Homemade Tartar Sauce

SauceFish and Seafood

How to make tartar sauce with mayonnaise, dill pickles, capers, mustard, shallots, scallions, Tabasco and lemon juice. Perfect with fish or crab cakes.

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 homemade tartar sauce.

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.)

What are the ingredients in tartar sauce?

This tartar sauce starts with a base of mayonnaise. To that we mix in chopped dill pickles and capers, Dijon mustard, chopped shallots and scallions, Tabasco hot sauce and lemon juice.

That’s it! It’s the easiest thing ever to put together and your own freshly made tartar sauce will always taste a million times better than anything you can buy packaged at the store.

To store tartar sauce, keep it covered and chilled in the refrigerator. It should easily last a week or longer.

How to Make Tartar Sauce

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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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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37 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Laurie Basile

    Dear Elise, I have so many cookbooks, yet I tend to go to the Internet to search for recipes. Go figure! Today I found your tartar sauce recipe, and will be trying it tonight. So many recipe websites contain way too much information, and your few introductory paragraphs were just perfect! No need to include the history of the use of tartar sauce, etc. Thanks for your site; I’m bookmarking it right away!

  2. Jen

    Perfect. I’ll try some garlic next time.


  3. Carla

    No tartar sauce is complete without Worcestershire sauce and fresh or dried dill. I might try this but will definitely be tweaking it~

  4. 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.

  5. 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.


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