Homemade Tartar Sauce

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With summer brings fresh, wild caught fish here in Alaska! Seafood meals are often accompanied by this favorite dip. Try making Homemade Tartar Sauce the next time you serve fish.

A bowl of homemade tartar sauce

We eat a lot of fish in our family. My husband catches sockeye salmon and halibut for us every summer. We freeze most of it so we can enjoy it throughout the rest of the year.

I prepare a seafood meal at least once or twice a week. It’s so simple to pull out a couple of fish fillets to thaw, cook up, and serve with some homemade bread and vegetables.

Although there are countless ways to prepare and serve fish, one of the popular accompaniments is always tartar sauce. Just about every restaurant that serves fish adds this dip on the side.

A fish stick being dipped into sauce

It’s delicious and pairs perfectly with seafood. But have you checked the bottles in the grocery store? The ingredient lists are a mile long and contain all sorts of things that aren’t meant to go with fresh, healthy fish.

Making your own homemade tartar sauce is easier than you might think! It only takes a few ingredients and even less time to whip up a bowl of this tasty and healthy dip for your next seafood meal.

Ingredients for Homemade Tartar Sauce

  • Mayonnaise-Use a good quality mayonnaise with only a few natural ingredients. Homemade mayo works as well.
  • Relish or Dill Pickles-Be careful of the relish in the store and check the ingredient label. Many contain sugar and artificial color. Homemade relish is easy to make, can, and store in the pantry. If you don’t have relish, pickles will work as well. I use pickles made at home that I canned and just mince them up into small pieces.
  • Mustard-Just a bit adds so much flavor. Either yellow or dijon mustard will work.
  • Lemon Juice-Lemon always goes so well with fish. Use the leftover half to spritz on the fish you are serving!
  • Salt and pepper
Mustard, mayo, and relish in a bowl

How to Make Tartar Sauce

If you have a few minutes to spare, you can whip up some tartar sauce during your dinner prep. Or make it earlier in the day and allow it to chill in the fridge until supper.

If you are using pickles instead of relish, mince them up into small pieces.

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, relish or pickles, mustard, and the juice of half a lemon.

Stir extra well until combined and then season to taste with a few dashes of salt and pepper.

A wooden spoon stirring tartar sauce

You can enjoy your homemade tartar sauce right away or chill it in the fridge for later. It is perfectly delicious freshly made but allowing it to chill for an hour or so makes it even better.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Make it ahead of time so you are ready during the week when you are planning to make fish for supper. It’s also a great way to make leftover fish tastier.

A bowl of homemade tartar sauce

How to Use Tartar Sauce

Tartar sauce is traditionally used as a dipping sauce for fish. We like to use it with our homemade baked fish sticks, pan fried fish, and whenever we fry up some beer battered halibut.

But it can also be enjoyed with other seafood dishes as well as with salmon. Simply use it as a dip as you flake off bites of salmon or your favorite whitefish.

A fish stick dipped in tartar sauce

Favorite Seafood Recipes

Here are some of our family’s favorite fish recipes that taste great with this homemade tartar sauce:

Fish has become a staple dish in our house because it’s delicious, healthy, and simple to prepare. Having a quick and tasty homemade dip to go along with it makes our meals even better.

Homemade Tartar Sauce

This popular dip for fish is so simple to make at home with only a few ingredients!
Print Recipe
A bowl of homemade tartar sauce
Prep Time:5 minutes
Chill (optional):1 hour
Total Time:1 hour 5 minutes


  • Small mixing bowl
  • Mixing spoon
  • Measuring cups and spoons


  • 1 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup Relish or diced pickles
  • 1 tsp Mustard
  • 1/2 Lemon, juiced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • Combine mayonnaise, relish or pickles, mustard, and juice of 1/2 a lemon in a small bowl.
  • Stir well until combined.
  • Add a few dashes of salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve immediately or chill for an hour or more if desired.


Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Servings: 1 cup
Author: Lisa Harlow
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