Easy Tartar Sauce Without Pickles or Relish Recipe

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Making some fish and chips and want the perfect tartar sauce to accompany it but find your fridge free of pickles or relish? Or do you want some tartar sauce but simply do not like relish or pickles? Regardless of your motivations, you’re sure to love this tartar sauce without pickles or relish recipe!

Though it may seem like pickles are an integral ingredient to tartar sauce, you can actually make a very spot-on sauce without using them! In this recipe, I use a few ingredients to mimic the flavour that a dill pickle with add and, of course, there are a few things in there that will bring brininess and umami to the party, as well.

All in all, once you try this tartar sauce recipe without relish or pickles you may never want to go back to a traditional recipe again! So if you’re wondering how to make tartar sauce without pickles, look no further. This recipe is sure to be a success.

How to Make Tartar Sauce Without Pickles or Relish

Tartar sauce is an incredibly easy sauce to make regardless of if you have pickles or not. Traditionally, the sauce is a mixture of a mayonnaise base with some chopped pickles and capers and plenty of fresh herbs — especially dill.

Often, you will see relish be subbed in for pickles in a tartar sauce recipe and there’s frequently an addition of dijon mustard or even Worcestershire sauce to add an umami element to it.

Tartar Sauce Without Pickles or Relish
Tartar Sauce Without Pickles or Relish

Tartar sauce is traditionally served alongside fried seafood, like fish and chips, fried calamari or fried oysters and it is popular the world over. There are some regional variations, but the base and general flavour of the sauce is the same.

So how does one make tartar sauce without pickles or relish when they are one of the key ingredients? Well, the key is to recreate the flavour that a gherkin or dill pickle will bring to the party. Namely, a briny, garlicky flavour with no shortage of garlic.

Pickles also add a good amount of crunch and texture to the sauce, so to combat that, I’ve opted to add a bit of finely chopped shallot to the sauce instead.

To make the tartar sauce, begin with your mayonnaise. Many homemade tartar sauce recipes will start by recommending you make your own mayonnaise, but I think this is an unnecessary step.

The key ingredients of this tartar sauce recipe
The key ingredients of this tartar sauce recipe

If you are interested in making your own mayonnaise or aioli, make sure to check out my aioli recipe or my kepta duona recipe where I make an aioli dipping sauce that outlines the technique by hand and in a blender.

There are a lot of high-quality mayos available on the market and you’re adding so much to it anyway that you’d really just be creating more work for yourself.

Put your mayo into a small mixing bowl. Next, you’re going to want to add a bit of dijon mustard and a splash of lemon juice (from about 1/2 a lemon). Please use fresh lemon juice here — it will taste so much better!

An unorthodox ingredient that I recommend adding here is a bit of fish sauce. Because tartar sauce is so often served as a condiment to fish dishes, this compliments the savoury flavours in the sauce already. It also gives the sauce a briny, umami boost that is incredibly welcome. It doesn’t cause the sauce to taste fishy — just more complex. Fish sauce is a great ingredient that isn’t reserved for stir fry sauces!

Next, add in on small shallot that’s been very finely minced. I recommend using a shallot here rather than a regular yellow or red onion simply because it is a lot more mild. You don’t want to be overwhelmed by the onion flavour. The shallot also adds a bit of crunch which will be missing since we are not using pickles.

Diced herbs, shallots and capers
Diced herbs, shallots and capers

Then, grate in a clove of garlic. I use a rasp-style grater here, but you can simply very finely mice the garlic, as well. You just don’t want huge chunks of garlic in here.

Now, drain some capers and carefully chop these. You only need a rough chop here because their texture is welcome in the tartar sauce.

Next, it’s time to add the herbs. I suggest using a good amount of minced fresh dill and also a healthy amount of minced fresh chives. The dill is pretty necessary here, but if you don’t have chives you can leave them out. You also can add a bit of fresh parsley, if you’d like.

Mixing ingredients for the tartar sauce
Mixing ingredients for the tartar sauce

Now, simply mix all of this together until it’s well combined. Taste the tartar sauce and add a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper and salt, if needed.

Cover the sauce with plastic or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least an hour. This will ensure that the flavours meld together and get to know each other a bit.

Tartar Sauce Without Pickles or Relish

Tartar Sauce Without Pickles or Relish

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

This tartar sauce has a classic flavour without the use of pickles or relish. Ther perfect accompaniment to fish or potatoes, it's a breeze to throw together.


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
  • 1 small shallot, finely minced
  • 1 clove garlic, grated or very finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chives, finely chopped


  1. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, dijon mustard, lemon juice and fish sauce, if using. Stir until incorporated.
  2. Add the shallot, garlic, capers, dill and chives. Stir until well combined. Taste and add salt and pepper where needed.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 192Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 247mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 1g

Nutritional information is automatically generated and provided as guidance only. Accuracy is not guaranteed.

And that’s how you make tartar sauce without pickles! As you can see, this recipe is quick, easy and delicious and you’re not going to miss the relish or pickles at all.

Are you wondering how to make tartar sauce without relish or pickles? Have any questions about this recipe? Let me know in the comments!

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Maggie is the creator behind No Frills Kitchen. She is a world traveller, home cook and recipe developer who loves to experiment with new cuisines and techniques at every chance she gets. No stranger to improvising and making do with the equipment and ingredients she has available, she is passionate about sharing her knowledge with others. Read More


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