This Creamy Lemon Tarragon Sauce recipe is easy and made with sour cream and Dijon mustard. Great for dipping salmon, chicken, or steak!
One of my favorite ways to use this underestimated herb is added to this Creamy Tarragon Sauce. It's a great all-purpose dipping sauce made with sour cream, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard.
I'm a huge fan of culinary herbs and use things like basil and cilantro all the time. These well-known herbs are often added to popular dishes like pizza, pasta, and tacos.
One culinary herb that tends to fly under the radar is tarragon. It's unfortunate because tarragon has such a great bright flavor that's absolutely perfect in light spring and summer dishes.
Tarragon is hugely popular in France - It's known as the 'king of herbs' in that country and used all across the culinary spectrum but that isn't the case here in the United States and certainly not in the Midwest.
It's my goal to put this unassuming herb on everyone's radar!
What Is Tarragon?
Tarragon is a perennial herb and a member of the sunflower family. It's used widely in French and European cooking, often added to dishes like pasta, eggs, chicken, and various sauces.
It has a slightly sweet anise flavor and tastes a little like licorice. Tarragon is one of those things that just feels like summer to me.
The two varieties you will likely find in the grocery store or farmer's market is French and Russian tarragon. French tarragon has a much stronger flavor and is overall better for cooking (in my opinion).
I've grown Russian tarragon in my herb garden and found it to have very little flavor. If you pick some up be sure to opt for the French variety.
Ingredients For Creamy Tarragon Sauce
I included a version of this Creamy Tarragon Sauce in a recipe published years ago for Prosciutto Roasted Asparagus.
I served both the asparagus and sauce a few weeks ago for Easter dinner and was reminded of the delicious flavor and versatility of the sauce.
It's super creamy, tangy, bright, and the tarragon makes the sauce subtly sweet. This sauce is great for dipping and the texture works well as a sandwich spread.
Here's what you'll need to make it.
- 1 cup Sour Cream
- ¼ cup Dijon Mustard
- ¼ cup Lemon Juice
- ½ tsp. Garlic Powder
- ¼ cup French Tarragon (fresh tarragon is best)
- ¼ tsp. each Kosher Salt and Pepper
How To Make Tarragon Sauce
This sauce is seriously easy to prepare and can be used on or with lots of dishes so it's great to have a batch on hand.
- Start by mincing ¼ cup of fresh tarragon.
- Add 1 cup sour cream, ¼ cup Dijon mustard, ¼ cup lemon juice, ½ tsp. garlic powder, and ¼ tsp. each of kosher salt and pepper to a small bowl. Stir until completely combined using a small whisk or a fork.
- Add the chopped tarragon and stir until combined.
Feel free to serve right away or store in the fridge for a few hours to allow the flavors to develop.
If you prefer a thinner consistency you can thin the sauce out with more lemon juice or water. Simply add as much as you like and stir to combine.
Can I Sub Dried Tarragon For Fresh?
During the winter months (especially in northern states like Minnesota) it can be difficult to find fresh herbs like tarragon.
The flavor of dried herbs is not as robust as those in fresh herbs but during the winter months we take what we can get, right?
What Does Tarragon Cream Sauce Taste Like?
The flavor of this sauce is so robust and you can alter the ingredients to suit your tastes.
The sour cream gives it a great smooth and creamy texture. The lemon juice adds a bright citrus pop and the Dijon mustard gives the sauce a tangy bite.
I recommend a smooth Dijon mustard as opposed to a grainy country mustard as that would change the texture.
If you prefer more sweetness you can use a honey mustard and if you like a little spice you can choose a spicy or horseradish mustard.
The tarragon provides a characteristic anise flavor.
Feel free to add even more fresh tarragon if you want to punch up the flavor!
Love homemade sauces? Check out these recipes!
- Fresh Herb Ranch Dressing
- Blue Cheese Dressing
- Homemade Thousand Island Dressing
- Homemade Tartar Sauce
- Lemon Herb Tahini Sauce
- Cilantro Cashew Sauce
What To Serve With Lemon Tarragon Sauce
I love to have this sauce on hand because it's SO versatile.
It's absolutely perfect served with fish like salmon. This sauce elevates a simple salmon dish into a gourmet meal.
I love it with grilled meats like fish, chicken, and steak.
Tarragon pairs well with grilled vegetables like zucchini, asparagus, green beans, snap peas, and potatoes.
You can even spread it on bread and top with sliced radishes and a sprinkle of salt for a twist on a classic French recipe or add it as a spread on any of your favorite sandwiches in place of mayo.
It also makes a flavorful dip for fresh veggies like carrots, bell peppers, celery, or broccoli served on a veggie tray.
If you like tarragon I think you'll love this Lemon Tarragon Chicken Salad!
How Long Does This Sauce Last In The Fridge?
This creamy sauce contains dairy and doesn't have a long shelf-life. It lasts 4-5 days stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
It's best enjoyed fresh or within a few days.
You can certainly cut the recipe in half if you would like to enjoy it but don't need the full amount.
Can It Be Frozen?
I would not recommend freezing this sauce as it contains sour cream and fresh herbs which do not freeze well.
Love fresh herbs? Don't miss these recipes!
- Lemon Basil Chicken Salad
- Tahini Roasted Cauliflower with Mint
- Lemon Dill Egg Salad
- BLT with Lemon Basil Mayo
- Fresh Dill Pickle Salad
- Spinach Basil Walnut Pesto
Looking For More Dishes That Use Tarragon? Check Out These Recipes!
Creamy Lemon Tarragon Dipping Sauce
- Mince ¼ cup French tarragon.
- Add the chopped tarragon and stir until combined.
- Feel free to serve right away or store in the fridge for a few hours to allow the flavors to develop.
- To Serve: Serve as a dipping sauce for fish, salmon, lobster, chicken, steak, grilled, roasted or raw vegetables or as a sandwich spread.