Homemade Tartar Sauce

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Homemade tartar sauce takes just 5 minutes to make and is so much more delicious than what comes in the bottle from the store! Choose your own flavor: sweet pickle relish or tangy chopped dill pickles will make this a custom tartar sauce you'll love.

The cup of tartar sauce is on a platter next to a fish sandwich.

One of the best ways to get kids to eat fish is to offer them a cup of something to dip it in!

As we head into our meatless Fridays in Lent, I wanted to share this delicious homemade tartar sauce for making delicious homemade fish sandwiches or serving alongside baked fish sticks.

This easy 5-minute recipe is a total game changer when it comes to enjoying fish dinners at home.

Why This is the Best Recipe

I learned to truly love seafood while living in New England during the early years of our marriage. When you eat fish at the best fish restaurants in the country, you learn that a good tartar sauce can make or break your fish sandwich.

I think this is the best homemade tartar sauce recipe because:

  1. Sweet OR Vinegary: If you love your tartar sauce sweet, use the sweet pickle relish. If you prefer it more vinegary, dice up your favorite dill pickles instead. The rest of the recipe will work great either way.
  2. Pinch of Heat: A dash of hot sauce and a hint of horseradish keep plenty of zest to this sauce.
  3. Easy to Make: The list of ingredients is longer than the 4 ingredient tartar sauce recipes out there, but most of them are likely in your pantry right now and it only takes a few minutes to stir them together.

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The ingredients to make homemade tartar sauce for fish are on the counter.

My flavorful tartar sauce needs the following easy pantry items to make it:

  • Mayonnaise: You can use classic mayo or a lightened mayo made with olive oil, just know the lighter mayos will affect the texture slightly.
  • Sour Cream: You can use a full-fat sour cream or a lighter sour cream. I would not use a fat-free sour cream because the sauce will be too runny.
  • Pickle Relish OR Dill Pickles: Now you should make a choice -- do you like your tartar sauce sweet or vinegary? Use the relish if you like it sweet, use dill pickles if you like it more tangy.
  • Fresh Lemon: Buy a couple extra for squeezing over your fish.
  • Minced Garlic
  • Prepared Horseradish
  • Dill
  • Dried Onion
  • Ground Mustard
  • Paprika
  • Hot Sauce

Tartar Sauce with No Mayo

If you're sensitive to mayonnaise, you could make a no-mayo tartar sauce by doubling the amount of sour cream in the recipe and just leaving the mayo out altogether.

I've often done this for my kids who cringe when they see me grab the mayo container.

An all-sour cream tartar sauce has a slightly thinner texture but still tastes great.

Mix the Sauce

Add all the ingredients to a small mixing bowl and stir them together. That's it!

NOTE: If you use the dill pickles instead of the pickle relish, you'll need to finely dice them but that only takes a minute.

The ingredients to make the tartar sauce are in the mixing bowl.

Chill Time

Chill the tartar sauce in the fridge for at least one hour for the flavors to mingle before serving.

Do not freeze the tartar sauce, it will separate as it thaws.

Serving Suggestions

The tartar sauce is in a small cup sitting on a plate next to a fish sandwich.

The obvious choice for using a homemade tartar sauce is to spread it over a fresh baked fish sandwich!

I like to use a toasted brioche bun and a seasoned fish like my grilled tilapia or oven baked salmon.

You could also serve it as a dipping sauce for kids to dunk their fish sticks or baked fish with breadcrumbs in at the table.

More Easy Sauce Recipes for Seafood

Looking for more flavorful sauces to pair with seafood dishes? You won't want to miss these easy homemade recipes:

📖 Recipe

The cup of tartar sauce is on a platter next to a fish sandwich.

Homemade Tartar Sauce

5 from 1 vote
Make your own homemade tartar sauce in under 5 minutes for spreading over easy baked fish sandwiches or dunking frozen fish sticks for a delicious family dinner.
TOTAL TIME 5 minutes
PREP TIME 5 minutes
YIELD 0.5 cup of tartar sauce


  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 2 -3 tablespoons pickle relish OR finely diced dill pickles
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 dashes hot sauce like Texas Pete
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Mix all the ingredients together in a small mixing bowl and chill for at least one hour before using.
  • Homemade tartar sauce can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container for up to one week.

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The photo collage show the cup of homemade tartar sauce next to a fish sandwich and a photo of the mixing bowl filled with ingredients.


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