Simple Tartar Sauce Recipe

If there's one sauce that can make just about any food delicious, it's tartar sauce. Think about it: does fried white fish really have all that much taste? And do fries even have much flavor on their own, save for that salt you added? Not really. So why does everyone love fish and chips so much? Yep, tartar sauce. Same with mozzarella sticks, chicken wings, onion rings, and more. You can spread it on a sandwich, use it as a salad dressing, stir it into rice, and on it goes — tartar sauce takes endless foods from good to great, and in more great news, it's a breeze to prepare.

"This sauce is so easy," says chef and recipe developer Christina Musgrave of Tasting with Tina. "I love that you can make it with ingredients you likely already have on hand." And even if you don't have any of the needed ingredients, you can find all of them at any grocery store. So let's gather up the very few ingredients needed and mix up a tasty sauce.

Gather your ingredients for simple tartar sauce

All you need for making about 10 servings of this classic sauce is a cup of mayonnaise, a couple of finely diced dill pickles, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, a tablespoon of dried dill, and ½ teaspoon of salt. "There are two star ingredients," says Musgrave. "The pickles and the dill give this the traditional tartar sauce taste."

Why is it called tartar sauce, anyway?

The history of tartar sauce is a little fuzzy, but according to SPICEography, the name traces back to France, sometime after the 18th Century. More specifically, the name is based on the Tatar horseman of central Asia, and it's pretty easy to see where "Tatar" eventually transformed into "tartar." Originally, tartar sauce was prevalent alongside the classic French cuisine, beef tartare, but as well all know, tartar sauce has a much broader reach in the present day.

Chop the pickles and measure ingredients

History lesson aside, let's focus on actually making the sauce. First, finely dice the pickles, and if the dried dill has any longer strands in it, mince those, too. Then juice the lemon and portion out your ingredients.

Combine 1 cup of mayonnaise, the diced dill pickles, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of dried dill, and ½ teaspoon of salt in a small bowl.

Stir, cover, and chill, then enjoy

Now stir all of the ingredients together until they are well mixed and creamy. Then cover the tartar sauce and refrigerate it for 30 minutes. "Make sure to refrigerate it [long enough] so it's nice and cold when you're ready to serve," say Musgrave.

And when it's ready, remove it from refrigerator, serve, and enjoy! "I like to keep this classic and serve with fish and chips," Musgrave says, but you can enjoy it however you want.

"This will keep for two to three days in the refrigerator stored in an airtight container," Musgrave adds.

Simple Tartar Sauce Recipe
5 from 58 ratings
This simple tartar sauce is creamy, tangy, salty, and best of all, easy to make.
Prep Time
Cook Time
tartar sauce in a bowl
Total time: 5 minutes
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 dill pickles, diced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Stir until creamy, then cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from refrigerator and serve the tartar sauce.
Calories per Serving 163
Total Fat 17.8 g
Saturated Fat 2.7 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 9.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 0.7 g
Dietary Fiber 0.2 g
Total Sugars 0.2 g
Sodium 239.1 mg
Protein 0.1 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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