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Homemade Tartar Sauce Recipe

Updated on November 17, 2016
janderson99 profile image

John applies his scientific & research skills (PhD) to develop recipes, food guides, reviews of healthy whole foods, ingredients & cooking

Homemade tartar sauce can be easily made in a few minutes. Doing it yourself means that you can control the ingredients for healthy and tasty alternatives that appeal to you. Homemade tartar sauce is preservative-free can be stored for several days in the refrigerator. It should be chilled for at least an hour before serving on your favorite fish dish.

This popular fish sauce contains various chopped vegetables and herbs, blended into a mayonnaise. There are many variations to what can be included. Tartar sauce recipes in the UK and Europe differ from those from the US. The British recipes include capers, gherkins, parsley, chives and lemon juice added to the mayonnaise base. In the US the tartar sauces contain finely chopped onion, dill relish, sweet pickle and capers are added. Sometimes hard-boiled eggs, olives and various herbs are added.

When you make the sauce yourself you can choose your own ingredients to suit your taste. The sauce can be made using a food processor or blender, but it can be made easily hand by mixing the ingredients together into a good mayonnaise. The blender will make a smoother sauce, but some people prefer a chunky texture. You an make the entire sauce from scratch by making a homemade mayonnaise.

Making the Entire Tartar Sauce from Scratch

The Mayonnaise


  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 4 free-range egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons ready-prepared French, English or other mustard
  • 1 pint (570ml) vegetable oil
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground white pepper


Separate the yolks from the egg whites, which can be used for something else.

Making by hand - transfer the egg yolks to a large, clean bowl with damp cloth beneath it to secure when mixing. Add the vinegar and mustard. Whisk vigorously with a balloon whisk to blend the ingredients. Add a tiny amount of oil and whisk and keep repeating this for a few minutes until the sauce thickens and emulsifies. Stop when the mayonnaise has reached the consistency you want. If its too thick, you can add a little warm water to thin it.

Season with sea salt and white pepper and adding more vinegar or mustard is wanted.

Making using a Blender of Food Processor - place the egg yolks into the bowl of a blender, or food processor. Add the vinegar, pepper, salt and mustard. Pulse the blender once or twice to blend. With the processor motor running, add the oil gradually in a steady, thin stream by pouring through the top of the lid. After one or two minutes, the mixture will emulsify into a thick, rich sauce.

Taste, and adjust the flavouring by adding more salt or pepper, vinegar or mustard.

Basic Tartar Sauce with Capers and Gherkins

This is the basic sauce recipe, for which various ingredients can be substituted.


  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • 4 teaspoons of chopped capers
  • 4 teaspoons of chopped gherkins
  • 4 teaspoons of freshly chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons of chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon or lime juice


  • Add all the ingredients to a bowl or a blender, except for the lemon juice. Mix until combined. Using the blender makes a smoother sauce.
  • Then add the lemon or lime juice, a little at a time, until the taste is what you want.
  • Season with salt and pepper if required. Place in a screw-on container and refrigerate for at least 60 minutes before using. The tartar sauce will keep in the refrigerator a maximum of three days.


The following ingredients can be added as variations

  • hard-boiled egg
  • chopped onion
  • chopped dill pickle to replace the gherkins
  • chopped parsley
  • finely sliced spring onion
  • white wine vinegar
  • Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • 6 drops Tabasco sauce or more to taste
  • minced fresh tarragon
  • horseradish
  • anchovies
  • various fresh herbs

© 2012 Dr. John Anderson


Submit a Comment

  • viking profile image

    viking 5 years ago from The Algarve, Portugal

    Thank you very much very useful to me.

  • catgypsy profile image

    catgypsy 5 years ago from the South

    Very interesting about the different versions of it. I like making things myself and will definitely try this! Nice Hub!

  • Gordon Hamilton profile image

    Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

    I really enjoyed reading this very well laid out and useful Hub. Making my own homemade tartare sauce has actually been on my culinary "To do" list for at least a couple of years and I've still never got round to it. I think your Hub has at the very least moved it a great many places up the list. Thanks!