Homemade Tartar Sauce is made in no time with this easy recipe and lasts for weeks! Simple ingredients like mayonnaise, pickles, dijon mustard, lemon juice, and herbs are quickly whisked together to create a tangy and creamy condiment. Use this sauce to create the best flavor combinations with fries, fish, or crab cakes!

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

One of the best things about eating fried fish and chips or crab cakes at a restaurant is the creamy, tangy, and herb-filled tartar sauce they serve with it.

While it’s really just a simple mayonnaise sauce, there’s something so satisfying about the combination of flavors!

But what are those flavors exactly that make a tartar sauce so addictingly good?

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

Some even throw in a bit of capers or olives for a salty bite.

Typically it is served alongside seafood dishes such as fried fish, fish sticks, or crab cakes.

It’s a milder version of its spicier cousin, Remoulade Sauce, which has more of a peppery heat.

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

Ingredients

The simple ingredients you need to make this tartar sauce recipe include:

  • Mayonnaise. Regular mayonnaise is the best tasting to use, or you may choose a Paleo avocado-oil based mayo.
  • Mustard. Dijon mustard gives a great kick, but spicy or regular yellow mustard will work great, 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. Squeezing your own lemon juice adds a nice bit of freshness.
  • Dill. Fresh dill is what gives this sauce its unique flavor, which is similar to Greek Tzatziki sauce.
  • Worcestershire sauce. While it might not seem like much, this savory sauce adds a wonderful depth 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.

Stir the Ingredients

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

All ingredients for this homemade tartar sauce are whisked together.

Chill in the Fridge

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.

Homemade sauce is combined until texture is smooth and creamy.

Serve

Pour the homemade sauce into a small bowl and pair it with any of the following recipes:

Maryland Crab Cakes

Baked Potato Wedges

Coconut Shrimp

Crispy Zucchini Fritters

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

Storing

  • To Prep-Ahead: You can measure out and mix the dry ingredients and chop the pickles in advance. However since the flavor gets better with time you might as well make up the whole sauce!
  • To Store: Keep homemade tartar sauce for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • To Freeze: Since tartar sauce is mayonnaise-based, freezing it is not an option. The mayonnaise will tend to separate upon thawing if previously frozen.

FAQs

What is tartar sauce usually made of?

The main components of tartar sauce are mayonnaise and pickles. Other common ingredients are lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, herbs, and sometimes capers.

Is tartar sauce and mayonnaise the same thing?

No, however tartar sauce is a mixture of ingredients that includes mayonnaise.

Why do they call it tartar sauce?

The condiment originated in France and it is rumored to be named after the Tartars, which is a group that once occupies areas of Russia and Ukraine.

Fresh dill is placed on top of homemade tartar sauce recipe.

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • Use the real stuff. Both fresh lemon juice and dill taste the best in this recipe.
  • Go small. Chop the pickles finely so you get little bits in every bite.
  • Mix it good. Use a whisk to make sure all of the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
  • Let it rest. Let the mixed sauce sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour for the flavors to meld.

More Easy Sauce Recipes

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

Thousand Island Dressing

Sriracha Mayo Sauce

Lime Crema

Secret Sauce

Avocado Ranch Dip

Cocktail Sauce

Chicken Cordon Bleu Sauce

Tap stars to rate!

4.54 from 15 votes

Homemade Tartar Sauce

Homemade Tartar Sauce is made in no time with this easy recipe and lasts for weeks! Use this sauce to create the best flavor combinations with fries, fish, or crab cakes.
Tartar sauce is served with seafood recipes as a sauce or dip.
Yield 16 servings
Prep 5 minutes

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. sugar optional
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard

Instructions 

  • Add all ingredients to a medium-sized bowl and mix until well combined.
  • Refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours before serving so the flavors have a chance to meld together.
  • Serve with crab cakes or as a dip with potato wedges.
  • Store for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Tap stars to rate!

4.54 from 15 votes

Notes

  • You can also substitute the pickles and juice for ½ cup of pickle relish.
  • 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.

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.

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Comments

  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.