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Sweet Pickle Relish Recipe – Eat Fresh or Can For Later Use

It is cucumber season and that means it is time to share our sweet pickle relish recipe.

Every year we plant our cucumber plants in both our raised row garden and in straw bale crates. And by late June they are producing so much that we have to pick them almost every day!

And fortunately for us, with Independence Day just a few days away, it gives us plenty of time to make relish for our upcoming barbecues and picnics.

We will be using the fresh made relish for as a condiment for hot dogs and hamburgers. But we also be using it to make deviled eggs and potato salad.

jar of sweet pickle relish
A jar of homemade Sweet Pickle Relish ready to be enjoyed fresh or canned.

And what better way to start off the summer harvest season than to make your own relish that you can use all year long?


*Complete recipe instructions including specific measurements, cook temperatures and times are located in a printable recipe card at the bottom of this article. However, be sure to keep reading for helpful tips and tricks when making this recipe.


  • Cucumbers
  • Sweet Onion
  • Pickling or Kosher Salt
  • White Vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Garlic
  • Dill Seed
  • Mustard Seed
  • Celery Seed
  • Turmeric


The first step in making this sweet pickle relish is to prepare the cucumbers. Start by slicing the washed cucumber lengthwise and remove the seeds with a spoon.

Then finely dice both the cucumbers and onions.  Although you can do this by hand, I prefer to use my Food Processor to do the work for me.

However, you must be careful not to process the vegetables too long. Otherwise, they cucumbers will turn to mush.

diced cucumber for relish
You can leave the peels on the cucumbers when making this relish recipe. Or peel them off if you prefer. The choice is up to you!

Once the cucumbers and onions are diced, place them in a non-reactive pot and add the salt. Stir and let the mixture sit for 2 hours. The salt will draw out the moisture in the vegetables and after two hours you will notice a significant amount of liquid in the bowl.

Next, drain the mixture in a strainer until all the liquid is removed.  You will need to press the mixture against the strainer to remove hidden moisture located in the center of the pile.

Continue to let the cucumbers and onions drain while you prepare the relish brine. In a medium pot, over medium-high heat, add vinegar, sugar, garlic, dill, celery, and mustard seed, and turmeric. Bring the mixture to a boil.

Then add the drained cucumber and onion mixture and stir. Once the pot comes back up to a boil reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool completely. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator and use as desired.

relish boiling
Bring the mixture to a boil for 10 minutes before removing it from the heat.

Canning Instructions

If you want to make this recipe shelf-stable, you will need to can your Sweet Pickle Relish using a hot water bath canner.

Once you remove your relish from the heat, immediately ladle the relish into hot and sterilized, pint size mason jars.

Fill the jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace at the top. Then run a plastic knife down the edges of the jar to remove any air bubbles.

Wipe the rim of each jar with a clean cloth. Then add the lid and finger-tighten the band.

Using a jar lifter, lower the jar in a pre-heated hot water bath, being sure that the top of the jars are 1-2 inches below the water line.

Then increase the heat to bring the pot to a full rolling boil. Once the water is rapidly boiling, set a cook timer for 10 minutes.

hot water bath with jars
Canning Sweet Pickle Relish is easy because it is done with a water bath canner instead of a pressure canner.

When the time is up, turn off the heat and carefully remove the lid and let the jars sit in the water for 5 minutes.

Then using the jar lifter once again, remove each jar and place on a thick towel. Allow the jars filled with the sweet pickle relish recipe to cool at room temperature for 24 hours.

Once they have cooled completely, test to make sure that the jars have sealed properly. Do this by pressing on the center of the lid. If the lid moves up and down the jar didn’t seal and will need to be stored in the refrigerator.

However, if you can’t press the lid in, the jars are safe to store in a cool, dark place.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Type Of Cucumbers Should I Use To Make Sweet Pickle Relish?

When canning cucumbers it is always best to use pickling cucumbers. However, because you are making a relish and not pickles, you can use standard, slicing cucumbers as well. Just be sure to remove the thick seed core before making the relish.

Can I Make This Sweet Pickle Relish Recipe Sugar-Free?

I have tried to use sugar substitutes and it negatively affects the overall taste of the recipe.  Therefore, in an attempt to decrease the consumption of refined white sugar, I prefer to use raw sugar cane instead.

How Long Can I Store It?

Fresh sweet pickle relish will last up to 6 weeks in the refrigerator. However, if you can it using the hot water bath method discussed above, it can be stored safely for up to a year.

Do You Have A Recipe For Dill Pickle Relish Instead of Sweet Pickle Relish?

As much as we like this sweet relish, some people prefer the taste of dill pickle relish instead. Good news! We have shared our favorite Dill Pickle Relish in a previous article and have included it here as well.

How Can I Use Relish?

One of the most popular ways to use relish is as a condiment on hot dogs and hamburgers. However, may recipes also call for the use of relish including deviled eggs and potato salad. But did you know that a little dollop of relish in tuna salad and chicken salad will add a little zing to your recipe? And don’t forget to mix in a little with softened cream cheese for a light and refreshing dip that can be served with chips, crackers and more!

jar of sweet pickle relish
You can store the relish in the refrigerator or process it to be shelf-stable for up to a year.

Our Favorite Relish Recipes


Mary and Jim

Jim and Mary Competti have been writing gardening, DIY and recipe articles and books for over 15 years from their 46 acre Ohio farm. The two are frequent speakers on all things gardening and love to travel in their spare time.

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Yield: 3 pints

Sweet Pickle Relish Recipe

sweet pickle relish recipe

Sweet and tangy relish made from garden fresh cucumbers. Make it to eat fresh or can it for later use throughout the year.


  • 3 pounds Pickling Cucumbers or 4 pounds of Large Cucumbers
  • 1 Large Sweet Onion
  • 2 Tbsp Pickling or Kosher Salt
  • 3 cups White Vinegar
  • ¾ cup Sugar
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 teaspoons Dill Seed
  • 2 teaspoons Mustard Seed
  • 2 teaspoons Celery Seed
  • ½ teaspoon Turmeric


  1. Slice the cucumber lengthwise and remove the seeds with a spoon. Discard the seeds.
  2. Finely dice the cucumber and onion. **I use my food processor, being careful not to process too long.
  3. Place diced cucumbers and onions in a non-reactive pot and add the salt. Stir and let sit for 2 hours.
  4. Drain cucumber and onion mixture in a strainer until all the liquid is removed. You may have to press the mixture against the strainer to remove hidden moisture.
  5. In a medium pot add vinegar, sugar, garlic, dill, celery, and mustard seed, and tumeric. Bring to a boil.
  6. Add cucumber and onion mixture and return to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat.
  9. Cool and store in refrigerator for up to a month or process in water bath for 10 minutes.


Recipe courtesy of Old World Garden Farms

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 grams

Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g
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