This Homemade Tartar Sauce is a simple condiment that pairs well with seafood, adding a creamy and briny contrast to Crab Cakes, Salmon Cakes, and more. It only takes about 5 minutes to mix together this homemade sauce, and you’ll be rewarded with something much better than anything you can buy at the store.
Freshness makes all the difference with sauces like this, and I think it’s why people are so blown away when they make things like Blue Cheese Dip, Buffalo Wing Sauce, or Caesar Dressing at home.
You can get all of these things bottled at the store, but when it’s been sitting on the shelf for months, it’s not going to taste as good. It’s worth it to make your own condiments and salad dressing yourself.
Fortunately, this delicious sauce only takes about 5-10 minutes to mix together. It’s such an easy recipe!
Tartar Sauce is a creamy, briny condiment that’s typically served with seafood, and it’s primarily made of mayonnaise and pickles.
My pickle preference is to use Cornichons, which is a tiny kind of pickle that people also refer to as gherkins. However, you may use whatever pickle you most enjoy, such as dill pickles, sweet pickles, or dill relish.
Tips for Best Results
For the best tartar sauce, follow these tips:
Use a good mayonnaise – It is incredible how much the flavor of storebought mayonnaise brands can vary. Some are so bad that I truly cannot stomach them. I now prefer to make my own Mayonnaise from scratch since the flavor is superior and it’s very easy, but if you’re using storebought, make sure you’re using a good one. I’ve had good experience with Sir Kensington’s brand.
Use a grainy mustard – If you’ve ever tasted a whole grain mustard with a spoon, you may have noticed that it’s more of a textural experience, and it’s much less “mustardy” than something like a ground Dijon mustard or yellow mustard. That’s perfect here! We’ll have the flavor of mustard present, but will more get to enjoy the little pops and texture of the mustard seeds.
Chill before serving– While you may certainly enjoy this at room temperature, I think it tastes a lot better when it has been chilled in the fridge. It’s more refreshing and brings out the fresh zesty flavor in this creamy condiment.
Step by Step Overview:
In a small bowl, combine high-quality mayonnaise, chopped cornichons, fresh parsley, capers, whole grain mustard, fresh lemon juice, salt, and black pepper:
I use homemade Mayonnaise when I make this sauce because I’m really picky about the flavor, but using a storebought mayonnaise is perfectly fine, so long as you love the flavor of the one you’re using.
I also recommend using freshly squeezed lemon juice instead of lemon juice concentrate in a bottle, as it will give a more delicious tangy flavor.
Stir everything together to combine:
Your easy homemade tartar sauce is now ready to be used, or can be stored in the fridge.
I personally think it tastes best when it has chilled in the fridge for 30 minutes, but this isn’t required.
Ideas for How to Serve It
Fried Calamari is my absolute favorite recipe for pairing with a homemade tartar sauce, and most seafood dishes pair nicely here. Also try it with Peel and Eat Shrimp, Crab Cakes.
This also pairs brilliantly with fish sticks or crispy fish sandwiches. Or try it with salmon, whether it’s Grilled Salmon, Pan Seared Salmon, Salmon Cakes, or Baked Salmon.
For ideas that aren’t seafood, use the sauce in sandwiches like this Italian Club Sandwich and also with potato dishes like Steak Fries, Crispy Smashed Potatoes, Homemade French Fries, or baked potatoes.
Instead of parsley, you may use an equivalent amount of fresh dill instead, or 1/2 teaspoon of dried dill.
Recipe Tips and FAQ
Assuming you’re using a storebought mayonnaise, keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. If using a homemade mayonnaise, store up to 1 week.
Not recommended, because the mayonnaise is likely to break.
This recipe is gluten free, dairy free, paleo, keto-friendly, and Whole30 compliant.
Did you enjoy the recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page.
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise (use a high-quality one with a flavor you enjoy)
- 2 tbsp finely chopped cornichons *
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- 2 tsp minced capers
- 1 tsp whole grain mustard
- 1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
- 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- In a small bowl, stir to combine all ingredients.
- Place in an airtight container or cover with plastic wrap, and store in the fridge until ready to use.
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
3 Comments on “Tartar Sauce”
Where I live, gherkins are sweet pickles. I only found out in the last few years that there are “sour” or dill flavored ones as well. Which is called for here?
Do you see any available that are labeled “cornichons?” They’re tiny pickles not even the size of a pinky finger.
Really good sauce! Much better than the bottled stuff.