposes. In addition to mustard, it gives a slightly acidic and “wow” factor to this famous dipping sauce. It also thins it our a tad for a better dippable consistency. Sometimes straight mayo can be a little too thick.
  • Dijon mustard– For this sauce I use a smooth Dijon, but coarse can also add interest and texture. Experiment with other varieties and use a basic yellow mustard if that is all you happen to have.
  • Coarse kosher salt– Salt brings out the natural flavors in all of the ingredients.
  • Ground black pepper– Or opt for white pepper if you’d prefer a less peppery taste.
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How to Make Tartar Sauce

Like most sauces, tartar sauce will taste even better if the flavors have time to marry. You can eat it right after making, but if you happen to have an hour or more, let it sit in the fridge for a bit.

  1. Combine ingredients. Add all ingredients to a small bowl.
  2. Stir. Mix the ingredients together until completely combined.
  3. Chill. Cover with plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate.
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History of tartar sauce

The sauce and its name have been found in cookbooks since the 19th century. The name derives from the Frenchsauce tartare, same as beef tartare and the such.

You can also find a similar sauce with different names throughout England and Turkey, so the actual origins of the sauce itself are unknown.The original variations used finely chopped capers and dill instead of dill pickles or gherkins.

I like adding those additional ingredients for dinners like battered fish fingers to give the meal even more added flavor.

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This sauce is super easy to customize, adding more or less of the flavors you love or can do without. Here are my favorite add-ins to pair perfectly with whatever dish you plan to serve it alongside.

  • minced capers
  • hot sauce
  • parsley
  • pimento (minced roasted red peppers)
  • dill relish
  • worcestershire sauce
  • sweet pickle relish
  • fresh dill weed or dried dill
  • pickle juice
  • green onions (scallions)
  • lemon juice
  • onion powder
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What Does Tartar Sauce Go With?

The correct answer is just about anything you want! This creamy condiment is traditionally served with seafood and fish, but here are a few more ideas.

  • Blooming Onion
  • Onion rings
  • French fries
  • Fried fish
  • Fish sticks
  • Lobster rolls
  • Salmon cakes
  • Fried shrimp
  • Maryland crab cakes
  • Burgers
  • Sandwich spread
  • On a baked potato
  • Fried Green Tomatoes
  • Fish sandwiches

Make Ahead & Storage

Make ahead: This condiment is perfect made in advance. I would say about 24 hours, keep it chilled until ready to serve and then give it a quick stir before serving.

Store in an airtight container for up to a week. Stir well before using.

Freezing: I do not recommend freezing any mayonnaise based foods.

The Best Homemade Tartar Sauce Recipe (7)

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  • Quick Garlic Aioli
  • Homemade Buffalo Sauce
  • Spicy Ketchup
  • Yum Yum Sauce

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The Best Homemade Tartar Sauce Recipe (11)

Homemade Tartar Sauce

4.28 from 51 votes

Tartar sauce is a must-have for nearly any dish with seafood or fish. Why buy it from the store when you can make this tasty homemade tartar sauce in seconds with just a handful of ingredients?

Prep Time: 10 minutes mins

Total Time: 10 minutes mins

Servings: 4

Print RecipePin Recipe SaveRate this Recipe



  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons pickles or cornichons , minced
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • pinch kosher salt
  • pinch ground black pepper


  • Combine the mayonnaise, pickles, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk until combined.

  • Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

  • If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was the comment or star ratings!



To add some pizzazz to your Tartar Sauce, consider adding:

  • minced capers
  • hot sauce
  • parsley
  • pimento (minced roasted red peppers)


Calories: 192 kcal, Fat: 21 g, Saturated Fat: 3 g, Cholesterol: 11 mg, Sodium: 256 mg, Vitamin A: 30 IU, Calcium: 3 mg, Iron: 0.1 mg

Author: Jessica Formicola

Calories: 192

Course: Condiment

Cuisine: American

Keyword: tartar sauce

Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!

The Best Homemade Tartar Sauce Recipe (2024)


How to make Gordon Ramsay's tartar sauce? ›

Gordon Ramsay Tartar Sauce
  1. Condiments.
  2. • 1 tbsp Capers.
  3. • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard.
  4. • 1 Dill pickle, small.
  5. • 1 tbsp Lemon juice, fresh.
  6. • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise.
  7. • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce.

How do you thicken homemade tartar sauce? ›

If, despite your best efforts, your tartar sauce does veer into the runny territory, fear not. There are ways to rescue the situation. A teaspoon of additional mayonnaise can help bind the sauce, while a dash of cornstarch can work wonders in thickening it without compromising flavor.

What is Captain D's tartar sauce made of? ›

Ingredients 1/2 cup mayonnaise 2 tablespoons finely chopped dill pickle 1 tablespoon capers, drained and chopped 1 tablespoon finely chopped dill 2 teaspoons finely chopped shallot or onion 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 2 teaspoons lemon juice 1/8 teaspoon salt In a small bowl, stir together all the ingredients.

How long will homemade tartar sauce keep? ›

Tartar sauce should be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for about a week. Obviously, if it starts to smell funky in the fridge or the flavor is off before the week is up, you should dump it. Similar to other mayonnaise-based condiments, tartar sauce does not freeze well because the emulsion can break.

What is the flavor profile of tartar sauce? ›

Tartar sauce, on the other hand, is super savory, rich, and tangy. It's typically served with seafood, but trust me – this delicious condiment can do so much more. Lately, I've been using it as a dip for my crispy air fryer cauliflower, and the leftovers never go to waste.

Does tartar sauce contain vinegar? ›

Ingredients. I like to add diced dill pickles instead of capers. Some of the pickle juice is added to thin the sauce, but feel free to use the same amount of lemon juice. Most recipes call for white vinegar with some sugar added, I like to substitute rice wine vinegar, taking care of both needs there.

Is tartar sauce good or bad for you? ›

Tartar sauce is usually consumed in small quantities, and for most people it is not a part of their regular diet. So it may not play a substantial role in your overall health. But there are some nutrients in the sauce, such as vitamin K, that can have an impact on your health.

What is the real name of tartar sauce? ›

Tartar sauce (French: sauce tartare; spelled tartare sauce in the UK, Ireland, and Commonwealth countries) is a condiment made of mayonnaise, chopped pickles and relish, caper, and herbs such as tarragon and dill.

What is a substitute for cream of tartar sauce? ›

The Best Substitute for Cream of Tartar

For every 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar in the recipe, use 1 teaspoon lemon juice or white vinegar. As an example, if your cookie recipe calls for 1 teaspoon baking soda, add 2 teaspoons lemon juice instead of the cream of tartar.

What is the best oil for making mayonnaise? ›

For a clean tasting mayonnaise use something like grape seed, safflower, avocado or canola oil. Since posting the recipe, quite a few readers have asked about olive oil in mayonnaise. You can use olive oil, but it can be a little overpowering so I prefer to use a brand that's light and fruity.

Why add cream of tartar? ›

Cream of tartar stabilizes the tiny bubbles in the egg whites, by precluding the egg proteins from sticking together. It thus speeds up the egg white whipping process and contributes to a stable, billowy, glossy meringue, perfect for cookies, topping pies, and folding into cake.

What is tartar sauce made of mcdonalds? ›

Tartar Sauce

Ingredients: Soybean Oil, Pickle Relish (diced Pickles, Vinegar, Salt, Capers, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate [preservative], Calcium Chloride, Spice Extractives, Polysorbate 80), Egg Yolks, Water, Onions, Distilled Vinegar, Sugar, Spice, Salt, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate (preservative), Parsley.

What vinegar does Captain D's use? ›

Photo: Love the malt vinegar. And paper towels!

What's the difference between remoulade and tartar sauce? ›

Classic French remoulade resembles tartar sauce in both its ingredients and uses, but there are some important differences: tartar sauce uses herbs sparingly, while remoulade makes liberal use of tarragon, chervil, and other aromatic herbs.

How does Gordon Ramsay make batter for fish? ›

Cooking instructions
  1. In a large bowl, mix both flours, baking powder and sugar.
  2. Add soda water, lager and salt.
  3. Mix together only until the batter binds together and is smooth. ...
  4. Cover your fish with a dusting of plain flour, then drop into the batter and coat completely.
  5. Pre-heat vegetable oil in deep fryer to 180C.

What is the difference between tartar sauce and tartare sauce? ›

Tartar sauce (French: sauce tartare; spelled tartare sauce in the UK, Ireland, and Commonwealth countries) is a condiment made of mayonnaise, chopped pickles and relish, caper, and herbs such as tarragon and dill.


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