Homemade tartare sauce is the perfect accompaniment to fish and chips, or our epic fish finger sandwich, and it's super easy to make too. A creamy sauce with chunks of gherkin, this easy tartare sauce recipe is better than any store bought version and ready in just a couple of minutes.
For us, tartare sauce is what makes fish and chips. Sure, it's great by itself, but this creamy sauce takes it to the next level. With just a few ingredients, many of which you probably already have in your kitchen, you have a sauce that goes with so many different meals.
Why you will love it
- Quick and easy to make - This really couldn't be easier to make. Just dump all the ingredients in to a bowl and mix together. It takes just a couple of minutes.
- Goes with everything - Okay, maybe not EVERYTHING, but it is really versatile. We love it with fish dishes, but equally we love it with homemade chips to dip in. Just try not to eat it straight out of the bowl with a spoon.
- Just a few ingredients - The few ingredients that go in to making this tartare sauce are probably already in your kitchen.
- Better than store bought - You won't taste a better tartare sauce than this homemade version. Store bought ones are not only full of additives, but they are seriously lacking when it comes to gherkins and capers, which is where all the texture comes from.
- Mayonnaise - This is where all the creaminess comes from. You can make your own mayonnaise, or use a store bought one. If you are using store bought one, get the best quality one you can as you will really taste the difference. We used full fat, as it has the best flavour, but you can used reduced fat to save some calories.
- Gherkins - This is where most of the crunch comes from. We use whole gherkins in a dill vinegar and then chop them up fine. How chunky you leave them is up to you.
- Capers - Don't be put off using these, as they are a must for tartare sauce and add a lovely saltiness and such a unique tangy flavour. You can keep them whole, or chop them up which is what we have done. You could leave them out if you don't have them though.
- Shallots - Whilst this isn't always traditionally found in tartare sauce, we find it adds a bit more crunch and flavour, and a touch of sweetness too.
- Lemon - This helps to cut through the creaminess of the mayo with some acidity and helps to lighten it up and it also thins the sauce out so it is the perfect consistency. You could add vinegar instead though.
- Mustard - You don't have to add this, but we find it adds a kick of extra flavour. We add Dijon as it is nice and creamy.
- Parsley - This adds a real freshness to the sauce and helps to lighten it up. You could swap parsley for dill if you prefer.
- Salt and pepper - Season it to your liking, but remember that the gherkins and capers already add some saltiness.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
Step by step
One: Add all the ingredients to a bowl.
Two: Mix well to combine everything.
Where does tartare sauce come from?
Little is known about the inventor of tartare sauce. The common theory is that it was most likely invented by the French and was first made at some point after the 18th century.
However, some people say it is named after the Tatar tribe which came from Eurasian Steppe to occupy parts of Ukraine and Russia. The Tartar tribe introduced finely minced meat eaten raw which became known as hamburg steak. The sauce they used on Steak Tartare became known as Tartare sauce.
There aren't many ways to change this classic sauce, however there are a few changes that can be made. You don't have to add shallots and mustard, but we think they are delicious additions.
We have used parsley as the herb in this sauce, however you could use dill instead. Dill goes really well with fish too. You could even use a mixture of dill and parsley.
If you want to make a lighter version of this sauce, you could use reduced fat mayo, or you could swap half the mayo for Greek yogurt. It wouldn't be as creamy, and the creaminess is what makes this sauce so delicious.
What to serve it with
Our homemade tartare sauce goes perfectly with fish, so why not try serving it with one of our fish dishes:
- Homemade Fish Fingers
- Epic Fish Finger Sandwich
- Salmon Wrap
- Salmon Burger
- Crispy Prawn Tacos
- Tuna Fishcakes
- Salmon Fishcakes
We also love this as a dip for chips. Why not try our Best Ever Air Fryer Chips?
Frequently Asked Questions
This is quite an indulgent calorie heavy sauce. However, you can make it lighter by using light mayo and doing half and half with Greek yogurt. This would change the flavour though.
It is an indulgent creamy sauce and has a subtle crunchy from the gherkins, and a nice tang from the lemon juice, with lots of freshness from the parsley.
You might be wondering what to do with the rest of the capers. Well, don't waste them as there are so many ways to use them. They go in a Caesar Salad Dressing, they are delicious on top of salads, and we like them in pasta dishes and on top of smoked salmon.
This is always best made fresh, and it only takes a couple of minutes to do. However, if you do have leftovers then it can be kept in an air tight container for up to 3 days. Just give it a good mix before serving.
To make a vegan version of this, simply sway the mayo for your favourite vegan version.
• If you are making your own mayonnaise, my top tip is to add the oil a little at a time.
• Feel free to adjust the amount of gherkins, capers, lemon juice and mustard to suit your own tastes. Add a little bit and taste and then you can always add more.
• We recommend putting the sauce in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving, as it lefts the flavours all come together.
• For a lighter sauce, swap half the mayo for Greek yogurt.
More sauce recipes
If you’ve tried this homemade tartare sauce recipe, let us know how you got on in the comments below.
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Easy Tartare Sauce
- 220 ml Mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoon Capers - drained and chopped
- 3 gherkins - drained and chopped
- 1 Shallots - finely diced
- 0.5 Lemon - juice only
- 5 g Fresh parsley - finely chopped
- 0.5 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper
- Add all the ingredients to a bowl.
- Mix well to combine everything.
- If you are making your own mayonnaise, my top tip is to add the oil a little at a time.
- Feel free to adjust the amount of gherkins, capers, lemon juice and mustard to suit your own tastes. Add a little bit and taste and then you can always add more.
- We recommend putting the sauce in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving, as it lefts the flavours all come together.
- For a lighter sauce, swap half the mayo for Greek yogurt.