Classic Sweet Hot Dog Relish

Classic Sweet Hot Dog Relish

The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Chill Time: 24 hrs
Total: 24 hrs 40 mins
Servings: 24 servings
Yield: 4 half pint jars
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
36 Calories
0g Fat
9g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 24
Amount per serving
Calories 36
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 316mg 14%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 10mg 48%
Calcium 10mg 1%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 83mg 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.


  • 4 to 5 cucumbers

  • 1 medium onion

  • 1 small red bell pepper

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt (or another non-iodized salt)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch or ClearJel

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

  • 3/4 cup 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

  • 1 dash black pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Classic Sweet Hot Dog Relish ingredients

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  2. Slice off the stem and lower ends of the cucumbers and compost or discard them. Slice the cucumbers lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a small spoon.

    Cucumbers cut into halves lengthwise with seeds scooped out

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  3. Chop the cucumbers very finely or pulse a few times in a food processor. There should be about 4 cups of finely chopped cucumber. Transfer to a large, non-reactive bowl.

    Chopped cucumbers in a bowl

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  4. Peel the onion and slice off the ends. Slice off the stem ends of the bell pepper and remove the seeds. Finely chop the onion and bell pepper, or pulse a few times in a food processor. The vegetables should be in tiny pieces but not totally pulverized into a purée. There should be about 1 1/2 cups of finely chopped onion and bell pepper. Add to the cucumber in the bowl.

    Chopped onion, bell pepper, and cucumber in a bowl

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  5. Add the kosher salt to the vegetables and mix well. If that 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.

    vegetables in a bowl with salt

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

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

    Salted vegetables thoroughly combined in a bowl, covered with aluminum foil

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  7. Transfer the vegetables to a finely meshed sieve or strainer and let them 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 the vegetables against the sieve with the back of a wooden spoon.

    Straining vegetable mix into a bowl

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  8. Whisk the cornstarch or ClearJel into the cool or room temperature vinegar in a medium saucepan. Stir in the sugar and spices. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often to help dissolve the sugar and prevent lumps.

    Spices simmering in ClearJel on stovetop

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

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

    Relish simmering on stove

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  10. Scoop the hot dog relish into clean, hot canning jars leaving 1/2-inch of headspace. Screw on lids. If canning, process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Regardless, the flavor will be even better a week later.

    Classic Sweet Hot Dog Relish in a jar

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

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 drilled dillweed and contains little to no sugar. Sweet pickle relish has sugar added for a sweeter taste and often not contain dill but may contain a mix of other spices.