Red Lobster Tartar Sauce Copycat Recipe

Red Lobster is known for its delicious tartar sauce, but it is hard to get some extra to go. You can make some copycat Red Lobster tartar sauce at home.

A plate of fish sticks and homemade Red Lobster tartar sauce


Nothing enhances the flavor of seafood like tartar sauce. It is the perfect condiment for everything from fried or baked fish to crab cakes. This version takes a basic tartar sauce and raises it to the next level by adding onions for a more distinctive bite along with the sweetness of carrots to soften the overall sharpness of the sauce. Once you try this simple recipe, you won’t ever go back to premade tartar sauce from the store!

What’s in Red Lobster Tartar Sauce?

You might wonder what is in this recipe. It is very simple: you use mayonnaise, chopped white onion, pickle relish, and chopped carrots. This combination together makes for a slightly sweet tartar sauce that is has a nice crunch to it. The carrot adds a nice texture to the tartar sauce that you are going to love.

A Brief History of Tartar Sauce

American tartar sauce is quite different from the original French recipe. During the 18th century, sauce tartare began to appear on menus and in cookbooks as an accompaniment to the dish known as beef tartare, a highly spiced raw minced beef dish. Sauce tartare called for nothing more than mayonnaise mixed with minced shallots and chives. Soon the sauce’s made its way to England where the British found it went exceedingly well with fried seafood. Over time, the British created their own version of the sauce made from mayonnaise, capers, gherkins pickles, dill, and lemon juice, and renamed it, tartare sauce. In the 1920’s, Hellmann’s combined relish with its famous mayonnaise and sold it as tartar sauce nationwide. Hellmann’s version of the sauce soon became the standard on this side of the Atlantic. 

Up Your Tartar Sauce Game By Making Your Own Mayonnaise

While it’s fine to make tartar sauce from jarred mayonnaise, homemade mayonnaise will give your tartar sauce an unmatched flavor. If you want to try making mayonnaise at home, it is straightforward:

  1. Place the yolk of a room-temperature egg in the bowl of a food processor. Add a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice and a teaspoon of seedless Dijon mustard. 
  2. Run the food processor at the lowest setting until everything is completely combined. With the food processor still running, slowly start to drizzle 1 cup of neutral oil, such as grapeseed or canola, into the bowl. Continue until all the oil is gone. 
  3. Scrape down the bowl and season the mayonnaise with a pinch of salt and another teaspoon of lemon juice. 

Extra Tips For Making and Serving Tartar Sauce

  • Keep the flavor and reduce the sharpness of onions by chopping them as per the recipe and then soaking the onions in ice water for ten minutes. Make sure to dry them thoroughly before using them. Soaking onions helps to mellow them out while adding a bit of extra firmness.
  • Serving tartar sauce at room temperature will enhance its flavor. Take the tartar sauce out of the fridge 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Remember to put any leftover sauce in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. Use up your remaining tartar sauce within a few days.

Tartar sauce is so wonderfully diverse. It’s a delicious dipping sauce and sandwich spread. This tartar sauce tastes wonderful with fried fish, baked fish, on fish sandwiches, and it even tastes great on a hamburger.

Homemade Red Lobster Tartar sauce and fish sticks on a plate

Go ahead and make a batch of our Red Lobster Tartar Sauce Copycat Recipe, then try out the three recipes below:  

Red Lobster Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Honey Roasted Pecans
13 Red Lobster Recipes
Red Lobster Shrimp Nachos
Red Lobster Bacon Wrapped Sea Scallops
Red Lobster Clam Chowder
Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits

a plate of fish sticks with homemade Red Lobster tartar sauce

Red Lobster Tartar Sauce Copycat Recipe

You can recreate the classic Red Lobster Tartar sauce at home.
4.34 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Seafood
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Red Lobster Recipes
Servings: 6
Calories: 135kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white onions chopped
  • 1 tablespoon carrot finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon pickle relish do not use dill relish
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • In a small bowl combine all ingredients. It is best if you store this sauce in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before serving. You can keep this for 7 days in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

Calories: 135kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 0g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 244mg | Potassium: 8mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 430IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Iron: 0.1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @CopyKatRecipes or tag #CopyKatRecipes!

About Stephanie

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 CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. James

    3 stars
    Decent recipe, but not an exact copy of RL’s tarter sauce. I doubled the ingredients in order to produce enough for my family. However I did find it a bit on the salty side, therefore I would reduce the amount of salt I use if I were to make this again. The brands I used were Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise, Vlasic Sweet Pickle Relish, locally sourced vidalia onion, Bolthouse Farms Organic Baby Cut carrots, Morton iodized table salt & Pioneer sugar in case people wonder the brand(s) & quality of ingredients I used.

    • Crystal Brown

      3 stars
      This recipe is a good start, but RL’s tartar sauce definitely has garlic included. I added in about 1/2 of a minced clove of garlic and that was very close to being a copy cat in my opinion.

  2. Janet

    Been going to RL for years. Our first date was there. We’ll soon be married 45 yrs. I’ve been making my version of RL tartar sauce for years but didn’t think of adding sugar. And why did you say not to use dill relish? Does it ruin the flavor because of sugar in recipe?

    • Stephanie

      Dill relish has a different flavor than what is needed in this recipe. Don’t get me wrong, I love dill relish, but I think it isn’t what is needed to get the flavor just right.

  3. Pam C

    5 stars
    I have looked for a recipe for RL’s tartar sauce unsuccessfully and stumbled across yours. I am looking forward to trying it. I am surprised there is no lemon juice in this. I may add that after trying this. Thanks for the recipe!

  4. GS Willi

    I like the recipe, with some slight modifications. The onions can overwhelm the taste. I cut the amount onions in half, made the mayo 1/3 cup, added an extra 1/3 cup of relish and doubled the carrots.

    I eat Red lobster quite frequent. In our area, they sell the tartar sauce by the pint. However, since I travel a lot its good to now have their tartar sauce recipe.

    Thanks

  5. Lucys

    Never having had Red Lobster tarter sauce, I cannot comment. But….have you had the Lubys tarter sauce? If you could recreate, I would be in heaven. It would go so well with your LJS beer battered fish! That is just the best tarter sauce ever. Keep up the great work! Just discovered this site, it’s got some great ideas!

  6. Dottie Ashmore

    I am a livid Red Lobster . Love their Tartar Sauce. BUT, I coierce the waiters to sell me a large quart of their sauce!!!!! I treat it like gold – rationing out the portions to make it last. It does sound so very simple…..gonna have it all the time. (I don’t think they even charge me for the Qt.)

  7. Christy

    5 stars
    I loved Red Lobster’s tartar sauce. I tried making it on my own but couldn’t figure it out. The secret is sugar! Who would have thought? Thank you. I will make it this way from now on.

  8. Peggy

    I have opened every link on this page, it just takes me back to this page…..where is the recipe? Is it just mayo, carrots and sweet relish? What are the quantities?

  9. Sylvia

    Now that we have the tartar sauce recipe, how about a recipe for the Samuel Adams beer battered fish? PLEASE!

  10. Pam

    I have to confess that my family is not big fish eaters so tarter sauce is not something we have… but my sister would love this recipe and I plan on sending her a link to this blog post. Copycat recipes are wonderful.

  11. Angela

    My mom loves that Red Lobster tartar sauce so much. I’ll most definitely be surprising her with this. Thanks!

  12. Cynthia

    I love Red Lobster and love their tarter sauce too. I really enjoy making condiments at home, so I will have to try this recipe. I have never put carrots or sugar in my tarter sauce recipe before. Now I know the secret!

  13. Tiffany

    Not a huge tarter sauce person so I don’t think i have ever tried red Lobster’s. Though I love copycat recipes because it makes it less painful to stay on a budget and eat at home!

  14. Shirley

    I don’t believe I’ve ever put tarter sauce on a hamburger before but I’m willing to give it a try! We haven’t been to Red Lobster in a while. Now I want to go and yes, I’ll have their tarter sauce with my shrimp and fish! I’m saving your recipe to try at home.

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