Homemade Tartar Sauce

Commercial tartar sauce is often full of sugar and corn syrup. This tangy homemade tartar sauce will add zip to your fish.

[Editor’s Note: The following advice from the author sorta merits a subtitle along the lines of “Ode to Grated Onion.” Just wait. You’re gonna be woo’d.] Grated onion is a wonderful way to add flavor to homemade sauces, dressings, and dips. I first learned about using grated onion from my friend and former instructor, Jean-Marie Rigollet, of the Bohemian Club. Jean-Marie told me his secret to good coleslaw dressing was just a little bit of grated onion. People don’t even know it’s in there, but it really enhances the flavor. Grating an onion is as simple as it sounds. Simply peel the skin from an onion. Trim away the stem end, but leave the root intact. Hold the stem end of the onion against the fine side of a box grater or cheese grater and grate over a bowl. You may need to scoop the pulp off the inside of the grater with your fingertips. You can store grated onion pulp, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. The flavor and pungency will diminish over time.–Erin Coopey

LC Go Fish Note

What sorta fish do you dab homemade tartar sauce on? Well, fish ‘n’ chips, natch. Fish sticks, of course. It certainly wouldn’t be terrible with baked fish. A little dab would be quite lovely with fish baked in parchment, too. Your turn. Go fish.

Homemade Tartar Sauce Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 10 M
  • 10 M
  • Makes about 1 1/3 cups


  • 1 cup store bought or homemade mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons minced dill pickles (in a pinch, you can swap in bread-and-butter pickles)
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon grated onion (see preceding headnote)


  • 1. Mix the mayonnaise, pickle, capers, parsley, lemon juice, and onion together in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until chilled through, at least an hour and preferably overnight. (You can stash the tartar sauce in the fridge for up to 1 week.)
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