This old fashioned tartar sauce recipe is crafted with simple ingredients that are brimming with fresh flavor. Sure you can buy this classic condiment in the store, but once you taste the difference fresh dill and lemon juice make you'll never want to buy the jarred stuff again. Whether you are baking fish sticks or whipping up a fish fry for your friends, this is the best tartar sauce to bring it to a whole new level!
What is tartar sauce?
Tartar sauce is a sweet and tangy condiment most popularly served with seafood such as fish. This creamy mayo-based sauce is spiked with fresh lemon juice, pickles, capers, and dill. However, the exact composition of ingredients can vary.
Ingredients you will need
- Mayo - This is awesome with Homemade Mayonnaise, although Miracle Whip can be added for a tangier flavor instead. I feel that is a better option than adding sour cream, which can negatively affect the texture.
- Dill pickle
- Lemon Juice
- Fresh dill
- Dijon Mustard
Note: I also tested adding sugar to the sauce, but it made the texture to gritty. If you enjoy a sweeter sauce I recommend adding a dribble of simple syrup instead.
How to make tartar sauce from scratch
This easy tartar sauce recipe has no cooking involved. Simply prep the ingredients by finely chopping the pickle, dill, and capers, then stir everything together in a small bowl.
Your simple tartar sauce will be best if you make it in advance so the zesty flavor can meld together. However, it can certainly be enjoyed immediately if needed.
Ways to customize it
This is a simple recipe to customize because you have so many great options. If you prefer your homemade tartar sauce to pack a little kick consider adding a dab of hot sauce or a touch of horseradish. Otherwise, seasonings can be added such as cayenne pepper, black pepper, or Old Bay Seasoning.
Fresh tarragon and fresh parsley can also be added with dill weed or in place of dill. Fresh herbs don't last as long as dried, but they certainly give it the best flavor, so it is worth it. You can also swap out your dill pickles for dill pickle relish, sweet pickles, or even sweet pickle relish instead.
If you crave a little more crunch in this simple sauce, I recommend mincing up some white onion. White onion has a crisp texture and mild flavor that won't overpower the sauce like a red onion will.
Tanginess is the hallmark of any classic tartar sauce recipe. I rely on fresh lemon juice for the bright punch of flavor it adds, however you can also use pickle juice, or white wine vinegar as well.
Finally, for fewer calories, Greek Yogurt can be used instead of the mayonnaise base. This is a really good healthy alternative.
What to serve it with
- Baked fish
- Fried fish fillets
- Fish sandwiches
- Fried seafood such as clam strips
- Crab cakes
- French fries
How to store it
Your old fashioned tartar sauce should be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator. This sauce will keep for a couple of days to about a week depending on the freshness of your herbs.
More Seafood Creations
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Old Fashioned Tartar Sauce recipe
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 dill pickle finely chopped
- 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
- 2 teaspoons chopped capers
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- Mix mayonnaise with chopped pickles, lemon juice, dill, capers, and mustard in a small bowl until well combined.
- The flavor is best if allowed to meld in the refrigerator for a few hours, but it can be enjoyed right away.
The capers and fresh dill make this tarter sauce. Thank you, Ben.