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This amazing homemade Tartar Sauce will elevate anything you spread it on or dip into it. Seafood dishes, potatoes, and sandwiches are all instantly transformed with this simple tartar sauce recipe!

a white textured dish filled with homemade tartar sauce with a small bronze spoon in it.
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This homemade tartar sauce is truly something special! Ready in just minutes with almost zero prep, the taste is incredible. You’ll find yourself making certain foods just to add this sauce on top.

Our family takes tartar sauce very seriously. This recipe is my uncle’s and he has been kind enough to let me share it with the masses. Make it once and you too will become a family legend.

Recipe Ingredients

mayo, dill, onion, lemon, and dill relish on a white board.

This recipe has:

If you have any leftover fresh lemons after making this recipe, check out our post on how to freeze lemons.

How To Make Tartar Sauce

*I’ll walk you through it here with some photos and tips, and you’ll also find a printable recipe card at the bottom of the post with exact measurements, etc. You can click “jump to recipe” to skip down.

This recipe is dead simple to make. If you can stir something for a minute, you can make this!

Start by chopping the onion. You’ll want it to be finely chopped so that the onion flavors the tartar sauce but nobody gets a big ol’ chunk of onion. Pro tip: chop the onion as finely as the relish.

Add all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir with a spatula until everything is well-combined. Yep, that’s it! Not everything in life needs to be complicated.

two photos showing the before and after process of making homemade tartar sauce.

Recipe FAQs

How Long Does Tartar Sauce Last?

Homemade tartar sauce will last for 3-4 weeks in the fridge. Storebought mayo has a very long life, so the ingredient that prevents this sauce from lasting longer is the fresh onion.

How Can You Tell When The Sauce Goes Bad?

Homemade tartar that has gone bad will have an off smell/taste/color. The relish, dill, and lemon juice will tinge the mayo a very light yellow. Any dark or orange/pink coloring is a good indication that something is off.

When in doubt, check the inside of the lid of the storage container. If any bacterial growth is happening, it often first shows up on the lid.

Some separation is natural in the tartar sauce, and that mainly comes from the lemon juice and onion. Stir prior to serving to combine.

Can I Make This Without Lemon Juice?

Fresh lemon juice adds a delicious flavor but if that’s not your jam, that’s ok. You can sub in plain white vinegar instead of the lemon juice.

Storage Instructions

Store homemade tartar in the fridge in an airtight container with a lid. This sauce stays fresh for 3-4 weeks.

This recipe makes just about a pint, so I prefer to use a wide-mouth pint or pint-and-a-half canning jar to store mine, along with a screw-on lid. Write the date it was mixed on the lid with a dry-erase marker.

Tartar sauce must be stored in the fridge. It is not safe at room temperature for more than ~30 minutes. If you’re planning to serve this at a party/BBQ, consider placing the storage container nested in a bowl of ice.

 Expert Tips

  • Include any brine (juices) from the jar of dill relish.
  • I do not recommend using purple/red or green onions. Over time, the onion will discolor the sauce.
  • If you’re making a huge batch of this sauce, try pulsing the onions in a food processor.

Recipe Variations

You can use your favorite mayo for this recipe, including vegan mayo. For a homemade vegan option, try our vegan aioli. It’s made with a delicious creamy cashew base.

In lieu of onions try using pickled shallots. Drain the brine before chopping the shallots. If you’re a big fan of sweet relish, you can use that or chopped sweet pickles in lieu of dill pickle relish.

If you want to add some kick to it, sprinkle in some seafood seasoning or your favorite dry cajun seasoning. Or, stir in 1-2 tsp of ground horseradish.

How To Use Tartar Sauce

Tartar sauce is incredible on all kinds of seafood dishes like air fryer popcorn shrimp, salmon cakes, air fryer fish sticks, air fryer salmon patties, frozen crab cakes in the air fryer, air fryer mahi mahi, air fryer fish tacos, or air fryer shrimp tacos.

We also love it as a dipping sauce with various forms of potatoes like roasted garlic potatoes, air fryer potatoes, cast iron potatoes, waffles fries in the air fryer, crispy potato wedges, or air fryer curly fries.

These crispy turnip fries or air fryer frozen onion rings are also super great with this sauce.

You can also use it in salad recipes where mayo traditionally is used, like Instant Pot Potato Salad or egg salad.

a spoon hovering over a bowl of dill aioli.
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Homemade Tartar Sauce Recipe

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 0 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
a white textured dish filled with homemade tartar sauce with a small bronze spoon in it.
This amazing homemade tartar sauce will elevate anything you spread it on or dip into it. Seafood, potatoes, and sandwiches are all instantly transformed with this simple tartar sauce recipe!


  • 16 oz mayo {1 pint}
  • 10 oz dill pickle relish
  • 3/4 cup white onion, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1.5 tsp dried dill


  • Finely dice the onion to a similar consistency as the relish.
    3/4 cup white onion, finely diced
  • Add all ingredients, including the juices/brine from the relish, in a medium mixing bowl and stir to combine.
    16 oz mayo, 10 oz dill pickle relish, 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, 1.5 tsp dried dill, 3/4 cup white onion, finely diced
  • Transfer to a container with a lid and store in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.


  1. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.
  2. I use a dry-erase marker on the container’s lid to note the date I mixed up a batch.
  3. Some separation is natural in the tartar sauce, and that mainly comes from lemon juice and onion. Stir to combine before serving.


Serving: 2tbspCalories: 170kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 1gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 10gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.04gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 299mgPotassium: 28mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 0.4gVitamin A: 43IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 5mgIron: 0.3mg

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

Additional Info

Course: Condiments, Sauce
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @sustainablecooks or tag #sustainablecooks!

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About Sarah

Helping you serve up budget-friendly sustainable recipes with a side of balanced living.
Come for the food. Stay for the snark.

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