Recipies · Staples

Homemade Dilly Tartar Sauce

I have never eaten so many fish sticks in my entire life.  With our schedules and picky eaters, fish sticks are the magic combination of convenience, healthy (I serve them with baked french fries and edamame), and deliciousness – at least one day a week. I pop them into the oven when I get home, pick up the kids and they are ready by the time we get home.

When I was a kid, I used to eat the tartar sauce they had at Skippers with a spoon.  I dipped absolutely everything in it.  And therefore, it is the gold standard by which I judge all other tartar sauces. But honestly, I haven’t found a commercial brand that I like.  Not even a little bit.  NOT even Skippers brand!  So I started making my own.  When I had nothing but time, I made it in little tiny batches, just the right size for one meal.  Screw that. Now I make it in a month’s-sized portion.  It is super easy and MUCH less expensive than buying it in the store.

Grab a container that will hold 2 cups of finished sauce (and that has a tight-fitting lid).  Put around 1 cup of mayonnaise in there.  I really like the Kraft Olive Oil mayo, but any will do.


Add two spoonfuls of some kind of pickle relish.  Pictured below is my mother’s green tomato dill relish, but I’ve used highly-processed sweet relish when it appears in my fridge.  It’s all good 🙂


Add a spoonful of sugar.  I use turbinado (raw) sugar cause I keep it handy for coffee, but it doesn’t matter.  If you use a “sweet relish” cut it down to half a spoonful.

Add 1/2 teaspoon of dried dill (1 tsp if using fresh chopped).  And about 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice.  Fresh squeezed is good, but the bottled stuff works just fine, too. Add one pinch of salt and stir it all up!

IMG_9637 IMG_9641 IMG_9640

Depending on how much liquid is in your relish, how runny your mayo is, what day of the week it is, or ?? you might decide to add more lemon juice or more mayonnaise.  In this case, I added another 1/4 cup of mayo to thicken it up – got a little too carried away with my lemon squeezing 🙂


Pop the top on and stick it in the fridge.  Should stay fresh for around a month.  You just saved yourself  $6.50 and a trip to the grocery store.

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