Homemade Tartar Sauce

Once you’ve experienced homemade tartar sauce such as this, there’s no going back to the commercial stuff made with corn syrup and preservatives. No way.

A dollop of homemade tartar sauce on a piece of newspaper with fried fish and a lemon wedge beside it.

Commercial tartar sauce tends to be crammed full of corn syrup and preservatives. Whereas this easy homemade tartar sauce recipe contains nothing but loveliness—mayonnaise, pickles, capers, parsley, lemon, and onion. So what 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 dab would be lovely with fish baked in parchment, too. We could go on, but it’s your turn. Go fish. Originally published March 5, 2014.Renee Schettler Rossi

Homemade Tartar Sauce

  • Quick Glance
  • (6)
  • 10 M
  • 10 M
  • Makes Makes about 1 1/3 cups
5/5 - 6 reviews
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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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    • Grated onion is a wonderful way to add flavor to homemade sauces, dressings, and dips. 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.

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    Oh my, this homemade tartar sauce recipe has to be one of the most flavorful, fresh-tasting sauces I've ever come across. The recipe is perfect in that I didn't have to adjust any seasonings. The salt, tang, and sweetness were equally balanced, and it's a cinch to make. The dill pickles I used were homemade from this past summer and I made my own mayonnaise from the recipe on this site. I refrigerated the sauce for about an hour before serving it with the Pan-Fried Fish With Cauliflower.

    Why buy tartar sauce when it can so easily be made from pantry ingredients? The homemade tartar sauce recipe is easy to pull together and quick to make. With just a few minutes grating and chopping, there you are, done. I liked the idea of grating the onion in and it was undetectable in the finished sauce. I was a little pressed for time, so I used a good store-bought mayonnaise this time. I would shy away from the mayonnaise-type dressings for this as I think the taste might not be as good. I will say that this sauce does get better with age. It was tasty after half an hour, but it was so much better the next day. The only thing preventing this from being a perfect 10 in my book is I wanted a little more lemon zing in the final taste. I'll certainly make this again and again, but next time I'll grate a little lemon zest into the sauce to give it a little more zing, and maybe make my own mayonnaise.


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    1. I just made this tartar sauce a few days ago when we made blackened tilapia in the oven. Outstanding! Went perfectly with the fish! I also made collards and ham as a side dish with cornbread.

      1. That sounds like a perfect meal, GrammaSue! I’m so pleased that you tried the tartar sauce with it and that it was such a success.

    2. Your homemade tartar sauce recipe can also be done with either India relish or regular relish with mayo.

    3. In the restaurant, we made our tartar sauce. We used the machine grinder (like the type for grinding meat) and added chopped onion, dill pickles, and parsley, and then mixed it into the mayonnaise and Dijon mustard. Never did like the grocery store bought tartar sauce. Personally, I like to add garlic powder instead of onion when making it at home.

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