McDonald’s Tartar Sauce

There’s no need to stock up on packets to get extra tartar sauce on your next fast-food trip; whip up this simple but mouthwateringly creamy and tangy condiment in your own kitchen in just minutes to enhance filets-o-fish and other fried foods.

Copycat McDonald's tartar sauce and a fish sandwich.

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McDonald’s Tartar Sauce Copycat Recipe

The Filet-o-Fish is one of the most unique items on the McDonald’s menu, and one of the things that makes it so beloved by fans is the deliciously creamy tartar sauce that dresses it. It’s unlike many other tartar sauces, leaving some disappointed by store-bought varieties.

Fortunately, it could hardly be easier to craft a batch at home to complement any meal you’re craving. 

What makes McDonald’s Tartar Sauce so good?

Tartar sauce shines as a condiment based on its contrasts: the creamy base, the tangy, sharp mix-ins, and a simple sweetener. These aspects create a sauce that perfectly cuts the rich taste of fried fish and other seafood.

Why you’ll love this recipe

The best sauce recipes develop big flavors from modest ingredients and relatively low amounts of work. That’s certainly the case here, where just four common, affordable, long-lasting ingredients are required to create a taste you’d swear came from the Golden Arches itself.

In addition, it lasts up to a week and is easily scalable for large parties and humble solo dinners alike. 


All you’ll need to make a tasty, authentic batch of McDonald’s Tartar Sauce is:

  • Mayonnaise: This creamy condiment forms the base for the sauce, providing a blank canvas to build upon. We recommend Dukes or Hellman’s, which are high-quality choices that work perfectly for this recipe.
  • Dill pickle relish: One of the ingredients that gives tartar sauce its distinctive flavor and texture, this relish (made from chopped pickles, dill, and other flavorings) perfectly complements the taste of fish. 
  • White onion: Dice up an onion to add to the flavor and texture of your sauce. Make sure it’s a white onion, as others can be too “hot.” 
  • Sugar: Round out your tartar sauce with a touch of sweetness from everyday sugar to create an ideally balanced condiment. 
Copycat McDonald's tartar sauce ingredients in bowls.

How to make McDonald’s tartar sauce

There’s not much skill or cooking knowledge required to whip up this tasty McDonald’s tartar sauce recipe. Simply stir all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl until combined. Then, chill your tartar sauce in the fridge for 30 minutes or more to allow the flavors to meld.

Copycat McDonald's tartar sauce and fried fish sandwiches.

What to serve McDonald’s Tartar Sauce with

For the most iconic pairing, spread some of the sauce on a bun and enjoy with a fried filet of fish (like cod or pollock) and a slice of American cheese as a McDonald’s copycat filet ‘o fish sandwich. However, this tartar sauce is delicious with all sorts of fried, grilled, or baked seafood.

It can also serve as a tasty dip, dipping sauce, or condiment for many other types of fast food, such as french fries, chicken nuggets, chicken fingers, fried shrimp, fresh veggies, and more. 

How to store

Storing copycat McDonald’s tartar sauce is straightforward; just place it in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge. Like all sauces, it’s best to store in a container similar in volume to the sauce, which can help it keep longer by exposing it to less air. 

How long does it last?

When stored properly, McDonald’s tartar sauce can last for about a week before declining in quality. With such a simple recipe, it’s easy to make a fresh batch, so ensure you make only as much as needed to avoid waste. 

Copycat McDonald's tartar sauce and three fish sandwiches.

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Copycat McDonald's tartar sauce and a fish sandwich.

McDonalds Tartar Sauce – Copycat Recipe

Make McDonald’s tartar sauce at home.
5 from 31 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: McDonald’s Recipes, Tartar Sauce
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 129kcal


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons dill pickle relish
  • 3 teaspoons white onion finely chopped


  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Cover and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes before serving.



Store in an airtight container in your refrigerator.


Calories: 129kcal | Carbohydrates: 0g | Protein: 0g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 127mg | Potassium: 3mg | Sugar: 0g | Vitamin A: 10IU | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 0mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Tamra

    5 stars
    This recipe is perfect! However, I ordered a McDonald’s filet of fish recently and both the sandwich and tartar sauce tasted terrible. I hope they haven’t changed their recipe.

  2. Pat

    McDonald’s tartar sauce has a…..lingering flavor. It’s a forward flavor but sits on the tongue for a while. It’s (ready for this?) Capers. Chop up a few and add them. It makes a world of difference if you’re trying to replicate McD’s.

  3. Amani A

    5 stars
    I wish I can rate this 10 stars! So, We are fasting this holy month of Ramadan. I decided to look up a copy car McDonald’s recipe since it’s our favorite! I seen an few and thought this was the most simple with the fewest ingredients! I prepped it in advance for our fish wraps! I couldn’t taste just yet but the smell was unbelievable! It was time for iftar and my husband was the first to try it out! He took one bite, looked at me and said “no way!, this tastes identical to McDonalds!” I said “really!? Give me a bite” and oh my goodness! This is going to be our tarter sauce recipe from now on!! Amazing! I used the Kroger brand dil relish that came in the can. The Kroger brand olive oil mayonnaise. White onion and sugar! What?? So easy!



  5. Debbie

    Love to have receipt for local restaurants spaghetti meat sauce and their meat ball Muriales’s Italian restaurant in Fairmont WV it is getting out of our price range to take my family there only maybe once a year

  6. Terrie W.

    I don’t even have to try this to know it’s good! My family always made tarter sauce when we fried shrimp (from scratch). My mother used to make it with onion, sweet pickle and mayo, then our friend found a recipe with sweet pickle and no onion that we liked. I have experimented with both and different seasonings and finally “lit” on my own version I really liked enough to write down! I’ve always really liked McD’s tarter sauce because it is the closest to our family’s homemade kind. And, I agree Kraft is NOT like McD’s! Close, but just not good enough to buy instead of make myself! (I never really liked Kraft Mayo either, though!)

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