The Handy Ingredient That'll Thicken Tartar Sauce

Tartar sauce is a classic condiment that pairs particularly well with seafood. Traditionally served alongside fried fish, shrimp, or crab cakes, the tangy, slightly sweet sauce involves a creamy mayonnaise base combined with chopped pickles, capers, onions, lemon juice, and such herbs and spices as dill and parsley. The mayo foundation is enhanced with these primary ingredients, which contribute a subtle crunch and brightness. Say, however, your tartar sauce is a bit runny for your liking, or you simply want to fill out the already delicious dip. To achieve this worthwhile feat, all you need is a dollop of a dairy darling you may already have in your fridge: sour cream.

Sour cream — an effective thickening agent for various gravies, soups, stews, and sauces — can be easily incorporated into tartar sauce to impart an extra layer of richness to the mixture. Its inherently fatty character, the result of lactic acid binding with proteins, helps hold the sauce's elements together, creating a smoother, concentrated consistency. Plus, sour cream brings an even greater zip to tartar sauce's profile.

Add sour cream for a thicker, tangier tartar sauce

Whether you typically eat your fish and chips with the store-bought stuff or prefer whipping up a homemade tartar sauce recipe, there's no doubt that the sauce benefits from the sour cream. Its presence ensures a velvety mouthfeel and a well-balanced tanginess that complements the mayonnaise, pickles, capers, and other ingredients. And, like any dish, making tartar sauce from scratch allows for better control over the ingredients. By adjusting the amount of sour cream you can customize the sauce. Start by adding one or two dollops at a time and incorporate more until you discover the perfect portion.

On top of its role as a thickening agent, sour cream elevates the flavor of tartar sauce, not only for use on luxurious bites of seafood but for other types of food, too. As you may have gathered from the name, its sour taste and creamy texture can help to mellow out the stronger flavors, making this versatile ingredient a great addition to tartar sauce and more.