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11 BEST Tartar Sauce Substitutes + 2 To Avoid

I’ve personally taste-tested a variety of tartar sauce substitutes to find the best one for every cooking occasion.

Whether you’re on the hunt for the closest flavor match, in need of a last-minute pantry substitute, or seeking an alternative tailored to your specific dietary requirements, rest assured I’ve got you covered.

The best substitutes for tartar sauce are a homemade version and New Orleans remoulade. Or you can try a simple mixture of mayo and sweet relish. If you want a lighter alternative, go for tzatziki. Cocktail sauce looks nothing like tartar sauce but is also a decent substitute.

Ready? Let’s jump right in.

The experiment

I whipped up a batch of beer-battered fish cutlets to try different tartar sauce substitutes. 

Tartar sauce is a creamy mayo-based condiment. It has a prominent tangy flavor (from the pickles and capers) and a subtle sweetness that pairs superbly with seafood. 

I was looking for a substitute that tasted just as moreish with my fish!

Here are the substitutes I tested and my verdicts:

SubstitutesHow to SubstituteVerdict
Homemade tartar sauceReplace in a 1:1 ratio10/10
New Orleans remouladeReplace in a 1:1 ratio10/10
Mayo + sweet relishReplace in a 1:1 ratio9/10
Tzatziki or yogurt dill sauceReplace in a 1:1 ratio9/10
Garlic aioli or cilantro aioliReplace in a 1:1 ratio8/10
Ranch dressingReplace in a 1:1 ratio8/10
Cocktail sauceReplace in a 1:1 ratio8/10

Common uses for tartar sauce and the best substitutes

Here are some common use cases for tartar sauce and the best substitutes for those situations:

  • Fish and chips: Try using homemade tartar sauce, New Orleans remoulade, or mayo + sweet relish. You can also try tzatziki for a lighter option.
  • As a dipping sauce: Try using homemade tartar sauce, New Orleans remoulade, mayo + sweet relish, tzatziki, garlic aioli, or ranch dressing. Cocktail sauce is especially great with shrimp, but you can also use it for other seafood dishes. 
  • As a sandwich/burger sauce: Try using homemade tartar sauce, New Orleans remoulade, tzatziki, or garlic aioli. 

Homemade tartar sauce

Nothing beats the flavor of homemade tartar sauce. 

I used this tried-and-tested version from Inspired Recipe (check out the instructional video below), which requires no cooking and only eight ingredients.

The secret ingredient is a splash of Worcestershire sauce (or you can use one of these substitutes). This helps meld everything together into one finger-licking good sauce. 

Dijon mustard is an optional addition, but I highly recommend you don’t skip it – it’ll bring a tasty zing that’ll take your tartar sauce to the next level. 

And for those seeking a plant-based alternative, simply swap out the traditional mayonnaise and Worcestershire sauce with vegan versions.

Pssst… you can also use pureed silken tofu instead of mayonnaise! And if you can’t find dill, swap it for parsley.

How to substitute: Replace tartar sauce in a 1:1 ratio with tzatziki or yogurt dill sauce.

New Orleans remoulade

Remoulade sauce is an excellent substitute for tartar sauce because it shares a lot of the same ingredients.

But what sets remoulade apart is the spicy kick it brings to the table, thanks to the addition of hot sauce and Cajun seasoning.

You can easily buy a bottle of remoulade in most grocery stores, but I like making it from scratch so I can play around with the heat levels.

How to substitute: Replace tartar sauce in a 1:1 ratio with remoulade.

Mayo + sweet relish

If you’re short on the ingredients to make tartar sauce or remoulade, this is the sub for you!

A simple mixture of mayonnaise and sweet relish can save the day. 

This easy combination offers a delicious sweet-tangy kick that tasted great with my fish, although it wasn’t as sour as tartar sauce. 

To amp up the tanginess, try adding a spritz of lemon juice or a spoonful of capers. 

You can also use other kinds of relish, such as dill or cornichon if that’s what you have to hand.

How to substitute: Replace tartar sauce in a 1:1 ratio with a mixture of mayonnaise and sweet relish.


If you’re searching for a healthier alternative to tartar sauce, look no further than tzatziki.

It’s made with Greek yogurt, which boasts fewer calories and more protein than mayonnaise while adding a tangier twist to your meal. 

Plus, the addition of cucumbers gives the sauce a refreshing feeling that perfectly contrasts with the greasy fish cutlets. 

To prepare tzatziki, combine Greek yogurt with grated cucumber, minced garlic, fresh dill, and a splash of lemon juice. 

Or you prefer a more straightforward option, you can skip the cucumbers and create a yogurt dill sauce.

How to substitute: Replace tartar sauce in a 1:1 ratio with tzatziki or yogurt dill sauce.

Garlic mayonnaise

An easy homemade substitute for tartar sauce is garlic aioli – you only need 3 ingredients and they’re all pantry staples!

Mayonnaise, garlic, and lemon juice.

It has a lighter tangy flavor than tartar sauce because it only uses lemon juice as an acid, but again you can always add capers to make it more acidic.

Or why not shake things up with a bright and refreshing cilantro aioli instead? 

Psst… if you’re really short on time, you can just use straight mayo.

How to substitute: Replace tartar sauce in a 1:1 ratio with garlic aioli or cilantro aioli.

Ranch dressing

Ranch dressing offers a creamy bite reminiscent of tartar sauce, but that’s where the similarities stop!

Ranch sauce is made with a blend of buttermilk, sour cream, and mayonnaise so it’s definitely indulgent. And it’s flavored with herbs like dill and garlic rather than tart ingredients, meaning it’s a great replacement for someone who doesn’t like how sour tartar sauce is.

My family love it with fish (which is why I included it here).

Psst… I also have a great article on substitutes for Ranch dressing.

How to substitute: Replace tartar sauce in a 1:1 ratio with ranch dip.

Cocktail sauce

While cocktail sauce may not be an exact match for tartar sauce, it’s an excellent option if you’re looking to switch things up. 

The combination of ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce gives it a tangy flavor similar to tartar sauce but with a slightly sharper edge. 

This vibrant red sauce is often paired with shrimp, but it tasted fabulous with my crispy fish cutlet. 

And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can adjust the heat level by adding more horseradish or a dash of hot sauce. 

How to substitute: Replace tartar sauce in a 1:1 ratio with cocktail sauce.

Other substitutes to consider 

The list above features my top picks as tartar sauce substitutes, but here are some other options you can try if you have them to hand: 

  • Malt vinegar – this is less acidic than regular vinegar and has a sweeter flavor. It’s not really a dipping sauce, but a sprinkle over your fish and chips can really elevate them.
  • Thousand Island dressing – this is a convenient alternative with a similar base as tartar sauce. It’s sweeter than tartar sauce, but that’s not always a bad thing!
  • Kasundi – this is an Indian mustard sauce with a sharper tart flavor than tartar sauce. It packs a fiery kick thanks to the fermented mustard seeds, so it’s not for the faint hearted!
  • Horseradish thinned with lemon juice – Horseradish is a big contributor to the tangy taste of cocktail sauce. You can blend it with some lemon juice to create a tart dipping sauce for your fried seafood.

Substitutes to avoid

  • Hummus – hummus works well as a dip for things like fresh vegetables, but i found it way too heavy and thick for my fish.
  • Hot sauces like hollandaise, Beurre blanc, or sorrel sauce – i saw a few places recommending sauces like a Beurre blanc as a substitute for tartar sauce. They go well with fish, but aren’t dipping sauces! So you can’t use them in the same way as tartar sauce.

14 Best Tartar Sauce Substitutes

I tested loads of tartar sauce substitutes to find the best one. I also provided a homemade version if you're up for the challenge.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Ingredient
Cuisine: French
Keyword: substitutes for tartar sauce, tartar sauce substitutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 74kcal


  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 small dill pickle, chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, add more to taste
  • 1 tbsp capers, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • ½ to 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp dijon mustard, optional
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, pickles. lemon juice, dill, capers, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and leave to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  • Serve immediately or store in your refrigerator for up to a week.


other options: new orleans remoulade, mayo + sweet relish, tzatziki, garlic aioli, ranch dressing, cocktail sauce, malt vinegar, hummus, thousand island dressing, kasundi, hollandaise, beurre blanc, sorrel sauce


Serving: 1tbsp | Calories: 74kcal

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