This Easy Homemade Tartar Sauce Recipe is the perfect sauce to dip your crunchy fried fish fillets or crispy fried shrimp in. The tangy flavor pairs perfectly with so many dishes, and it is so easy to make.

I’ve been working on this recipe for homemade tartar sauce since the summer of 2021. I started with a recipe from my in-laws and reworked it to include a ridiculous amount of dill pickles because we love pickles in everything. I asked my husband if he would be pleased if this sauce were served to him in a restaurant with fried shrimp or fried catfish, and he said absolutely.

Homemade Tartar Sauce is a great addition to a fish fry, and it is so much better than store-bought sauce. We love making homemade saucesCreole Remoulade Sauce, Copycat Raising Cane’s Sauce, and Chick Fil A Sauce are some of my most popular – and this recipe is so quick to make.

A bowl of fried shrimp with a small bowl of tartar sauce.

A simple, classic tartar sauce goes so well with so many seafood dishes, and it is made with such simple ingredients. The homemade version is honestly so easy to make – you will never buy it at the grocery store again.

❓What is Tartar Sauce?

Tartar sauce is a mayonnaise-based condiment that mellows out fried foods that can sometimes be a little heavy and greasy. It’s a creamy condiment that adds so much flavor and balance to so many dishes and adds a little bit of a fresh flavor to so many great recipes.

🥘 Ingredients Needed

The ingredients in homemade tartar sauce, laid out and labeled.

Tartar sauce is such a classic condiment, and it uses such basic ingredients.

  • Mayonnaise I use store-bought mayonnaise, but you can also make your own mayonnaise if you want. (Some people use sour cream, but we like mayonnaise.)
  • Dill Pickles – You can also use dill relish, sweet relish, bread and butter pickles, or sweet pickles, but we always have dill pickles in the fridge, so it is much easier to just chop some up. I always add lots of extra pickles because we love pickles!
  • Lemon Juice – If you don’t have lemon juice, you can also use distilled white vinegar. It isn’t exactly the same, but it will be a similar flavor. (I recommended keeping a bottle of lemon juice in your fridge to have on hand for last-minute recipes like this!)
  • Onion, very finely minced
  • Dried Dill You can also use fresh dill; I just like to use ingredients that I have on hand, and I generally don’t have fresh dill in my kitchen. (In the summertime, I love to use fresh dill.)
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Garlic Powder

Optional Ingredient: Fresh Chives – If you want to add more fresh herbs to the creamy sauce, it can add a little bit of brightness to the sauce. Add the chives right before serving so that they do not get soggy. If you add chives, reduce the amount of onion, or it will be overpowering.

🍽 Equipment Needed

  • A Small Bowl
  • Measuring Cups/Spoons

🥣 How to Make Homemade Tartar Sauce

Making your own tartar sauce seems daunting, but it is so much easier than you would think!

If you have not already done so, finely mince the onion and pickles.

Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well to combine them.

A collage of 3 images showing how to mix tartar sauce.

Refrigerate the sauce for at least one hour to allow the flavors to really meld, then stir again and serve. That’s it!

A bowl of homemade tartar sauce with a spoon in it.

🍱 Recipe Yield

This recipe makes a little over a cup of tartar sauce, which will serve around 6-8 people.

🙋‍♀️ Frequently Asked Questions

What can I use if I don’t have tartar sauce?

Well, if you found this post, hopefully, you know by now that if you don’t have tartar sauce, it is so easy to make it! Making your own condiments is so much easier than you would think.

Why do they call it tartar sauce?

Even though we use tartar sauce to dip our favorite fish (usually fried), the sauce is actually a French sauce. It was originally called sauce tartare, named for the Tartars who settled in what is modern-day Russia from central Asia about 800 years ago.

A bowl of popcorn shrimp with a small bowl of tartar sauce with a shrimp in it.
Button linking to the Pinterest page for Southern Bytes.

🥫 How to Store Homemade Tartar Sauce

Store your homemade tartar sauce in an airtight container or mason jar in the refrigerator.

⏲ How Long Does Homemade Tartar Sauce Last

Tartar sauce will stay fresh for about a week, but for the best flavor, enjoy your delicious sauce within a couple of days. (It will get a little watery on top if you let it sit for a few days – you can mix the liquid back in.)

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✏️ Helpful Tips

  • Make sure to let the tartar sauce sit for at least an hour to develop the most flavor.
  • Very finely dice the onions and pickles to make sure that you don’t get huge bites of raw onion, but you do get little bits of pickle in every bite.
  • The liquid in tartar sauce might separate a little when stored in the fridge – just stir it right before serving!
A bowl of fried shrimp with one shrimp being dipped in a small bowl of tartar sauce.

 🍤 What to Serve with Tartar Sauce

Tartar sauce is such a great dipping sauce to serve at a fish fry alongside freshly fried fish. Here for our favorite seafood dishes to serve with tartar sauce:

A bowl of popcorn shrimp with a small bowl of tartar sauce.

Have You Tried This Recipe?
Please rate it and leave a comment below. I would love to hear what you think!

A small bowl of homemade tartar sauce with a fried shrimp in it.

Easy Homemade Tartar Sauce

5 from 14 votes
This Easy Homemade Tartar Sauce recipe is the perfect sauce to dip your crunchy fried fish fillets or crispy fried shrimp in. The tangy flavor pairs perfectly with so many dishes, and it is so easy to make.
Author: Kari
Servings: 8
Prep: 5 minutes
Chilling Time: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients  

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons dill pickles, finely diced add a third tablespoon of pickles if you love them!
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon onion, finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • pinch garlic powder about ⅛ teaspoon or less, just a small sprinkle

Instructions 

  • If you have not already done so, finely mince onion and pickles.
  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well to combine.
    1 cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons dill pickles, finely diced, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon onion, finely minced, 2 teaspoons dried dill, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, pinch garlic powder
  • Refrigerate for at least one hour to allow the flavors to really develop, then stir again and serve.

Notes

Serving Size: This recipe makes a little over a cup of tartar sauce, which will serve around 6-8 people about 2 tablespoons each.
Pickles: We use three tablespoons of chopped pickles because we LOVE pickles, but for normal people, two tablespoons will probably be enough πŸ™‚
Storage: Store homemade tartar sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh for at least a week, but for the best flavor, enjoy your delicious sauce within a couple of days.

Nutrition

Serving: 2tablespoonsCalories: 193kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 0.4gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 13gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 281mgPotassium: 23mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 0.3gVitamin A: 40IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 9mgIron: 0.2mg

Nutrition information is approximate and is automatically calculated, so should only be used as a guide.

Course: Condiments
Cuisine: Southern
Keyword: homemade tartar sauce, tartar sauce
Did you make this recipe?Mention @southernbytes or tag #southernbytes!

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Hi, I’m Kari!

I am a newlywed, food blogger, health coach, and mama to a hot mess of a border collie. I love to put a new spin on old family recipes and I try to make as many meals as possible with an Instant Pot.

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