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.

Tartar Sauce - In a white Bowl with Spoon on Wooden Board

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. Fortunately, this sauce only takes about 5-10 minutes to mix together.

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.

Cornichons in a Glass Jar

Tips for Best Results

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 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.

Tartar Sauce Recipe In a white Bowl with Spoon on Wooden Board

Step by Step Overview:

In a small bowl, combine high-quality mayonnaise, chopped cornichons, parsley, capers, whole grain mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper:

Tartar Sauce Ingredients - In Glass Bowl with Mayonnaise, Cornichons, Mustard, Capers, and Herbs

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.

Stir everything together to combine:

Homemade Tartar Sauce - In a Glass Bowl Freshly Mixed

The 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 or Crab Cakes.

This also pairs brilliantly 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.

Homemade Tartar Sauce Recipe - Served in a White Bowl with Spoon

Recipe Tips and FAQ

How do you store leftover Tartar Sauce?

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.

Can you freeze Tartar Sauce?

Not recommended, because the mayonnaise is likely to break.

What diets does Tartar Sauce work with?

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.

Tartar Sauce In a white Bowl with Spoon on Wooden Board

Tartar Sauce

Tartar Sauce is a creamy and briny condiment that pairs well with seafood, such as Crab CakesFried Calamari, and more!
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Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

Storing leftovers: Storage time depends on what kind of mayonnaise you’re using. If using storebought mayonnaise, this will keep for up to 2 weeks. If using a homemade unpasteurized mayonnaise, store for up to 1 week.
Freezing: Not recommended.
*You may use your favorite kind of pickle here if you prefer them over cornichons.

Nutrition

Calories: 82kcal, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 5mg, Sodium: 155mg, Vitamin A: 35IU, Vitamin C: 0.7mg, Calcium: 1mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.