Classic Tartar Sauce

Do you know anybody who makes their own tartar sauce? I know exactly two people who do and one of them is me.   Tartar sauce is simple, and what you make at home is way more delicious than anything you buy at the store.  This is a classic recipe.  There are many fancy versions with capers and other more unique ingredients.  This is not that recipe.  I say forget the capers and just have some fun.  When I serve this it always gets rave reviews.

Because this sauce is so simple the flavor of the ingredients you use will stand out in the sauce.  For this reason try using fresh dill and a good quality mayo.  I know it’s easy to reach for dried dill weed when you cook, but here it makes a big difference to use fresh.  Winco carries a line of organic herbs that come in at $1.98 a box.  One box is enough so I can make tartar sauce, tuna salad, and some yummy dill dip.  If you have not tried cooking with fresh dill this is a great chance to experiment!

Any recipe where mayonnaise is the main ingredient deserves a quality mayonnaise.  You are going to taste it so get the good stuff.  I like to use Hellmann’s or Best Food’s Light Mayo.  I think it has a great flavor and it cuts the calories down so I can have a little more tarter sauce.  I used to avoid all foods that were reduced fat but I’m starting to find a few that taste great.  Bottom line, pick a mayo flavor you like because it’s gonna show up here!

Next time you are making some fish give this a whirl – I think you will be very impressed at how easy it is to make such a tasty sauce at home.  If you need something to try it with I recommend my Healthy Fish Tacos. 


Classic Tartar Sauce
Cook time
Total time
Serves: About 1½ cups
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 6 Tablespoons dill pickle relish
  • 3 Tablespoons minced sweet onion
  • 2-3 Tablespoons fresh dill (fern leaf)
  • Black pepper, fresh ground to taste
  1. Mince onion and dill.
  2. Stir all the ingredients together.
  3. Cover and chill until ready to use.

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4 thoughts on “Classic Tartar Sauce

  1. I was checking out your recipe to see if my fake-it recipe was missing anything. Mine was virtually the same but no dill. I tried it your way and loved it. One thing is for sure, the pre-made stuff tastes so vinegary it just isn’t worth the slight convenience. I have made a jar of tartar sauce and it was good in the fridge for 2 months.

    • I think it is very worth making your own! Sometimes when I had to use store bought I at least chopped up some dill pickle very finely and stirred it in – better than nothing 🙂 But in general making your own seems to me the best way! I’m glad to hear you liked the addition of dill!

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