Sweet Pickle Relish Canning Recipe

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Learn how to make and can the best homemade Sweet Pickle Relish in this easy canning recipe. It’s quick and satisfying to make your own DIY canned foods to stock the pantry.

Close up of pint of homemade sweet pickle relish

Homemade condiments like this sweet pickle relish are so much better than store bought! Even if you don’t like pickle relish from the store, I bet you’ll like the homemade version. There’s just no comparison!

Making relish is a great way to use the fresh cucumbers, peppers and onions you grew in your summer garden. If you didn’t plant cucumber plants this year, pick up some crunchy cucumbers at the grocery store or Farmer’s Market to make this simple recipe.

It’s a great time to experiment with new things in the kitchen like canning, which can help you preserve that abundant harvest.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of chopped cucumbers
  • 2 cups of chopped onions
  • 1 cup of chopped green bell peppers
  • 1 cup of chopped red bell peppers
  • ¼ cup of sea salt
  • 3 ½ cups of granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of celery seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of mustard seed
  • 2 cups of apple cider vinegar

Equipment

  • Mixing bowl
  • Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Fine Mesh Strainer
  • Large stock pot
  • Small saucepan
  • Water bath canner
  • 4 pint-sized mason jars
  • Paper towels or clean cloth
  • Jar Lifter

Step by Step: How to Make & Can Sweet Pickle Relish

Follow these simple step by step directions to learn how to make and water bath can the best sweet pickle relish.

Step 1: Prepare and Sterilize Jars.

Start by preparing your jars by sterilizing them. Preheat your oven to 225° F. Place jars on a baking sheet and bake in oven for at least 20 minutes to sterilize.

Four pint mason jars in a water bath canner.

Step 2: Prepare Jar. Lids.

Fill a small saucepan with water and add jar lids and rings. Place on the stovetop over low to medium heat and bring water to 180° F. A candy or meat thermometer works great. Do not boil.

Step 3: Combine Fresh Veggies.

Combine 4 cups of chopped cucumbers, 2 cups of chopped onions, 1 cup of chopped green pepper and 1 cup of chopped red pepper in a large bowl. You can either chop the fresh veggies by hand or use a food processor.

Chopped ingredients for relish, including red and green bell peppers, onion and cucumber.

Step 4: Salt and Soak Veggies.

Sprinkle ¼ cup of sea salt over the chopped veggies in the bowl and cover them with ice cold water. Allow it to sit for 2 hours.

Cucumbers, bell peppers and onions that have been salted and covered in water to make pickle relish.

Step 5: Drain Vegetables.

After the time is up, you can rinse and drain the vegetables through a fine mesh strainer, making sure to drain out as much excess liquid as possible.

Water being drained out of the chopped cucumbers, bell peppers and onions that have been soaking in salt water.

Step 6: Heat Veggies with Sugar, Spices & Vinegar.

Add 3 ½ cups of granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon of celery seeds, 1 tablespoon of mustard seed and 2 cups of apple cider vinegar to a large pot and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Add strained vegetables, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Sweet pickle relish ingredients boiling in apple cider vinegar.

Step 7: Pack Relish Into Jars.

Pack hot relish into your hot sterilized pint jars, leaving about ¼ inch of headspace at the top. Be sure to remove any air bubbles, wipe the top of the jars with a damp paper towel or damp cloth to clean, center lids on the rims of the jars and seal the ring to finger tight.

Sweet pickle relish packed into a pint jar with ¼ inch of headspace.

Step 8: Process Jars in Water Bath Canner.

Seal the jars with the hot lids and rings. Add jars to into large pan of boiling water using jar lifters. There should be about 1″ of water covering the jars. If the water level is too high, you can remove some with a ladle. Cover with lid.

Process for 10 minutes, then lift hot jars out of the hot water using jar lifters (for elevations above 1,000 feet, see chart below to adjust processing time). Set the jars of homemade pickle relish on a clean towel to cool. Lids will be slightly concave (curving down in the center) when they have a good seal. When cooled to room temperature, transfer to the pantry for storage.

Four pint jars of homemade sweet pickle relish that has been canned, sitting on a counter.

Tips for Making & Canning Sweet Pickle Relish

Answers to all of your questions about making and canning this sweet pickle relish recipe, including tips and substitution ideas.

1. Can you pressure can relish?

Pressure canning relish is not recommended for traditional pickle relish or it may turn into mush in the jar.

2. Are there altitude adjustments for water bath canning?

If you live more than 1,000 feet above sea level, there are some differences in how long you need to boil your jars for when water bath canning. Please adjust your water bath boiling time, based on your elevation.

Elevation Above Sea LevelProcessing Time Increase
1,001-3,000 feet5 minutes
3,001-6,000 feet10 minutes
6,001-8,000 feet15 minutes
8,001-10,000 feet20 minutes

3. Can other colors of bell peppers be used?

Definitely. You can use any color of sweet peppers that you have access to, whether that be red, orange, yellow, green or one of the rarer colors like purple!

4. Ways to use pickle relish?

Sweet relish has so many uses! While I adore dill pickles and dill relish, I prefer the sweet taste of sweet pickle relish in a lot of recipes like:

  • Hot Dogs, Hamburgers and Veggie Burgers
  • Tuna Salad, Chicken Salad or Egg Salad Sandwiches (try it on my homemade gluten free bread)
  • Potato Salad or Macaroni Salad
  • Thousand Island Dressing
  • Tartar Sauce

5. How long does home canned relish last?

Store jars in a cool, dark place like a pantry or root cellar. Unopened jars of sweet relish will last for 1 year and opened jars will last in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

6. What’s a serving size of relish?

The serving size for pickle relish is 1 tablespoon. There are 32 tablespoons in a pint.

7. Why are store-bought pickles and relish more yellow?

Check out the ingredient list for the pickles you’re thinking of… do they have yellow dye added to them? If you want a yellow appearance without the additives, simply add some turmeric to your homemade pickles or pickle relish.

8. Where to get home canning supplies?

If you’re new to home canning, you’ll need some basic supplies. Check out my post on How to Choose Home Canning Supplies for more information.

Pint of sweet pickle relish on green counter with cucumber, cherry tomatoes and two more jars in the background

Sweet Pickle Relish

Learn how to make and can your own Sweet Pickle Relish in this easy home canning recipe. It’s a great way to use garden cucumbers, bell peppers and onions!
4.05 from 46 votes
Print Recipe
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Recipe Servings: 128 tablespoons

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cucumbers - (about 4 medium), chopped
  • 2 cups onions - (about 2 medium), chopped
  • 1 cup green bell pepper - (about 1 medium), chopped
  • 1 cup red bell pepper - (about 1 medium), chopped
  • ¼ cup sea salt
  • 3 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon celery seeds
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar

Equipment

  • Mixing bowl
  • Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Fine mesh strainer
  • Large Stock Pot
  • Small saucepan
  • Water bath canner
  • 4 pint sized mason jars
  • Paper towels or clean cloth
  • Jar lifter

Instructions

  • To sterilize your jars, preheat the oven to 225° F. Place jars on a baking sheet and bake in oven for at least 20 minutes.
    When the jars are about done, fill a small saucepan with water and add jar lids and rings. Place on the stovetop over low to medium heat and bring water to 180° F.
    Four pint mason jars in a water bath canner.
  • Combine chopped cucumbers, onions and green and red peppers in a large bowl.
    Chopped ingredients for relish, including red and green bell peppers, onion and cucumber.
  • Sprinkle with sea salt and cover with cold water. Allow it to sit for 2 hours.
    Cucumbers, bell peppers and onions that have been salted and covered in water to make pickle relish.
  • Rinse and drain thoroughly, making sure to strain all of the extra water out so you don't end up with soupy relish.
    Water being drained out of the chopped cucumbers, bell peppers and onions that have been soaking in salt water.
  • Combine sugar, spices and vinegar in a large pot and bring to a rolling boil. Add drained vegetables and simmer for about 10 minutes.
    Sweet pickle relish ingredients boiling in apple cider vinegar.
  • Pack relish into your hot jars, leaving about ¼ inch at the top. Remove any air bubbles, wipe jar rims and secure hot jar lids and rings on the tops of the jars.
    Sweet pickle relish packed into a pint jar with ¼ inch of headspace.
  • Add jars to a large pan of boiling water using jar lifters. There should be about 1" of water covering the jars. If there is more than that, remove some with a ladle. Cover with lid.
    Process for 10 minutes, then lift jars out using jar lifters. Set the jars of homemade relish on a clean towel or heat-safe surface to cool.
    Four pint jars of homemade sweet pickle relish that has been canned, sitting on a counter.

Nutrition Information Per Serving

Serving: 1tablespoon | Calories: 24kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Sodium: 222mg | Potassium: 18mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 44IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.1mg

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2 thoughts on “Sweet Pickle Relish Canning Recipe”

    1. Hi Sue, is there a reason you’re wanting to pressure can your relish vs water bath canning it? Pressure canning can turn relishes to mush, so it’s preferable to water bath can it if you are able.

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