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Homemade Tartar Sauce

When the store-bought tartar sauce just won’t cut it, try making it homemade! It is so simple and the flavor is head and shoulders above anything you can purchase in the grocery store.

A QUICK CONDIMENT

I am serious when I tell you that this tartar sauce is ridiculously good. I think it would be good for so many other uses than just as a condiment. There really is nothing like making it yourself and it tastes so good. Even if you are just heating up some frozen fish patties of some fish sticks, why not make it a little extra special with a bit of homemade dipping sauce? Plus, it is so easy to adjust to suit your tastes!

A spoon holding some fresh made homemade tartar sauce.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

What kind of fish are you dipping in the tartar sauce in your picture?

I know a few folks will ask because it looks good, right? Y’all, these are just Gorton’s Fish Filets (not a paid link and not affiliated.) You don’t have to get fancy just because you’re making homemade tartar sauce.

Can you make this thinner?

Sure! I like a thicker sauce, but if you want a thinner sauce, no problem. Simply add about a Tablespoon or more of the juice from the pickle relish or a bit of lemon juice or even milk to thin it out to your desired thickness.

What can I put this tartar sauce on?

All the fried seafood of course! If you are in the mood, try this with some Fried Catfish – yum! This dressing would be the perfect addition to a shrimp or pasta salad, taking it to the next level of deliciousness. It is also ideal as a dip or substitute for plain mayo on sandwiches.

How else can I change this up?

Enhance the flavor by adding more optional herbs like parsley, tarragon, or chives. For a hint of sweetness, mix in a teaspoon of granulated sugar. The best part about making it homemade is you can add whatever you want!

Does cream of tartar have anything to do with tartar sauce?

No one better laugh at this question. It is a genuine question that I have received from folks so never be embarrassed to ask me a question even if you think it is silly.
Cream of tartar does not have anything to do with tartar sauce. Tartar sauce is a condiment usually made from mayonnaise, pickles, and lemon juice (as you see here.) Cream of tartar is a white powder and is an acid commonly used as a leavening agent in baking. It is also sometimes added to recipes for egg whites to help them become more stable and create a fluffier meringue.

How long does homemade tartar sauce last?

Keep this in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. I don’t suggest trying to freeze it.

A fish filet being dipped in a container of homemade tartar sauce.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)

  • mayonnaise– make sure to use real mayo, not MiracleWhip (unless you absolutely love Miracle Whip.)
  • sweet pickle relish – we like it with the sweet relish but you can certainly make it with dill relish.
  • finely chopped fresh dill– I think fresh is best, but if you want to use dried, start with 1/4 teaspoon dried dill and add more to taste.
  • dried minced onion – I tried this with fresh onion and we just didn’t love it. It required cooking the onions down so they were soft enough and it didn’t taste so good that I would do that again. It was just so much easier with the dried minced onion.
  • lemon juice– fresh squeezed is best. I am just not a fan of the bottled stuff, I think it throws all the flavors off.
Mayo, lemon juice, dill, sweet pickle relish, minced onion, salt, and pepper.

HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE TARTAR SAUCE

Whisk together the mayonnaise, relish, dill, minced onion, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a medium-sized bowl.

a collage of two photos: a mixing bowl with mayo, minced garlic, dill, sweet pickle relish, salt and pepper; fresh mixed tartar sauce in a clear bowl with a spoon.

Cover and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour for the flavors to mingle and serve.

A glass jar of homemade Tartar Sauce.

CRAVING MORE RECIPES?

A bowl of tartar sauce.

Homemade Tartar Sauce

When the store-bought tartar sauce just won't cut it, try making it homemade! It is so simple and the flavor is head and shoulders above anything you can purchase in the grocery store.
5 from 17 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 2 minutes
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon sweet pickle relish
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh dill
  • 2 teaspoons dried minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice fresh squeezed
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • Whisk together the mayonnaise, relish, dill, minced onion, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a medium-sized bowl.
    A mixing bowl with mayo, minced garlic, dill, sweet pickle relish, salt and pepper.
  • Cover and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour for the flavors to mingle and serve. Don't skip this step, it really does help the flavor.
    A spoon holding some fresh made homemade tartar sauce.

Notes

  • Please refer to my FAQ’s and ingredient list above for other substitutions or for the answers to the most common questions.
  • If you like it a little thinner, add a splash of the juice from the pickle relish or a bit more lemon juice or even a bit of milk.
  • Add more herbs if desired such as parsley, tarragon, or chives.
  • If you like it a touch more on the sweet side, add 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar.
  • Perfect as a dipping sauce or on sandwiches in place of plain mayonnaise.
  • Keep in the fridge for up to 1 week, I do not suggest freezing.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American

Nutrition

Calories: 197kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 21g | Sodium: 266mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 1g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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6 Comments

  1. Brandie, I love your blog and it is often the first place I check when I’m looking for a recipe. I think onion is a necessary ingredient for tartar sauce and that the store-bought kind is just trying to imitate real tartar sauce and not doing a very good job. If a cook doesn’t have the dry minced onion on hand, try using grated fresh onion. While the diced onion can be a bit offensive because of the size, grating the onion seems to make it just right.

  2. I like to add about a tsp of rather mild horseradish. more for a little added flavor than for any heat or tang. otherwise, our recipes are very similar.
    Jim

  3. 5 stars
    I LOVE this recipe! It is better then anything store bought! Quick tip: if you don’t have any lemon juice on hand, you can use a splash or two of pickle juice instead. It will yield similar results.