Dill Pickle Relish Recipe: Simple and Classic

How to make a simple dill pickle relish using fresh produce. It is so much better than store-bought!

Waterbath canning recipes for cucumbers always come in handy because you will often have way more in the garden than you can possibly eat fresh. This relish will make quick work of a lot of cucumbers.

home canned dill relish on wooden board

The Best Dill Relish Recipe + How to Can It

A dill pickle relish recipe that is not sweet, not oniony, and has a tad of sugar and heat.  Makes 6-8 half-pint jars.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Serving Size 36 servings


  • 8 pounds cucumbers about 16 medium cucuumbers
  • ½ cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 medium diced jalapeno
  • ½ cup pickling salt
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dill seed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill


  • Prep the veggies. Peel the cucumbers (fully or halfway) and remove the seedy center. Roughly chop them into quarters or eighths. Place them in a food processor and pulse to chop. You want them chopped but not pureed. Depending on the size of your food processor, you may want to work in many batches. (You can also dice the onion and jalapeno now, then cover them separately and set them aside so you don't need to take o ut your cutting board later.)
    chopping cucumbers in food processor
  • Soak cucumbers in salt and turmeric. Place the cucumbers in a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt and turmeric.  Pour the water on top and stir. Allow the mixture to sit, covered, at room temperature for 1-2 hours.
  • Rinse and drain. Place chopped cucumbers in a cheesecloth lined bowl and rinse.   Lift the cheesecloth and gently squeeze to drain.  You can also leave this in the fridge overnight and continue in the morning.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and cook. Place the cucumbers, diced jalapeño, diced onion, vinegar, sugar, dill weed, and dill seed in a saucepan and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the mixture has thickened slightly and has changed from green to yellow-green.
    saucepan of cooked relish
  • Process in waterbath canner. Ladle hot relish into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Twist lids fingertip tight and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. Cool until sealed and store in a dark place for up to 1 year.


Small pickling cucumbers are best, but any unwaxed cucumber will do as long as the seeds are removed.
The size of cucumbers as their size varies wildly.   You won’t regret having a kitchen scale for canning! 
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

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 handwritten 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.

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.

Relish Making Tips

  • Think about when you want to prep your canner, jars, and lids in this recipe. There are a few steps that make good stopping points, but once you add the final ingredients, you’ll want all your canning supplies ready to go while the relish is hot
  • You can easily cut this recipe in half and make about 5 half-pints, which is plenty for most people.
  • If you don’t want to waterbath can this recipe, you don’t have to! It actually freezes very well. But don’t be intimidated by canning. You must be safe and careful, but it’s not rocket science.
  • If you are not familiar with safe canning practices, The Ball Blue Book of Preserving is a good starting point.

You’ll need the following for this simple canning recipe:

cucumbers, pickles, dill, vinegar, salt, and turmeric on wooden board
  • cucumbers
  • pickling salt
  • turmeric
  •  water
  • white vinegar
  • yellow onion 
  • jalapeno 
  • sugar
  • dill seed
  • fresh dill
  • large water bath canner
  • pint or half-pint jars
  • new lids
  • canning funnel
  • small saucepan

A Pretty Recipe for You

Click on the image below, and you can print this version to put in your canning binder.

How to Store It

Like most home-canned recipes, this will keep well in a cool, dark place for a year


What kind of cucumbers are best for homemade 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. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s unwaxed.

Do you need pickling salt for relish?

Pickling salt doesn’t have any anti-caking chemicals that can cause cloudiness. So it’s not essential, but it will give you a nicer-looking finished product.

Can I leave out the hot pepper or the onion?

The onions, jalapeño, and dill seed can be reduced if you do not like them.

Can I reduce the vinegar in relish?

No, the salt and vinegar cannot be altered as they are essential to preserving the relish.

How to Use Up Dill Relish

  • Sandwich spread: Use dill relish as a spread on sandwiches or burgers.
  • Hot dogs: Add it on top of hot dogs.
  • Tuna salad: Mix it into tuna salad for extra flavor.
  • Potato salad: Add it to potato salad to give it a tangy taste.
  • Egg salad: Stir it into egg salad.
  • Salad dressing: Mix it into a simple vinaigrette.
  • Deviled eggs: Use it in the filling for deviled eggs.
  • Meatloaf: Add it to meatloaf mixture for moisture and flavor.
  • Baked fish: Spread some on top of fish before baking.
  • Tartar sauce: Mix with mayonnaise to make tartar sauce for fish
  • Pasta salad: Mix it into a cold pasta salad.
  • Coleslaw: Blend it into coleslaw.
  • Chicken salad: Add to chicken salad mix.

You can use sweet relish for any of these too!

More Recipes for Cucumber Season

When cucumbers are ready to be picked, they’re ready. Use them up!

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

Enjoy this relish recipe!

Dill Pickle Relish Recipe:  Simple and Classic

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Recipe Rating


  1. I was wondering if it’s necessary to leave the cucumbers over night or can I just process them the same day.
    Looks delicious!

  2. 5 stars
    This is my go-to recipe for dill relish! — family and friends love it; makes great gifts; I add extra jalapenos (total of 2 or 3 depending on the size); a little zing but not too much. This relish is terrific in egg salad, tuna salad.

  3. Just saw the answer to my question about number of cucs! Impossible! I weighted on my bathroom scale so close enough looking forward to trying this.

  4. I have a question that was asked but not answered also. I do not have a scale either. Approximately how many cucs in 8 lbs. or how many cups of the finished chopped cucs should there be? Would love to try this recipe.

    1. Approx 30-40 cucumbers. Depending on size (4-5″). I always prepare an extra jar or two just in case. Since you’re making relish you can get away with using some larger cucumbers that you found that have been hiding on the vine. 🙂