Copycat Captain D’s Tartar Sauce Recipe

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Captain D’s is known for its delicious seafood dishes, and their tartar sauce is no exception. A popular condiment frequently used as a dip for fish and other seafood dishes, Captain D’s tartar sauce elevates the flavor of any meal it’s paired with. Making this sauce at home can be a delightful way to not only enhance your seafood dishes but also to customize and experiment with new flavors.

A homemade Captain D’s tartar sauce can be created by combining ingredients such as mayonnaise, lemon juice, chopped dill pickles, and dill weed. This mixture results in a creamy and tangy sauce that’s the perfect complement to your fish dishes. With just a few simple steps, you’ll be able to create a tantalizing dip that rivals the flavorful experience of dining at Captain D’s.

In addition to fish, this versatile sauce works well with various seafood dishes, including shrimp, crab cakes, or even calamari. By making this delectable tartar sauce at home, you’ll have full control over the ingredients, allowing you to experiment with additions or substitutions to create a truly personalized flavor profile. So go ahead and try recreating Captain D’s famous tartar sauce – your taste buds will thank you!

Understanding Tartar Sauce

Historical Background of Tartar Sauce

Tartar sauce is a popular condiment that has been used for centuries. It originated in France, where it was initially called “sauce tartare,” inspired by the Tartars, a nomadic group in Central Asia. Traditionally, this sauce complements seafood dishes like fish and other deep-fried bites.

The Appeal of Captain D’s Tartar Sauce

Captain D’s, a popular seafood restaurant chain, has a unique and flavorful tartar sauce that appeals to many people. Their recipe combines common tartar sauce ingredients, such as mayonnaise and dill pickle, with additional elements like sweet pickle relish and lemon juice. The combination of these ingredients creates a tasty and balanced flavor that makes Captain D’s tartar sauce an excellent dip for a variety of seafood dishes.

Captain D’s tartar sauce is known for its creamy and zesty texture, which not only enhances the flavor of fish but also adds a refreshing touch to any seafood meal. The following ingredients are typically used in Captain D’s tartar sauce:

  • Mayonnaise
  • Dill pickle
  • Sweet pickle relish
  • Lemon juice
  • Onion
  • White vinegar
  • Dried dill weed
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

The popularity of Captain D’s tartar sauce can be attributed to its perfect balance of tanginess, sweetness, and boldness. The flavors blend seamlessly and elevate any seafood dish, making it a go-to condiment for many fish lovers.

Ingredients Overview

Primary Components

Captain D’s Tartar Sauce recipe mainly consists of two key ingredients: mayonnaise and pickles. Mayonnaise serves as the base of the sauce, providing its creamy texture, while the pickles add a crunchy element and tangy flavor. For an authentic Captain D’s taste, use finely chopped dill pickles.

Herbs and Spices

To enhance the flavor of Captain D’s Tartar Sauce, a combination of herbs and spices is used. These include:

  • Lemon juice: This provides a zesty taste that balances the creaminess of the mayonnaise.
  • Dill weed: An essential ingredient that imparts its distinct aroma and flavor.
  • Black pepper: Adds a mild spice to the sauce, bringing out the other flavors.
  • Salt: Used to taste, this helps to meld the ingredients together.
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Other spices and herbs that can be added, but aren’t necessary for the classic Captain D’s taste, include:

  • Capers: Offering a briny flavor, capers can be mashed and added to the sauce.
  • Garlic powder: For those who prefer a garlicky touch, just a pinch of garlic powder can be mixed in.

Optional Add-Ins and Variations

While the aforementioned ingredients are essential to the overall flavor profile, some variations can be experimented with to suit personal preferences or dietary needs. These optional additives include:

  • Sweet pickle relish: This can be used instead of dill pickles for a sweeter flavor in the sauce.
  • Onion: Chopped onions, preferably red, can be added to deepen the tartar sauce’s flavor.
  • Sugar: A small amount of sugar can be mixed into the sauce to achieve a milder, sweeter taste.

Keep in mind that these optional ingredients may alter the classic Captain D’s taste. Nevertheless, one can still enjoy a deliciously homemade tartar sauce using this blend of ingredients.

Preparation Guide For Perfect Tartar Sauce

When preparing Captain D’s tartar sauce, follow these simple instructions to achieve a delicious accompaniment for seafood dishes. The recipe involves a quick prep time of around 10 minutes, while the total time, including refrigeration, takes at least one hour.

Mixing Techniques

Begin by gathering your ingredients and tools, which include a mixing bowl and a whisk.

  1. In the mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, chopped pickles, and chopped dill weed.
  2. Use the whisk to mix all the ingredients together thoroughly, ensuring a smooth and evenly distributed blend.
  3. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Feel free to adjust the quantities of each ingredient for your desired flavor and texture.
  4. Refrigerate the sauce for at least one hour before serving. For more intense flavors, consider chilling the tartar sauce overnight.

By following this preparation guide, you’ll be able to create a delicious Captain D’s tartar sauce with ease, giving your seafood dishes the perfect complement.

Serving Suggestions

Seafood Pairings

Captain D’s tartar sauce is perfect for pairing with a variety of seafood dishes. Below are some suggestions:

  • Fish: Serve it as a dipping sauce or condiment with fried or baked fish, such as cod, tilapia, or haddock.
  • Shrimp: Enhance the flavor of grilled, fried, or steamed shrimp by using the tartar sauce as a dipping sauce.
  • Oysters: Accentuate the taste of raw or fried oysters with a side of this delicious tartar sauce.
  • Seafood platter: Entice your guests with a seafood platter, featuring a selection of fried fish, shrimp, calamari, and oysters, accompanied by a bowl of Captain D’s tartar sauce.

Alternative Uses

While Captain D’s tartar sauce is excellent for seafood pairings, its versatility extends to other dishes as well. Consider using it as:

  1. Dressing for sandwiches: Spread the tartar sauce on bread for a zesty addition to sandwiches, such as a fish fillet sandwich or a po’ boy.
  2. Condiment for burgers: Give your burgers a unique twist by swapping out the traditional mayo or ketchup for Captain D’s tartar sauce.
  3. Salad dressing: Drizzle the tartar sauce on various salads for a delightful twist on traditional dressings. It pairs well with potato salad, coleslaw, or even mixed greens.

Storage and Preservation


Storing Captain D’s tartar sauce is quite simple. The optimal method for maintaining its freshness is by refrigerating the sauce. First, make sure to transfer the tartar sauce into an airtight container to prevent it from absorbing any unwanted odors from the fridge. Typically, the sauce will have a shelf life of around 7-10 days when stored in a refrigerator at a temperature between 35°F and 40°F.

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Freezing Options

Although refrigeration is the preferred method of storage, there are occasions where freezing may be necessary for longer storage times. To freeze tartar sauce, follow the steps below:

  1. Place the sauce in an airtight container, leaving about half an inch of space at the top to allow for expansion during the freezing process.
  2. Label the container with the date and contents.
  3. Place the container in the back part of the freezer to ensure consistent and even cooling.

Freezing tartar sauce may slightly alter the texture upon thawing, but its flavor will still be enjoyable. When you are ready to use the sauce, move the container from the freezer to the refrigerator and let it thaw for several hours before consumption.

It is essential to note that once the tartar sauce has been thawed, it should not be refrozen. Instead, use the remaining sauce within 2-3 days, and remember always to store it in the refrigerator when not in use.

Nutritional Information

Caloric Content

Captain D’s tartar sauce contains 100 calories per serving. A serving size is approximately one tablespoon of the sauce. Most of the calories come from fat, as the sauce is primarily composed of mayonnaise.

Understanding the Fat and Cholesterol Levels

The fat content in the tartar sauce is 10 grams per serving, with 1.5 grams of saturated fat. The remaining fats are mostly in the form of unsaturated fats. It is important to understand that unsaturated fats are considered healthier as they are known to help reduce cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease.

As for cholesterol levels, the sauce has 5 milligrams of cholesterol per serving. Additionally, the sodium content is relatively high at 130 milligrams per serving. This is crucial information for those who need to monitor their salt intake for health reasons.

In summary, Captain D’s tartar sauce provides a flavorful condiment to enhance seafood dishes. However, it is important to be mindful of the caloric content, fat and cholesterol levels, and sodium content when consuming the sauce. Use in moderation to enjoy a tasteful seafood experience while maintaining a balanced and healthy diet.

Customizing the Recipe

Variations and Substitutions

Captain D’s tartar sauce recipe can be easily customized to suit individual preferences. For those who want an extra kick, try substituting capers for pickles. This will add a briny, acidic taste that complements the fish perfectly. If you prefer a lighter version of the sauce, consider using sour cream instead of mayonnaise. This can reduce carbohydrates and provide a slightly tangy flavor.

In the spirit of a copycat recipe, it’s fine to experiment with various ingredients that suit your taste buds. For instance, try different types of pickles, such as dill, sweet, or spicy. Additionally, using fresh lemon juice instead of store-bought can enhance the sauce’s freshness and acidic qualities.

Adjusting for Dietary Restrictions

When customizing this recipe, it’s essential to be mindful of specific dietary needs. For a lower-carbohydrate version, swap the sweet pickle relish with finely chopped cucumbers or pickles. You can also replace the sugar with a sugar substitute to further reduce carbohydrates.

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If you’re looking for ways to increase the protein content of the sauce, try adding finely chopped hard-boiled eggs or some Greek yogurt. For those who need a potassium boost, incorporate some mashed avocado.

Taking into account dietary restrictions while customizing the recipe ensures a delightful dining experience for everyone.

Captain D’s Tartar Sauce

Captain D’s Tartar Sauce

Create a flavorful and creamy tartar sauce reminiscent of Captain D’s signature recipe, perfect for enhancing the taste of your favorite seafood dishes.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 9 minutes
Course Seasoning/Condiment
Cuisine seafood
Servings 4
Calories 100 kcal


  • Mixing bowl, whisk


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dill pickles
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill weed
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish optional
  • 1 teaspoon sugar optional
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


  • In a mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, chopped pickles, chopped dill weed, and diced onion.
  • Add white vinegar and sweet pickle relish (if using).
  • Optionally, add sugar for a milder sweetness.
  • Season the mixture with salt and black pepper to taste. Adjust seasoning according to preference.
  • Whisk the ingredients together until well combined, ensuring a smooth and even texture.
  • Refrigerate the tartar sauce for at least one hour before serving. For intensified flavors, refrigerate overnight.


Nutrition Facts: (Per Serving – Approximately 1 tablespoon)
  • Calories: 100
  • Total Fat: 10g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.5g
  • Cholesterol: 5mg
  • Sodium: 130mg
  • Carbohydrates: 2g
  • Sugar: 1g
  • Protein: 0g
Keyword Captain D’s Tartar Sauce

Frequently Asked Questions

What ingredients are in Captain D’s tartar sauce?

Captain D’s tartar sauce consists of mayonnaise, lemon juice, chopped pickles, chopped dill weed, diced onion, and seasonings such as salt and pepper.

How do I make a homemade version of Captain D’s tartar sauce?

To make a homemade version of Captain D’s tartar sauce, follow these steps:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, chopped pickles, and chopped dill weed.
  2. Stir the mixture until all ingredients are well combined.
  3. Add diced onion to deepen the flavor.
  4. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, then taste and adjust the seasoning according to your preference.

What type of vinegar is used in Captain D’s tartar sauce?

Captain D’s tartar sauce recipe uses white vinegar, but you can also use different types of vinegar if desired. Just remember that it may alter the taste of the final sauce.

Can you provide the nutritional information for Captain D’s tartar sauce?

Exact nutritional information for Captain D’s tartar sauce may vary depending on the specific ingredients you use. However, a typical serving size of tartar sauce (about 1 tbsp) contains approximately 70-80 calories, 7-8 grams of total fat, and 1-2 grams of carbohydrates.

How does Captain D’s tartar sauce compare to store-bought brands?

Captain D’s homemade tartar sauce offers a fresh, unique flavor that’s different from most store-bought tartar sauces. Using fresh ingredients and making it from scratch allows you to adjust the taste according to your preference.

What are the alternative dipping sauces available at Captain D’s?

Captain D’s offers various dipping sauces to complement their seafood dishes. Some popular alternatives to the tartar sauce include cocktail sauce, honey mustard sauce, and their signature Fries & More sauce.


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Carolina Gomez

Hi there! My name is Carolina Gomez and I am a food enthusiast and recipe writer with a focus on healthy cooking. I have always loved trying new recipes and experimenting with different ingredients, but it wasn’t until I started paying more attention to the impact that my food choices had on my health that I really fell in love with cooking.

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