Tartar sauce is such a popular condiment that it’s hard to imagine enjoying fried foods – fried seafood in particular – without it! This homemade tartar sauce recipe packs such a delicious flavor, it’s simply the BEST!
Tartar sauce, from the French sauce tartare, has become such a staple condiment that’s enjoyed in many parts of the world. It’s easy to whip up on demand because it uses ingredients you likely already have on hand in your pantry and refrigerator.
What ingredients go into making the best tartar sauce?
For a truly great tartar sauce we need to achieve that perfect balance of piquancy without it being too tart or too sweet. For that reason I like to supplement some of the mayonnaise with creme fraiche or sour cream for a lighter, fresher flavor and texture along with fresh lemon juice; I also use dill pickles instead of sweet bread-and-butter pickles to avoid the too-sweet flavor you often find in fast food/takeout tartar sauces.
Another great choice is cornichons, which provide an even crunchier texture than dill pickles. The capers provide that perfect touch of brininess, the Dijon mellows it out a touch, and the parsley adds a hint of fresh pepperiness. You can also add some fresh chopped dill which pairs superbly with fried fish.
Some other ingredients I like to add on occasion to change things up are finely chopped olives and/or a touch of horseradish. Experiment and find the combination that you like best.
How To Make Homemade Tartar Sauce
To make it you simply stir all the ingredients together in a bowl and let the sauce chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. The longer the better because the flavors will intensify.
How To Use Tartar Sauce
Here are a few ideas to get you started. It’s perfect for:
- Fried fish
- Boiled lobster
- Chicken tenders
- French fries
- Oven roasted potatoes
- Zucchini fries
- Onion rings
- Fried green tomatoes
- Baked potatoes
- Hamburgers and sandwiches
- Tuna salad
- Ham salad
- Egg salad
- and even with potato chips!
Tartar sauce is such a delicious and versatile condiment, it’s hard to imagine life without it!
For another deliciously versatile sauce that works great with most of the ideas listed above, be sure to try our phenomenal homemade Ranch Dressing!
Serve this tartar sauce with our BEST Classic Fish Cakes!
Best Homemade Tartar Sauce
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
- 1/4 cup finely chopped dill pickles (use cornichons for more crunch or bread and butter pickles if you prefer it sweeter)
- 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed/drained and roughly chopped
- 1 small shallot, finely minced
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (fresh dill is also a great option for seafood)
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (optional)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped olives (optional)
- 1 teaspoon horseradish (optional)
- Place all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and stir to combine. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight before serving. The longer the better as the flavors improve over time.