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Old Fashioned Tartar Sauce Recipe

In this post I am sharing the Old Fashioned Tartar Sauce recipe.


Hey Y’all! Fish Fridays just got a whole lot better. Why? Because I’m sharing how to make the best tartar sauce ever at home. You may never buy the bottled stuff again.

A homemade tartar sauce is rich, tangy and so fresh. It is the perfect condiment for seafood meals or as a spread on a classic fried fish filet sandwich

Recipes for tartar sauce can be found in cookbooks from the 1800’s but the sauce itself has been around a bit longer. Who knew?  I didn’t but we all do now. 

What’s Tartar Sauce Made Of?

Tartar sauce is a mayonnaise based condiment with chopped capers, chopped dill pickle relish, a bit of minced onion, Dijon mustard, some lemon juice, a dash of hot sauce and a few seasonings.

I love that you can make a small batch that you’re likely to use up in a month or so rather than the bottled stuff that seems to sit on the shelf forever and eventually expire. 

Homemade Tartar Sauce Recipe

Jar of delicious homemade tartar sauce for fish

How Long Does Homemade Tartar Sauce Last?

If properly stored and refrigerated, your homemade tartar sauce will last several months (up to six) and keep its integrity and flavor. We’ve never had a jar last more than a month before it is all used up….a benefit of making a small batch.

Many of you may be observing Lent this time of year so this sauce will become a staple. 

Tartar Sauce with Capers and Dill

How to make tartar sauce from scratch

How Do You Make Tartar Sauce?

Preparing your homemade tartar sauce is very easy. A tiny bit of chopping to make sure the dill pickle cubes and capers are minced is the extent of hard work and then you just have to mix the ingredients together.

Although you are using dill pickle relish, you still want to chop through it to mince up so that it incorporates well into your sauce recipe. That ensures that all of the flavors are found in each tasty bite of tartar sauce.

Southern Tartar Sauce

Southern tartar sauce on fried fish

I believe it has always been fairly obvious to most of us that tartar sauce has pickles in it. The real star of the show in this recipe is the capers. There aren’t a lot of capers but they are what really makes a true bona fide traditional tartar sauce recipe. 

I remember my attempt at making tartar sauce when I was a lot younger and didn’t know capers should be included. Tartar sauce is just not the same without them. It’s a must in this recipe. 

Seafood platter at home

So the next time you need a sauce for your Friday night seafood platter or those tasty fish sandwiches, make yourself a fresh batch of tartar sauce. 

Old Fashioned Tartar Sauce Recipe

Let’s make this Old Fashioned Tartar Sauce Recipe!

Yield: about 1/ 2 a cup

Old Fashioned Tartar Sauce Recipe

The best tartar sauce recipe

Tangy and delicious homemade tartar sauce, the perfect condiment for seafood

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 1/2 c Mayonnaise (I use Dukes)
  • 1 tsp Dried Minced Onion
  • 1.5 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1.5 tbs Dill Relish
  • 1 tsp Capers, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard (I use Grey Poupon)
  • 1/8 tsp Garlic Powder
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Hot Sauce
  • Dash of Old Bay Seasoning
  • Dash of Cayenne (optional)


  1. Begin by adding the mayonnaise to a small mixing bowl.
  2. To the side of the mayonnaise, add the minced onion.
  3. Add the lemon juice to the same area as the minced onion. This will allow them to soak in some of the moisture.
  4. Mince the dill relish and capers then add to the mixing bowl.
  5. Next, add the remaining ingredients and whisk to combine.
  6. Transfer the tartar sauce to a covered container and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.


  • Use mayonnaise, NOT Miracle Whip, when making tartar sauce
  • Properly stored tartar sauce may be refrigerated up to six months
  • Use tartar sauce as a condiment for seafood or as a sandwich spread

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 tablespoon

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 95Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 142mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you’ll share this recipe with a friend.

You might also enjoy this recipe for Southern Style Salmon Patties.

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Old Fashioned Tartar Sauce Recipe

Meet Julia

Author of Julia's Simply Southern

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Monica Mount

Sunday 12th of May 2024

Very good recipe! I’m Cajun and omitted the Old Bay because I don’t like it. I also didn’t add the hot sauce or salt. I grated fresh yellow onion as I didn’t have dried minced and it’s still a keeper recipe. Thank you for sharing!

Julia Jordan

Monday 13th of May 2024

Monica, I am so happy that you enjoyed this recipe. Thanks for letting me know. ~Julia


Friday 15th of May 2020

LOL I mean this in the most loving way - but can you tell me what 1/5 of a Tablespoon is? I'm guessing 1/2 teaspoon?

Julia Jordan

Friday 15th of May 2020

Bobi, HA! Thank you so much for letting me know ;) It should have been 1.5 and I've corrected my typo. I hope that you enjoy the recipe. ~Julia


Thursday 14th of March 2019

I can't wait to make this! Also, I'm in love with these photos!!

Julia Jordan

Thursday 14th of March 2019

Angie, Thank you so much! I know you'll love the homemade tartar sauce.

Miz Helen

Monday 11th of March 2019

I love homemade dressings and your Tartar Sauce looks fantastic, thanks so much for sharing them with us at Full Plate Thursday. Hope you are having a great week and come back soon! Miz Helen


Thursday 7th of March 2019

This sounds so much better than the plain Jane tartar sauce I make!

Julia Jordan

Thursday 7th of March 2019

Carlee, Ha! You can't beat a seafood dinner no matter what the sauce is.

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