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Tartar Sauce

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Enhance your seafood experience with the best tartar sauce recipe! Quick and easy to make, you can throw it together in a pinch.

It’s so much better than the store-bought stuff. Delightfully creamy and herby, this homemade tartar sauce is fresh and flavorful. It boasts the ideal taste and texture with the perfect amount of tanginess. It’s a recipe inspired by a seafood restaurant in San Francisco, California!

PIN THIS TARTAR SAUCE RECIPE FOR LATER!

Homemade tartar sauce in a small glass mixing bowl with a mini spatula.

WHAT IS TARTAR SAUCE?

Tartar sauce is a tangy seafood condiment that originated in France. It’s a mayonnaise-based sauce featuring diced pickles, onion, capers, and spices. Specific ingredient combinations vary from recipe to recipe.

Some versions include one more of the following: grated hard-boiled egg, chives, dried mustard, whole-grain dijon mustard, olives, granulated sugar, paprika, Champagne vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, anchovies in oil.

Another flavorful twist: add a few splashes of tangy malt vinegar. You’ll feel like you’re in a British pub enjoying fish and chips with mushy peas. This is a recipe you can easily adjust to satisfy your taste buds and cravings.

Fish and chips served on a metal tray with tartar sauce, ketchup and lemon slices.

ABOUT THIS RECIPE

Say goodbye to jars and squeeze bottles of tartar sauce sitting on grocery store shelves, or packets of the stuff from fast-food restaurants.

Instead, bring home the fresh vibrant flavors of coastal cities and towns. The recipe I’m sharing today is crisp and zesty! If I could hop into a bathtub filled with this sauce and bathe myself it in, I just might. It’s so darn good!

Tartar sauce is the ideal condiment for beer battered fish, salmon, scallops, chicken tenders, crab cakes, grilled shrimp, fried clam strips, and fish sticks. You can even use it in the mixture for tuna salad sandwiches.

It’s also a tangy sandwich spread for hamburgers, fish sandwiches, veggie burgers, and chicken sandwiches. Drizzle it over pork chops, asparagus, or roasted potatoes. Enjoy it as a dipping sauce for French fries, onion rings, hushpuppies, fresh veggies, fried zucchini sticks, and pretzels!

French fries served in a small Staub baker with tartar sauce and ketchup.

RECIPE INGREDIENTS

These are the common refrigerator and pantry items you’ll need to assemble a small batch of this delicious condiment. For feeding a crowd, double or triple this easy recipe.

  • Mayonnaise (real, whole-fat mayo)
  • Sour cream
  • Kosher dill pickles
  • Pickle juice from the jar
  • White onion
  • Fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • Fresh dill
  • Non-pareil capers
  • Lemon juice
  • White pepper
  • Sea salt
  • Garlic powder
Ingredients for tartar sauce recipe laid out on a large wooden board.


INGREDIENT SUBSTITUTIONS

When cooking during stay-at-home times, use the ingredients you have on hand. Here are some great substitutions for this tartar sauce recipe.

  • SOUR CREAM: To maintain this recipe’s beautiful tang, use 2 tablespoons buttermilk. Another option: plain Greek yogurt.
  • KOSHER DILL PICKLES: Good substitutes for this ingredient are cornichons, gherkins, or dill relish.
  • LEMON JUICE: Lime juice is the best substitute.
  • WHITE ONION: Use yellow onion, red onion or shallots. You can also use dried onion flakes.
  • FRESH HERBS: Use dried herbs instead. Refrigerate the sauce for 2 hours before serving to give the herbs time to rehydrate and bloom.
  • WHITE PEPPER: The best substitute is black pepper. But keep in mind, white pepper has more complexity with a mild, earthy taste. Black pepper has a different flavor profile. It’s also spicier! Start by adding a pinch of black pepper, then adjust to taste.
  • GARLIC POWDER: A great substitute is granulated garlic. Just crush it up. Or use a small amount of finely minced or pressed fresh garlic.

RECIPE PREP

Everyone needs this easy recipe in their kitchen arsenal! It comes together with minimal work and chopping. It takes less than 10 minutes to prep the ingredients for this super tasty condiment!

  • STEP 1: Dice the kosher pickles.
  • STEP 2: Mince the white onion.
  • STEP 3: Finely chop the Italian parsley and dill.
  • STEP 4: Roughly chop the capers.
4-image collage showing how to make tarta

how to make tartar sauce

This is the condiment your taste buds have been begging for! Here’s how to make this fresh and tasty dressing at home:

  • STEP 1: In a small mixing bowl, stir the mayo and sour cream together. Set the bowl aside.
  • STEP 2: Add pickles, capers and onion to the bowl.
  • STEP 3: Sprinkle in the fresh parsley and dill.
  • STEP 4: Squeeze lemon juice into the bowl. Add pickle juice and spices. Mix well. Refrigerate for 1 hour before use. This gives the mixture time to thicken, chill, and become extra flavorful.

FOOD PROCESSOR: If desired, this recipe can be assembled in a food processor. Add the pickles, capers and onion to the bowl. Pulse briefly to mince. Add the remaining ingredients. Pulse again until blended.

4-images showing how to make easy tartar sauce from scratch.

tips for THE BEST TARTAR SAUCE

These expert tips will help you achieve the taste you’re looking for.

  • FRESH INGREDIENTS: For the best-tasting condiment always use fresh ingredients to include firm crunchy pickles and un-wilted herbs.
  • MAYONNAISE: Do not substitute low-fat mayo or dressing for this important ingredient. Your taste buds will notice the difference!
  • TANGY VS SWEET: Kosher pickles give this recipe a delightful tang. But if you desire a sweeter taste, use sweet pickles or sweet relish. Or sprinkle in a teaspoon of granulated sugar.
  • WANT A KICK OF HEAT? Stir in a pinch of cayenne pepper!
  • HOW TO STORE TARTAR SAUCE: Transfer to a glass salad dressing bottle or a small container with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate.
  • HOW LONG DOES TARTAR SAUCE LAST? When made with fresh crisp ingredients and refrigerated, it can be kept for up to 1 week.
A small bowl of tartar sauce on a rustic white table with lemons and parsley.

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Friends say this is the best tartar sauce recipe! It has the flavor profile of tartar sauce served with fresh seafood platters in restaurants along the California coast. If you agree, give it a 5-star rating in the comments.

Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com
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Tartar Sauce


  • Author: Denay DeGuzman
  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 Minutes
  • Total Time: 10 Minutes
  • Yield: 8 Servings 1x

Description

This is the best homemade tartar sauce! Creamy and herby, it boasts a fresh tangy flavor that pairs beautifully with seafood dishes. This condiment is also a dipping sauce for French fries and veggies.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mayonnaise (real mayo, not dressing)
  • 5 tablespoons sour cream
  • 5 tablespoons minced kosher dill pickles
  • 2 tablespoons pickle juice (from the jar)
  • 2 tablespoons minced white onion
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley (leaves, no stems)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon minced fresh dill
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced non-pareil capers
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 pinch garlic powder

Instructions

  1. In a small mixing bowl, stir mayo and sour cream together.
  2. Add all other ingredients to the bowl. Mix well to combine.
  3. Do a taste test. Adjust spices, as needed.
  4. To thicken, chill, and fully develop it’s flavor profile, refrigerate 1 hour before serving.

Notes

  • FRESH INGREDIENTS: For the best-tasting condiment always use fresh ingredients to include firm crunchy pickles and un-wilted herbs.
  • MAYONNAISE: Do not substitute low-fat mayo or dressing for this important ingredient. Your taste buds will notice the difference!
  • TANGY VS SWEET: Kosher pickles give this recipe a delightful tang. But if you desire a sweeter taste, use sweet pickles or sweet relish. Or sprinkle in a teaspoon of granulated sugar.
  • HOW TO STORE TARTAR SAUCE: Transfer to a glass salad dressing bottle or a small container with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate.
  • HOW LONG DOES TARTAR SAUCE LAST? When made with fresh crisp ingredients and refrigerated, it can be kept for up to 1 week. 
  • MORE INFO ABOUT THIS RECIPE: Further tips are included in the body of the post, along with helpful step-by-step recipe images.
  • Category: Condiments
  • Method: No-Bake
  • Cuisine: French

Keywords: Tartar Sauce

Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com

HOMEMADE TARTAR SAUCE > JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Are you fan of delicious condiments and sauces? What do you think of this fresh, easy tartar sauce recipe? What will you serve with yours? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

7 thoughts on “Tartar Sauce”

  1. When I was a kid tartar sauce was the only thing that could get me to try a new fish recipe…😂 Now, it’s a life long comfort food; no fish & chips is worthy without it. Love the details of this classic sauce.

    Reply

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