Homemade Tartar Sauce

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Confession time. I am a lover of tartar sauce. I think the seafood eating world is divided into two camps, those who enjoy tartar sauce with their fish, and those who will have nothing to do with it. I am happily in the first camp and love nothing better than a fish fillet served with a slice of lemon, some tartar sauce, and of course, coleslaw.

Not all bottled tartar sauces are created equal however. It’s really hit or miss out there in the prepared tartar sauce world. So, I’ve made my own. And you know what? It’s good! Really! (Assuming you like tartar sauce to begin with, otherwise move along, this one’s not for you.)

Homemade Tartar Sauce Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about a cup and a half of tartar sauce.


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup chopped dill pickles
  • 1 teaspoon capers, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons chopped shallots
  • 2 Tbsp chopped scallions
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 6 drops Tabasco sauce or more to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.

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Showing 4 of 34 Comments

  • mick bax

    Thanks for this.I am making this tonight with chopped Silverstone onions and chopped chives.
    I will be using it with oven baked chilli wedges and ribeye steak.

  • speedwell

    Fabulous recipe. I didn’t have capers or scallions, so I used a bit of extra pickle and a half an anchovy along with a handful of minced sweet onion. Fresh lemon juice makes so much difference. My husband likes parsley so I added a little fresh parsley, minced. Tartar sauce should NOT be sweet. NOT NOT NOT. Ew.

  • Doc H

    I’m getting ready to make a gallon of tarter sauce for the church’s annual fish fry and was looking for hints so I am appreciating the comments on here. My dad always made tarter sauce whenever we had fish but he didn’t use a recipe so I have had to try and figure it out as an adult without him around any more. I use Miracle Whip, sweet relish, onion, lemon juice, sugar, and mustard. I have to do it by guess as to how much of each one and do a taste test until it is close enough. I may experiment and try a couple different things.

  • David Conditt

    I am crazy about a good tarter sauce. Store bought just gets you by. Years ago at The Big Time Diner in Mobile, AL, I tasted the best EVER! Because of me, they sell it by the pint! Have always wanted to make my own and now I will try. I also LOVE Worcester Sauce, so I know there will be some in mine. Tarter sauce is also good on a baked potato. The pints of tarter sauce I buy have never gone bad, even after 2-3 months. It turns yellowish at the fringes as it ages and I just stir it back in. Never a problem. Lemon juice is a preservative.

  • Joyce

    This really is a phenomenal recipe for tartar sauce; it beats, hands down, any of the other recipes I’ve read.

    Miracle whip? Sweet relish? No. Just….no. Tartar sauce is not sweet…it is tangy and complex, and sets off the taste of the fish exquisitely. Um…and french fries too, as I must admit I dip my fries in tartar sauce.

    The capers, hot sauce, shallots and scallions make the difference.

    Thank you for sharing this recipe.

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