This sweet cucumber relish recipe is perfect for barbecues and picnics, and it's so easy to make. Just a few simple ingredients come together to create a delicious sweet and tangy condiment that will elevate any meal!
🌟 Why this recipe works
Summertime is cucumber season, and there's nothing more refreshing than a crisp, cold cucumber salad mixed with this sweet cucumber relish!
Cucumbers are great for pickling, and it's such an easy recipe to make at home that you can use throughout the year.
Sweet pickle relish is the perfect condiment to spread on sandwiches, mixed in with pasta and salad recipes, or for BBQs.
Everyone loves the sweet and tangy relish because it enhances any meal and has a bright green color.
Homemade relish recipes are perfect for home cooks that have a canner on hand to process the jars to make them last longer. They stay fresh for well over a year unopened, and the taste is far superior to any store-bought pickle relish you can buy.
This recipe uses fresh cucumbers, onions, and green chopped peppers to give the relish a bright green color - and is flavored with aromatic spices of turmeric powder, mustard, and celery seed. Then the sweetness of the sugar and the tanginess of the vinegar balances all the flavors.
🍽 Key Ingredients
The key to making the best sweet cucumber relish is the quantity of sugar to vinegar and the freshness of the cucumbers and peppers.
Vegetables - To keep the tasty relish nice and green, were using fresh pickling cucumbers, green bell peppers, and sweet onions.
Salt - Pickling salt is specifically used in pickle recipes. You can also use canning salt, which is also used for pickle recipes.
Spices - To give the cucumber relish and aromatic, savory flavor, use mustard seed, celery seed, and turmeric powder.
Vinegar - The apple cider vinegar balances well with the cucumbers and sugar without overpowering.
Sugar - For pickling recipes, the best sugar to use is granulated white sugar because it dissolves easily without being grainy and doesn't disrupt the liquid clarity.
🔪 How to make sweet cucumber relish
Sweet cucumber relish is a wonderful recipe to make using a water bath canner. Once the vegetables have been soaked and boiled with spices, vinegar, and sugar, the mixture is then transferred to the canner for processing. Easy and absolutely delicious!
To make this sweet cucumber relish, you will need about 8 to 10 small to medium sized pickling cucumbers. ( I have a lot of cucumbers in this photo because I double this recipe!) Wash the cucumbers and cut off the blossom and stem ends.
Cut the cucumbers into chunks and chop them in a food processor, being careful not to over-process them.
Wash, seed, and chop 3 large green peppers into small pieces and do the same to about 5 medium sweet onions.
Combine all the chopped vegetables in a large bowl and sprinkle them with ½ cup pickling salt. Stir the mixture to evenly distribute the salt and add enough cold water to cover the vegetables. Cover and allow to stand at room temperature for 2 hours. Transfer the mixture to a colander set in the sink, rinse with cold water and allow to drain.
Meanwhile, combine 3 cups sugar and 2 cups cider vinegar in a heavy stainless steel or nonstick pot. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add 1 tablespoon mustard seeds, 2 teaspoons celery seeds, and 1 teaspoon ground turmeric to the vinegar solution along with the chopped vegetables. Return to boiling then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Ladle the hot relish into hot, sterilized pint jars, leaving a ½ inch headspace. Wipe jar rims and add lids and screw bands.
At this point, you can store the jars of relish in the refrigerator after the jars have cooled and use the relish within a few weeks. But to truly preserve the fresh taste of summer, I process the jars using a water-bath method for 10 minutes.
If you have an instant pot, check out Instant Pot canning basics for an in-depth guide to water-bath and steam canning.
This relish is the perfect balance between sweet and tangy and tastes superb on hot dogs and brats! It also is a great addition to potato or egg salad.
💭 Cooking Tips
Allow the flavors to infuse before eating
Let the relish sit in the fridge or cupboard for 4 to 6 weeks before consuming for the flavors to enhance.
This recipe produces a chunky cucumber relish, but if you want your cucumber relish to be smoother, use a food processor to blend the vegetables before soaking.
Don't try to squeeze them in the canner.
The sweet pickle relish will fill roughly 10 jars, and depending on the size of your canner, you will need to process them in two batches.
📖 Recipe Variations
You can add other ingredients to this sweet cucumber relish recipe, like garden veggies, or make it spicier.
Spicy cucumber relish
If you like your relish more on the spicy side than the sweet, add 1 or 2 chopped jalapenos to the vegetable mixture, then let them soak with the salt before draining and boiling. Add a teaspoon of chili powder with the other spices for an extra spice kick.
Cucumber relish with cauliflower
Cauliflower gives this relish a crunchier texture that blends well with the soft cucumbers. Chop 1 cauliflower head and soak it with the vegetable mixture.
Roasted bell pepper cucumber relish
Give the sweet pickle relish a delicious smokiness by charring the onion and green bell peppers under the broiler for 5 minutes or on the BBQ before chopping them.
🥗 What to serve with
Sweet cucumber relish has many flavors that pair well with lots of delicious main courses and side dishes.
Sweet and tangy relish is perfect for mixing into various salads to enhance the flavors like potato salad, macaroni salad, and creamy cucumber salad.
You can also spread this sweet pickle relish on sandwiches like cheese & ham, BLT, and tuna & egg salad. Whatever you love between two slices of bread, add some relish to elevate the flavors.
There's nothing easy and better-tasting than a juicy meatloaf with succulent ground beef when it comes to meat recipes. This recipe is slightly different than most, but it is packed with flavor and pairs well with a spoonful of sweet cucumber relish on top.
🙋 Frequently Asked Questions
How long does unprocessed cucumber relish last?
Unprocessed cucumber relish will last up to a month refrigerated. Although, it's highly recommended to process the jars in a water bath canner to maximize the shelf life to a year.
Is there a difference between pickling cucumbers and regular cucumbers?
Pickling cukes have thicker skins than regular salad cucumbers and make for a better relish because they are bred specially for pickling. If you chop regular cucumbers too fine, they turn too much when pickled.
Sweet cucumber relish is excellent for eating throughout the year using the water bath canner method and stores well in the fridge or at room temperature.
Room temperature - You can store the jars of relish in a cupboard unopened for up to a year if properly sealed, and once it's open, transfer the jar to the fridge and consume within a month.
Refrigerated - Store the processed jars in the fridge for 12 to 18 months unopened. Once the jar is open, consume within a month.
🍳 Related Recipes
If you like this sweet cucumber relish recipe, check out my fantastic related canning recipes.
👪 Serving Size
This sweet cucumber relish recipe will produce enough mixture to fill approximately 10 half-pint jars. If you want to scale the recipe, you will need to process them in 3 to 4 batches, depending on the size of your canner.
Making relish recipes is so easy with a canner, and they are great for eating throughout the year with your favorite meals. Homemade relish is budget-friendly and super delicious, so give it a try and let me know what you think!
Sweet Cucumber Relish Recipe
- Combines chopped cucumbers, onions, and peppers in a large bowl.
- Sprinkle with pickling salt and stir to distribute the salt throughout the mixture.
- Add enough cold water to cover the vegetables
- Cover and allow to stand for 2 hours at room temperature.
- Transfer vegetables to a colander set in the sink.
- Rinse with cold water and allow to drain.
- In a large stainless-steel or nonsitck pot, combine sugar and vinegar.
- Heat to boiling, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
- Add the mustard seeds, celery seeds, and turmeric to the solution along with the chopped vegetables.
- Return to boiling, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Ladle the hot relish into hot, sterilized canning jars, leafing a ½ inch headspace.
- Wipe the rims, add the lids and screw bands.
- Process the filled jars in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes.
- Remove the jars from the canner, place on a dry towel, and allow to cool overnight.