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How to Make Captain D’s Tartar Sauce? [Homemade Recipe]

How to Make Captain D's Tartar Sauce [Recipe]
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How could anybody possibly resist Captain D’s tartar sauce? That tangy, creamy dollop of heaven has been my guilty pleasure for as long as I can remember. Whenever I get my hands on their fish and chips, the first thing I do is dunk each crispy bite in that signature sauce. I know I’m not alone here — Captain D’s tartar sauce has a cult following.

The good news is, you don’t have to head to your nearest Captain D’s to get your fix. You can easily make a batch of their famous tartar sauce right at home with just a few ingredients. In this article, I’ll share how I recreate the Captain’s secret sauce and all the tips to make it taste just like the real deal.

Ingredients for Homemade Captain D’s Tartar Sauce

After making a batch of this creamy and tangy sauce, you’ll never want to buy the premade stuff again. The best part is that when you make it yourself with fresh ingredients, you know exactly what’s in it. There are no weird preservatives or artificial flavors here.

Let’s take a look at what you need to prepare this delicious sauce:

  • Mayonnaise – Mayo acts as the base for this sauce. For the best results, use a high-quality mayonnaise – Duke’s or Hellmann’s. In a pinch, you can substitute plain yogurt or sour cream for some of the mayonnaise. This will provide a tangy flavor similar to mayonnaise but with a slightly thinner consistency. You can also make your own mayo and use it here!
  • Sweet pickles or pickle relish – Adds a sweet and sour kick. Either chopped pickles or relish will work. Chopped pickles, like dill or bread and butter pickles, add flavor, texture, and that signature tartness. If you’re out of pickles, use chopped cucumbers, cabbage, green olives, or capers. The saltiness of the olives and capers mimics the flavor of pickles.
  • Onions – You can also use shallots or chives, as they all provide a subtle savory aroma and flavor. Minced white or red onion is classic, but dried or fresh chives would also be great.
  • Lemon juice – It brightens up the sauce with a bit of tartness and acidity. Freshly squeezed juice from half a lemon is perfect, but bottled juice will work, too. If you’re out of citrus, use two tablespoons of white wine vinegar or rice vinegar in its place.
  • Herbs – Fresh or dried herbs, such as dill, tarragon, parsley, and chives, boost the sauce’s flavor. If you don’t have these on hand, use what you have – basil, rosemary, thyme, or oregano will also work. Start with 1/2 teaspoon of dried herbs or a tablespoon of fresh chopped herbs, and add more to taste.

Mix the mayonnaise, pickles, lemon juice, and any herbs/spices you want to use. Start with 1/2 cup mayonnaise and add the other ingredients to taste, mixing well. You can also add a bit of sugar to balance the flavors. For extra zest, include some prepared horseradish. Chill before serving for the best flavor.


What Sauces Does Captain D’s Have, Taste Test & Pairings

What to Serve with This Tartar Sauce?

fish and chips served with homemade Captain D's Tartar Sauce

When it comes to serving this homemade tartar sauce, the possibilities are endless! As for me, I like to keep it classic. 

Nothing beats a pile of beer-battered fish and chips with a generous dollop of tartar sauce. The tangy, creamy sauce perfectly complements the hot, crispy fish. 

A chilled shrimp cocktail is another excellent option. The cool temperature of the shrimp contrasts nicely with the tartar sauce.

Grilled burgers, whether beef, turkey, or veggie, also pair excellently with tartar sauce. Spread it on the bun or serve it on the side for dipping fries and onion rings. The creamy sauce helps cut through the richness and balances the hearty burger.

Beyond fish sandwiches, tartar sauce works excellent on other sandwiches as well, like fried green tomato sandwiches, fried oyster sandwiches, or fried chicken sandwiches. Its tangy and creamy qualities stand up well to boldly flavored fillings.

Even salads can benefit from a spoonful or two of homemade tartar sauce. I like to add a bit to tuna salad, egg salad, or seafood salad. It contributes a bright punch of flavor and creamy texture without needing mayonnaise. A little goes a long way, so start with a spoonful and add more to taste.

How Long Does Homemade Captain D’s Tartar Sauce Last?

As soon as you’re done mixing the ingredients, pop that tartar sauce in the fridge. Mayo and eggs, the two main ingredients, can spoil quickly at room temperature. Keeping the sauce chilled will allow it to last up to 1 week. [1]

An airtight container, like a jar or container with a lid, is best for storing tartar sauce. This prevents air exposure, which can cause the sauce to dry out or spoil faster. I like to use old mayonnaise or pickle jars — they’re the perfect size and seal tightly.

Before each use, give the tartar sauce a good stir or shake. This reincorporates any ingredients that may have settled to the bottom during storage and also ensures even consistency.

When stored correctly in the refrigerator, homemade tartar sauce will last up to 1 week. I like to make a fresh batch every few days, so I always have the perfect tangy and creamy accompaniment for my fish and chips. No need to toss it out after 1 week, though — simply stir in a bit of lemon juice or vinegar, and the sauce can last another 3 to 5 days.

Does Captain D’s Sell Their Tartar Sauce?

No, unfortunately, Captain D’s does not sell their signature tartar sauce in stores. As much as I wish they did so I could enjoy it at home whenever I want; they only offer it in their restaurants.

Since the real thing isn’t available to purchase, I’ve experimented with making my copycat version of Captain D’s tartar sauce at home. The key is finding the right blend of ingredients to mimic their zesty, creamy sauce.

While not exactly like the original, my version hits close to the mark. Give it a try — you just might fool your family and friends into thinking it’s the authentic Captain D’s tartar sauce!

I would love to hear from you! Let me know if you have any thoughts, questions, or reviews in the comments below!

Homemade Captain D's Tartar Sauce

Homemade Captain D’s Tartar Sauce

Author: Laura Bais
Just look at this creamy goodness — perfect for combining with seafood. So easy to make, and you can enjoy it in a jiffy! Have you tried it yourself yet?
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 7 minutes
Total Time 7 minutes
Course Dip, Sauce
Cuisine American
Servings 16 servings
Calories 97.3 kcal


  • 1 cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp Sweet Pickles (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp Onions (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • Herbs to Taste


  • Mix the mayonnaise, pickles, lemon juice, and any herbs/spices you want to use. Start with 1/2 cup mayonnaise and add the other ingredients to taste, mixing well
  • You can also add a bit of sugar to balance the flavors. For extra zest, include some prepared horseradish.
  • Chill before serving for the best flavor. And that's it!


Serving: 1servingCalories: 97.3kcalCarbohydrates: 0.6gProtein: 0.2gFat: 10.5gSaturated Fat: 1.6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 2.4gTrans Fat: 0.03gCholesterol: 5.9mgSodium: 97.4mgPotassium: 6.5mgFiber: 0.03gSugar: 0.5gVitamin A: 23.3IUVitamin C: 0.4mgCalcium: 2.4mgIron: 0.04mg
Keyword Burger Sauce Recipe, Dip Recipe, dipping sauce, Homemade Captain D’s Tartar Sauce

Before diving into the nutritional details, please review our Nutritional Disclaimer page for important context and clarifications.

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