Classic Sweet Hot Dog Relish

classic sweet hot dog relish

The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

Prep: 35 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Chill Time: 24 hrs
Total: 24 hrs 50 mins
Servings: 20 servings
Yield: 3 1/4 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
43 Calories
0g Fat
11g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 20
Amount per serving
Calories 43
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 379mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 0g 2%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 11mg 57%
Calcium 12mg 1%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 99mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This traditional hot dog relish is just what the chef ordered for your cookout. But you don't have to stop there—it's also great in deviled eggs, potato salad, or pasta salad. Making your own relish is a great way to use cucumbers, onions, and peppers from your garden during peak season.

If you want to be totally traditional, use white distilled vinegar; otherwise, you can use the rounder flavors of apple cider or white wine vinegar.

“With very little effort it’s possible to produce this delicious classic sweet hot dog relish. This is a quick and easy recipe to use when wondering what to do with all those extra cucumbers from the garden. If you use the traditional canning method, the relish would even make a beautiful handmade gift.” —Joan Velush

Classic Sweet Hot Dog Relish/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 4 to 5 medium cucumbers, seeded and finely chopped

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped

  • 1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, or white wine vinegar

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed

  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • Dash freshly ground black pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients to make classic sweet hot dog relish

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  2. In a large, nonreactive bowl, combine cucumbers, onion, bell pepper, and salt. Mix well. If this seems like a lot of salt, don't worry: Most of it is rinsed off later. The salt is there to draw water out of the vegetables, a step that results in better texture and flavor in the finished relish.

    chopped vegetables in a bowl

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  3. Cover the bowl of vegetables and leave in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

    relish covered with plastic

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  4. Transfer vegetables to a fine mesh sieve or strainer and let drain for a couple of minutes. Rinse well with cool water and drain again. Get out even more of the liquid by squeezing hard with clean hands or by pressing vegetables against sieve with the back of a wooden spoon.

    drained relish in a colander

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  5. Whisk cornstarch into cool or room temperature vinegar in a medium saucepan. Stir in sugar, celery seed, mustard seeds, mustard, turmeric, nutmeg, and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often to help dissolve sugar and prevent lumps.

    relish base in a sauce pan

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  6. Once syrup is boiling and becoming translucent, add vegetables. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

    relish cooking in a saucepan

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

  7. Scoop hot dog relish into clean, hot canning jars leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Screw on the lids. If canning, process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Serve as desired.

    classic sweet hot dog relish in jar

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

How to Store

  • Once the jars are processed and sealed, sweet relish will keep at room temperature for up to one year. It is still safe to eat after that, but the quality will decline.
  • Once opened, store the jars in the refrigerator.
  • Alternatively, skip canning the jars in the boiling water bath and instead put them in the refrigerator. The relish will keep in the fridge for up to three months.

What is the difference between sweet relish and dill relish?

Dill pickle relish is typically flavored with dill seeds and sometimes fresh or dried dillweed and contains little to no sugar. Sweet pickle relish has sugar added for a sweeter taste and often does not contain dill but may contain a mix of other spices.