Easy Homemade Tartar Sauce

Creamy, tart and flavored with dill, with this good homemade tartar sauce, you may never have boring fish again!

Tartar Sauce

Do you agree with me that a good tartar sauce can make or break a dish?  I’m always hugely disappointed if I try a new fish fry and find the tartar sauce is bad.  On the other hand, a great sauce will have me grinning big–and dipping my fries as well!

Now in a restaurant, you’re probably stuck if the tartar sauce is bad,  But at home you can make your own.  And besides tasty, this recipe is super easy, with only five ingredients!  

tartar sauce

What is Tartar Sauce?  

According to Wikipedia, tartar sauce is “is a condiment made of mayonnaise, chopped pickles and/or relish, capers, and herbs such as tarragon and dill.”  While that’s the traditional tartar sauce, it can be enhanced with other (usually tart) add-ins like lemon juice or pickles. 

This tasty condiment is known as tartare sauce in Britain and is often served with fish dishes from fish and chips to fish sandwiches.   

Why You’ll Love This!

You’re going to love this simple tartar sauce because it’s: 

Flavorful.  With lots of dill and pickle relish (or chopped pickles), this DIY Tartar Sauce has lots of flavor!      

Easy.  There are only five ingredients that you (mostly) just mix together.  Doesn’t get much easier than that!

Meal Enhancing.  As I mentioned, the tartar sauce can make or break a meal.  So it makes sense to have a good recipe!

with fish

What You’ll Need

Ingredient Notes 

  • Mayonnaise.  This provides the creamy base for the Tartar Sauce
  • Fresh Onion.  This is grated to add pungent savory notes
  • Dill pickle relish.  This gives the tartar sauce its characteristic tart flavor and a slight crunch.
  • Dijon mustard.  This adds flavor
  • Dill.  This enhances the dill flavor of the pickles.

Special Tools

  • No special tools are needed.

Step by Step Directions

Grate the onion.

Grate onion

Mix ingredients together.

Mix ingredients

 Refrigerate until needed.

Tartar sauce


How to Serve

Tartar sauce is delicious with almost any type of fish dish.  Consider serving with Shrimp Burgers or  fish sandwiches.  And it’s also perfect for any fried fish like this Homemade Pan-Fried Perch.

And while I hate to admit it, I love dipping fries in tartar sauce too!  

Variations and Special Diets

If you are serving a Cajun dish, you might want to serve a remoulade, a spicy variation on tartar sauce.  See New Orleans Fried Oyster Salad or Blackened Chicken for ideas on dishes that work with remoulade.

While mayonnaise usually contains egg, you can easily make a vegan tartar sauce if you start with a vegan mayonnaise. 

Preparation and Leftovers

Because some of the ingredients may continue to shed liquid over time, my first choice is to make this shortly before I need it and in just the quantities I need.  Fortunately it comes together in minutes, so there’s no problem making it up fresh.  If you do have leftovers, they should keep refrigerated for a few days.  Tartar sauce does not freeze well.


Tips & FAQs

I like to use pickle relish rather than chopped pickles, partly because it is slightly more complex, but mostly because it saves a chopping step!  And who can argue about going with a quick tartar sauce!

Can I use homemade mayonnaise in this?  Homemade mayonnaise can be used for tartar sauce but it’s more challenging since it’s usually not quite as thick.  If you want to go all natural with homemade mayo, use onion powder (1-2 teaspoons) instead of the fresh grated onion and blot the chopped pickles or pickle relish dry first. 

And you’ll need to make the mayonnaise first, then stir in the other ingredients.  If you try to make it all together, the extra moisture will interfere with the emulsification, and it doesn’t thicken properly. 

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Tartar Sauce

Homemade Tartar Sauce

Creamy, tart and flavored with dill, with this good homemade tartar sauce, you may never have boring fish again!
Author: Inger
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Condiments
Servings 6
Calories 262 kcal


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons grated fresh onion
  • 2-3 Tablespoons dill pickle relish well drained--or chopped dill pickles
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon dried dill or 2 Tablespoons fresh dill


  • Mix together all ingredients
  • Refrigerate until needed. Enjoy!


Calories: 262kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 1gFat: 28gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 17gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 302mgPotassium: 34mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 0.4gVitamin A: 63IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 13mgIron: 0.4mg
I am not a health professional and nutrition data is calculated programatically. Accuracy may vary with product selection, calculator accuracy, etc. Consult a professional for the best information.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

10 thoughts on “Easy Homemade Tartar Sauce

  1. Cathy

    No matter how much dill bit relish I put in my tartar sauce my husband comments it needs more, so now I automatically double/triple from the start. Anxious to try this with the addition of the grated red onion & mustard to mine. We love it best with onion rings but of course also with fish! Thanks for this recipe idea! Going to try next Tuesday. Will let everyone know how it went with new comment next week.

    1. Inger Post author

      Your husband sounds like mine on the relish! And pretty sure I’d like this with onion rings too! Hope you enjoy Cathy!

    1. Inger Post author

      I can verify it’s simple–and quick! At least half of the time, I am almost ready to pull out the fish when I realize I forgot to make the tartar sauce!

  2. David Scott Allen

    This is a wonderful recipe, and they plan to use it soon. (We’re making oven roasted fish this week.) My version is completely different… I mix mayonnaise with capers, and finally chopped preserved lemon. Maybe we should combine our two recipes?

    1. Inger Post author

      I love those adds David. Alas, I was too lazy to zest lemon and chop capers for this 🙂 (And no preserved lemon at the moment though I’m starting to think about making it again!)

  3. Raymund

    5 stars
    Thank you for sharing this fantastic recipe for homemade tartar sauce! I completely agree that a good tartar sauce can make or break a dish, and I can’t wait to try this recipe on my next fish fry. The combination of mayonnaise, fresh onion, dill pickle relish, Dijon mustard, and dill sounds like it would be both creamy and flavorful. I appreciate how easy it is to make with just five ingredients, and I love the idea of using it as a dipping sauce for fries as well. I’m excited to give this recipe a try and enhance my fish dishes with this delicious tartar sauce.

    1. Inger Post author

      I agree! I guess I should have put “make it in just the quantity you need” as a benefit too. I always hate clean out the fridge day with all the old half full bottles!

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