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Southern Tartar Sauce Recipe

by jughandle

A Southern Tartar Sauce Recipe?

As a Southern raised and fed Georgian, I love Southern comfort food.  Well, isn’t it all comfort food? Have you ever heard of Southern diet food?  I don’t think so.

Fried chicken, fresh sweet corn.  Pan fried catfish with hushpuppies and tartar sauce.  Dang, I’m making myself hungry.   In my youth I could, and did, sit down with a spoon and a jar of Tartar sauce and finish it off in one sitting.  It might not be right, but it’s a fact.

Sauce That Please

Good food just isn’t complete without good sauce.  After the French invented the 5 Mother Sauces to cover the taste of their rotted meat, what else was left?

The Mu’ther Sauces

Southern cooking was what’s left!  Meat cooked for hours on end, smoked with the finest fruit woods.  Tied together with killer sauces.  Tomato based, mayonnaise sauces, cheese, vinegar, and of course fat based sauces.  You know, red bbq sauce, white bbq sauce, cheese sauce, vinegar bbq sauce and gravy.  I call them the 5 Basic Mu’ther Sauces of the South.

I’ll be asking you all for your favorite sauce later.  This post is about a classic mayo based sauce.  Tartar Sauce.

What Should A Good Tartar Sauce Recipe Include?

Mayonnaise of course.  I’m not going to get into a Brand war on this blog but you can read what Southern Living wrote on the subject.  I will name a few brands they ranked:

      • Duke’s
      • Hellmann’s
      • Bama
      • Blue Plate
      • Mrs. Filbert’s
      • Just Mayo
      • Kraft Real Mayonnaise

Pickles.  You have to have pickles in a good tartar sauce, right?  But should you use dill, sweet, bread & butter or something with a little kick like Wickles Wicked Pickles?Mustard.  Goes without saying.  Maybe.  Will it be yellow ballpark mustard, mustard powder?  How about dijon?  If it is dijon will it be Grey Poupon or may be Gulden’s spicy brown mustard?

Other good stuff

Lemon – I guess you could use Meyer Lemons and that would add a touch of orange.  What about Limes.  Now that would boost the tang factor.

Capers – I love capers and beside caper berries, I can’t think of a substitute.

Garlic – fresh or powdered?  My recipe calls for powder but I might try fresh and see what happens.

The spices – Some say yeh, some say nay.  I say absooolutely!  That said my recipe calls for Texas Pete hot sauce a touch of Old Bay seasoning and a hit of “optional” cayenne pepper.

I say Pete because it’s distinctive flavor doesn’t overwhelm with heat as could TabascoLouisiana Hot Sauce would be an acceptable substitute.

Cayenne is more flavor than heat so I add it.

Old Bay is a maybe.  I honestly haven’t tried it in the sauce yet.  I’ll let you know.  It could be over the top or it might be just the touch on sea food.


If I didn’t think Tartar sauce was one of the all time best sauces, I wouldn’t have go to the trouble of disertating on it.

I will try a few of the variations we discussed here and get back to you.

I sure would appreciate any thoughts you all might have on the subject – jug

5 from 2 votes
Pin Recipe

Southern Tartar Sauce Recipe

Tangy and delicious homemade tartar sauce, the perfect condiment for seafood
Course Condiment, Sauce
Cuisine Southern American
Keywords Tartar Sauce
Cooking Method fresh chopping
Hot/Cold Dish Cold
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 8 Servings
Author jughandle

What You Will Need:

  • 1/2 c Mayonnaise - Your favorite brand or home made
  • 1 tsp Onion - Dried Minced
  • 1.5 tsp Lemon Juice - juice of 1-1/2 lemons
  • 1 tsp Dill Relish
  • 1 tsp Capers - chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard - Grey Poupon
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Pinch Salt - to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Hot Sauce - Texas Pete
  • 1 Dash Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne - optional



  • Add the mayonnaise, minced onion, lemon juice, to a small mixing bowl.
  • Mince the dill relish and capers then add to the mixing bowl.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and whisk to combine.
  • Transfer the tartar sauce to a Ball jar and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.


Notes Use mayonnaise, NOT Salad Dressing, when making tartar sauce. 
Properly stored tartar sauce may be refrigerated up to six months.
Use tartar sauce as a condiment for any fried dough or seafood.
Use the recipes serving size changer to increase the amounts needed for a larger batch.


Nutrition Facts
Southern Tartar Sauce Recipe
Amount Per Serving (1 Tbsp)
Calories 98 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 5mg2%
Sodium 119mg5%
Potassium 9mg0%
Vitamin A 35IU1%
Vitamin C 1.1mg1%
Calcium 2mg0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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