How to Make Tartar Sauce

5 from 25 votes
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Homemade tartar sauce is so easy to make yourself. With freshly squeezed lemon and chopped dill, it tastes so much better than anything you can buy.

Tartar Sauce is essential when preparing fish or seafood recipes. The creamy, tangy taste perfectly complements crab cakesfish and chips, or fish that is baked, grilled, or fried. Be sure to give the tartar sauce some time to chill in the refrigerator. This enhances the taste this easy tartar sauce recipe of the sauce by giving all of the flavors time to blend.

Tartar sauce with a sprig of dill in the middle on a plate with lemon wedges and fried fish

Homemade Tartar Sauce

Homemade Tartar Sauce turns even boring oven baked fish sticks into a creamy delight! We came up with this recipe when we made our scrumptious Fish and Chips. We’ve tried so many store bought and restaurant served tartar sauces over the years, and we definitely prefer the zesty flavor of this homemade version. It’s all about using the freshest ingredients for this recipe. Believe us, it makes all the difference! Plus, it’s so easy to make and costs much less than most store bought brands. Give it a try for yourself; we promise you’ll love it!

What is Tartar Sauce?

Tartar sauce is a creamy condiment with a mayonnaise base (for a lower fat option, plain Greek yogurt can also be used as a base). Dill, lemon, onion powder, dill or sweet pickles (butter pickles work too), and pickle relish are added to the base to make a tangy and tart dip for fish and seafood. You can also add capers, a dash or two of extra salt or dijon mustard for additional flavor. It’s obviously a perfect side for most fish recipes, but you can also serve a small bowl of tartar sauce with vegetables to use for dip!

Tartar Sauce on a tray with lemon wedges and fried fish

Best Ingredients to Use for Homemade Tartar Sauce

  • For the very best flavor, use fresh squeezed lemon and fresh dill. There’s just something so fresh and light about using juice from a real lemon. For maximum juice, roll it on the counter for a few seconds before slicing in half and squeeze cut side up, to avoid getting seeds in the sauce. Or you can microwave your lemon for about 10 seconds, which really gets those tangy juices flowing.
  • Dill weed loses its freshness quickly, so if you’re purchasing dill, use it with a day or two of purchase. If you grow dill in your garden, pick it just before you plant to use it in a recipe. The dill leaves will wilt and lose their flavor if kept in the fridge too long.
  • Don’t worry about too much dill overpowering the dish. The dill weed has such a mild flavor that you can add quite a bit if you choose.
  • When chopping fresh dill leaves, remove the feathery fern-like leaves and stems from the thick center stem. Discard the stem, then use a sharp chopping knife to mince the leaves to the desired consistency.
  • If you don’t have fresh dill available, use dried dill! Be sure to crush the dill leaves between your fingers before adding to the tartar sauce, which will bring out more of the flavor.
  • Use a good quality mayonnaise; it makes a huge difference in the taste of the sauce. We really love Best Foods or Hellman’s Mayo, but use whatever you prefer.
  • If you want to make tartar sauce without mayo or miracle whip, try using plain Greek yogurt. It’ll also give it a boost of protein.
A piece of fried fish being dipped into a bowl of tartar sauce

More Delicious Seafood Recipes

We have lots of tasty fish and seafood dishes that you are going to love! There are so many great ways to cook up fish and use this homemade tartar sauce. Try a few of our favorites:

How To Make Tartar Sauce

A bowl of tartar sauce surrounded by fried fish and lemon wedges

Homemade Tartar Sauce

5 from 25 votes
Homemade tartar sauce is so easy to make yourself! With freshly squeezed lemon and chopped dill, it tastes so much better than anything you can buy!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Dip
Cuisine Seafood
Servings 16

Ingredients

Instructions

  • In a medium size bowl, combine mayo, lemon juice, chopped dill pickles and dill weed, and pepper.
    Tartar Sauce ingredients in a bowl.
  • Stir until thoroughly combined.
    Tartar Sauce ingredients being mixed in a bowl.
  • Chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.  The longer, the better.  Flavors will get stronger with more time.
    Words explaining to chill the tartar sauce for 1 hour.
  • Stir before serving.  Great as a dip or dressing with seafood!
    Fish being dipped into tartar sauce.

Video

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1.25TbspCalories: 96kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 1gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 129mgPotassium: 7mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 20IUVitamin C: 0.7mgCalcium: 3mgIron: 0.1mg

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Homemade Tartar Sauce in a black bowl with fish on the side.

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About the author

Emily Walker

Emily lives in Meridian, Idaho, with her husband, Beau, a physician assistant, and her three incredible children: a son and two daughters. Travel is one of her favorite ways to experience new cultures and cuisines, and she has a love for all things Disney.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Delicious! My whole family loved it with our Salmon! Thanks for posting this recipe I’ve searched and searched for the perfect Tartar Sauce and this one is it.

  2. 5 stars
    I tweaked it a little bit, add a little more pepper, dill weed and lemon juice.

    We LOVED it!
    So easy to make, no reason to ever buy tartar sauce again.

  3. 5 stars
    One of the best tartare sauce that I have tried. It is so easy to make and so simple. I will never use storebought tartar sauce again. Thank you!

  4. 5 stars
    This recipe was a total life saver! I forgot to pick up our usual bottled version and was in a pinch. Let me say, I will no longer being needing the store bought kind anymore. Loved it!

  5. 5 stars
    We go through tartar sauce like it was going out of style in this house, so I’ll definitely make this one, so creamy and so EASY!

  6. 5 stars
    This is such an easy tartar sauce recipe!! I actually never made it at home before because I thought it was hard – but now I will be making it all the time. Love it with my fish sticks!

  7. 5 stars
    This is the best tartar sauce I have ever made. Everyone commented on how good it was. Easy. The dill weed gives it the added flavor.

  8. 5 stars
    Wow. Super easy since I typically have these ingredients on hand. I can make as tart and spicy to suite my family and guests tastes. Definitely a keeper.

  9. Yum!! Who doesn’t love tartar sauce? I made this but w just a couple of changes. I used dill pickle juice in place of the lemon juice and omitted the minced pickle (prob cuz I’m lazy-ish). I also added about 1 to 1 1/2 tsp minced dried onion. Fresh would be good but again, I’m lazy-ish. Turned out quite yummy. Can’t wait for dinner tonight. Thanks for sharing great recipe.

  10. 5 stars
    This is a great recipe! I think it would be fine “as is”, but I did add minced onion, a touch of garlic onion, and a splash of hot sauce. Used everything else in the recipe, too. Super yummy!

  11. 5 stars
    OMG ! I don’t know if you Know that Hellmans stopped making there tartar sauce( My Fav ). But they have. I called them and it has been De listed. Which means they no longer make it. I have been trying all other brands none to my liking. Well I came across your site and what a find ! It is Soooooo Gooood ! Did use Dill relish and drained the juice out. Also used Dried Dill. Let it stand over night. WoW ! Had that with my Panko Breaded Cod and Steward tomatoes. Thank You !

    1. Thank you so much for sharing! We have never had the Hellman’s tartar sauce before but I am glad this is a good substitute for it! Thanks for letting us know!

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