Homemade tartar sauce (or tartare) is a great condiment for fried or grilled fish, and can be used as a spread for sandwiches and burgers, or as a dip for seafood or vegetables. My easy recipe will show you how to make tartar sauce with only a handful of ingredients AND I share some tasty ideas for how to use it in different dishes. You will never use store-bought sauce again!
In This Post:
What Is Tartar Sauce?
Tartar sauce (or tartare in Australia and the UK) is a popular condiment commonly used as a dipping sauce or accompaniment for various seafood dishes. It has a creamy texture and a tangy flavour, typically made with mayonnaise as the base and mixed with a variety of ingredients to enhance its taste.
The origins of tartar sauce are not entirely clear, but it is believed to have originated in France in the 19th century. The name comes from the French word “tartare,” which was used to describe various sauces that were typically served with raw meat dishes
My homemade recipe for tartar sauce features simple ingredients you are likely to have in the pantry but if not, they are easily accessible in most supermarkets and can be used in other dishes.
- Good quality mayonnaise (not too sweet)
- Plain yogurt (e.g. Greek, unsweetened) which lightens up the sauce and adds tanginess
- Scallions (green onions) for sharpness and a little color
- Baby capers (the ones in brine not salt) – this is the key ingredient that gives the sauce its unique flavor.
- Dill pickles (gherkins) add sweetness, tang, and crunch
- Mustard – Dijon ideally, for sharpness and tang
- A little pepper
How To Make Tartar Sauce
It’s so easy, you’ll be kicking yourself for not making your own tartar sauce earlier. You fill find the full recipe card with ingredients and nutrition info below but here is what you need and how to make it.
- The key to a good tartar sauce is to chop all ingredients quite small so that you get a little bit of everything in every spoonful and it’s easy to dip into and spread.
- Combine everything until well-incorporated. Serve right away or store in an air-tight container for up to 3 days (for best freshness).
- Don’t blend the sauce, as the slightly coarse texture is much more pleasant and adds a good crunch.
- Many recipes call for dill and it’s indeed lovely in a tartar sauce.
- Sour cream can be used instead of yogurt.
- For a mayonnaise-free version, use sour cream and add a tablespoon of olive oil.
- Finely chopped shallots or red onions instead of scallions.
- Give it a tomato spin by adding sun-dried tomatoes or ketchup.
- Give it a Tex Mex twist by adding chipotle sauce.
- Spice it up with Sriracha and grated ginger for an Asian twist.
Using Tartar Sauce
This sauce is a versatile condiment that pairs well with various dishes, especially seafood. Here are some ideas for using it:
- Seafood Dipping Sauce: The classic use is as a dipping sauce for fried or grilled seafood such as fish fillets, shrimp, calamari, or crab cakes. The tangy and creamy flavours complement the savoury seafood perfectly.
- Fish Tacos: Spread this sauce on warm tortillas before adding grilled or fried fish, shredded lettuce, and other taco toppings for a delicious seafood twist on the classic taco. It’s great with shrimp tacos, too.
- Burger Topping: Use is as an alternative to traditional condiments like ketchup or mayo on fish or seafood burgers. It works especially well with fish like cod, haddock, or salmon, like in our fish sandwich recipe.
- Sandwich Spread: Jazz up your sandwiches by spreading tartar sauce on bread or rolls before adding sliced deli meats, cheese, and veggies. It pairs nicely with turkey, roast beef, or even chicken sandwiches. Try it with my tuna melt!
- Veggie Dip: Tartar sauce isn’t just for seafood! Use it as a dip for raw or roasted vegetables like carrot sticks, cucumber slices, bell peppers, or broccoli florets.
- Potato Topping: Instead of using plain sour cream or butter, top baked potatoes or sweet potatoes with a dollop of this lovely sauce. The tangy flavour complements the starchy goodness of the potatoes.
- Crab or Shrimp Cocktail: Serve it as a dipping sauce alongside a classic crab or shrimp cocktail for an elevated seafood appetiser.
- Fried Foods: Aside from seafood, tartar sauce goes well with other fried foods like onion rings, fried pickles, or chicken tenders. It adds a tangy kick to the crunchy coating.
- Grilled Vegetables: Brush the sauce on grilled vegetables like asparagus, zucchini, or eggplant to add a creamy and tangy element to the smoky flavours.
- Salad Dressing: Thin down tartar sauce with a little lemon juice or vinegar to create a tangy dressing for salads, particularly those with seafood or vegetables. It’s great in an egg or potato salad.
Pair Tartar Sauce With These Dishes
Find the full list of ingredients, instructions, and a nutritional breakdown below. If you have questions or cook this recipe, please let me know in the comments, and make sure to rate this recipe so it’s easy for others to find.Print
Learn how to make homemade tartar sauce with this easy recipe. Use it with fried or grilled fish, as a spread for fish sandwich or burger or as a dip with seafood.
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoon yogurt unsweetened
- 2–3 tablespoon scallions finely diced (1-2 onions)
- 2 tablespoon capers baby, finely diced
- 2 dill pickles medium size, gherkins, finely diced
- 1.5 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
The key to a good tartar sauce is to chop all ingredients quite small so that you get a little bit of everything in every spoonful and it’s easy to dip into and spread.
Combine everything until well-incorporated. Serve right away or store in an air-tight container for up to 3 days (for best freshness).
Don’t blend the sauce, as the slightly coarse texture is much more pleasant and adds a good crunch.
Storage: Homemade tartar sauce typically stays fresh for about 5 to 7 days when refrigerated. It’s best to consume it within this timeframe for the best taste and quality. To prevent a skin from forming on the surface of the sauce, you can place a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper directly on top of the sauce before sealing the container.
Don’t Freeze: Due to the mayonnaise and other dairy-based ingredients, this sauce doesn’t freeze well. It can separate and change in texture when thawed, so it’s best to avoid freezing.
Keywords: easy tartar sauce, Sauce, tartar sauce