Tartar sauce is a classic fish pairing for a reason; tart, sweet, and with just the right amount of tanginess, it goes great with anything you’d buy at the seaside. It’s even better when you make your own and pair it with salmon patties, or some poached salmon.
Tartar sauce is commonly considered a typically British condiment, fit only for fish & chips purchased at the seaside.
However, made properly from scratch, this recipe for tartar sauce has all kinds of different uses. While it is definitely really delicious when served with fish and chips, it can also be served with all kinds of meat and vegetables as well, not to mention eggs.
Make sure you decide yourself how sweet or tart you want your tartar sauce to be, as it massively changes the overall flavor; don’t just try to mimic your favorite jarred tartar sauce; find your own preference!
Tartar Sauce Ingredients
Make sure you look at the recipe card at the very bottom for the exact amounts, as there are a few fiddly ingredients here.
• Finley chopped dill pickles
• Sweet pickle relish
• Minced fresh dill
• Minced onion
• Lemon juice
• Salt & pepper
How To Make Tartar Sauce
• Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl
• Place in a lidded container and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving
How To Tweak The Flavor Balance To Your Liking
The tricky thing about tartar sauce is that everyone has their own unique preference for what kind of flavor they are looking for.
Some people like a really tart, acidic sauce to pair well with some fish, whereas others are looking for something sweeter that reminds them of a typical British seaside fish & chips.
To make sure that you get the exact flavor profile you are looking for, don’t add all of the lemon juice or sweet pickle relish all at once.
Start with just half of the sweet relish and lemon juice, taste it, and then add more based on your preference. You might find yourself adding all of the sweet relishes, but only using half of the lemon juice, or maybe the other way around – just make sure that you like the taste of it, and you can’t go wrong.
How to Adjust theTaste of Your Tartar Sauce
A common problem that people run into when they make their own sauces at home is a bland flavor when compared to the store-bought stuff.
With tartar sauce, that blandness is due to one of three things: not using enough sugar, which hopefully the sweet pickle relish helps with; not refrigerating it for long enough, and not draining the pickles.
Tartar sauce is definitely a sweet sauce and requires that little bit of extra sugar to really taste bright and fresh. Make sure you are using plenty of sweet pickle relish to make it taste the way it should.
Regarding refrigeration, while it is always tempting to try and eat your tartar sauce the moment you make it, it really needs to sit in the fridge for a few hours first.
The cold helps amplify the taste, and it also gives all of the ingredients in the sauce the time they need to get to know each other.
Finally, it is easy to forget that the dill pickles need to first be drained before adding them to the sauce. If you just added them without draining, you’d end up with too much pickle juice, which could adulterate the sauce, throwing off the balance of sweetness and acidity and making it bland.
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- Prep Time
- 5 minutes
- Karlynn Johnston
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 3/4 cup finely chopped dill pickles drained well, see notes
- 1-2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish to taste
- 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon very finely minced onion
- 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Start with one serving of the sweet relish and the lemon juice, then you can add more to taste later. We like a sweet tartar sauce so we add more.
- Place in a lidded container and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. This is best when refrigerated overnight.
- drain the pickles well on paper towels so they don’t make your tartar sauce too liquidy
- one serving is ¼ cup, perfect for a little cup with your fish and chips!
All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.