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Red Lobster Tartar Sauce Recipe

Red Lobster’s tartar sauce, which is also known as “tartare sauce,” has been around since 1968.

The sauce itself was created by Chef James Beard who worked at the restaurant chain from 1962 until his death in 1985.

While there aren’t many ingredients that go into this classic recipe, it does contain two key elements – lemon juice and capers.

This tartar sauce is made with fresh lemons, sugar, salt, pepper, and paprika.

The sauce gets its unique flavor from anchovies, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, mustard, vinegar, and egg yolks.

While most tartar sauces use mayonnaise or ketchup as an emulsifier (which makes them thicker), Red Lobster uses eggs.

What Is In Red Lobster’s Tartar Sauce Recipe?

According to Wikipedia, Red Lobsters tartar sauce contains these basic ingredients:

  • Lemon juice
  • Anchovy paste
  • Capers
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Garlic powder
  • Dry sherry
  • Mustard
  • Egg yolk
  • Mayonnaise
  • Vinegar
  • Butter

The sauce is then cooked over medium heat so that all of the flavors can blend together.

If you want to get creative with this recipe, try adding other spices like cayenne pepper, horseradish, and chili flakes.

You could even add some jalapeño peppers if you prefer a spicier taste.

How Do You Make Red Lobster’s Tartar Sauce Recipe?

To start making Red Lobster\u2019s tartar sauce, you will need to first get some lemons.

You can either buy fresh ones or purchase bottled lemon juice.

If using bottled lemon juice, be sure to shake well before measuring out 1/4 cup.

Next, add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 3/4 teaspoon of granulated white sugar to a small bowl.

Stir the mixture together until all of the sugar dissolves.

Then set the mixture aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

After adding 4 teaspoons of kosher salt, 1 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, whisk everything together.

Add 1/3 cup of prepared lemon-juice mixture and mix thoroughly.

The final step involves incorporating one whole egg plus three yolk whites into the mixture.

Once mixed completely, pour the tartar sauce into 8oz.

glass jars and store in the refrigerator up to seven days.

What Is The History Of Red Lobster’s Tartar Sauce Recipe?

Chef Beard came up with the idea for Red Lobster’s tartar sauce while working at the New England Culinary Institute in Boston.

He wanted to create a tangy-sweet sauce that would pair well with any type of fish or shellfish.

When he presented his idea to the owners of the restaurant, they were receptive to his suggestion.

They decided not only to try out the new recipe but also gave him permission to name it after himself.

To help keep the sauce consistent throughout the years, the recipe was written down and kept in a locked cabinet at the restaurant.

During the first few months of operation, the cooks had to go through several batches before they got it right.

However, once they nailed their technique, they never changed it.

In addition to being used as a dip, Red Lobsters’ tartar sauce can be served alongside other dishes such as crab cakes, fried shrimp, and barbecued chicken.

In fact, according to the company website, some diners even request the sauce specifically because they want something different than what they usually order.

Some people like to mix it up and have both kinds of tartar sauce available!

How Did Red Lobster’s Tartar Sauce Recipe Come To Be?

Chef James Beard first introduced Red Lobster’s tartar sauce when he debuted the restaurant’s signature appetizer, the Maine Lobstah.

He used the sauce to serve alongside the lobster meat while they were still alive! However, after serving the sauce on the menu, customers started requesting more than just the traditional accompaniments.

So, he decided to make a full-fledged version of the sauce instead.

James Beard, along with his wife, Jeanie, developed a new way of making their famous tartar sauce using three types of anchovy fillets.

They then combined these ingredients with lemon juice, white wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and spices such as pepper, cloves, black peppercorns, and coriander seeds.

By adding different spices to the mixture, Beard gave the sauce a distinct taste and aroma that would set it apart from all others.

Since the original recipe included only one type of anchovy, Beard had to add another ingredient to increase the amount of fishy flavor.

To do so, he added two more kinds of anchovy to the mix.

Unfortunately, because of the extra effort required to obtain the right kind of anchovy, the chefs didn’t have enough time to test out how well each addition went together.

As a result, the final product lacked any sort of consistency whatsoever.

To solve this problem, the Beard family went back to the drawing board and came up with a new method of creating the sauce.

Instead of combining multiple types of anchovies, they simply blended the whole can of tuna into the mixture.

After experimenting with several different flavors, they settled on what we know today as Red Lobster’s tartar sauce.

What Is The Difference Between Red Lobster’s Tartar Sauce Recipe And Other Tartar Sauce Recipes?

There are several different ways you can make a tartar sauce.

You can either buy one premade or try out one of these homemade tartar sauce recipes below.

If you want to get a little more creative, check out our list of top 7 best tartar sauce recipes.

We also have a few basic tartar sauce recipes that don’t include any specific flavors like the Red Lobster version.

  • Classic Tartar Sauce Recipe
  • Tartar Sauce With Mustard And Chives
  • Sweet & Spicy Chicken Wing Sauce
  • Hot Garlic Dip
  • Parmesan Ranch Dipping Sauce
  • Homemade Pesto

What Are Some Tips For Making Red Lobster’s Tartar Sauce Recipe?

Making Red Lobster\u2019s tartar sauce can be tricky if you don’t know what to do.

For one thing, the sauce contains very strong flavors, so it needs to be handled carefully.

That said, below are some tips for making Red Lobster\u2019s tartar sauce recipe:

  • Don’t add too much of anything! If you want to have a great tasting sauce, start off small and work your way up.
  • If you want to keep the sauce thick, then add more eggs than usual. You need at least 3 whole eggs per cup of water (this will depend on how salty your fish/seafood is). Once you get used to adding more eggs, you won’t even notice they’re there, but trust me, they will taste good.
  • Keep your sauce warm by placing it in a double boiler or a bain-marie (a bowl filled halfway with hot water and placed over simmering water). Don’t worry about the water getting too hot because it should still be able to cook the sauce without boiling away all of the moisture.
  • Use high quality sea salt instead of regular table salt. Regular table salt has additives that kill the natural flavor of the food you are trying to season, while sea salt retains the natural flavor of the food. You want to use the best sea salt you can find, preferably French sea salt.
  • Try not to use any preservatives, such as MSG, soy sauce, or monosodium glutamate. These types of preservatives alter the flavor of foods, so try to avoid using them.

What Are Some Common Mistakes People Make When Making Red Lobster’s Tartar Sauce Recipe?

When you think of tartar sauce, what comes to mind?

Probably not something delicious, right?

Most likely, if you are thinking about tartar sauce, you have probably seen one of those big jars of it at a deli counter or gas station.

In fact, even though the name says tartar sauce, it is actually more like a salad dressing.

That being said, tartar sauce is still quite popular among foodies, especially ones who enjoy fish dishes.

If you want to create a great tasting tartar sauce for yourself, keep these common mistakes in mind so you don’t end up wasting time and money.

  • Don’t over-season the sauce. You may be tempted to add lots of spices because they will give off a nice aroma, but there isn’t enough acidity in the sauce to balance out all of the seasonings. If you do decide to add extra seasoning, start small and test it first. Try adding just 1/4 teaspoon of a particular spice per serving before increasing the amount.
  • Add too much lemon juice. Lemon juice should never overpower the other flavors in the sauce. Adding too much will cause the sauce to thicken prematurely. Make sure you taste the sauce after each addition of liquid to determine how much additional lemon juice you need to add next.
  • Make sure you always whisk the sauce well before using it. Overly thickened sauces will leave a coating on your teeth. Whisking vigorously will prevent lumps from forming.

How Can I Make Red Lobster’s Tartar Sauce Recipe

You need to start out by preparing all of the ingredients before you begin cooking.

If you don’t have everything ready, then you will be wasting time while waiting for everything to cook.

So, let’s get started!

  • Prepare the onions by peeling them and slicing them thinly. You want each onion slice about 1/4-inch thick so they will cook quickly and evenly.
  • Peel the potatoes and cut them into cubes. Place them in a large pot filled with 8 cups water and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium and cover the pot with a lid. Cook the potatoes over low heat for 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain the potatoes and set aside.
  • In another large pot, prepare the chicken stock base by heating 2 quarts of water in a stockpot over high heat. When the water comes to a rolling boil, add 3 tablespoons kosher salt and stir well to dissolve it completely. Add one tablespoon black peppercorns and the bay leaves. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the chicken stock from the heat and strain it through cheesecloth. Set the strained stock aside.
  • While the chicken stock simmers, place the flour in a food processor and pulse several times to combine. Turn off the motor, open up the lid, and remove the blade. Slowly pour in the hot chicken stock mixture and process again until combined. Return the mixture to the pot and cook over medium heat for 10 more minutes. Take the pot off the stove and allow the roux to cool down.
  • Add the cooked potatoes, onions, and chicken stock base to the cooled roux. Stir gently to ensure that the vegetables are broken down and incorporated into the roux. Continue stirring for 2 to 3 minutes to thicken the sauce. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning if needed. Transfer the sauce back into the pan and keep warm until serving time.

Red Lobster Tartar Sauce Recipe

Red Lobster’s tartar sauce, which is also known as “tartare sauce,” has been around since 1968.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Red Lobster Tartar Sauce Recipe
Servings: 4
Calories: 205kcal


  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 ½ tablespoons white onions chopped
  • 1 tablespoon carrot finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
  • 1 ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • Put each component in its own little bowl.
  • To completely blend, stir.
  • It is preferable to prepare this sauce and chill it for about 30 minutes before using it.



Calories: 205kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 356mg | Potassium: 24mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 690IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.1mg
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