Extra Tangy Tartar Sauce Recipe

Think beyond seafood—creamy, tangy, and briny tartar sauce is good on so many things.

A small bowl of extra tangy tartar sauce on a speckled ceramic plate. The tartar sauce has crab cakes and lemon wedges around it.

Serious Eats / Julia Estrada

Why This Recipe Works

  • Letting the sauce sit for 30 minutes after mixing helps the flavors meld.
  • Using both capers and lemon juice ads a bright, briny tanginess that complements the creaminess of the mayo.

I've always equated tartar sauce only with seafood, and not being a big fan of our friends of the sea, my run-ins with this sauce have been few. Since I'm learning to become a better seafood eater, I thought it was time to fold tartar into my diet—and lo and behold, I found out this stuff can be great on so many things.

If you trace tartar back to its hazy origins, you'll find it was most likely a French concoction to complement steak tartar. I formulated a fairly standard tartar recipe—mayo mixed with pickles, shallots, capers, parsley, lemon juice, and Dijon—and felt free to use this creamy, slightly sour, and briny sauce on whatever I felt like.

I did fry up the standard fish and chips for my wife, while I took the sauce on a run with chicken. We both agreed that it was amazing with everything that we dunked into it, and went through nearly half the batch in one sitting. The other half is still sitting in the fridge, knowing it can find good uses beyond seafood—like topping burgers, a dip for veggies, or spread onto sandwiches, just to name this first things to come to mind.

August 2012

Recipe Details

Extra Tangy Tartar Sauce Recipe

Active 15 mins
Total 15 mins
Serves 24 servings
Makes 1 1/2 cups

Think beyond seafood—creamy, tangy, and briny tartar sauce is good on so many things.


  • 1 cup mayonnaise

  • 1/3 cup minced dill pickles

  • 3 tablespoons minced shallots

  • 2 tablespoons drained capers, minced

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley

  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed juice from 1 lemon

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce


  1. In a medium bowl, mix together mayonnaise, dill pickles, shallots, capers, parsley, lemon juice, mustard, black pepper, salt, and hot sauce. Let sit for 30 minutes, then use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

    A two-image collage. The left image shows the sauce ingredients placed next to each other in a bowl, but not yet mixed together. The right image shows the ingredients fully mixed together to form the tartar sauce.

    Serious Eats / Julia Estrada

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
65 Calories
7g Fat
1g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 24
Amount per serving
Calories 65
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 4mg 1%
Sodium 160mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 1mg 5%
Calcium 6mg 0%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 18mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)