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Homemade Old Bay Tartar Sauce

Old Bay Tartar Sauce is a great way to enjoy the traditional recipe but with a kick! Thick and creamy and full of tangy capers and spicy Old Bay seasoning, it’s the perfect accompaniment to your favorite crab cake recipe!

platter of crab cakes

Old Bay Tartar Sauce

Every time I plan to serve a seafood dish, cocktail and tartar sauce immediately come to mind. It’s like you can’t have one without the other.

Some people, me included, are very picky about their condiments, especially their tartar sauce.

Are you a fan of thick and creamy or thin and tangy?

Some use pickles and onions but I love the capers and jalapeno peppers instead. I think they pair nicely with the Old Bay Seasoning.

Either way, you will skip the store bought tartar sauce once you taste this recipe!

My family loved this recipe when I served it with air fryer fish sticks and I know you will love it too!

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labeled picture of tartar sauce ingredients

Ingredients Needed

Mayo – Feel free to use a fat free or reduced fat version. You can also substitute Greek yogurt or sour cream if desired.

Dijon mustard – This has a specific taste so it’s important to use this one. You can use yellow mustard in a pinch.

Horseradish – I use a cream style prepared horseradish because it’s mild. If you grate your own, I would use half the amount.

Lemon juice – Fresh is best or substitute bottled.

Pickled jalapeno – You can use fresh if you like but it will make it super spicy and take away a little of the “pickle flavor.”

Capers – These are not salty peas LOL, but they are delicious. Drain before chopping.

Old Bay seasoning – If you don’t have this on hand you can use a creole seasoning or seafood seasoning. It’s called Old Bay tartar sauce but you can use what you like or leave it out all together.

How to Make Tartar Sauce

First: Finely chop the jalapeno peppers and the capers.

Second: In a small bowl, combine the mayo, mustard, horseradish, lemon juice, and Old Bay seasoning.

Third: Add the chopped peppers and capers to the bowl and stir to mix.

Fourth: Season with salt and black pepper if desired. Keep the Old Bay Tartar Sauce chilled until ready to serve.

For the full recipe and detailed instructions, please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

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bowl of old bay tartar sauce

What’s a good substitute for tartar sauce?

You can make a quick mix of plain yogurt or mayonnaise with chopped pickles, onions, and mustard. You can also make an aioli!

How long does it last?

If stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator, it will last up to 2 weeks. As long as you don’t eat it all first.

What do you eat tartar sauce with?

I love to enjoy mine with crab cakes, fish sticks, on baked white fish like cod or halibut, fried fish for sure, and basically any seafood dish. I even like it on my french fries!

platter of crab cakes

Tapas Tips & Tricks

  • If you don’t have capers, you can substitute green olives.
  • Pickled jalapeno peppers not your thing? Substitute dill pickles, pickle relish, dill relish, even sweet pickles!
  • Most recipes contain dill weed, but with the Old Bay I think the tarter sauce will be overpowered by the seasoning. If you want to leave out the Old Bay, feel free to add fresh dill along with some salt and pepper.
  • Want to skip the mayonnaise? Try sour cream or Greek yogurt instead.
  • Missing the onion? Add a dash of onion powder to the mix.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

bowl of tartar sauce with text "great with crab cakes"

This homemade Tartar Sauce Recipe with Old Bay is perfect for not only your crab cakes, but your fish and chips, french fries, and great on a burger!

platter of crab cakes

Homemade Tartar Sauce

Old Bay Tartar Sauce is a great way to enjoy the traditional recipe but with a kick! Thick and creamy and full of tangy capers and spicy Old Bay seasoning, it's the perfect accompaniment to your favorite crab cake recipe!
4.84 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiments
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 cup
Calories: 97kcal
Author: Jennifer Stewart


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon horseradish prepared
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon pickled jalapeno chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon capers drained and chopped


  • Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container.
  • Chill until ready to enjoy.


*If you love this recipe as much as I do, please leave me a comment and rate it 5 stars. Thank you!


Serving: 2tablespoons | Calories: 97kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 384mg

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Recipe Rating


Thursday 2nd of December 2021

Very flavorful and easy. Thanks


Friday 12th of November 2021

This is a really tasty tartar sauce recipe!


Thursday 11th of November 2021

The Old Bay really adds to the flavor of the tartar sauce!


Wednesday 10th of November 2021

I love the old bay flavors and the capers. It is great tartar sauce!


Wednesday 10th of November 2021

I like this homemade tartar sauce recipe.