Old Fashioned Tartar Sauce Recipe {Simple + From Scratch}

A simple tartar sauce recipe that can be adapted for what you have on hand.
4.5 from 2 votes

Looking for a delicious and easy tartar sauce recipe? Look no further!

You’ll love this old-fashioned tartar sauce recipe because it’s quick to make, adaptable to your tastes, and delicious with any fried seafood.

fresh parsley next to jar of old fashioned tartar sauce

How to make old fashioned tartar sauce

Homemade tartar sauce is super simple to make and tastes way better than storebought.

Some things require precision in the kitchen, and some things don’t. Tartar sauce is one of those wonderfully flexible condiments in which a lot of things will work well. As long as you have a well-seasoned mayonnaise base with plenty of acidic flavoring, it will be tasty and be the perfect balance to rich or fried seafood.

It’s so easy to make and so fresh tasting. Definitely worth the very little effort that it takes. It takes less than 15 minutes from start to finish.

Let’s make it together.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Easy: All you do is measure and mix.
  • Flexible: This recipe can be adapted to your tastes with simple changes

What you’ll need

mayonnaise, parsley, salt, pepper, lemon juice in small bowls on white wood background
  • mayonnaise (full fat!)
  • dill relish or chopped dill pickles (homemade relish is great, but storebought is fine)
  • fresh lemon juice
  • shallot (or onion!)
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • fresh parsley

Step by step homemade tartar sauce

Combine all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.

glass bowl with all tartar sauce ingredients before mixing

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

bowl covered in plastic wrap

For serving, spoon the sauce into individual bowls or ramekins.

That’s it!

Tips for the best homemade tartar sauce

  • Make sure you chill the sauce before serving. You really want the flavors to have time to blend.
  • Taste before you serve. If it seems bland, add more seasoning. Easy!

Substitutions

The most important part of this recipe (or really any other), is balance. You are beginning with a base of mayonnaise, and likely using this sauce for fried food To balance out all that heaviness, we need acid.

  • No lemon juice? Use vinegar or dill pickle juice.
  • No dill relish? Chop up some dill pickles. (Or even bread and butter pickles)
  • No shallot? A finely chopped onion will work just fine.

You can also add things to this base recipe for more flavor.

Good additions include minced fresh parsley, fresh dill, minced fresh garlic, dijon mustard, and capers. Have a seasoning you love, like lemon pepper or Cajun seasoning? Throw it in there! Or add cayenne for a little spice.

Frequently asked questions

What is tartar sauce made of?

Usually mayonnaise, pickles, capers, lemon juice, and herbs. Some recipes will include sour cream, Worcheshire sauce, and yellow mustard.

What do you serve tartar sauce with?

What do you serve tartar sauce with? Seafood, especially fried seafood. It goes perfectly with fish and chips, crab cakes, salmon cakes, or fried shrimp. But don’t be shy: you can dip your french fries in it or spoon it on top of roasted veggies.

Do I really need to make it ahead?

It’s best if you do, but not the end of the world if you can’t.

Storage tips

Tartar sauce will keep in the fridge for a week.

It does not freeze well at all (sorry!)

fried fish sticks and 3 small white bowls of tartar sauce

More homemade sauces you’ll love:

Recipe for old fashioned tartar sauce

small mason jar of homemade tartar sauce with fried shrimp in background
4.5 from 2 votes

Homemade Tartar Sauce Recipe

Print Recipe
A simple tartar sauce recipe that can be adapted for what you have on hand.
Prep Time:5 mins
Cook Time:2 hrs
Total Time:2 hrs 5 mins
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup dill relish
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley finely chopped

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  
  • Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  • Spoon into individual ramekins before serving.

Notes

Substitutions are fine! If you don’t have lemon juice, substitute white vinegar If you don’t have shallot, substitute onion If you don’t have dill relish, substitute a finely chopped dill pickle
Good additions include minced fresh parsley, fresh dill, minced garlic, dijon mustard, and capers.

Nutrition

Calories: 47kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 312mg | Potassium: 6mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 13IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: sauce
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dipping sauce for seafood, homemade tartar sauce, tartar sauce with relish
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 47kcal
Author: Katie Shaw
Did you make this recipe?Tag me @heartscontentfarmhouse so I can see!

This old-fashioned tartar sauce recipe is quick to make, adaptable to your tastes, and delicious with any fried seafood. Whether you’re looking for an easy tartar sauce recipe or just want a delicious condiment for your next fish fry, this one is sure to please!

signature with strawberries
By on September 11th, 2019