Classic Sweet Hot Dog Relish

Classic Sweet Hot Dog Relish

The Spruce

  • Total: 40 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Overnight in refrigerator: 24 hrs
  • Servings: 24 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
32 Calories
0g Fat
8g Carbs
0g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 24
Amount per serving
Calories 32
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 584mg 25%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Protein 0g
Calcium 5mg 0%
*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 (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. 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 with insides scooped out
     The Spruce
  2. Chop the cucumbers very finely, or pulse a few times in a food processor. You should have about 4 cups of finely chopped cucumber. Transfer to a large, non-reactive bowl.

    Chopped cucumbers in a bowl
     The Spruce
  3. 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. You should have 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
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of kosher salt to the vegetables and mix well. If that seems like a lot of salt, don't worry: You'll rinse most of it 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.

    Salted vegetables thoroughly combined
     The Spruce
  5. Cover the bowl of vegetables and leave it in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

    Bowl covered with foil in the refrigerator
     The Spruce
  6. Transfer the vegetables to a finely meshed sieve or strainer and let them drain for a couple of minutes. Rinse them well with cool water and let drain again. Get out even more of the liquid by squeezing with your clean hands (squeeze hard), or by pressing the vegetables against the sieve with the back of a wooden spoon.

    Straining vegetable mix
     The Spruce
  7. In a medium saucepan, whisk the cornstarch or ClearJel into the cool or room temperature vinegar. 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
  8. 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
  9. Scoop the hot dog relish into clean, hot canning jars leaving 1/2-inch of head-space. It is not necessary to sterilize the jars for this recipe. Screw on canning lids. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Once the jars are processed and sealed, sweet relish will keep at room temperature for up to 1 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 3 months.
  • The flavor will be even better if you wait a week before eating the relish.