Easy Homemade Tartar Sauce: A Zesty American Classic with a Twist

You know the feeling when you’re rummaging through the fridge, hankering for something to elevate your fries or fish to the next level, and you stumble upon a container of tartar sauce hiding in a dark corner? It’s like winning the condiment lottery, right? Okay, maybe it’s just me, but hear me out. Tartar sauce is the unsung hero of the condiment world, and it’s about time it gets its moment in the spotlight – without being overshadowed by ketchup and mayo.

Mindlessly munching on some fries and feeling quite extra, I began to wonder why we don’t give tartar sauce more love. Like a zesty sidekick supporting its fried food partners, tartar sauce remains humble, never craving the attention it so desperately deserves. I’d even argue that it’s the dark horse among dressings: versatile, and bursting with complex flavors – sweet, salty, tangy, and bright. Who wouldn’t want that magic combo with their fries, am I right?

So, as a firm believer in tartar sauce justice, I took it upon myself to spread the word and introduce you to the wonders of homemade tartar sauce. I guarantee once you whip up a batch of this unappreciated condiment, it’ll be stealing hearts and taste buds alike. Fret not, I’ve got your back – and your snacks.


  1. Mayonnaise – The base of the tangy and flavorful tartar sauce, provides a creamy texture and rich taste.

  2. Finely chopped dill pickles – Adds crunch and pickle flavor to balance out the tanginess of the sauce.

  3. Dill and parsley – Fresh and herby flavor, a staple in traditional tartar sauce recipe.

  4. Lemon juice – Brightens up the flavors of the sauce and adds a nice acidity.

  5. Sugar – Adds a touch of sweetness to balance out the tanginess of the sauce.

  6. Freshly ground black pepper – A sprinkle of heat and subtle spiciness to finish the sauce.


  1. For this classic homemade tartar sauce, you’ll need a whisk and a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  2. First, mix together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, and sugar in the bowl and whisk until the sugar has dissolved a bit.
  3. Next, toss in the finely chopped dill pickles, dill, parsley, freshly ground black pepper and give it a good stir until everything is well incorporated.
  4. If you want a tangier flavor, add more pickles and lemon juice to your liking.
  5. You can also thin out the sauce by adding pickle juice.
  6. Feeling adventurous? Try adding finely chopped onions, capers, thyme, cayenne pepper, or paprika for different variations. Want something sweeter? Use bread and butter pickles.
  7. Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. This recipe makes 2 cups of tartar sauce.

Serving Suggestions for Easy Homemade Tartar Sauce

This tangy and delicious tartar sauce is the perfect addition to any seafood dish! Try it with some crispy fried fish, grilled salmon, or even as a dip for your favorite seafood appetizers. Here are some serving suggestions to get you started:

  • Fish and Chips: Nothing beats a classic fish and chips combo! Serve this tartar sauce on the side for a perfect dipping experience.
  • Grilled Salmon: Looking for a delicious way to dress up your grilled salmon? Spread a generous amount of tartar sauce on top for a burst of flavor in every bite!
  • Seafood Cocktail: Make your seafood cocktail extra special by serving it with a side of this homemade tartar sauce. The tangy and creamy sauce will complement the sweetness of the shrimp perfectly.
  • Clams: Clams are already delicious on their own, but they get even better with a dollop of tartar sauce on top. Give it a try, you won’t regret it!
  • Crab Cakes: Crab cakes are a staple in many households, and this homemade tartar sauce is the perfect addition to them. The tangy sauce will balance out the richness of the crab cakes, making every bite a flavor explosion!


What kind of pickles should I use for this recipe?

You can use any kind of pickles you like for this recipe, but dill pickles work best. If you want a sweeter tartar sauce, you could also try using bread and butter pickles.

Can I make this recipe vegan?

Yes, you can substitute the mayonnaise for a vegan alternative and still make this recipe.

How can I make the tartar sauce more tart?

If you like your tartar sauce on the more tart side, you can add more pickles and lemon juice to the recipe.

What are some variations of the recipe I can try?

Some variations of this recipe you can try are adding finely chopped onions, capers, thyme, cayenne pepper, or paprika.

Can I use pickle juice to thin the sauce?

Yes, you can use pickle juice to thin the sauce to your desired consistency. It’s all about what you like!

Classic Tartar Sauce

Elevate the classic tartar sauce with the use of high-quality ingredients and a few unexpected twists to create a perfectly balanced, delicious sauce.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine American
Servings 2 cups
Calories 774 kcal


  • 1 Whisk
  • 1 medium-sized mixing bowl


  • 1 cup high-quality mayonnaise
  • 1 cup finely chopped cornichons (French pickles)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon capers, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)


  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and sugar.
  • Whisk until the sugar has dissolved and the ingredients are well combined.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.
  • Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning as necessary, adding more lemon juice or sugar to balance the flavors.
  • Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.


If you prefer a tangier sauce, add an extra teaspoon of lemon juice.
For a smoother texture, you can use a food processor to pulse the ingredients together until smooth.
For a more refined presentation, you can use a piping bag to pipe the sauce onto your dish.


Calories: 774kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 1gFat: 82gSaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 1125mgPotassium: 50mgSugar: 2gVitamin A: 170IUVitamin C: 2.5mgCalcium: 10mgIron: 0.1mg
Keyword tartar sauce, sauce, condiment, dips
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