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.

Do you like McDonald’s recipes? Be sure to check out these copycat recipes

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Find even more of my famous restaurant copycat recipes and easy homemade sauces.

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. Aysegul Sanford

    5 stars
    I’ve always wanted to get a hold of the recipe for this sauce. Can’t wait to put it to some good use. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Jeanne Lewis

    Tartar Sauce

    1 c. mayo (use good brand)
    1 TBS. red onion or (sweet onion)
    1 TBS. capers salted rinse chop
    1 TBS. dill pickle relish (no juice)
    1 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. lemon or (fake lemon juice)
    1 tsp. sugar

    This is the copycat recipe I’ve had for years. It’s great!
    1/2 tsp. pepper

    Mix all ingred. together.
    Put in refer for 1 hour before

    • Karenina

      I read that thyme is a good substitute for capers. How much thyme (fresh or dried) and would you recommend in lieu of the capers? Thank you!

  3. Billy D

    McDonalds Tartar sauce copycat

    1 cup mayonnaise
    1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sweet dill pickle relish
    1 tablespoon of freeze dried shallots crushed but not to a fine powder
    1/2 teaspoon of Dill extract.
    1/2 teaspoon MSG (Accent)
    sprinkle of Black pepper ground

    This is much more like theirs and I have been using this recipe for last 30 years.
    The secret is the Dill extract it really turns it into the same taste. You can leave out the msg but it really makes it more authentic tasting.

  4. Marilyn Watt

    Do you ever get to Seattle? We have a place called Dicks–who has the best tartar sauce and they use it and chopped lettuce (only) on their middle burger called the “Special”. There are probably 4 of these places, but none across the lake in Bellevue where we live. Every time we go to downtown Seattle–we try to bring back Dicks–great homemade fries, and Specials. We are now nomadic grandparents so spend some time in San Jose, CA and I’d really love to have this recipe so I can get a “Dick’s fix” there.
    Seattle is a beautiful city–you’ll like our mountains after growing up in Montana–and Puget sound and the lakes are stunning–unless it’s winter and dark and raining. Please! Please!

  5. Sylvieann

    Stephanie, thanks for sharing this easy recipe. Don’t use tartar sauce often, so don’t always have it when I need it. Your recipe sounds tasty and easy to make! Sylvieann 🙂

  6. C J Hyatt

    Let me give you a clue. There is no recipe for McDonalds tarter sauce.
    McDonalds tartar sauce is Kraft tartar sauce straight out of the bottle.

  7. pansylu

    Hello Stephanie,

    I truly enjoy reading your recipes. The ones I have made are delicious!

    Thank you

    Keep up the good work

5 from 31 votes (19 ratings without comment)

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Yes, you CAN make it at home! 
I'll show you how.