Easy Homemade Tartar sauce: This is really the perfect quick tartar sauce. It's the perfect mix of savory, sweet, tart, and creamy. Do not skimp on the capers! | macheesmo.com
Pantry Staples

Dave’s Easy Homemade Tartar Sauce

A few weeks ago we made our annual pilgrimage to a North Carolina beach (yes the one with the sharks) to hang out with everybody in Betsy’s family. Like… everybody. We rent a bunch of houses and it’s a huge party.

One day I spent an afternoon fishing the Intercoastal waterway with Betsy’s cousin and his brother-in-law. It was a perfect, relaxing day on the water and while we didn’t catch enough to feed the group, we did buy enough afterward to make it look like we caught enough to feed the group. True fishermen!

I was in charge of cooking the fish and everybody else pitched in for sides and stuff. I’m generally not one for tartar sauce and will usually pass on it for a big hit of lemon, but when I tried this tartar sauce I did two things. First, I took a big scoopful of it for myself. Screw sharing. It was delicious. Second, I annoyed the maker of said tartar sauce until he gave me the recipe.

1 1/2 cups tartar sauce
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...


Easy Homemade Tartar Sauce

Easy homemade tartar sauce made with loads of savory pickles and capers. Perfect for any fried or grilled shrimp or fish!


1/2 cup minced onion, rinsed
1/2 cup minced dill pickles
1/3 cup chopped capers
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 large lemon, juice only
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
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1) Mince onions and rinse with cold water. Stir together with chopped capers and pickles.

2) Stir in mayonnaise and thin with lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with any fried or grilled fish.

Made sauce will be fine in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Easy Homemade Tartar Sauce

The shocking thing about this recipe is that I was sure there was more to it. But no. It really only has a few ingredients but there are a few important things to note.

First, the amount of capers is not a typo. It’s a lot of capers. I’m not talking about the little spots of capers you get on a bagel. I’m talking about capers-in-every-bite deliciousness.

Second, use good dill pickles. They should be crunchy and bright. If you can find them, my favorite brand at the moment is Bubbies pickles.

Easy Homemade Tartar Sauce

Big flavors!

A few more tricks!

After you dice the onions (you can use sweet onions, white onions, red onions, or shallots), I like to rinse them under cold water. This rinses off some of the harsh onion taste.

Also, try to dice your pickles and onions so they are about the size of capers… pretty finely. You can also chop up the capers roughly.

Easy Homemade Tartar Sauce

Take your time choppin’

Now the hard work is done!

Stir in some mayo. If you can, homemade mayo is probably best, but I used store-bought and it was great also. The amount of mayo and lemon is roughly estimated in the recipe to what I liked. I like mine pretty chunky with the mayo just barely holding everything together. You could add more if you want it creamier.

Easy Homemade Tartar Sauce

Lotsa lemon.

All stirred together it should be nice and chunky. Season it with salt and pepper! I gave amounts in the recipe, but as I’ve mentioned, you should probably season it as you go as the capers and pickles will vary in saltiness depending on what you use.

Easy Homemade Tartar Sauce

All mixed up.

Serve this stuff in hearty amounts with any fried or grilled fish. It’s good slathered on most seafood.

I made a big batch of homemade fish sticks for this post and it was, not surprisingly, amazing.

Easy Homemade Tartar sauce: This is really the perfect quick tartar sauce. It's the perfect mix of savory, sweet, tart, and creamy. Do not skimp on the capers! | macheesmo.com

As true testament to the deliciousness of this homemade tartar sauce, I fed it to Betsy who downright despises both pickles and capers.

She ate it and didn’t absolutely hate it. Trust me when I say that’s a win!

Easy Homemade Tartar sauce: This is really the perfect quick tartar sauce. It's the perfect mix of savory, sweet, tart, and creamy. Do not skimp on the capers! | macheesmo.com

7 comments on “Dave’s Easy Homemade Tartar Sauce

  1. This sounds pretty good. Have not made it yet but I will. But a long, long time ago in a land far away I used to visit a local tavern that had terrific fish sandwiches that were served with a square rye bread and a tartar sauce. This was also a very simple TS that only had minced onions and finely chopped green olives, mayo, and maybe a little lemon juice.
    I devoured this stuff which you could also buy in pint jars. I used it on burgers and other meats. Since then I make my own and it never lasts very long.
    So now I tend to stay away from the pickle and stick with the olives. Also my my number #1 rule. NEVER EVER NEVER have fish with a sweet tartar sauce!

  2. Absolutely right, Bill. Sweet tartar sauce is vile.
    This is how I make mine too. But I’m not sure I could live with somebody who despised capers and pickles. How does she feel about olives?

  3. Thanks much! My husband SLATHERS tarter sauce on all seafood so I will absolutely try this! We are heading to Nags Head the second week of Sept ourselves. It will be our 11th year! On the beach, with a pool, hot tub, and an elevator, cooking for 16. Just can’t beat it!

  4. I will definitely make this tartar sauce recipe – and I totally agree with you about Bubbies Pickles. They’re the only ones we buy now … positively the BEST!

  5. Thanks for the recipe! My husband loves it. I am making it again for the third time in 3 weeks. Only changes I made was I rinsed the capers to reduce the saltiness and I used a 1/3rd cup of dehydrated onions instead of fresh onions.

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