Red Lobster Tartar Sauce Copycat Recipe

Enjoy the marvelous taste of Red Lobster’s tartar sauce in the comfort of your home and in the quantities you desire. Wow your guests at your next seafood feast, with a delicious tartar sauce that tastes so close to the real thing, no one  will know the difference. You are going to love this recipe, some think it has a better flavor than the Red Lobster!

A bowl of copycat Red Lobster tartar sauce and fried fish on a plate.

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What makes Red Lobster Tartar Sauce so unique?

Red Lobster is known for its delicious tartar sauce that has won the hearts of many food enthusiasts. Some people even consider it to be the absolute best tartar sauce out there. However, it’s not always easy to get some extra to go, which can be a real bummer for the fans. 

I think what makes this tartar sauce unique is the bits of carrot in the sauce. These aren’t big chunks of carrots, but finely minced ones so you get the sweetness from the carrots and a bit of crunch.

Armed with a copycat recipe you don’t need to worry anymore as you can now prepare the homemade rendition of Red Lobster-style tartar sauce, so you can enjoy the divine taste and satisfy your cravings anytime you want! Don’t worry, this is an easy tartar sauce to make! 

What makes copycat Red Lobster Tartar Sauce so good

This copycat Red Lobster tartar sauce recipe takes a basic tartar sauce and raises it to the next level.

Rich, creamy mayo functions as the base of the sauce, and the onions add a more distinctive bite. Meanwhile, there are hints of sweetness from the carrots and sugar to soften the overall sharpness of the sauce.

This recipe strikes the perfect balance of ingredients, resulting in a complex and delicious flavor.

Why you’ll love this recipe

What’s not to like about tartar sauce? It’s the perfect accompaniment for everything from fried or baked fish to crab cakes, and its uses are endless.

You’ll love this recipe because you can make it in record time, and it tastes much fresher than any premade tartar sauce you can get from the store. Why settle for less when you can recreate your favorite Red Lobster version, anyway?

The short amount of time needed to chop the carrots and onions is assuredly worth it. The best part is that this sauce holds up well in the refrigerator, so you don’t have to consume it all on the day you make it! Enjoy it throughout the week, experimenting by trying it with new foods.

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 has a nice crunch to it. The carrot adds a nice texture to the tartar sauce you will love.

Red Lobster Tartar Sauce recipe ingredients

Here’s a list of what you need: (get the exact quantities and instructions on the recipe card.)

  • Mayonnaise – this is the base of the sauce, I recommend using a heavy mayonnaise, as it has more egg in it, Hellmans, or Best Foods will also work. 
  • White onion – you may want to use a sweet white onion like a Vidalia or a 1015. 
  • Carrot – fresh carrots only
  • Sweet pickle relish – this gives the tartar sauce some tang and a boost of flavor 
  • Sugar – balances out the flavor 
  • Salt – brings all of the flavors together 
Copycat Red Lobster tartar sauce ingredients in bowls.

How to Make Red Lobster Tartar Sauce from scratch

  1. Drain the sweet relish juice and dice the onion and carrot.
  2. Put all the ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Stir until thoroughly combined.
  4. Refrigerate the sauce for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Collage of making copycat Red Lobster tartar sauce.

That’s it! Easy to make and no cooking involved. Once you try this simple recipe, you won’t ever go back to premade tartar sauce from the store!

Copycat Red Lobster tartar sauce in a bowl, fried fish, and French fries.

Extra tips for making and serving tartar sauce

  • It is best to make this a couple of hours ahead of serving. This way, all of the flavors will mingle together. It is even better when you make it the day or evening before.
  • Serving tartar sauce at room temperature will enhance its flavor. Take the tartar sauce out of the fridge 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
  • Keep the flavor and reduce the sharpness of the onions by chopping them as per the recipe and then soaking them in ice water for 10 minutes. Make sure to dry them thoroughly before using them. Soaking onions helps to mellow them out while adding a bit of extra firmness.

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.

What is a good substitute for tartar sauce?

  • Greek Yogurt: If you want a sauce without mayonnaise, you can substitute nonfat Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt has a similar appearance and texture to mayonnaise. It also provides a milder tart taste than mayonnaise’s acidic tang.
  • Yogurt and Cottage Cheese: Combine 1/2 cup nonfat cottage cheese and 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon each of minced red onion, sweet or dill pickle relish, lemon juice, and minced fresh parsley.
  • Aioli: Traditional aioli uses a combination of oil and garlic. You can add seasonings to it (e.g., dill and lemon zest) and convert it to a garlicky type of tartar sauce.
  • Cucumber Sauce: Try a cucumber sauce made with fat-free yogurt and light mayonnaise. Use 1/3 cup of yogurt and 1/4 cup of mayonnaise for every 1 cup of freshly chopped cucumber. Season with mustard, chopped onions, lemon juice, and salt, and chill thoroughly before serving.

What to serve with Red Lobster Tartar Sauce

It’s a great addition to your favorite seafood dish, ranging from shrimp to fish sandwiches. For example, some specific recipes to try it with are Maryland crab cakes, tuna patties, or beer-battered fish and chips.

Some people enjoy it with crispy chicken or fried foods like French fries, onion rings, tater tots, or cheese sticks. Don’t limit yourself. There are endless possibilities!

How to store this sauce

Place the sauce in an airtight container to preserve its freshness and quality. Keep it under refrigeration!

How long does copycat Red Lobster Tartar Sauce last?

Store this homemade tartar sauce in the refrigerator for up to seven days.

Dipping fried fish into a bowl of copycat Red Lobster tartar sauce.

More Red Lobster copycat recipes

Go ahead and make a batch of our Red Lobster Tartar Sauce copycat recipe, then try out these:

Be sure to check out more of my easy sauce recipes and the best Red Lobster recipes here on CopyKat!

A bowl of copycat Red Lobster tartar sauce and fried fish on a plate.

Red Lobster Tartar Sauce Copycat Recipe

You can recreate the classic Red Lobster Tartar sauce at home.
4.64 from 22 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Sauces
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Homemade Tartar Sauce, Red Lobster Recipes, Red Lobster Tartar Sauce, Tartar Sauce
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 135kcal


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


  • Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and stir until thoroughly combined.
  • Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.



You can keep this homemade tartar sauce for 7 days in the refrigerator.


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

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. Shaun Edmonds

    1 star
    Oh my word, no no no, this is not proper Tartar Sauce, it may be a good replica of the Red Lobster restaurant sauce (never heard of them) but this is NOT Tartar sauce, serve that in Europe and it would be thrown at you.

    200ml/7fl oz mayonnaise
    3 tbsp capers, drained and chopped
    3 tbsp gherkins, drained and chopped
    1 small shallot, finely chopped
    squeeze of lemon juice
    3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley/tarragon/dill
    flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  2. baltisraul

    5 stars
    In our home, commercial brand tarter sauces just don’t seem to be what we enjoy. I think we have tried them all. Since today is Friday and we do ‘Fish on Friday’ every week, you may have finally put an end to our search. Grating the onion is a good suggestion!

  3. Trish

    5 stars
    Red Lobster Tartar Sauce is the best Tartar Sauce ever. It makes any seafood taste great. I go to Red Lobster to buy the Tartar Sauce when I know I’m fixing seafood it makes me think I’m at Red Lobster. It’s the next best thing to being their. I wish Red Lobster would start selling their Tartar Sauce in the grocery stores like you can buy their Cheddar Bay Biscuits.

    • hastinessbane

      5 stars
      If you want a different taste that’s just as phrazle excellent, try grating your onion instead of slicing it (there’s less ‘crunch’ that way) and adding dill relish (leave off the sugar and sweet relish).

  4. Becky Gilliam

    Try grating your onion instead of dicing (there is less ‘crunch’) and add dill relish (omit the sugar and sweet relish) for a different flavor which is still just as good…

  5. Sandy B

    I really appreciate this recipe – my “idea” of making tartar sauce is usually mixing mayo with some pickle relish and maybe a little mustard (if I remember that part)… thank you, Stephanie, I have saved so many of your recipes and they never let me down!

4.64 from 22 votes (8 ratings without comment)

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