Is there dairy in Kraft tartar sauce?

Quick Answer

Kraft tartar sauce does not contain any dairy ingredients. The main ingredients in Kraft tartar sauce are soybean oil, pickle relish, high fructose corn syrup, distilled vinegar, onion, salt, xanthan gum, potassium sorbate, propylene glycol alginate, calcium disodium EDTA, and paprika. None of these ingredients come from dairy sources. So Kraft tartar sauce is dairy-free.

Ingredients in Kraft Tartar Sauce

Here are the main ingredients found in Kraft tartar sauce:

  • Soybean oil
  • Pickle relish – made from cucumbers, vinegar, salt, and spices
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Distilled vinegar
  • Onions
  • Salt
  • Xanthan gum – a thickener made from fermented sugars
  • Potassium sorbate – a preservative
  • Propylene glycol alginate – an emulsifier and thickener
  • Calcium disodium EDTA – a preservative
  • Paprika – for color

As you can see from inspecting the ingredients list, there are no dairy products or dairy derivatives included. The ingredients are vegetable-based, with no milk, cream, butter, yogurt, cheese, whey, casein, lactose, or any other dairy components.

Why Kraft Tartar Sauce is Dairy-Free

There are a few reasons why Kraft specifically formulates their tartar sauce to be dairy-free:

  • Extend shelf life – Dairy ingredients can cause tartar sauce to spoil more quickly. Leaving out dairy allows Kraft to sell tartar sauce with a longer shelf life.
  • Reduce costs – Dairy ingredients like sour cream, buttermilk, and cheese can be expensive. Kraft saves money by using cheaper vegetable oil and thickeners.
  • Appeal to dairy-free diets – A growing number of consumers avoid dairy due to allergies, intolerances, and lifestyle choices. A dairy-free sauce appeals to more customers.
  • Maintain consistency – Oil and thickeners create a smooth texture that doesn’t separate, unlike dairy fats and emulsifiers.

For these reasons, Kraft intentionally formulates its tartar sauce to exclude milk and milk derivatives. This makes their tartar sauce safe for those with dairy allergies, lactose intolerance, and vegan diets.

Checking the Kraft Tartar Sauce Label

To double check that Kraft tartar sauce is dairy-free, simply read the product label on the squeeze bottle or jar.

The Kraft tartar sauce label should state contains no milk or milk derivatives if it is the dairy-free version. You may also see a “dairy-free” callout on the front of the packaging.

However, be aware that some Kraft tartar sauce varieties do contain dairy ingredients like whey, casein, and buttermilk powder. So always read the full ingredient list carefully.

Some people may also look for a “pareve” symbol on Kraft tartar sauce, which indicates it is dairy-free according to Jewish dietary laws. However, Kraft does not label their tartar sauce products with a pareve symbol.

Dairy-Free Kraft Tartar Sauce Recipes

If you want to recreate Kraft’s tartar sauce at home using completely dairy-free ingredients, here are a couple recipe options:

Basic Kraft Copycat Tartar Sauce


  • 1 cup mayonnaise (use dairy-free mayo)
  • 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


  1. Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl until fully combined.
  2. Chill sauce in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving to allow flavors to blend.
  3. Store leftover tartar sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.

Creamy Vegan Tartar Sauce


  • 1 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons dill pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon capers, finely chopped
  • 1 small shallot, finely minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  2. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Add more lemon juice for acidity or capers for brininess.
  3. Transfer to an airtight container and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  4. Store leftover vegan tartar sauce in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

These dairy-free tartar sauce options use ingredients like vegan mayo, lemon, pickles, onions, and herbs to replicate the tangy Kraft flavor. Serve with seafood, fish sticks, or anywhere you’d use tartar sauce for dipping!

Finding Dairy-Free Tartar Sauce Brands

In addition to making your own homemade dairy-free tartar sauce, there are some store-bought brands that are guaranteed to be dairy-free:

  • Sir Kensington’s Tartar Sauce – Vegan certified, made with sunflower oil and aquafaba
  • Primal Kitchen Tartar Sauce – Made with avocado oil and egg yolks
  • Marie’s Tartar Sauce – Uses soybean oil and rice vinegar
  • Follow Your Heart Tartar Sauce – Vegan mayo-based sauce, dairy and egg free
  • Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Tartar Sauce – Contains vinegar, pickles, and avocado oil

When purchasing pre-made tartar sauce, always check the ingredients to confirm there are no traces of dairy, milk, whey, casein, or other milk derivatives. Many brands will be labeled as “dairy-free” or “vegan” for convenience.

Can You Use Ranch Instead of Tartar Sauce?

Ranch and tartar sauce are both commonly used as dipping sauces and condiments. However, they are not directly interchangeable, as ranch contains dairy while tartar sauce does not.

Some key differences between ranch vs. tartar sauce:

  • Ranch is milk-based, while tartar sauce uses vegetable oil as its base.
  • Ranch is creamy and opaque white, while tartar sauce is more translucent.
  • Ranch is buttermilk-flavored, tartar sauce has a tangy, briny flavor.
  • Ranch uses herbs like parsley, dill, chives for flavor. Tartar sauce relies more on pickles, capers, onions, and vinegar.

If you need a dairy-free alternative to ranch dressing, you can make your own oil-based ranch dressing using almond milk yogurt, vegan mayo, and plenty of fresh herbs.

But for a direct replacement for tartar sauce when you need a dip that’s dairy-free, your best options are to use one of the pre-made dairy-free brands or whip up your own homemade oil and vinegar-based recipe.

The Best Foods to Pair with Dairy-Free Tartar Sauce

Here are some of the top foods that dairy-free tartar sauce complements well:

  • Fried fish – Tartar sauce is a classic dip for fried fish fillets or fish sticks.
  • Popcorn shrimp – Drizzle or dip crispy popcorn shrimp into tangy vegan tartar sauce.
  • Veggie burgers or “fish” fillets – Slather some tartar sauce on a veggie burger instead of traditional mayo.
  • Fries – French fries, sweet potato fries, and tater tots taste great with non-dairy tartar sauce for dipping.
  • Onion rings – Cool down hot crunchy onion rings with creamy dairy-free tartar sauce.

Really, you can pair dairy-free tartar sauce with any dishes that you would normally enjoy with seafood, like crab cakes, fried calamari, fish tacos, etc. Its tangy, briny flavor profile complements seafood and vegetables alike.

Is Kraft Tartar Sauce Vegan?

While Kraft’s original tartar sauce is dairy-free, it is not considered a vegan product. Here’s why:

  • Contains egg yolks – The classic Kraft recipe uses egg yolks as an emulsifier and for added color. Vegans do not consume eggs or egg products.
  • May contain fish – Some Kraft tartar sauce varieties list “fish” as an ingredient, probably from anchovies in the Worcestershire sauce. Vegans do not eat seafood.
  • Manufactured with shared equipment – Kraft facilities make many products, so tartar sauce may be cross contaminated with animal products from shared lines.

For a vegan Kraft-style tartar sauce, use vegan mayonnaise, capers, pickles, vinegar, and onion powder to replicate the tangy zip. Brands like Follow Your Heart and Sir Kensington’s make vegan-certified tartar sauces.

Or stick with oil and vinegar-based recipes to customize your own vegan tartar sauce at home. Swap in minced shallots or garlic in place of onion powder. Add chopped dill pickles rather than pickle relish. Use fresh lemon juice instead of vinegar.


In summary, Kraft’s classic tartar sauce recipes do not contain milk, cream, cheese, or any other dairy derivatives. They are formulated using vegetable oil, egg yolks, pickle relish, vinegar, and seasonings to create a creamy, tangy sauce.

Always check the complete ingredient lists on any Kraft tartar sauce product to confirm it is dairy-free. Some varieties may include milk or whey. For vegan diets, look for plant-based brands or make your own oil and vinegar-based tartar sauce at home.

Pair dairy-free Kraft-style tartar sauce with seafood dishes, vegetables fries and burgers for a classic tangy flavor. With no dairy ingredients, tartar sauce can be enjoyed by those avoiding milk for dietary needs or preferences. Use vegan mayo and dill pickles to whip up your own homemade version.

Leave a Comment