You could buy tartar sauce from a store, but as with most things, homemade is infinitely better, both for flavor and adaptability. Though the origins of the sauce are a little murky, what is clear is that this creamy, tangy, acidic condiment is a MUST for serving with seafood, and goes surprisingly well with a myriad of other recipes too. Make our recipe as-is to go the classic route, or get creative with your mix-ins. Not a fan of sweet pickles? Not a huge dill person? No problem! Read on for our tips on how to make this easy condiment completely your own:
What is tartar sauce?
This creamy condiment is a little sweet, a little tangy, and full of herby flavor, thanks to a combination of mayonnaise, pickles and/or capers, herbs like dill or tarragon, a little lemon juice, and a touch of sugar. Though store-bought jars (or, the horror, the packets) usually contain something akin to flavored mayonnaise, true tartar sauce should have a little texture so you can really taste all the components.
How to make tartar sauce:
It truly couldn’t be easier to make. You simply whisk together all of the ingredients, and serve! Serve it immediately, or chill in the fridge for around 30 minutes so it’s perfectly chilled alongside your hot main. Our tartar sauce is simple and classic, but if you’re feeling like switching it up, keep reading on for all of our ideas on how to mix up this recipe.
Tartar sauce variations:
Start with the basics of our recipe below, then feel free to make substitutions based on what you like. Some ideas for swaps:
— Replace herby dill with still-anise-forward-but-less-grassy tarragon.
— Skip the added sugar and go harder on the bread-and-butter pickles.
— Use vegan mayonnaise to keep this plant-based.
— Go above and beyond and make your own homemade mayo.
— Prefer things more savory? Use dill pickles or gherkins in place of the bread-and-butter pickles.
What should I serve tartar sauce with?
It’s classic alongside fish and chips, of course, but don’t stop there. Any battered fish, like our fried fish sandwich, our fried fish tacos, or our Nashville hot fish and chips would all benefit from this creamy sauce. Not into frying? Serve it atop one of our many grilled fish recipes with an added squeeze of lemon. It’s not all about seafood either—try it on a French dip sandwich, a hot dog, or a chicken burger. You could even try swapping it anywhere you’d use mayonnaise, like in a tuna or chicken salad.
This recipe will last for a week in the fridge in an airtight container, so make it and have fun with what you serve it with!
Tried this tartar sauce for yourself? Let us know what pairings you come up with in the comments below.