Sweet dill pickle relish is the perfect summer topping and adds just the right amount of salty sweet delicious to burgers, hot dogs, and more. It’s easy to make pickle relish at home, and there’s no better way to use up overgrown cucumbers.
I’ll be honest, I was really only looking for a way to use up gigantic cucumbers that were way too big to make a decent pickle. You see, the best pickles are made with tiny cucumbers, about the size of your little finger. Anything bigger and it’ll turn to a sad mushy excuse for a pickle in the canner. We love pickles on top of grilled sausages in the summertime, so relish seemed like a great way to use them up.
Searching around online for dill pickle recipes was more or less terrifying. Crazy amounts of sugar leading me to believe people assumed that relish was supposed to be a candied jam. Or worse even, thickening it with cornstarch which sounded downright unappealing. I’m looking for dill pickle flavor, but mashed up into an easy to use condiment. That’s it. No funny stuff.
As always, The Ball Complete Book of Canning and Preserving had my back. I’ve adapted their recipe for a small batch, because I prefer to use up cucumbers straight from the garden same day, and I try my best to avoid allowing cucumbers to reach gigantic relish sized proportions. Feel free to increase the recipe if you have more to use up.
The original recipe included a small amount of sugar, which I was a lot more reasonable than every other recipe I could find. I used turbinado because that’s what I had on hand, but I think it resulted in fuller flavor than plain white sugar. The little bit of molasses in the sugar really brought out extra richness in the final relish.
Sweet Dill Pickle Relish for Canning
This dill pickle relish recipe is the perfect tangy topping for hot dogs fresh off the grill. With just a tiny bit of sugar, it has the right amount of sweet to balance out the tangy vinegar and pickling salt.
- 2 lbs pickling cucumbers (3.5 cups finely chopped)
- 1 cup onion, finely chopped
- 1 cups water
- 1 cups vinegar (5% acidity)
- 2 Tbs pickling salt
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric, ground
- 1 tsp dill seed, or 1-2 tablespoons finely chopped dill
- 2 Tbs sugar
- Chop the cucumbers into tiny pieces, 1/4 inch or smaller. You can pulse them in a food processor to make this go quicker, but be sure not to over process and liquify them.
- Sprinkle the cucumbers with pickling salt and turmeric and cover with 1 cup water. Allow to stand for at least 2 hours. Drain thoroughly, mashing with your hands to remove as much moisture as possible.
- Place the drained cucumbers in a large saucepan and add chopped onions, dill, vinegar and sugar (if using). Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat and cook for about 10 minutes. The mixture should begin to thicken slightly.
- Ladle the pickle relish into jars (pint or half pint), leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Process in a water bath canner, 10 minutes for half pints, or 15 minutes for pints.
- Remove the jars and allow them to cool. Make sure each jar has “popped” to seal. Store any unsealed jars in the refrigerator and use soon.
- Store sealed jars in the pantry at room temperature, with canning bands removed.
Yield: 3-4 Half Pints
Canning Method: Water Bath Canning
Headspace: 1/2 inch
Process Time: 10 minutes half pints, 15 minutes for pints (adjust for altitude)
Recipe adapted from The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
More Pickling Recipes
Looking for more canning recipes to cook up tasty pickles this summer? Try any of these homemade pickles:
- Bread and Butter Pickles
- Homemade Gherkins (Cornichons)
- Pickled Peppers
- Pickled Fiddleheads
- Pickled Ramps (wild leeks)
I’ve been wanting to make sweet relish for so long! I use it in tuna salad but don’t want to keep buying it from the store. Thank you so much for your recipe, its definitely going to be a big help!
May I eat the relish right away or does it have to sit for 3 weeks?
You can eat it right away, but it’ll taste better with a bit of time for the flavors to come together. Even a couple of days later it tastes a lot better.
Thank you! Looking forward to tasting the relish!
Can I use smaller jars? (I’m thinking 1/2 pint or 1 cup jars.)
Yes, those will work!
Can I add more sugar and or other ingredients like mustard seed and celery seed?
I love this relish but I don’t have any preserving jars left so I can’t use the water bath canning method. How long will it keep in sterilised jam jars instead?
In the fridge, I’d imagine this would keep a long time, provided you kept everything below the water line in the jars. Pack the jars, then top them off with a bit more brine to make sure everything stays under the vinegar/salt brine line and I’d think it’d keep for months in the fridge without contamination (above the water line, it’ll spoil/mold faster).
Do you rinse the cucumbers when you drain them after the salt water bath?
I don’t, but you can if you prefer.
I made this recipe last summer and I’m making it again this weekend. It’s delicious! Thank you for such an easy and tasty recipe. Bar none, this makes THE BEST Homemade Tarter Sauce you will ever eat!
I am always on the hunt for a good relish recipe. Definitely going to try this one. But, with one little difference….;) I like to use my meat grinder for the veggies. Gives a better texture for slathering in the hotdog.
Can it be done with English Cucumbers?
I have never tried it with English cucumbers but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work.
Do you have to peel and see if the cucumbers like other recipes recommend?
There is no need to peel or seed as long as there aren’t too many seeds. If you have a lot of seeds, you might want to seed them.