Homemade Tartar Sauce Recipe

By Rena Awada | Updated On January 22, 2024

This is a simple Healthier Homemade Tartar Sauce that is very easy to make! It’s much tastier than the store-bought jars and takes only a couple of minutes to put together. Serve this healthier tartar sauce as a dip or with your next seafood recipe!

top view of a jar of tartar sauce with spoon in it


Making a traditional Tartar sauce recipe is quite easy and made with simple ingredients. They are much better than store-bought tartar sauce and a much healthier option. Made with mayonnaise, dill pickles, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, fresh dill, salt and pepper, and a bit of honey. All you need is about 7 minutes to put this dill tartar sauce together.

The next time you need tartar sauce, skip the grocery store and make your own at home. It is really easy and you probably already have all the ingredients on hand.

Why Make Homemade Tartar Sauce

  • Super easy to make. It only takes 2 minutes to put together! Then all you have to do afterwards is chill it in the fridge.
  • Healthier than store-bought. We used light mayonnaise instead of full fat to lighten up the tartar sauce while still keeping it creamy and delicious. There are also no preservatives or add-ins compared to store-bought sauces.
  • Simple ingredients. You most likely have most of these ingredients in your fridge or pantry. If not, all the ingredients are very easy to find at your local grocery store.
top view of tartar sauce in a bowl with pickle relish garnish

Ingredients for homemade Tartar sauce

  • Light mayonnaise: using light mayo keeps the tartar sauce lower in fat and calories! You may use a miracle whip. see notes*
  • Dill Pickles: Use the sweet or savory kind. You May also use sweet pickle relish instead.
  • Lemon juice: using fresh lemon juice is key. It adds a delicious tangy flavor to the tartar sauce as well as keeps it from being too thick.
  • fresh or dried dill: finely chopped
  • Black pepper: freshly ground peppers, as needed
  • Lemon juice: use freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  • Worcestershire sauce: brings all the flavors together. Could be optional if you do not have it.
  • Honey: you may use agave, do not use maple syrup. It will alter the taste.
  • Capers: Optional, not used in the recipe.
ingredients to make tartar sauce laid out

What is Tartar Sauce

Tartar sauce is a condiment originating from France that is made with a base of mayonnaise chopped pickles or pickle relish, herbs like fresh dill or parsley, capers, and lemon juice. It is commonly served with seafood dishes, especially fish and chips.

A cold dipping sauce that is usually served alongside seafood, mainly fried fish dishes or fish sticks at most seafood restaurants. It has a rich and tangy flavor and is often also served as a dipping sauce, added to sandwiches, or even used as salad dressings.

How To Make Homemade Tartar Sauce

  • Combine all the above ingredients in a small-medium bowl except for the chopped pickles.
  • Mix to combine and adjust the taste if necessary with salt pepper and lemon juice.
  • Next, add in the chopped pickles. Mix to combine.
  • Place in a mason jar or bowl covered in the fridge for up to one week. Serve and use as needed.

How To Make Tartar Sauce More Flavorful

  • The longer you chill your tartar sauce, the more the flavor intensifies. Chill it overnight for maximum deliciousness!
  • Add capers to give it some extra tartness.
  • You may also add one small onion, finely chopped into the tartar sauce mix. Or you may add one tablespoon of onion powder.
  • Consider adding 1 tablespoon of yellow Dijon mustard.

Storing tartar Sauce

Store the tartar sauce in an airtight container or mason jar and place it in the fridge for up to 14 days. We recommend storing them in a mason jar as they’re airtight and preserve the sauce better.

We do not recommend freezing tartar sauce. Once thawed, the consistency will be different and the taste will be different.

spoon in a bowl of tartar  sauce with dill relish over it

Frequently asked questions

How long does tartar sauce last?

Tartar sauce can last up to 2 weeks when stored correctly. Be sure to have it in an airtight container and do not dip directly into the main container when using it.

Can you freeze Tartar Sauce?

You should skip trying to freeze tartar sauce as the mayonnaise may separate when frozen. As the recipe only takes 5-7 minutes to put together, we suggest just making some fresh as needed.

Is tartar Sauce gluten-free?

Tartar sauce ingredients are naturally gluten-free. However, always double-check with the products being used to make sure it hasn’t come in contact with gluten. 

spoonful of tartar sauce over a bowl

Notes and Tipe

  • Making tartar sauce without mayo seems like an injustice! But you can make a much healthier version by using Plain Yogurt or Greek yogurt. We also suggest using half the amount of mayo and using yogurt for the other half. So you would be using 1/2 cup mayonnaise and 1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream.
  • Most tartar sauce recipes will call for the addition of capers. You can add capers if you like them. Add about 2 tablespoons if you like.
  • Dill pickles: Some like the tart citrus dill pickles while others like the sweet ones or relish. Feel free to add whichever you prefer.
  • Do not try to swap the honey with maple syrup. It just doesn’t taste the same. The best alternative would be agave or just plain sugar. It balances out all the acidity and is recommended.
  • You may use either fresh or dried dill. Of course, anything fresh will taste better. Don’t have dill or like dill flavor? Use fresh parsley instead.

What To Serve Tartar Sauce With

mixed tarter sauce in a bowl over a kitchen napkin with relish garnish

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top view tartar sauce in a clear bowl with spoon in the bowl

Homemade Tartar Sauce

This is the best Homemade Tartar Sauce recipe you'll ever try! It's much tastier than the store-bought jars and takes only a couple of minutes to put together. Serve this healthier tartar sauce as a dip or with your next seafood recipe!
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Course: condiment
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegetarian
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 131kcal
Author: Rena

Equipment

  • Bowl
  • knife

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Mayonnaise lite Mayo, or miracle whip
  • 1 cup finely chopped dill pickles
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp dill fresh or dried dill
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Combine all the above ingredients into a bowl except for the chopped pickles and capers.
  • Mix to combine and adjust the taste if necessary with salt pepper and lemon juice.
  • Next, add in the chopped pickles. Mix to combine.
  • Place in a jar or bowl covered in the fridge for up to one week

Notes

  • Makes 1.5 cups all together
  • each serving is 2 tablespoons
  • You may use 1/2 cup Miracle Whip and 1/2 cup Greek yogurt.
  • You can use pickle relish instead of chopping dill pickles
  • You may use regular dill pickles, or the sweet ones.

Nutrition

Serving: 2tablespoons | Calories: 131kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 221mg | Potassium: 23mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 37IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 0.1mg
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