Dill Pickle Relish Recipe: Simple and Classic

A dill pickle relish recipe that is not sweet, not oniony, and has a tad of sugar and heat.  Makes 8 half-pint jars.
5 from 2 votes

This recipe is for a simple dill pickle relish using fresh produce. It is perfect as a condiment, as an ingredient in cold salads like potato salad, or for mixing up a batch of tartar sauce. It is so much better than store-bought!

six half pint jars of dill pickle relish on wooden surface with white nite sunflowers in background

My grandmother was a big baker, quilter, canner, and all the rest. I did not appreciate it at the time because I thought I was going to be a lawyer. (I was, in fact, a secretary and then a housewife.) Anyway. Years after she died, I wished I had learned from her when I could. I do have one old gardening book of hers, out of which came a hand written recipe for relish.

It read:

Sweet relish, 6 pints

Prepare cucumbers and onions and cover with vinegar. Add sugar to taste.

Pour into hot jars and cool.

So that “recipe” was a no-go.

We love dill relish for homemade tartar sauce, as well as on hot dogs. I knew it would be a great use of our cucumbers, but I couldn’t find the right recipe. I searched high and low for a recipe without weird ingredients and that wasn’t too sweet or too oniony. It could not be found, so I made some simple tweaks to the Ball Blue Book recipe to suit my tastes.

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Dill Pickle Relish Ingredients

As you look through the ingredients, there are some things that may seem unnecessary. The turmeric seems strange, but I would not recommend leaving it out. I have done this recipe without it, and there is a difference in taste.

The sugar is not necessary for preservative purposes, but it does improve the flavor. This relish is not sweet, but the sugar definitely adds something extra.

The onions, jalapeño, and dill seed can be reduced if you do not like them. But the salt and vinegar cannot be altered as they are essential to preserving the relish.

pickling cucumbers, onions, jalapeños, and fresh dill from garden on wooden cutting board
your cucumbers don’t have to be perfect!

What kind of pickles to use for relish?

You can use pickling or regular cucumbers for this dill relish. Since you are chopping them up, the size does not matter. One consideration is that you will need to remove any seeds. Smaller pickling cucumbers will have few, if any seeds, so they will make things easier. If you don’t have any, regular cucumbers will work fine–you’ll just have to de-seed them.

One consideration is that many store bought cucumbers are waxed. This will leave unpleasant bits of skin in the finished relish. Use garden cucumbers or farmer’s market cucumbers to avoid this issue. If you have a garden, you know how cucumbers will take over and will produce more than you could possibly eat fresh. But if you don’t have a garden, don’t worry. Farmer’s markets are filled with cucumbers summer and fall for a very good price.

Step by step relish making

a collage of 10 images showing the steps given in the recipe.

Some General Canning Talk

If you are not familiar with safe canning practices, here is a good resource to get you started canning.

The Ball Blue Book of Preserving is another good starting point.

Intrigued by food preservation but canning is not your thing? Try my super sweet and candy-like dried strawberries.

If you like this recipe, print it out and make sure you have your free canning planner downloaded to keep it organized.

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Recipe and video

pickle relish in small mason jar on dish towel
5 from 2 votes

Dill Pickle Relish Recipe: Simple and Classic

Print Recipe
A dill pickle relish recipe that is not sweet, not oniony, and has a tad of sugar and heat.  Makes 8 half-pint jars.
Prep Time:1 hr
Cook Time:10 mins
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  • 8 pounds cucumbers
  • 1/2 cup pickling salt
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 quart water
  • 1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 1 finely diced jalapeno
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dill seed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill
  • 1 quart white vinegar


  • Chop cucumbers in a food processor by pulsing.  They should be finely chopped but not pureed.
  • Place them in a large bowl bowl and sprinkle with the salt and turmeric.  Pour water on top and stir. Allow to sit covered at room temperature for 1-2 hours.
  • Place chopped cucumbers in a cheesecloth lined bowl and rinse.   Lift cheesecloth and gently squeeze to drain. 
  • Place cucumbers, diced jalapeño, diced onion, vinegar, sugar, dill weed, and dill seed in a saucepan and simmer 10 minutes.
  • Ladle into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Place lids fingertip tight and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.
  • Allow to cool on counter until sealed.  Once cool, store in a dark place.


Small pickling cucumbers are best, but any unwaxed cucumber will do as long as the seeds are removed
The sugar, turmeric, dill seed, and/ or jalapeño can be left out or reduced and the recipe will still be safe.  But the flavor is best if you keep them all!


Calories: 19kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 142mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 73IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: preserving
Cuisine: American
Keyword: canning recipe for relish, dill pickle relish, pickle relish recipe
Servings: 36 servings
Calories: 19kcal
Author: Katie Shaw, Heart’s Content
Did you make this recipe?Tag me @heartscontentfarmhouse so I can see!

Click here to subscribe By on July 8th, 2019

24 thoughts on “Dill Pickle Relish Recipe: Simple and Classic”

  1. If using field cucumbers, is it 8lbs before removing the seeds or after?
    Do you deseed the jalapeño?
    Thanks! Looking forward to trying this!

  2. What is the shelf life? I have more cucumbers than I know what to do with, can’t wait to try this recipe! Thanks for all the details.

  3. 5 stars
    I have always made sweet relish in past but my mom mentioned she prefers dill and since I had an abundance of fresh dil decided to try this. It was great. Making my second batch today

  4. How long do you have to wait until the relish is ready to eat? I want to make sure that all the ingredients have time to come together before I open a jar. Can’t wait to try it!

  5. I have lots of recipes like the one you found! I need more information with my inexperienced self. So instead I Gave yours a try. Looking forward to tasting it. Thanks for the recipe.

  6. Hmmm…I never liked relish, because it was always sweet. I could see this being so handy though for tuna salad, potato salad etc. Thanks for the recipe!


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