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.
4.81 from 21 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. 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.


  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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