The BEST Tartar Sauce

Tartar SauceI hate tartar sauce.  A phrase I often found myself saying after tasting a dab of the unappealing, white goop that usually accompanies seafood entrees at restaurants.  With each order of fish ‘n’ chips, I always taste the tartar sauce thinking that perhaps one time it will actually taste good.  Somehow I am always disappointed.  So you can imagine the look on my face when my friend asked me to recreate his mother’s version of tartar sauce.  If you are having trouble imaging this look, let me describe:  mouth agape, eyebrows furrowed, face scrunched and upper lip slightly snarled.  Despite my obvious disapproval, he turned to me and said, “Trust me, you’ll love this.”  He was right.  Creamy mayo is blended with tangy dill pickles, salty capers, fresh parsley, minced garlic and bright lemon juice.  The finished tartar sauce packs a savory punch that works so well with seafood (especially crispy fried fish fillets).  You could even eat this sauce with just a spoon.  Continue reading for the recipe.

Chopped CapersChopped Dill PicklesThe BEST Tartar Sauce
Recipe courtesy of Ruth Marrs.

4 small dill pickles, finely chopped
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon capers, drained and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup mayonnaise
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Tartar SauceCombine dill pickles, parsley, capers, garlic, lemon juice and mayo in a small bowl.  Mix until well combined.  Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Chill for 1 hour before serving.

Makes about 1 1/3 cups.


  1. says

    The Tartar Sauce is really very healthy sauce for health. It is my favorite sauce. It looking awesome. It is really very great recipe. Thanks for sharing such a best sauce recipe.

  2. says

    I seriously wish I had some fish to fry after reading this! I don’t usually like tartar sauce either but I bet this is so flavorful with all the fresh dill and pickles!

  3. Authenticsuburbangourmet says

    Great combination of flavors and certainly several notches above the average tarter sauce.  Great photos!!! 

  4. Veronica Gantley says

    Brandon, you out did yourself this time. I ususally add some grainy mustard to my tarter sauce. I think I like yours better. As always, another great recipe. 

    • Anonymous says

      Thanks Veronica.  Mustard would be a nice addition.  However, this sauce is already packed with bold flavor.

  5. says

    That is very close to the tartar sauce I make. I’ve never used the garlic, but I do use paprika. I will try yours without the paprika, and see if I like that too. Sometimes variety is great. Thanks for the great recipe.

  6. Leah says

    Love this recipe! It was a little to tart for my hubby though(he prefers the sweet one, yuck!)…lol
    I added some sour cream and dill to it as well!

  7. Susan Wright says

    Thank you! I love anyone who takes the time to prepare worthy sauces! An addition of creme fraiche at our house made this the perfect tartar sauce for us. Well done!

  8. says

    I too hate Tartar sauce. It always tastes like it’s ruining the flavor of the food, instead of enhancing it. I tried your recipe with some crab cakes I made and I have to say it is fantastic! Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  9. Emily says

    In the middle of frying catfish at 11PM in a small town is a bad time to find out youve run out of tartar sauce. We live an hour from the closest 24 hour grocery so I attempted to make my own. I must say I dont believe I will ever go back to eating the store bought junk again! It took some getting used to, and we all kept wondering what it was missing and we realized the sodium level in yours was much lower than store bought. I now prefer it with less salt and think for the benefit of everyone in the house we will stick with this recipe from now on. Thanks for sharing!

    • Brandon Matzek says

      Interesting! I’m not sure. I would make the sauce as is, and then dip a slice of radish in to see how the flavors work together.


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