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, 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 sauces, and this recipe is so quick to make. 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.

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

What is Tartar Sauce?

Tartar sauce is a mayonnaise-based condiment that mellows out fried foods that can sometimes be 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.

Table of Contents
  1. What is Tartar Sauce?
  2. 🥘 Ingredient Notes
  3. 🍽 Equipment Needed
  4. 🥣 How to Make It
  5. Recipe Yield
  6. 🙋‍♀️ Frequently Asked Questions
  7. 🥫 How to Store Tartar Sauce
  8. ✏️ Helpful Tips
  9. What to Serve with Tartar Sauce
  10. Homemade Tartar Sauce Recipe

🥘 Ingredient Notes

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 up some pickles. We always add 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.
  • 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 don’t always have fresh dill in my kitchen.
  • 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 It

Making your own tartar sauce is so much easier than you would think!

  • If you have not already done so, finely mince onion and pickles.
  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well to combine.
A collage of 3 images showing how to mix tartar sauce.
  • Refrigerate for at least one hour to allow the flavors to meld, then stir again and serve.
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?

If you don’t have tartar sauce, you can 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 Tartar Sauce

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.

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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 and so that you 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 for our favorite seafood dishes:

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.

Homemade Tartar Sauce

5 from 3 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 mins
Chilling Time: 1 hr
Total: 1 hr 5 mins

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 🙂
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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