Homemade Tartar Sauce


Homemade tartar sauce with mayonnaise, dill pickles, capers, and more. It's quick, easy to make, and much better than anything you can buy in a jar! Serve it 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 equally, 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.)

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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.

How to Make Tartar Sauce

Tartar sauce couldn’t be easier to make. You just put all the ingredients into a bowl, stir them together and voilà! You are good to go.

How Long Does Tartar Sauce Keep?

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


Homemade Tartar Sauce Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: About 1 1/2 cups


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup chopped dill pickles
  • 1 teaspoon capers, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons chopped shallots
  • 2 tablespoons 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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42 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Mike

    Awesome, don’t forget to use for french fries!


    Show Replies (1)
  2. Faye

    I am not a fan of tartar sauce, but I LOVED this one! My husband IS a fan and he loved it too. I didn’t have capers so I substituted one green olive. This is a winner!


    Show Replies (1)
  3. Ralph

    Depending on the dish, I will add pickle juice to loosen up the sauce until it flows sort of like lava. I then make a generous puddle on the plate and plop the fish on top. It’s really great for maximum tartar coverage! Does well when plated with roast new potatoes (or tater-tots in a pinch). Garnish with a sprig of parsley and you’re golden! BTW, Hellmann’s olive oil mayo and Bick’s baby dills with garlic – if you don’t have Bick’s in the states, I think Amazon? they’re a really good pickle!

  4. 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!

  5. Jen

    Perfect. I’ll try some garlic next time.


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