Home Copycat Recipes McDonald’s Tartar Sauce

McDonald’s Tartar Sauce

No fish sandwich is complete without a generous helping of McDonald’s tartar sauce

Sure, you could ask for a few more packs when you hit the drive-through. But why not go the extra mile and make your own?

It’s easier than you think!

Chicken nugget dipped in McDonald's Tartar Sauce

In fact, you can effortlessly make tartar sauce yourself with just a few simple ingredients you probably already have on hand.

If you think only McDonald’s has the power to create this magical sauce, think again. 

After weeks of experimenting, I’m happy to announce that I’ve finally managed to make something equivalent in taste and texture to the OG. 

This copycat sauce for McDonald’s tartar sauce has a beautiful balance of creamy, tart, and sweet flavors.

I’m really lovin’ it, and I’m pretty sure you will too!

McDonald’s Tartar Sauce

There’s no denying that tartar sauce is the ultimate dressing to go on top of battered and fried fish fillets

It’s also common knowledge that McDonald’s has one of the best-tasting tartar sauces out there. 

But I didn’t want to solely rely on the chain to get my fill. So, I made it a mission to replicate the scrumptious sauce. 

And I succeeded. Yay!

According to the McDonald’s website, their tartar sauce calls for soybean oil, calcium chloride, polysorbate 80, and a bunch of other ingredients that are hard to spell and pronounce.

I didn’t use any of that for this copycat recipe. Instead, I stuck to affordable pantry staples that are 100% safe to eat.

Homemade Creamy McDonald's Tartar Sauce

What is Tartar Sauce?

Tartar sauce is a French creation (Sauce Tartare) which is a creamy condiment with mayonnaise at the base. It gets a lot of its flavor from capers, onions, and dill pickles. As a result, it’s creamy, slightly sweet, semi-savory, and a little bit tart. This flavor pairs especially well with fish.

And while it is a little tangy and tart, it actually gets its name from the Tatar tribe from Eurasian Steppe.


Here’s what you’ll need to make McDonald’s tartar sauce:

  • Mayonnaise – The base of the tartar sauce. Use premium-quality mayo such as Dukes or Hellman’s. 
  • Pickle Relish – Its tartness pairs wonderfully with fried fish. If you can’t find dill pickle relish, use finely diced gherkins mixed with a few spoonfuls of lemon juice.
  • Capers – Salted and pickled, capers have a wonderful tangy lemony taste.
  • Chopped Onion – I prefer to use white onion for this recipe because it has a milder taste than yellow.
  • Dried Parsley Flakes – They give the sauce a bright aroma and flavor. 
  • Granulated Sugar – Its sweetness balances out the tartness and spiciness of the sauce.
McDonald's Tartar Sauce in a Glass Dish

How to Make McDonald’s Tartar Sauce

It’s so easy, the hardest part is waiting for the flavors to marry.

1. Chop the onion.

Use a sharp knife and chop the onion as finely as you can. You don’t want to bite into a large chunk of raw onion now, do you?

2. Blitz the ingredients.

Dump all the ingredients – mayonnaise, pickle relish, capers, onion, parsley, and sugar – in a blender. 

Pulse them until smooth and well combined.

3. Mix in the remaining ingredients.

Add the remaining pickle relish and onion and mix to combine.

Tip: if you want your tartar sauce to be completely smooth, skip this step and just blend all the ingredients together.

4. Refrigerate for at least two hours.

Place the tartar sauce in a jar or bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate it for 2 hours at least for the flavors to combine.

Don’t skip this step! It’s crucial to enhance the flavor of the sauce.

It gives the sugar time to dissolve and the onions time to release more moisture and flavor.

Two hours is the minimum, but it tastes better the next day. With that in mind, consider making it in advance. 

5. Serve and enjoy!

All that’s missing is a plate full of battered fish. Yum!

Fried Fish Fingers Dipped in a bowl of Creamy Tartar Sauce

Tips and Tricks 

  • If the sauce turns out too thick, thin it out with a teaspoon of cream or milk.
  • Use dill relish, not sweet dill relish.
  • Drain the relish well before blending to keep the sauce from becoming runny. 
  • For easy clean-up, skip the blender and mash the relish and capers with a fork before all the ingredients with a whisk.

Other Uses for Tartar Sauce

There’s no question that tartar sauce goes best with battered fried fish. But don’t limit its potential – there’s so much more it can do!

Tartar sauce tastes great with virtually any deep-fried dish. Chicken fingers, shrimp popcorn, chips – you name it.

You can also use it as a sauce to flavor and moisten burgers, sandwiches, and baked potatoes.

Or, serve it as a dip with crackers and crunchy veggies. Delish!

How to Store McDonald’s Tartar Sauce

I suggest you make a big batch because this recipe keeps well in the fridge. And you’ll want it on everything!

Store it in an airtight container and refrigerate it for several weeks.

More Copycat Sauce Recipes You’ll Love

McDonald’s Hot Mustard Sauce
Arby’s Sauce
Taco Bell Diablo Sauce
A1 Steak Sauce Recipe 
Burger King Zesty Sauce 

McDonald’s Tartar Sauce



Prep time


Cooking time







No fish sandwich is complete without a generous helping of McDonald’s tartar sauce! It’s a little sweet, kinda savory, and just the right amount of tangy,


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 3 1/2 tablespoons pickle relish, divided

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons capers

  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar


  • Put the mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons pickle relish, capers, 1 tablespoon onion, parsley, and sugar into a blender and blitz until smooth.
  • Mix in the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of pickle relish and 1 tablespoon of onion until well combined.
  • Transfer the sauce to a jar or a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Enjoy!
McDonald's Tartar Sauce

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Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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