This homemade Tartar Sauce recipe is one of our all-time favorite sides. It's quick and easy and it makes the best pair with fish dishes! Turn fish tacos into an unforgettable family dinner night.
We love this classic yet simple recipe! Make it for any dish to add extra flavor. This old-fashioned recipe pairs so well with dishes like Salmon, Crab Cakes, and Fish filets. But my family's favorite way to eat it is with Fish and Chips.
Try this the next time you make Crab Melts for extra flavor. It tastes so good! You'll also want to try our homemade Buffalo Sauce, Bang Bang Sauce, Wingstop Ranch, Cocktail Sauce Recipe, Avocado Ranch Lime Dressing, and Cajun Butter Sauce. Another great fish sauce is our Bearnaise Sauce and Yum Yum Sauce.
You won't believe how easy it is to make this recipe with only 4 ingredients. It's great to know you can make something with ingredients you trust. This is not made with cream of tartar.
- Mayonnaise- The mayonnaise gives the sauce that traditional flavor, but we love using half plain greek yogurt too. To make it Vegan, use vegan Mayonnaise.
- Dill pickles- When chopping the pickles, make sure not to chop them too small or they get mushy.
- Lemon juice- Fresh lemon juice gives a zestier taste. You can also use bottles lemon juice.
- Fresh dill or parsley- Depending on your taste preferences you can use dill or parsley. I prefer the dill, but both give a fresh herb taste.
- Onion powder- Don't use dried minced onion. Though it has the onion taste you won't the onions will rehydrate in the sauce and it will give it a weird texture.
- Salt and Pepper
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See recipe card for quantities.
How To Make Tartar Sauce
Follow these simple step-by-step process photos to make this copycat Mcdonald's tartar sauce. Don't forget to make it on National Tartar sauce day!
Chop the dill pickles. Don't chop them too small!
Next, chop the fresh herbs. Whether you're using parsley or dill make sure to chop it well so the sauce doesn't have too big of pieces.
Add all the ingredients, including the spices, into a small mixing bowl.
Mix all together making sure the ingredients are throughout the mayonnaise evenly.
Hint: Add more lemon juice, or even lemon zest, for a zestier taste.
Substitutions and Variations
- Spicy-Add ⅛-1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes with the other spices. Mix well.
- With capers- I love adding capers to dishes. This is a great way to use capers, add 2 Tablespoons chopped or whole capers.
- With horseradish- Give the sauce extra zing by adding 2 Tablespoons. add a little at a time as horseradish sauce can be strong!
- Jalapeno- Add ½ finely chopped jalapeno. This can replace the pickle or just add an extra flavor.
- Cajun- Instead of dill, add 1 teaspoon cajun.
- Old bay- Add 1 teaspoon old bay seasoning and don't add dill.
- Low fat- To make it low-fay, use low-fat mayo or plain greek yogurt.
How to Serve
This is best served with fish and seafood dishes. It adds a great taste to Salmon, Fish and Chips, Fish Sticks, Fish filets like Halibut, and crab cakes. It adds a fun citrus and dill flavor that compliments the seafood taste.
Storing Tartar Sauce
Store homemade tartar sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. This sauce can go bad, so make sure not to use after 2 weeks. We don't recommend freezing, the texture will be weird. Make sure to stir before stirring because the ingredients will separate over time.
The first time I made tartar sauce, I was a little over enthusiastic and trying to make sure I got my pickles tiny enough. I ended up turning most of them to mush. This is much better with little pieces of pickle (it adds the perfect crunch!). After testing this recipe, we recommend trying to get the pieces close in size to pieces you'd find in relish.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
- ½ cup mayonnaise see notes below
- ⅓ cup dill pickles finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon fresh dill or parsley
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- Finely chop pickles and mince the dill. Combine mayonnaise, pickles, lemon juice, dill, onion powder, salt and pepper together in a bowl.
- This is also delicious made with plain Greek yogurt. Use ½ Greek yogurt for an extra tang.
- If you don't like a strong dill flavor, use parsley instead.
- This yields around ¾ cup of tartar sauce.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Stir a bit before using, as the ingredients will have separated a little.
- Be careful not to finely dice the pickle so small that it turns to mush!
- Add more lemon juice for an extra tangy zip.
Tartar sauce is a mayonnaise-based dipping sauce with dill and lemon. It's most commonly used for fish and other seafood dishes.
Tartar sauce is made with a mayonnaise base and mayonnaise is made without dairy so it is dairy-free. If you use plain greek yogurt, then it will have dairy in the sauce.
If you don't have tartar sauce but want a good sauce, try another sauce with a great lemon base. A lemon butter tastes great. You can also do something creamy like a dill sauce.