We Ranked the Best Store-Bought Tartar Sauce (Including Spicy Tartar Sauce!)

Everyone has an opinion on the best ketchup and the best yellow mustard—but the best tartar sauce to buy? People usually just grab the first bottle they see at the grocery store and head home. But they shouldn’t. Because the best tartar sauce is good for more than just dipping fried fish. Set some out with french fries when there’s no fish in sight. Use it as a spread for a sandwich. Dip some crispy chicken nuggets into it. It’s tangy, it’s creamy, it’s herby—sometimes it’s even spicy. So get to know the best tartar sauce. We tasted through a bunch over the course of two taste tests just for you.  

What is tartar sauce, exactly? If we were to categorize it, it would fall in the condiment genus under the mayonnaise family (along with remoulade, blue cheese dressing, and ranch dressing). Technically, tartar sauce only needs mayonnaise and chopped pickles to truly qualify. That said, this classic seafood sauce often contains other ingredients. Lemon juice is the third most prevalent addition, followed by chopped onions, capers, and herbs (dill, most often). The most important thing is that tartar sauce has that creamy, briny tang and chunky consistency.. In search of the best store bought tartar sauce, we tried a bunch of different tartar sauces over the course of two taste tests (23 to be exact), about half of which skewed sweet while the rest leaned more towards sour. Personally, we favor the sour varieties with a hint of sweet. Here are the best tartar sauce brands—including spicy tartar sauce and dill tartar sauce.


Burman’s Original Tartar Sauce

Best with Fish Sticks

Burman’s Original Tartar Sauce

Burman’s, an Aldi product, is a great mild tartar sauce. It doesn’t contain an overload of tang, or dill, or capers. Instead, it’s quite simply mayonnaise and pickles. If you like that simplicity, this is the best tartar sauce brand for you. This would be great with some fish sticks if you want a mild flavor to complement your breaded seafood. — Danny Palumbo

Credit: Merc / Instacart

Rating:

6.5/10

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Great Value Tartar Sauce

Best Budget

Great Value Tartar Sauce

This is an exemplary standard tartar sauce. Even though the ingredients only list sweet pickles, it tastes like it contains both sweet pickles and dill pickles, which is really nice. Great Value’s tartar sauce is cheap as hell and pretty delicious. It does contain the dreaded high fructose corn syrup. You probably aren’t trying to buy healthy tartar sauce, but you should be aware of what these products contain (a few on this list contain corn syrup). Flavor wise, however, you could do a lot worse than Great Value. It’s the best store bought tartar sauce brand if you’re shopping on a budget. — Danny Palumbo

Credit: Merc / Walmart

Rating:

7/10

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Beaver Brand Tartar Sauce

Best Dill Flavor

Beaver Brand Tartar Sauce

Beaver’s tartar sauce is tangy and sharp, and it comes loaded with dill flavor. It’s got some capers, too. This is really, really tangy, and I’m in love with it (although my personal palate gravitates towards vinegar and sharp, bright flavors, so keep that in mind). If you’re looking for something less acidic and tart, you might not want Beaver. Still, I think the capers and dill add enough excitement to this tartar sauce that it has to be included on this list. — Danny Palumbo

Credit: Merc / Amazon

Rating:

8/10

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Captain Toady’s Dill Tartar Sauce

Best Dill Tartar Sauce

Captain Toady’s Dill Tartar Sauce

This dill tartar sauce is extremely chunky and extremely dilly. It essentially tastes like pickle tartar sauce. It’s tangy. It’s packed with so, so many chunks of pickle and bits of dill. It’s zesty and it ends creamy, just like the best tartar sauce should. While the standard Captain Toady’s tartar sauce is okay, their dill tartar sauce is so much more flavorful and interesting. This on a crab cake? You’ll make Captain Toady proud. (Side note: I love a food mascot and Captain Toady is a great one. He looks like he’s the friendly member of a snooty yacht club for toads—the one who will sneak you a passed app and a drink.) — Justine Sterling  

Credit: Liv Averett / Amazon

Rating:

7.5/10

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Trader Joe’s Tartar Sauce

Best Secret Ingredient

Trader Joe’s Tartar Sauce

Trader Joe’s tartar sauce is really sweet and really tangy. It brings the flavor hard. It’s got a nice, mouth-smacking quality and a strong piquancy. This tartar sauce is made with extra virgin olive oil, so it’s got a bold, rich, slightly bitter taste. There’s also some rosemary oleoresin in it, which I guess helps preserve the tartar sauce itself, so you do get a bit of rosemary flavor at the end. It’s actually quite nice. Trader Joe’s makes a fatty, herby, deliciously balanced tartar sauce. I’m a fan. — Danny Palumbo

Credit: Merc / Amazon

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

Frisch’s Original Tartar Sauce

Best with Catfish

Frisch’s Original Tartar Sauce

“This is practically salad dressing, it’s so creamy,” said managing editor Gwynedd Stuart. Frisch’s is very simple. It doesn’t have a ton of herbs, or capers, or really anything that would feel extra. However, it does contain a classic, creamy, pickle-packed tang, and it feels like the freshest tartar sauce on this list. Frisch’s makes a great product. This would immediately enhance any finger food. To me, this is the best tartar sauce to lift up something mild that needs some flavor enhancement, like a fried catfish. — Danny Palumbo

Credit: Merc / Amazon

Rating:

8.5/10

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Matheny’s Tartar Sauce

Best for a Fish Sandwich

Matheny’s Tartar Sauce

Matheny’s is creamy, like, really creamy. It also comes in a little jar and not a squirt bottle, so you know the stuff is thick and spreadable with a knife. To me, this feels like a fancy mayonnaise, and I love it. It’s got big chunks of dill pickle in it, which I personally look for, to add some bonus texture. Matheny’s has a lot of heft, which means it’s the best tartar sauce to buy for a fish sandwich. Is there anything better than a good fish sandwich? A toasted bun, a fried piece of flaky fried cod, some iceberg lettuce, a thin slice of American cheese, and giant glops of tartar sauce. What a perfect sandwich. — Danny Palumbo

Credit: Merc / Instacart

Rating:

8.5/10

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Inglehoffer Seafood Tartar Sauce

Best Bite

Inglehoffer Seafood Tartar Sauce

Inglehoffer makes great Dijon mustard, honey mustard, and horseradish sauce. And hey, guess what? They make some of the best tartar sauce, too. It’s creamy, dill-forward, and packs a potent tangy punch. The numerous ingredients in this fancy tartar include celery, capers, parsley, dill weed, and mustard, to name just a few. But the big chunks of dill are the real standouts: They provide that excellent tartar texture. The best tartar is a balance of savory, sweet, and tangy, and Inglehoffer nails it. — Danny Palumbo

Credit: Merc / Amazon

Rating:

9/10

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Legal Sea Foods Chipotle Tartar

Best Spicy Tartar Sauce

Legal Sea Foods Chipotle Tartar

I didn’t know there was a market for spicy tartar sauce before sourcing products for this taste test, but thank god there is because Legal Sea Foods Chipotle Tartar is incredible. It’s really, actually spicy. This isn’t just chipotle-flavored tartar sauce. There is real heat in this spicy tartar sauce. That said, the chipotle flavor is also good. It’s smoky and a touch fruity and somehow pairs really well with sweet and tangy tartar sauce. It almost tastes like a pureed deviled egg. Try this spicy tartar sauce with popcorn shrimp instead of yum yum sauce—or try it on anything, really. Eat it off a spoon; it’s delicious. — Justine Sterling

Credit: Liv Averett / Stonewall Kitchen

Rating:

7.5/10

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Legal Sea Foods House Tartar Sauce

Best of The Best

Legal Sea Foods House Tartar Sauce

My mouth is watering just thinking about this tartar sauce. It’s creamy, mustardy, and briny with a great dill pickle flavor. It also contains caramelized onions, mustard powder, dried garlic, salted eggs, and pure cane sugar. Sauce is an alchemy, and Legal Sea Foods tartar sauce is the perfect mixture of sweet and tart, but it’s not just that. There’s also sweetness from the onions and sugar, tartness from the vinegar, savoriness from the eggs, and a nice herby punch from the dill. Legal Sea Foods tartar sauce is thoroughly creamy and delicious, and overall just the best tasting tartar sauce. You can use this on any piece of seafood, and heck, put it on some french fries, too. — Danny Palumbo

Credit: Merc / Amazon

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

The rest of what we tasted: Duke’s Tartar Sauce, Stonewall Kitchen Down East Tartar Sauce, Woeber’s Tartar Sauce, Kraft Tartar Sauce, Bob’s Tartar Sauce, Primal Kitchen Tartar Sauce, McCormick Tartar Sauce, First Street Tartar, Market Pantry Tartar, 365 Tartar Sauce, Louisiana Tartar Sauce


About the Author

Sporked Staff

The Sporked Staff tastes everything and anything. They are obsessive about groceries and finding the best of any type of food or drink, from frozen fried shrimp to Dijon mustard to gummy candy. And they're always on a hunt for the best new products. When they aren't eating professionally, they're eating recreationally. And often they're browsing grocery store aisles, just for fun.

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