Creamy, bright, and tangy, this homemade Tartar Sauce recipe is my secret condiment that will liven up any seafood dish! Simple ingredients like mayonnaise, pickles, dijon mustard, lemon juice, and dill are whisked together in minutes to create a from-scratch sauce that’s so much better than store-bought.

Tartar sauce recipe is served with a spoon for serving with fries or crab cakes.

One of my FAVORITE things about eating fried fish or crab cakes at a restaurant is the creamy, tangy, and dill-filled tartar sauce they serve with it. (Is that just a Southern thing?!)

Sure, you can grab a bottle from the store, but it just doesn’t compare to the vibrant lemon and fresh dill flavors you get when you make it from scratch at home.

What makes this recipe special is the use of both diced pickles and pickle juice, adding tons of flavor without extra ingredients. I skip the capers since I rarely have them on hand, but feel free to toss them in if you like!

And the real secret to what makes my tartar sauce so good? A hint of Worcestershire sauce. (If you’re from Texas, you know this levels up almost anything!) It adds the perfect depth of umami flavor to this bright, tangy dish.

What is Tartar Sauce?

Tartar sauce is a creamy, mayonnaise-based condiment made with mustard, lemon juice, pickles, fresh dill, and a few other simple seasonings.

I like to think of it as a milder version of its spicier cousin, Remoulade Sauce, which packs more of a peppery heat.

Fresh dill, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, pickles, worcestershire sauce, and sugar are the ingredients used in this sauce.
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Simple Ingredients

Notes about the ingredients needed for this tartar sauce recipe are below. Jump to recipe for the exact measurements.

  • Mayonnaise. Regular mayonnaise is the best tasting to use. I prefer Duke’s mayonnaise but Hellmann’s is a great alternative.
  • Mustard. Dijon mustard gives a great kick, but spicy or regular yellow mustard will work well, too.
  • Pickles. Both finely diced pickles and a bit of pickle juice are mixed in. Pickle relish is a good substitute if that’s what you have.
  • Lemon juice. Fresh is key! Do not, whatever you do, do NOT get the bottles of previously squeezed lemon juice. They are way too acidic and don’t have the natural sweetness of fresh lemons.
  • Dill. Fresh dill is what gives this sauce its unique flavor, which is similar to Greek Tzatziki sauce. Dried dill can be substituted but you will sacrifice a lot of the flavor.
  • Worcestershire sauce. This is my secret ingredient that adds a lovely depth of flavor to the sauce.
  • Sugar. Totally optional, but a little bit of sweet will help to balance out the acidity of the pickles and lemon juice. Leave the sugar out if you happen to be using a sweet pickle relish instead of dill pickles or are on a low-carb or keto diet.

How to Make Tartar Sauce

The basic steps for making tartar sauce are simple to follow. Please see the recipe card below for more detailed ingredient amounts.

1. Mix the ingredients together.

Add all ingredients to a medium-sized bowl and mix until just combined.

2. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving so the flavors have a chance to meld together.

You can skip this step, but trust me – the sauce truly gets better with time! You’ll be surprised by how incredible it tastes after just 12-24 hours in the fridge.

Fresh tartar sauce is served with main dishes and appetizers for an easy sauce or dip recipe.

Storage Instructions

  • Refrigerator: Keep homemade tartar sauce for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Freezer: Since tartar sauce is mayonnaise-based, freezing it is not recommended. The mayonnaise will separate upon thawing if previously frozen.
Fresh tartar sauce is served with main dishes and appetizers for an easy sauce or dip recipe.

What to Serve with Tartar Sauce

You name the seafood dish, and this tartar sauce recipe will probably be delicious with it! But here are some of my faves:

More Homemade Sauce Recipes

Whether you’re dipping, drizzling, or drenching, these sauces all taste amazing and are simple to make!

Tap stars to rate!

4.54 from 15 votes

Homemade Tartar Sauce

Creamy, bright, and tangy, this homemade Tartar Sauce recipe is my secret condiment that will liven up any seafood dish! Simple ingredients like mayonnaise, pickles, dijon mustard, lemon juice, and dill are whisked together in minutes to create a from-scratch sauce that's so much better than store-bought.
Tartar sauce recipe is served with a spoon for serving with fries or crab cakes.
Yield 16 servings
Prep 5 minutes
Total 5 minutes
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Ingredients 

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup dill pickles finely chopped*
  • 2 tsp. pickle juice
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh dill finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. sugar optional

Instructions 

  • Add all ingredients to a medium-sized bowl and mix until well combined.
    1 cup mayonnaise, ½ cup dill pickles, 2 tsp. pickle juice, 1 Tbsp. fresh dill, 1 tsp. lemon juice, ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp. black pepper, 1 tsp. sugar, 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving so the flavors have a chance to meld together. You can also serve immediately, if desired.
Last step! If you make this, please leave a review letting us know how it was!

Tap stars to rate!

4.54 from 15 votes

Notes

  • Pickles: Chop the pickles finely so you get little bits in every bite. You can also substitute the pickles and juice for ½ cup of pickle relish.
  • Serving Size: 1 tablespoon of sauce equals 1 serving.
  • To Store:Keep homemade tartar sauce for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Avoid freezing as it will separate upon thawing.
  • Prep-ahead: The sauce tastes best when it is allowed to rest for at least 30 minutes, so plan to make it ahead of time for the best flavor.

Nutrition

Calories: 98kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 6mg, Sodium: 216mg, Potassium: 14mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 89IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 5mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Made this recipe?Leave a comment below!
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Comments

    1. Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Becky! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and rating!

  1. I made tH today Left out the salt and added minced onion. It’s amazing! This will be my go-to from now on! We both loved it!

    1. Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Olga! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment!

  2. 5 stars
    My family absolutely enjoyed this dish. The recipe was easy to follow and quick to prepare. My son, who is a very picky eater, gobbled it down and asked for seconds. Thank you.