Quick Homemade Tartar Sauce Recipe (Easy in 5 mins)

Tartar Sauce with fries and beer battered fish in background on plate
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Posted On: December 30, 2014
Last updated: November 2nd, 2023

We started making our own creamy tartar sauce more out of necessity than health. It is one of those condiments that we never seemed to have when we needed.  We have three growing boys and they eat their fair share of fish sticks! It’s great for other fried seafood recipes as well. Try it on fish fillets, fried catfish or popcorn shrimp.  We tweaked this recipe over the years till we felt like we had the best tartar sauce recipe for our family’s taste.

This easy homemade tartar sauce recipe is so easy to make in 5 minutes. By itself it makes a great simple tartar sauce, but if you substitute a couple ingredients you can tweak it for your own taste or occasion.

Above shot of tartar sauce with lemon wedge, fish and fries
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What Is Tartar Sauce Made Out Of?

The base of a tartar sauce recipe is mayo, lemon or lime juice and pickle relish plus some standard seasonings. What you do with it from here depends on your tartar sauce preferences. Are you a lover of sweet tartar sauce or do you prefer more savory? Your pickle relish will be the main determining factor in the final outcome.

Easy Tartar Sauce with Fry dipped in ramekin, fries on side with dipped fish and a lemon wedge
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Modify this Tartar Sauce Recipe and make it your own!

This creamy condiment is sweet but, not too sweet.  If you follow the recipe as written, you can just add about a tablespoon of local honey to sweeten it even more.  Give it a taste and adjust from there.

Like a more savory tartar sauce?  Use dill pickle relish instead of sweet and leave out the honey.  You can spice it up with some finely chopped roasted jalapenos if you want a nice spicy tartar sauce.  Add a little hot sauce for more flavor as well. 

Bottled Tartar Sauces

As you can see, there are many possibilities and people like it their own ways.  Let your imagination go wild and create your own best tartar sauce recipe.  I guarantee that you will like this better than that store bought, pre-made, chemical ridden versions you get at the store.

Try to use as many natural organic ingredients as you can. Many store-bought sauces have high fructose corn syrup in them already.  You also need to watch out for it in relish.  Almost all grocery store tartar sauces, especially sweet relish have HFCS.  Follow this recipe and you will see how to make a simple tartar sauce in just minutes from simple ingredients you probably already have on hand!

Tartar Sauce Ingredients & Steps Collage
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Tartar Sauce Ingredients

  • Mayonnaise – Since mayonnaise is the creamy base of this tartar sauce recipe, start off with the good stuff. Use a high quality real mayonnaise. Whatever your favorite brand is will work well with this recipe. We are fans of Duke’s mayo or Best Foods but use what you like.  In a pinch, if you’re short of mayo, I’ve had to use a little sour cream and plain greek yogurt to supplement. 
  • Pickle Relish – We prefer sweet pickles over dill pickles in this recipe, but to each their own.  Also, for speed and ease relish is great for this recipe. We just like to make sure our pickle relish doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup, it’s pretty common in most.  In a pinch you can chop up some butter pickles, I’ve had to do that before.  
  • Fresh Lemon Juice – Fresh squeezed lemon juice is the best for that fresh tangy taste and bright flavor, but no worries if you use bottled. We do often.  The amount of juice in each lemon varies but you can usually get about 1 tablespoon per lemon half.


  • Worcestershire- I like to sneak in a little drizzle of Worcestershire sauce on occasion for extra depth of flavor, but be careful, too much will make your sauce a little dirty looking.
  • Dill Flavor– I’m personally not a big fan of dill but my wife loves it!  So, some fresh dill weed is great if you like that.  My wife will sometimes sneak in some dried dill into this recipe if she’s making it.  
  • For Spicy – If you like it spicy, add some chopped up Fire Roasted Jalapenos for a little extra kick.

Please let us know what you think in the comments below and feel free to share it with others!

Here are some other Recipes you Might Enjoy!

Tartar Sauce with fries and beer battered fish in background on plate
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Quick Homemade Tartar Sauce Recipe (Easy in 5 mins)

This is a simple and easy creamy Tartar Sauce recipe. Use this as your base and tweak it to your liking.  This recipe makes about 1 cup of tartar sauce.  Try it on fish sandwiches or any other favorite seafood dishes.  There's nothing wrong with dipping some of those french fries or "chips" in it as well.  Keep refrigerated. 
4.43 from 21 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 155 kcal


  • 3/4 Cup Real Mayonnaise Use one made from a healthier oil
  • 4 Tbsp Sweet Pickle Relish
  • 1/2 Lemon Juiced About 2 Tbsp
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp Granulated Garlic
  • 1/8 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/8 tsp Sea Salt


  • Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl
  • You can use the tartar sauce right away but the flavors meld together better if it gets a chance to sit for at least an hour in the refrigerator


The tartar sauce will keep for a week or more in the fridge. (As long as the the mayo is still good for. Label your container with a piece of tape and write the made on date on it)

Nutrition Disclaimer:

The nutritional information provided is only an estimate based on a third party nutritional plugin. Different online calculators may give different results depending on their own sources. The estimates may also change based on the ingredients you use. If you have dietary restrictions and need to accurately calculate the nutrition of this recipe, Whole Made Living recommends consulting a professional nutritionist.


Serving: 2TbspCalories: 155kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 0.3gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.04gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 231mgPotassium: 11mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 105IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 2mgIron: 0.1mg
Keyword fried fish, gluten free, Kid Friendly, low carb, pickle relish, seafood, Tartar sauce
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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  • 5 stars
    I was looking for a quick tartar sauce to go with our fish sandwiches. The only thing I changed was using granulated sugar instead of the honey, just because I didn’t want to mess with it. I also substituted bottled lemon juice because I didn’t have a lemon. Right out of the gate, the flavors seemed weird to me, but once the flavors had a chance to meld together, it was excellent. This will be my go-to tartar sauce recipe. I can’t wait to try it on fish tacos.

    • I’m glad you like yours. This is a different flavor profile. This is a sweet one like the kind you buy at the grocery store. I love a good dilly and oniony one as well.

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