What Does Tartar Sauce Taste Like?

Do you love seafood? Then you must have a bottle or two of tartar sauce in your fridge. Tartar sauce is an indispensable element of French cuisine that goes well with seafood, including shrimp, white fish, lobster, and crab, as well as baked potatoes, French fries, or even sandwiches and burgers. If you have never tried this delicious sweet and sour, creamy condiment, you are missing out! But don’t worry, tartar sauce is available in every grocery shop and is easy to make at home, so you can enjoy this delicious sauce in a matter of minutes after reading our article!

In this article, we will discover what tartar sauce is made of, what it tastes like, and what it goes well with. Let’s get started!

What does tartar sauce taste like? Tartar has a rich sweet and sour taste with a smooth, creamy finish and tangy notes. Tartar is thick and creamy as it is mayo-based and has pleasant, refreshing, tangy, and salty notes from dill pickles and capers. Tartar sauce has a nice crunch and spicy notes from black pepper.

What Is Tartar Sauce?

Tartar sauce is a condiment most commonly used on fish (cod, halibut), shrimp, crab, and lobster, but it also goes well with grilled or roasted veggies and pita bread, sandwiches, wraps, baked potatoes, and even fries. Tartar sauce is sometimes added to burgers and wraps.

What is tartar sauce usually made of? Tartar sauce is a creamy, mayo-based sauce with chopped pickles and onions, gherkins, or shallots. Tartar sauce can be made with other ingredients—including capers, lemon juice, mustard, parsley, pickles, salt, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce.

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Tartar sauce was invented in France in the 19th century and is now one of the most common condiments among Europeans. Traditionally, tartar sauce is made of mayonnaise, but you can also substitute it with sour cream or even Greek yogurt if you want to cut on calories.

Tartar is always served cold in a separate small bowl to prevent it from getting warm and losing its taste characteristics. Tartar is traditionally served with seafood, namely white fish, shrimp, crab, and lobster, but is now used with many other foods, including wraps, sandwiches, French fries, baked potatoes, roasted and grilled veggies, and even chips.

Is tartare sauce the same as mayonnaise? Tartar is not the same as mayonnaise as mayo is just the base for tartar which also contains pickled cucumbers, lemon juice, minced capers, herbs, vinegar, garlic powder, and black pepper. Tartar sauce can also contain white wine, olives, or even anchovy or sprat fillets.

As you can see, tartar recipes can vary a lot. Later, in our article, we will share the best tartar recipe that is fast and easy to make!

Tartar Flavor Profile – What Does Tartar Sauce Taste Like?

Since tartar sauce is made of mayonnaise, it tastes rich and creamy with pleasant salty, tart, and slightly tangy notes. Tartar sauce also tastes bold and refreshing as it contains herbs and spices like tarragon, dill, and black pepper. Tartar sauce also tastes slightly acidic as it contains lemon (or sometimes lime) juice.

Is tartar sauce salty? Tartar sauce is relatively salty as it is high in sodium. Just 2 tbsp of tartar sauce (30 g) contain 200 mg of sodium, which is 8% of the average daily value! Since tartar is often eaten with salty foods like French fries and battered fish, it must be consumed sparingly if you want to control your salt intake.

Tartar sauce is not too salty, though, even though it is made of pickled cucumbers and capers. It has a perfect salt and sour balance that goes amazingly well, not just with seafood but also with veggies and pita bread.

Is tartar sauce acidic? Tartar sauce is moderately acidic and definitely does not give that mouth-puckering effect that many enjoy. However, when making homemade tartar, you can add more pickles and lemon juice to make the condiment more acidic.

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Does tartar sauce taste fishy? Tartar sauce can only taste fishy if made with the addition of Worcestershire sauce, which has a rich fishy taste and smell as it is made of vinegar, molasses, and anchovies. However, traditional tartar sauce should not taste fishy – it should be creamy, semi-sweet, and tangy.

That said, tartar sauce is very creamy and has a nice tangy flavor. It is made from mayonnaise, chopped pickles, minced parsley, mustard, lemon juice, and some spices. It is usually served with seafood and fries for those who want to add a little zing to their meals.

Pairing Tartar – What Does Tartar Sauce Go Well?

Tartar sauce is versatile, and it goes well with:

  • White fish (cod, halibut)
  • Shrimp and prawns
  • Lobster
  • Crab
  • Crab cakes
  • Fish and chips
  • French fries
  • Roasted and grilled veggies
  • Pizza (used as a base)
  • Sandwiches
  • Burgers
  • Wraps
  • Tacos
  • Baked potatoes

Tartar sauce has a salty, piquant, and tangy flavor that makes it perfect for use on seafood and sandwiches but also for fish tacos and French fries. One of the best ways to enjoy tartar sauce is by using it as the base for a homemade taco dip or spread. This condiment can also be used as the base for pizza toppings or on top of meatballs or meatloaf.

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Tartar sauce can also be added to marinades before grilling or baking meat dishes such as steaks, chops, burgers, chops, and even chicken breasts. You could even use this condiment as an ingredient in homemade salad dressings.

Does tartar sauce go with beef? Tartar goes well with not just fish but also beef! Patties, steaks, meatballs, burgers, roasted or grilled beef, or even Russian beef stroganoff, to name a few! Tangy and creamy tartar sauce complements the sweet, juicy, and slightly fatty nature of beef.

Why Is Tartar Sauce Served with Fish?

Tartar is traditionally served with fish as its rich, creamy, and sweet flavor hides a fishy taste and aroma of fish. Herbs and lemon juice in tartar sauce make fish soft and delicate, giving it bold, refreshing undertones. Mild-tasting fish and tartar sauce is a match made in heaven!

Tartar sauce is often served with fish and shellfish because of its piquant, salty taste. The saltiness and the acidity of tartar sauce combine with the natural sweetness of the fish to create a unique and delicious taste. Tartar sauce is also good as a dipping sauce for French fries or chips, so it can be served with burgers, chicken wings, and other fried foods.

How to Make Tartar Sauce – Easy Recipe!

Making your own tartar sauce is not difficult at all because all you need to do is follow the simple steps below:


  • 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp of sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tsp of capers
  • 2 tsp of minced onion
  • 2 tsp chopped cornichons
  • 2 tbsp chopped gherkins
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Mix together all the ingredients until they are thoroughly incorporated into one another.
  2. Add salt and pepper to taste before serving with your choice of seafood or sandwich dish.

Is tartar sauce served cold? Tartar should be served cold from the fridge or at room temperature. If tartar gets warm, it will lose its tangy, refreshing flavor. 

You can always buy tartar sauce in a supermarket, but we recommend making your own as you have full control over ingredients. Even if you are not on a diet, making your own tartar sauce will ensure it does not contain any artificial ingredients and other nasties.

If you want to make tartar sauce lighter, you can substitute mayo with sour cream or Greek yogurt or use them 1:1.

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How to Store Tartar Sauce?

Like any mayo-based sauce, tartar should be stored in a sealed container (plastic or glass) in the fridge at a temperature of +5°C. Homemade tartar and opened store-bought tartar sauce last for up to 7 days in the fridge, while unopened tartar lasts for 12-18 months.

Tartar Sauce Nutrition Information & Health Benefits

  Per serving (28 g) – 2 tbsp Per 100  g
Calories  63 211
Fat 5 g 17 g
Protein  0.3 g 1 g
Carbohydrate 4 g 13 g
Sodium 200 mg 667 mg
Sugar 1.3 g 4.3 g
Cholesterol 2 mg 7 mg
Potassium 20 mg 68 mg

Is tartar sauce unhealthy? Tartar sauce is unhealthy as it is made of mayo, so it contains a lot of fat. Moreover, many commercial varieties of tartar sauce are high in sodium which can increase your blood pressure. Tartar is calorie-dense, and a serving of 2 tbsp contains a whopping 65 calories, which can lead to weight gain. 

That being said, you can make your own healthy tartar sauce with a few simple changes. First, you can use low-fat mayonnaise instead of full-fat mayonnaise or even substitute it with sour cream or Greek yogurt. Secondly, you can substitute regular salt with sea salt and use less of it. These simple changes will make your homemade tartar sauce much healthier than commercial varieties.

Thirdly, homemade tartar sauce will not contain any preservatives and artificial ingredients, so it is always a much healthier choice than store-bought tartar.


Tartar sauce is a condiment made from mayonnaise (can be substituted with sour cream or Greek yogurt), finely chopped pickles, shallots and/or gherkins, and sometimes anchovy paste. It is normally served on top of fish and chips and can also be used as a sauce for burgers, sandwiches, and other foods. Tartar sauce is one of the most popular condiments around the world and is a very common addition to fish and chips. It is one of the oldest condiments, having been around since at least the mid-19th century.

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