Sweet Red Relish Recipe


The recipe for sweet red relish is easy to prepare and the relish tastes great in sandwiches. Sweet pickles are actually a staple of Southern American cooking and are used in recipes and on their own. When people think of Southwestern cuisine they might picture delicious sandwiches, a cooling dip or hot dogs, but what most people don’t know is that even the most traditional version of sweet red relish has Chinese roots.

Sweet Bell Pepper Relish

Sweet Bell Pepper Relish
  • Prep: 25 mins
  • Cook: 70 mins
  • Chill: 3 hrs
  • Total: 4 hrs 35 mins
  • Servings: 80 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)

(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Relishes are the perfect condiment for preserving fruits and vegetables. Often overlooked and thought to be just the side on hotdogs or burgers, relishes are a great ingredient to have at hand because they can brighten the flavor or all sorts of dishes, from soups to stews to sauces. A heaping spoonful of a sour and tart relish can transform what otherwise would be a boring plate of food. Using our pepper relish recipe, you can put to good use a bounty of peppers from your garden and preserve them for later use without sacrificing the flavor—you might, in fact, enhance their natural sweetness with this preparation.

Our yummy sweet relish makes a delicious topping for deviled or scrambled eggs. It’s a great accompaniment to meatloaf, burgers, or grilled chicken or fish. Mixed with cream cheese or sour cream it makes a fantastic party dip. Serve it at breakfast with hash browns or breakfast casseroles, or at lunch with pinto beans and ham or grilled cheese sandwiches.

A mixture of differently-sized chopped peppers gives the relish the perfect texture. Plus, red, yellow, orange, and green peppers make for a brighter condiment. Add spice if you’re keen on it with a few chili flakes, or keep it as is for a wonderful and succulent treat. Our recipe gives you the instructions on how to can the relish, so before your start, be sure to have clean and ready 5 to 6 1-pint canning jars.


  • 20 large bell peppers, red, yellow, orange, and green
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet onions
  • 1/4 cup canning salt, or pickling salt
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 5 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika

Steps to Make It

Prepare the Peppers and Onions

  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2. Wash the peppers, slice them in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds and ribs. Cut the peppers into large chunks—when done you should have about 6 pounds of chunks.
  3. Finely chop about 1/2 to 2/3 of the peppers.
  4. Grind or finely chop the remaining amount of peppers using a food grinder or food processor.
  5. Coarsely chop about half of the onions.
  6. Add the remaining onions to the grinder or food processor with the peppers.
  7. In a large bowl, combine the chopped and ground peppers and onions with the salt. Toss to mix thoroughly, cover the mixture with abundant ice, and let stand for 3 hours in the refrigerator.

Cook the Relish

  1. Drain and rinse the bell pepper and onion mixture, squeezing the vegetables with your hands to get as much moisture out as possible.
  2. In a large nonreactive pot, combine the two kinds of vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, and paprika, if using. Add the well-drained pepper mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 50 to 60 minutes, until thickened. Stir occasionally.

Can the Relish

  1. In a saucepan, bring water to a simmer, turn to low and add the flat lids. Keep the lids in hot water until you’re ready to use them.
  2. Fill a bath canning kettle about half full with water. Add the canning jars to the water and bring to a boil. Carefully remove the jars and drain.
  3. Ladle the pepper mixture into the hot drained jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. With a damp clean cloth, wipe any spills or drips from the threads and rims of the jars.
  4. Using tongs, lift lids from the water and let any excess drip off of them. Place the clean jar rims on. Screw on the jar rings firmly but not too tightly.
  5. Place the filled jars into the canner. The water should be at least 1 inch above the jars. Bring the water to a boil, cover, and boil gently for 10 minutes.
  6. Carefully, remove the jars to a rack to cool.
  7. Once cool, check for seals. If any jars did not seal, refrigerate the relish and use it within the next three months. Label the jars with an expiration date of 12 months in the future. Keep in a cool dry place for up to 12 months.
  8. Enjoy!

Red Pepper Relish Canning Recipe

It’s canning day, and today we’re making a batch of fresh red pepper relish. This sweet and tangy condiment is delicious spread on sandwiches, or spooned over top of grilled meats. We’ll go through all the steps to make this simple recipe, and hot water bath can it all in some mason jars.

Red Pepper Relish Canning Recipe

Red Pepper Relish Canning Recipe

Course: Condiments

Cuisine: American

Difficulty: Medium

  • Servings: 4Pints
  • Prep time: 30minutes
  • Cooking time: 30minutes
  • Total time: 1hour 


  • 10 large red bell peppers (or orange)
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 1 jalapeno (or 2 cherry peppers)
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Kosher salt


  • Remove the stems and seeds from all peppers.
  • Finely dice 7 of the bell peppers and 1 1/2 onions.
  • Roughly chop 3 bell peppers, 1/2 onion, and the jalapeno (or cherry peppers). Blend these in food processor for a few seconds, until everything is chopped up but not completely pureed.
  • Mix the diced vegetables with the blended vegetables in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the salt and mix thoroughly. This step is to remove excess moisture from the vegetables.
  • Cover the contents of the large bowl with ice. Leave for 1-2 hours. Then remove the ice, rinse the vegetables with cold water to remove excess salt, and then strain. A large strainer bag works very well to drain everything. Let as much liquid as possible drain out.
  • In a large saucepan or small stock pot, combine the apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, mustard seed, celery seed, paprika, and sugar. Bring that solution up to a boil, stirring regularly.
  • Add strained vegetables to the pot and stir thoroughly. Let the brine solution come back up to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Prepare jars. Fill jars with relish vegetables first, using a large slotted spoon or similar. Then pour brine liquid over top, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
  • De-bubble jars and wipe the rims. Put on lids and rings.
  • Process in hot water bath canner – 10 minutes for pints, 15 minutes for quarts (Note: At high altitudes, processing times may need to be increased).
  • Remove jars from canner and set jars on towel or cutting board until completely cool.
  • Any un-sealed (failed) jars should be refrigerated, as they are not shelf-stable. Store sealed jars in a cool, dark place with the rings off.
  • Relish can be eaten right away, but the flavor will be better after 1-2 weeks.


Did anyone else’s grandma make a red hamburger relish? For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, red relish is sweet and tangy, made with tomatoes, cucumbers, celery & onions.

Sadly, despite owning all of my grandma’s recipe books, I could not find the recipe she used. My initial google searches didn’t turn up many results, either. However, once I searched hamburger relish things became more clear.

Red relish isn’t very popular, so most condiment companies have stopped making it. You can purchase something similar from Sunset Gourmet, but their version is quite sweet.

So, I set about to make my own.

Red Hamburger relish is sweet sour and zesty! Tastes delicious on hamburgers and sausage, or any other meat. A delicious way to use your garden vegetables: cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, and onions. You'll come back to this easy canning recipe again and again!


Chopping up all the vegetables is a daunting process if you’re doing it by hand. If you’re not fussy with the look of your relish, save yourself some stress and use a food processor.

Chop up the cucumbers, peppers, zucchini, & onion. Place in a large bowl, fill with water and mix in 1/4 cup pickling salt. Let soak for at least 6 hours or overnight.

While I was making pickles, some of mine ended up soaking for 2 days. It wasn’t a problem, and those pickles ended up being really crisp.

Side note: You can also substitute up to half the cucumbers with zucchini. Because you don’t want to be that person who throws extra zucchini in unlocked cars. *cough cough*

Once your vegetable mixture is done soaking, drain the water and squeeze out the excess. Rinse. Drain that water and squeeze out the excess.

Confusing enough for you? This was my least favourite step, especially because we do not seem to own a sieve anymore.

Red Hamburger relish is sweet sour and zesty! Tastes delicious on hamburgers and sausage, or any other meat. A delicious way to use your garden vegetables: cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, and onions


Chop up your tomatoes and remove as many seeds as you can. I like to chop my tomatoes in half and squeeze out the seeds. You won’t get everything, but it is a lot quicker.

In a large saucepan, bring your tomatoes, vinegar and spices to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium & simmer for 30 minutes. Add in sugar & drained vegetables. Bring to a boil again, and simmer for another 20 minutes.


Fill and seal jars, processing in a water bath for 10 minutes (adjust your time if you live at a higher altitude). My favourite way to sterilize jars is to cook them in the oven at 235F for at least 10 minutes. It is much more efficient than boiling them, and you save precious stove room and counter space.

Let your jars sit for 3 weeks (by far the hardest part!!) and enjoy!

Red relish is excellent on hamburgers and hotdogs, or any meat that could use a sweet and savoury zing.

Easy sweet pepper relish – no cooking required

A delicious no-cook sweet pepper relish with juicy bell peppers and sweet red onion. Pile it on your hamburger, liven up your sausages or even serve it as a side dish with a barbeque.

No cook sweet pepper relish

This is a deliciously spicy relish, made by finely chopping red and yellow bell peppers and sweet red onion. It’s livened up by the addition of chilli and garlic and has a lovely sweet peppery taste that goes so well with a hamburger, or spooned over your favourite sausages.

There’s no cooking involved, and it takes literally minutes to make. Make it in advance and chill in the fridge to give those delicious flavours time to mingle. I can practically guarantee that this is going to become your new favourite condiment once the barbeque season gets into swing.

I think this dish of sweet pepper relish is like summer on a plate!!!

How to make sweet pepper relish

This recipe makes about 2 cups of relish, depending on the size of the peppers, but a little goes a long way so you could halve the quantities if you wanted to.


  • First of all you will need a red and a yellow bell pepper. Remove the seeds and inner membrane and chop into large pieces.
  • Peel a small to medium sized red onion and cut into chunks. The size of the onion will depend on the size of your peppers. You are looking for about 1/4 of chopped onion by volume to the chopped peppers.
  • You will also need a teaspoon of chopped chilli. I like the convenience of a jar of ready chopped chillies, but you could use a small fresh chilli with the seeds removed if you wish. You can make this relish as mild or as spicy as you like. Just adjust the amount of chilli according to your own taste.
  • The same goes for garlic. I used a heaped teaspoon of prepared chopped garlic, but you could add 2 peeled cloves of garlic instead.

Step-by-step instructions

A dish of chopped red and yellow peppers and red onion.
  • Place all the above into a food processor, with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and process until the peppers are about the size of grains of rice.
  • If you don’t have a food processor, just chop everything finely, using a sharp knife (it will take a while 🙂 ).
  • Remove the chopped peppers and onion from the food processor and place into a glass or ceramic bowl. Don’t use a metal bowl – it may cause a reaction with the vinegar.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well.
    • 2 tablespoon white vinegar or rice wine vinegar
    • 2 teaspoons sugar
    • A good grating of freshly ground black pepper.
  • For a sweeter taste you could substitute 1 tablespoon white vinegar with 1 tablespoon mirin.
  • Taste for seasoning and heat and adjust if necessary.
  • Cover with a lid and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours. The flavours will intensify on standing.

For a creamier dressing you could drain the liquid, once the standing time is over, and mix with 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise.

This sweet pepper relish will stay fresh for up to 5 days stored tightly covered in the refrigerator.

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