How to Make Your Own Healthy Tartar Sauce

Recipe From Dr. Mercola Fact Checked

When people think of the world’s various cuisines, main dishes are the first things that enter their minds. But how about condiments? You might be surprised to know that condiments, along with herbs and spices, play a huge role in a culture’s cuisine. Condiments come in various forms, many of which you may be familiar with, such as chili sauce, vinegar and soy sauce.1 Ketchup may be one of the most ubiquitous condiments. According to an article by National Geographic, around 97% of American households have a bottle of ketchup.2

Another widely used condiment, although not as famous as ketchup, is tartar sauce. Most likely you’ve dipped your food in it before and enjoyed the flavor. However, the tartar sauce you’ve tasted probably comes from the supermarket, and is filled with various food additives and chemicals that may endanger your health. Instead, make your own tartar sauce — it’s very easy to prepare, and is healthy as well.

What Is Tartar Sauce?

Tartar sauce is a dip with a mayonnaise base. Ingredients are added, such as mustard and seasonings, to alter the flavor. It’s found all over the world and generally paired with seafood, such as fried fish.3 According to a report from The New York Times, tartar sauce has French roots and is radically different from the dip we know today. Originally, it was a mixture of “pureed hard-boiled egg yolks, vinegar, chives and oil.”4

Before Making Tartar Sauce, Make Your Own Mayonnaise

One of the main components of tartar sauce is mayonnaise. Before making tartar sauce, I strongly suggest that you make your own homemade mayonnaise because the ones sold in groceries and supermarkets are filled with ingredients such as GMO soybean oil and fructose — ingredients that aren’t good for your health. Delicious, healthy and homemade mayonnaise will be the foundation of your tartar sauce. Follow this simple recipe adapted from Naturally Savvy:5

Homemade Mayonnaise



  1. Mix the egg, mustard and salt in a food processor while it is running. Pour in the coconut oil, drop by drop until the mixture thickens.
  2. Add the remaining oil in a thin stream without stopping the food processor.
  3. Slowly add the vinegar once the oil incorporates into the mixture. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Note: The mayonnaise will stay fresh in the refrigerator for three to five days. To cut the recipe in half, beat the egg first and take out half of it. Then follow the rest of the instructions.

Tartar Sauce Recipe

Once you’ve made your homemade mayonnaise, it’s time to make your own tartar sauce. The process is quite easy, since you only have to mix the mayonnaise with other ingredients, creating the tangy flavor tartar sauce is known for. Try this healthy recipe, adapted from Bon Appetit:6

Tartar Sauce


  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1 cup homemade mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped capers
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped pickles
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon organic Dijon mustard
  • Himalayan salt and ground pepper to taste


  1. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper.

It’s no surprise that dips can make certain foods more enjoyable, and they can be made even more delicious when your dip is made from fresh, healthy ingredients. If you’ve bought commercially made tartar sauce before, it’s time to throw that away. Making your own tartar sauce is easy, fun and healthier for you and your family.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tartar Sauce

Q: What’s in tartar sauce?

A: Tartar sauce has a mayonnaise base.7 Other ingredients are added to enhance the flavor, such as lemon juice, capers and gherkins. Salt and pepper modify the taste.8

Q: Is tartar sauce dairy-free?

A: Generally, tartar sauce is a dairy-free dip, like the recipe outlined in this article. However, certain versions add yogurt, such as this recipe9 by Epicurious. If you want to explore new flavors by using yogurt instead of mayonnaise, I strongly suggest that you make your own yogurt for a healthier, more delicious dip.

Q: Is tartar sauce keto-friendly?

A: Tartar sauce can be a keto-friendly dip, especially when made using free-range eggs and coconut oil. Follow the homemade mayonnaise recipe above to create a fat-rich base before making your tartar sauce.

Q: Is tartar sauce gluten-free?

A: Yes, if you make your own tartar sauce at home. According to charity group Coeliac UK, mustard, one of the main ingredients of tartar sauce, does not contain gluten.10 The recipe presented in this article does not contain wheat ingredients.

Q: Does tartar sauce have cream of tartar in it?

A: While tartar sauce and cream of tartar have similar names, they are very different products. According to Cooking Light, cream of tartar is another name for tartaric acid, a byproduct found in the bottom of wine barrels.11

Q: Does tartar sauce need to be refrigerated?

A: Yes, you will need to keep tartar sauce refrigerated or else it will spoil. According to The Kitchn, homemade mayonnaise, one of the main ingredients in tartar sauce, can last up to two weeks when stored in the refrigerator.12 The mayo recipe above from Naturally Savvy lasts only three to five days.

Q: How do you make tartar sauce with relish?

A: Relish is one of the main ingredients in making tartar sauce. Simply mix it along with the other ingredients in the mayonnaise. The recipe in this article has relish in the tartar sauce.

+ Sources and References