Swap Mayo With Sour Cream For A Tangier Tartar Sauce

Tartar sauce is comfortingly creamy and delightfully peppy at the same time. Classically served with battered fish and crunchy crab cakes, this appetizing sauce can also transform a sad serving of french fries into a lip-smacking feast with its zingy personality. To turn the tanginess of your next batch of tartar sauce up a notch, swap the mayo for sour cream. This simple substitution creates a spirited sauce with more attitude, fewer calories, and a lighter texture.

Traditionally, the main component of a simple tartar sauce recipe is an egg-based mayo. Sour, briny, and acidic ingredients, such as capers, dill pickles, mustard, or lemon juice, are then mixed into the mayo to lend it its characteristic tangy quality. It's this element that lifts and brightens the flavor of heavier fried foods that it's served with, like crispy calamari. This is why substituting mayo with sour cream is such an ingenious swap; it's already tangy by its very nature.

The natural acidity in sour cream comes from the lactic acid it's treated with. Unlike mayo, which is an amalgamation of oil and egg yolks that are whisked until creamy, the silky texture of sour cream comes courtesy of this fermentation process. Moreover, because sour cream is oil-free, it has a lower fat content than mayo. Nor does it have the same cloying characteristic as mayo when eaten in large amounts.

How to make tartar sauce with sour cream

The texture and thickness of sour cream is similar to mayo, which means it can be substituted in the same ratio. However, as sour cream is inherently tangy, you may want to adjust the proportion of sour additions, like lemon juice, to create a balanced tartar sauce that doesn't taste overly piquant. Simply add a small squeeze of citrus into your mayo with a dash of salt before giving it a taste. You can then work from there by adding more lemon as desired. Be mindful that dill pickles packed in a vinegary pickling liquor will have a tangy edge too, as will extras like mustard. Luckily, tartar sauce is a particularly forgiving recipe so you can adjust the basic ingredients to your liking easily by adding more sour cream as needed.

This flavorful sauce is awesome served alongside a fillet of fish or on a burger but it's also delicious on top of a simple baked potato, dolloped over a tray of cheesy nachos, or spooned on a bowl of spicy chili. In fact, it's perfect for topping any dish that commonly features sour cream, such as crispy potato latkes, loaded potato skins, or smoky adobo tacos, so don't feel limited to serving it with fish and chips.