Homemade Tartar Sauce

Crab Cake Burger

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I love, love, love seafood.  We are blessed here in the Pacific Northwest with some of the best seafood available ANYWHERE.  I usually go for a simple preparation because there is no need to “gild the lily,” and I want the natural flavors of the fish to stand out.  What I do insist upon, however, is a homemade sauce to accompany a simple steamed crab, sautéed filet of sole or halibut steak.  I can’t imagine feasting on a platter of fried shrimp without a tangy sauce to dip them in, or oysters without a hit of hot sauce.  It’s all a crab cake sandwich needs to make it perfect.  More about the crab cake later.

I recently posted my recipe for crab Louie dressing  and today I want to share my favorite recipe for tartar sauce.  Sorry, but I don’t appreciate the ready made varieties that are all mayo and no flavor. Why prepare a perfect food and serve it with a much less than perfect condiment.

So here’s my favorite. You can add to or leave out if you wish, but these ingredients are staples in my kitchen so I can always whip up a recipe in a few minutes.

Homemade Tartar Sauce

  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon green olives with pimento, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon green pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate for several hours before serving.  We love this condiment and have been known to use it as a dip for French fries.

It’s Foodie Friday once again and Michael at Designs by Gollum is our gracious host.  Please drop by so you can visit all the participants.  You are invited to take part and I hope to see you there.


  1. susan says

    I love seafood and I love homemade tartar sauce! I really will not even eat the "store-bought" version. The olives are definitely a new twist for me, but sounds interesting! Capers too!

  2. The Quintessential Magpie says

    That sounds delicious! God did us all a big favor when he made capers. Next to anchovies, I love, love, love capers! They just make things better. Thanks for the recipe. It sounds great!

    Happy Foodie Friday…


    Sheila :-)

  3. Cathy says

    That's the great thing about homemade, Susan. We can add just what we like. I've found, over the years, that this combination of flavors is oh, so good.

    I agree about the capers, Sheila. It's amazing how much flavor they add to a recipe. They are one of my favs too.

  4. My Carolina Kitchen says

    I love a homemade tartar sauce. I can't imagine why anyone would buy a bottled one. I like capers in mine too, but also a touch of anchovy paste. Mine eventually ends up more a remoulade sauce than an actually tartar sauce.

  5. SavoringTime in the Kitchen says

    Now I'm craving seafood so I can try your homemade tartar sauce recipe! I can't wait to hear more about your crab cake sandwich too – it looks so good.

  6. George Gaston says

    Cathy, you are lucky to be in an area where seafood is always fresh and offering such a wide variety. I agree that it is hard to pass up a good tarter sauce with any fried seafood, especially on a fish sandwich. Your sauce sounds perfect with just the right balance of sweet & tart.

    Your crab cake sandwich is awesome looking, too.

  7. zurin says

    Oh wow! that fish burger looks delicious!What i wld do to have one now! the tartar sauce reads very scrumptious too..i cant imagine having the fish burger without it! Im a seafood lover like U too.. i love love love my fish :))

  8. Barbara Bakes says

    Your sandwich looks so crispy and delicious! I am allergic to fish and seafood. I think I miss the tarter sauce the most!

  9. Sophie says

    I so love a good home made tartaar sauce. In Belgium, we eat it a lot with fish or with fries!

    Your version tempts me!

  10. Thibeault's Table says

    Cathy, what a great photo. I'm not a fan of tartar sauce on fish but I love to dip homemade fries into it. Can't wait to try your sauce.

  11. Yvonne @ StoneGable says

    I'm with you- homemade tartar sauce is a necessity when it comes to fish or crabcakes. You recipe is much more sophicated than mine. All those wonderfull briney elements- oh yummy.
    I make homemade zucchini relish and use that in mine. I love the subtle difference. And I see that your recipe does not use cream of tartar.
    I will definitely make your upscale version the next time I serve crabcakes.

  12. Treehouse Chef says

    Yum! I love tartar sauce. I can eat a whole gallon with just one hush-puppy. Now that I know how to make it I will be eating more!

  13. Rettabug says

    Okay, Cathy, I am copying THIS one, fer shure! LOL
    I never did the additions of olives & capers but I can't wait to try it your way.

    We used to frequent a diner that served the BEST homemade tartar sauce I'd ever tasted. Wanna bet they made it like yours? I can't wait to make it so I can see if they're the same.

    Thanks for posting this!


  14. Barbara says

    Isn't it funny we don't have good recipes for some of the simplest things? Great idea to post tartar sauce. I just throw a couple things together and call it tartar sauce. Your recipe really IS a homemade tartar sauce. Delish!

  15. Pam says

    My tartar sauce is usually some mayo with a little sweet pickle relish stirred in. I'm going to have to kick it up a notch with this!

  16. Kathy says

    We are big seafoodies too Cathy, Thank you for this recipe as I have been wanting to make my own tartar for a while now. Thank you also for your get well wishes :-). I am almost recovered and we will be out and about real soon. Kathy xoxo


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