Published September 1, 2008. From Cook's Illustrated.
The best tartar sauce should be creamy and balanced—and definitely not gloppy.
The French created tartar sauce as a simple mayonnaise with a few chopped gherkins mixed in. These days, the condiment is just as likely to come loaded with flavorful additions ranging from horseradish and onions to capers, cabbage, and celery. We sampled eight brands against our own homemade version to find a worthy sauce.
None truly compared to homemade. Most tasted gloppy and saccharine, though we found two acceptable stand-ins. One sample stood apart for its creamy, nicely balanced base chock full of tasty bits of cucumber, onion, cabbage, celery—even red bell pepper—and a second sample was almost as good.