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Tartar sauce is probably the number one sauce people love to see sidled up to their seafood. Its tangy flavor and creamy yet interesting consistency make it the perfect pairing to all kinds of fish and seafood dishes, from shrimp cocktail to fried oysters to broiled salmon. And homemade tartar sauce takes minutes to make, and tastes so much better than the stuff in the jars.

Spoon scooping Tartar Sauce from a bowl.

What is Tartar Sauce?

Tartar sauce is a mayonnaise-based sauce blended with capers, dill pickles, onions or shallots, lemon juice and other herbs and seasonings. Serve it with fish and seafood, particularly fried fish and seafood. But also think of it with other types of food, like beef and vegetables. Some versions have capers or olives added – here we go with capers, as well as fresh tarragon, plus a bit of Dijon mustard. You can use dill can in place of the tarragon if you like.

Some recipes call for bottle sweet pickle relish, and you won’t go wrong with that. However, in this recipe you take one extra minute to chop up cornichons, or baby sweet pickles, which means that you have a fresher, zinger sauce. Often relish is made with sugar or additives, so you can avoid that.

Small glass jar or Tartar Sauce.

The etymology of the name is a bit unclear. The origin of the sauce is France, where the sauce was named for the Tartars, and there may be a connection to steak tartar, which was sometimes served with a sauce like this one. The Tatars (another spelling option) were a group of people who settled in the Ukraine and parts of Russia. Apparently they introduced the concept of steak tartar, raw meat finely chopped, mixed with egg, and paired with this mayo-based sauce.

Tartar Sauce: Creamy and tangy this is the perfect pairing to all kinds of fish and seafood dishes.

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What to Serve with Tartar Sauce:

You can use this sauce in so many ways! It doesn’t last long, so make sure you find something to pair any leftover sauce  with! Other than seafood dishes, it goes well with all kind of vegetable dishes. Try it with fried zucchini coins!

Green plate with a Crab Cake topped with tartar sauce.

Another way to serve tartar sauce is to spread it on baguette slices and float the bread in a seafood or fish stew.  

How to Make Easy Tartar Sauce

In a small bowl add the the mayonnaise, lemon juice, cornichons, scallions, capers, mustard, tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste.

Glass bowl of unmixed Tartar Sauce ingredients.

Mix well to blend. 

Wooden spoon mixing a glass bowl of Tartar Sauce ingredients.

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Tartar Sauce

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 0 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 6 People
With its tangy flavor and creamy consistency this is the perfect pairing to all kinds of fish and seafood dishes.

Ingredients 

  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced cornichons (baby gherkin pickles)
  • 1 tablespoon capers drained and minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped tarragon leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions 

  • In a small bowl mix together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, cornichons, scallions, capers, mustard, tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

You can use this sauce in so many ways! It doesn’t last long, so make sure you find something to pair any leftover sauce  with! Other than seafood dishes, it goes well with all kind of vegetable dishes.

Nutrition

Calories: 194kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 21g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 12mg, Sodium: 284mg, Potassium: 29mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 58IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 11mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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