May 30, 2023

Homemade Tartar Sauce Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Homemade tartar sauce made with fresh herbs is SO much better than store bought versions and only takes a few ingredients to make.
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The creamy and briny condiment pairs well with seafood dishes, especially when they’re fried. Serve this homemade tartar sauce recipe as a dipping sauce for beer battered fish & chips, fish sticks or crab cakes. While most versions are made with just mayonnaise I make mine with a little sour cream for a preferred texture. Letting the mixture sit for 30 minutes before using it allows the flavors to meld.

Homemade Tartar Sauce Recipe 

ingredients for Homemade Tartar Sauce

Key Ingredients in This Recipe 

  • Mayonnaise – The base of this sauce is mayo. The eggy and rich flavor complement the briny flavors of the cornichons and capers. 
  • Sour cream – Sour cream thickens the condiment and adds a slightly tangy element. 
  • Cornichons – I use diced cornichons in this tartar sauce recipe rather than the more traditional, dill pickles or pickle relish. I find that they don’t overpower the other ingredients. The small pickles, also known as gherkins, have a tart and mildly sweet flavor. I keep a jar in the refrigerator.
  • Capers – Capers have a tangy, salty flavor. The edible part of the caper plant is the immature flower buds, which are typically served pickled. I recommend using water packed Nonpareils capers.
  • Shallot – Shallots have a mild, slightly sweet flavor. If needed, swap red onion in this recipe. I finely chop the shallots so they are evenly distributed in the sauce without giving it an overpowering onion flavor. 
  • Herbs – I use a combination of freshly chopped herbs to add a tasty element. I like to add dill, chives and tarragon to my sauce. 
  • Lemon juice – A little freshly squeezed lemon juice helps to brighten the sauce and complement the creamy mayonnaise base. 
  • Dijon mustard – Dijon is made from finely ground mustard seeds with a spicier flavor than whole grain mustard.

How to Make Homemade Tartar Sauce

mix all the ingredients of Homemade Tartar Sauce
Step 1: Add ingredients to a bowl. 

Add the tartar sauce ingredients to a small mixing bowl.

Step 2: Mix and use as needed.

Stir or whisk until thoroughly combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, at least 30 minutes and up to 1 week. 

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe 

Swaps and substitutions 
  • You can use mayonnaise so you can omit the sour cream. 
  • To lighten the recipe the sour cream can be substituted with full fat Greek yogurt.
  • Finely chopped dill pickles or sweet pickles can be used in place of the cornichons. 
  • Add a teaspoon of vinegar based hot sauce for a bit of spice. 
What to serve tartar sauce with 

Serve tartar sauce as a dipping sauce for fried seafood like: 

  • beer battered fish (and fried fish sandwiches)
  • fish sticks
  • crab cakes
  • fried oysters
  • calamari 
How long does homemade tartar sauce last 

Store homemade tartar sauce refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week. 

fried calamari dipped in Homemade Tartar Sauce

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this homemade tartar sauce recipe, give these a try and follow me on Instagram:

Homemade Tartar Sauce Recipe

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Prep Time 5 minutes
Serves 1 cup


  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced cornichons (or pickles)
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced shallot
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon chopped capers
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed


  • Add the tartar sauce ingredients to a small mixing bowl.
  • Whisk until thoroughly combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, at least 30 minutes and up to 1 week.



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