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Fish just begs for tartar sauce, doesn’t it? You need that tangy, creamy sauce to finish off any fish or seafood dinner. Unfortunately, bottled tartar sauce may not be keto-friendly. Plus most bottled sauces are chock full of preservatives and questionable chemicals. I’m sharing this recipe because it tasted great with my keto crab cakes and wanted to share.
What is tartar sauce?
Tartar sauce is a mayonnaise-based sauce that you typically serve with seafood such as crab cakes, salmon, fish and chips, and so on. Tartar sauce often contains mayonnaise, pickles, capers or onions, lemon juice, and herbs such as dill.
You can often get tartar sauce at your local grocery store near the seafood or condiment sections. But for a better flavor that is easy to make at home, I recommend making my homemade keto tartar sauce.
Is Tartar Sauce Keto-friendly?
Bottled versions of tartar sauce are usually low-carb, but not necessarily keto. So if you are strictly following a keto, Whole30, or paleo diet, bottled tartar sauce is not a great option.
The bottled sauce typically contains added sugar, preservatives, and other stuff to help stabilize the tartar sauce’s shelf life. A quick glance at the label of this popular bottled sauce shows that it contains lots of unnecessary added stuff and preservatives to increase its shelf life.
And like many things, homemade keto tartar sauce just plain tastes better.
Ingredients in Tartar Sauce
Homemade tartar sauce is easy to make, in part, because it has only a few ingredients. The base of the sauce is mayonnaise. If you are following a low carb or keto diet, you want to look for full-fat mayo.
Fat-free, reduced-fat, or mayo dressings often contain added sugars to help offset flavor lost from the removal of fat. If you are following a strict keto, paleo, or Whole30, then you should get a Whole30/Paleo mayo, which you can find one here.
The rest of the ingredients are staples of most kitchens or easy to find at your local grocery store. They include:
- chopped dill pickles
- dijon mustard
- minced red onion
- lemon juice
- Old Bay
How to Make Tartar Sauce
Homemade tartar sauce is one of those dump-and-mix recipes. The hardest part is chopping up the onions and pickles.
To make homemade tartar sauce, start with mincing the onion and pickles. Once you mince the pickles and onion, measure the ingredients and add them all into a small bowl. When they are all in the bowl, mix the ingredients together, and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. The sitting time allows the flavors to come together, which makes the sauce taste amazing.
Whole30 and Paleo Tartar Sauce
If you are following a keto or low carb diet, a full-fat mayo is likely all you need. Again, just check the label and make sure they didn’t put any added sugar in the mayo.
But if you are following a Whole30 or paleo diet, you will need to substitute the mayo. Some options for Whole30 and paleo mayo include:
Homemade Tartar Sauce Variations
If you are looking to spice things up a bit, you can add in some horseradish to the tartar sauce. This gives it a nice bite if you are looking for something with a bit of a kick. But, horseradish can get hot fast, so try adding a single teaspoon at a time.
If you prefer, you can also substitute the mayo for Greek yogurt. Like the mayo, make sure you read the label and check for added sugar. You also want to use full fat and plain Greek yogurt.
Storing Keto Tartar Sauce – How Long Does Homemade Tartar Sauce Last?
If you plan on storing homemade keto tartar sauce, keep in mind, the recipe does not call for any preservatives. In the refrigerator, the homemade sauce will last 2 to 3 days in a sealed container.
I prefer to use a glass jar to store the tartar sauce in. And, to save a bowl from being washed, I will often make the tartar sauce in the same jar.
Recipes to Enjoy Homemade Tartar Sauce with
Tartar sauce is a great accompaniment to all sorts of fish and seafood dishes. Some of my favorite pairings include:
- Keto Maryland Style Crab Cakes Recipe
- Ninja Foodi Air Fryer Herbed Salmon Recipe
- Fried Cod Fish Sticks – Keto Recipe
- BEST Keto Salmon Patties!
It’s also great to make if you are simply boiling, broiling, or baking some fish, shrimp, or other seafood. It provides a nice tangy flavor to plain seafood that is hard to top.
Quick Homemade Keto Tartar Sauce Recipe
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- Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Store in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes to allow flavors to come together.
The nutrition facts come from entering the recipe ingredients into Spoonacular API, a database of food ingredients. They may vary for any recipe based on the exact product used. The keto sweeteners I use have 0g net carbs & are not included because sugar alcohols do not impact most people. This is provided as a courtesy, but you can do your own calculations if you wish!