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29 July 2015

This very simple recipe for pickled pepper relish is great for grilling food, but also for preserving your abundant pepper harvest. Use this recipe method with any type of chili pepper.

This very simple recipe for pickled pepper relish is great for any type of food you can prepare on the grill. We’re talking steaks, chicken breasts, burgers, brats, even the good old hot dog.

It’s one of those wonder condiments that goes with so many dishes. Extra bonus – it is also a GREAT way to preserve your abundant pepper harvest.

Loaded with wonderful chili peppers, a bit of onion and garlic, it packs in the flavor.

Hot Pepper Relish

Make Relish to Preserve Your Peppers

Seriously, if your garden is practically exploding with chili peppers like mine does every year, consider the humble relish. The vinegar not only makes the relish delicious and somewhat sweet, it acts as a preservative, letting you keep your peppers around longer so you can enjoy them.

You can realistically use this recipe on ANY type of chili pepper.

Just be sure to chop them up to consistent sizes and chunks. If you’re working with bell peppers and ghost peppers, for example, those two peppers have very different thickness of their pepper walls.

Bells are meatier and thicker, where ghost peppers are thinner. Chop them up accordingly so the bites are fairly consistent throughout.

Hot Pepper Relish

Adjusting the Heat Factor

If you’re looking for a truly HOT pepper relish, absolutely consider some of the superhot chili peppers. You have your choice with Morugas, 7-Pots, scorpions, bhut jolokias, though you really don’t have to go THAT hot.

You can always use some in the upper range of the heat scale, like the wonderful habanero pepper, maybe red savinas, even on down to cayenne, red jalapenos, red serranos.

Notice a RED theme here?

Use Colorful Peppers for a Nice Looking Relish

I LOVE a colorful pepper relish recipe! Yellow and orange are always welcomed colors, as is green, but green isn’t quite as enticing as a brightly colored pepper relish.

But the choice is yours!! As mentioned, you can use this hot pepper relish recipe technique with ANY type of pepper, regardless of the color.

How Do You Use Chili Pepper Relish?

Use a good hot pepper relish as you would any other condiment. Top your burgers and brats right off the grill for a tangy flavor addition. Spoon it over grilled chicken or pork for an extra tasty component.

Serve it at the table with brunch to scoop over toasts. You can also swirl it into soups and stews to bring on the zest.

Hot Pepper Relish

Enjoy! It’s time to make the relish!

Check Out These Other Popular Pepper Relish Recipes

If you try this recipe, please let us know! Leave a comment, rate it and tag a photo #ChiliPepperMadness on Instagram so we can take a look. I always love to see all of your spicy inspirations. Thanks! — Mike H.

Hot Pepper Relish - Recipe
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4.91 from 22 votes

Hot Pepper Relish Recipe

This very simple recipe for pickled pepper relish is great for grilling food, but also for preserving your abundant pepper harvest. Use this recipe method with any type of chili pepper.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 64
Calories: 9kcal


  • 3 cups chopped hot chili peppers – You can use a mix of peppers if you’d like anywhere from mild bells to superhots like Morugas or Scorpions, though I like to keep the thickness of the peppers about the same so the overall consistency is even. Lean toward hotter peppers. For this, I used some sweet Italian peppers but included a couple ghost peppers.
  • 3/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/2 small onion chopped
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard seed
  • Salt to taste


  • Add all ingredients to a large pan and heat to medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a light boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer about 25-30 minutes, or until liquid is reduced and absorbed into the mixture.
  • Add to a jar and allow to cool.
  • Serve!


Makes about 4 cups.
Heat Factor: HOT, though you can incorporate milder peppers, if desired.


Calories: 9kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Potassium: 17mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 220IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 0.1mg



  1. Laura Coons

    5 stars
    Love this recipe, so easy, used red sweet peppers a d a ghost pepper and Carolina reaper, great flavor. Tossed brussel sprouts with it a d baked in the oven, was amazing!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Great! Thanks, Laura! Got some heat there with the Reaper! You are a true chilihead.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Rick, yes, though check the acidity. A pH of 3.5 or lower is best for home canning with the water bath method. Or, you can pressure can.

  2. I am going to be using red hot cherry peppers (I may add in some jalapeños) 1. Do you think that would be way too spicy using 2 pretty spicy types of peppers? And 2. Would you deseed and remove the ribs? Usually in hot pepper relish you see seeds…so maybe if I am supposed to deseed them, should I keep just a couple of the seeds in?

    Thanks in advance! I can’t wait to make this tonight

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Amy, you’d get a good level of heat, though it will likely tamp down a bit from the other ingredients. I’m not sure of your heat preference, though. If you’re concerned, you might use only one hot cherry and use sweet peppers for the remainder. You don’t have to remove the seeds and innards if you don’t want to. Some people prefer it. Coring them out will remove much of the heat. Enjoy!

  3. Scott Crook

    5 stars
    It came out excellent. I removed the seeds from all my peppers.
    I added 1 whole Sweet Onion.
    5 cloves of Garlic
    3 tsp. Mustard seed
    3 Red Bell pepper
    2 Jalapeño
    6 Orange Thai Chiles (They start our yellow and turn orange at the end)
    8 Red Thai Chiles Small
    6 Large Red Thai Chilies
    7 Red Torro Di Rossi
    14 Maules Red Hot
    1 tsp. Salt.
    It has incredible flavor and not super hot.

  4. 5 stars
    This is delicious! Used Italian long hots, jalepenos, and grape tomatoes from the garden.

    How long will this keep in the fridge?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Very nice! Relishes can last for months because of the vinegar content. Keep it sealed and refrigerated. Enjoy!!

  5. Susan Longley

    This is a beautiful relish. I used greens, reds, yellows, oranges. There’s 6 different kinds in mine! Can’t wait to try. Well, I can’t wait for my husband to try it!

  6. Debra Cartier

    5 stars
    First time ever making relish with haberneros from garden. I snipped a bit for a taste of the heat and wow… they were hot!! I misjudged how many peppers I needed for 3 cups. I ended up with 8 cups of green & red peppers, along with 3/4 c of the kickers. I tripled the recipe. Followed it exactly except I used mustard powder, couldn’t find mustard seed. The only thing I did wrong was put the lid on during simmer, so I had quite a bit of juice after 25 minutes. I thicken the mixture with 2 tbsp of cornstarch. All set.
    Thank you for posting this easy recipe. Looking forward the plentiful peppers!

  7. Bruce Alan Morris

    5 stars
    Made this just like the directions, but added a habenero, and 1 tsp salt. I want to make more with a little less sugar and a lil more salt. Will try to add some of this to Velveeta / Rotel cheese dip, and some brawts. It taste good right out the pot.

  8. 5 stars
    I had to make a couple minor substitutions to make this with what I had at home, so I used apple cider vinegar and substituted turmeric for the mustard. I had lots of miscellaneous hot and less hot peppers in the garden and I threw them all in the food processor together with some seeds. This is so good. I will make it many more times! And I was so happy to use so much of my bountiful pepper harvest!

  9. This is my 2nd year attempting the hot pepper relish and its so good! Question…what does the mustard seed add to it? Also, i was thinking of adding a little fruit to kinda change it up a bit. Any suggestions?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Jennifer, mustard seeds do add a flavor element, but you can definitely add other ingredients, such as fruit, to your preference. Let me know how it turns out for you.

  10. Virginia MILANO

    5 stars
    You had me at “A VERY SIMPLE RECIPE”! My husband planted so many hot peppers, and he is the only one who eats them, but I just can’t waste them. I followed your recipe using hot peppers and then I used bell peppers for a sweet relish. My husband loves it. This year he’s planting even more peppers because his friends also love this relish. So easy. So good. So grateful you added this recipe online. Looks like I’ll be making lots more relish this year. Thank you!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Excellent! So happy to hear! Thanks, Virginia. I’m very happy you’ve enjoyed the relish. Take care.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Oroku, it is after chopping. 3 cups chopped peppers. Let me know how it turns out for you.

  11. Just made it and yummmm – I can use this a dozen ways!! Thanks for inspiring me to use that cup of little Thai peppers lingering in the fridge. Not supposed to have sugar so I added one TBS of Mirin instead. (sweet Japanese rice wine vinegar). Also reduced the onion by half but added 1/2 red pepper. It’s one hot, sour and slightly sweet little bomb.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Outstanding, Emma! I appreciate the comments. And the rating below! Thanks!

  12. Just tasted some I made earlier so delicious I used a mixture of scotch bonnet. habanero ,and hot finger chillies . It was so easy to make .
    Jow would you recommend storing .

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Sarah. Glad you enjoyed it. I usually just keep mine in a sealed container in the refrigerator. It should last a good few weeks that way because of the vinegar content.

      1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

        Sue, I usually do, but you can remove them if you’d like. Let me know how it turns out for you.

  13. 5 stars
    Loved the recipe, very simple to follow. I used a mix of habanero and Thai hot chilli peppers which were a dark green, I also added some fresh lemon juice for more acid and a carrot for some more color, came out awesome.

  14. 5 stars
    Great recipe we love it! The only thing I added was a quarter cup of lemon juice. FANTASTICO!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Excellent, Jim! Nice touch with the lemon juice! Enjoy!!!

  15. 5 stars
    Love this! My dad is a pepper guy, and I… am not. However, I made this (a milder version) for some cheesesteaks and it was so good! I decided my dad would love it so he gave me a gallon bag of jalapenos to use. He LOVED it. Now… I have been given 2-3 gallons of varying garden peppers to make. Thank you for the simple and delicious recipe.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Excellent, T! Super happy your Dad loves it! Great news! I appreciate your letting me know about it.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Mary, if you’d like to can this, check the pH first. It is best to be 3.5 or below for home canning. If it is not, add a bit of vinegar or lemon juice to lower the pH, then proceed with canning. Or use a pressure canner. Let me know how it goes.

  16. marshall reagan

    I am looking for a recipe to can pimento peppers . the only one I could find was in litres & grams etc.

    1. All you need to do is google metric conversion rates,problem solved.

      All you need to do is google metric conversion rates,problem solved.

  17. Do you have a cherry pepper hoagie spread recipe ? I don’t want anything sweet. I just want the peppers and vinegar

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Emily, not exactly that, but you CAN use this exact recipe and omit the sugar. No sweet needed if you prefer. Let me know how it turns out for you.

  18. Any tips on the ratio’s of peppers? ( Like 1 ghost, 2 habanero,…)
    I want to make a super hot relish, and a milder version.
    Thanks a lot in advance. This site is super!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Rob, it really would depend on your heat tolerance. You could use all ghost peppers, but that might be too hot for some. If you’re not sure and don’t want to make it TOO hot, go with a single ghost pepper (or hotter) and balance it out with milder peppers. If you eat superhots all the time, no worries. Go for it! I hope this helps. Let me know how the relish turns out. Enjoy!

  19. 5 stars
    Thank you for the recipe.
    My family really enjoyed it.
    I used a variety of peppers – some hot, some mild. It has a great taste and was easy to make.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Cindy. It’s perfect with a good variety of peppers. I love it! Glad you enjoyed it.

  20. 4 stars
    Thanks for the inspiration – I made some changes, and used “wildfire” chili which I had way too much of (just basic green/red chili):

    -First, I caramelized the onion – the onion needs some time for the sweetness to come out. I used some red onion and white onion, and I cooked it with the yellow mustard seeds in a small amount of good olive oil.
    -Then, I added the rough chopped chili to the caramelized onion, along with a touch of salt. Again, the chili needs some time for the sugars to really come out of it, and the flavour to develop. I added some Manuka honey (which I had lying around) and some brown sugar.
    -Once the chili was soft, I added lemon zest, and a couple of low acid tomatoes – I let these cook down
    -Once the whole mixture is looking nice and soft and caramelized, I added the vinegar, along with the juice of a lemon.
    -I let all this slowly simmer and reduce, and then jarred it!

    Cheers 🙂

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Sounds wonderful, Xander! Nice elaboration!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      James, yes, you can freeze relish. Vacuum sealing is best, but any freezer container will do. Let me know how it turns out for you. Freezing may affect the texture a bit, but it will be still good.

        1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

          Kathy, relish is pretty acidic from the vinegar, so should easily last a few months.

  21. 5 stars
    Wickles Hot Pepper Relish is Right Good … Ain’t Got Nothing on This … Used extra 1/4 cup of all Splenda for Sugar to make it Low Carb All Splenda, Extra 25 minutes of simmer

  22. Tonia Yaegle

    4 stars
    I have a question. while this is hot in the pan… can I can it ? with a 10 or 15 minute hot bath ?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Tonia, yes, you can process this hot pepper relish. Check the acidity, however. It should be 4.0 or below for home jarring. Otherwise you should use a pressure canner.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Sean, the vinegar acts as a preservative, so if you keep it sealed and in the fridge, it will last several weeks or longer.

  23. How much relish does it make?

    REPLY: Carol, this will yield about 4 cups. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  24. 5 stars
    I have peppers coming out my ears! Came online looking for a recipe similar to “Tuong Ot Toi VietNam Chili Garlic Sauce” and found this one. Looks awesome! Any suggestions for canning this recipe?

    REPLY: Heather, that’s great. Check out the preserving section on our site. I hope this helps! — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  25. if storing would i add oil

    REPLY: Mark, no, the acidity should be low enough for processing. No real need to add in oil. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  26. 5 stars
    Thanks for this. We grow padrón peppers, and if you go on vacation and leave them on the plant they get very hot. But they make a delicious relish with this recipe. Seed them first and the relish is not too hot,but hot enough. I cut the recipe in thirds to try it out and used maybe 1 1/2t salt. Thanks again. It’s tailor made for a spread with beef, like a chimichurri.

  27. parker boerner

    can you freeze it?

    REPLY: Parker, yes, you can, though I think it would get pretty soft once thawed. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  28. 5 stars
    Holy moly this is good. I used a combination of habenaro,red thai chill hot purple and long red sweet. Had to cook it much longer than 30 minutes but I think it was because I used medium onion.

  29. Divine, thank you, have been looking for a recipe like this for ages, I think I caramelised the sugar too much but it’s still amazing|

  30. 5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious. I also added some thawed frozen mango pieces to help sweeten and flavor the relish. I did reduce the sugar as a result. Thanks for the recipe.

  31. If stored in a sealed container in the fridge, this can easily last a month or longer, because of the vinegar, though if you preserve it via proper canning or jarring methods, with a waterbath and sterilized jars that are sealed, it can last as long as any canned goods.

  32. Looks great. How would you suggest perserving to carry through the winter? Bought a similar item from American Spoon, their “Chili Jam”, great taste, but $13 for a small 8 ounce jar! Joe, [email protected]

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      5 stars
      Joe, you can swirl it into soups, stews or chilis for some extra flavor. So many ways!

  33. Hi there…could I just ask how long this sauce will need if jarred properly ?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      David, if you did a hot water bath and jarred it, it would last a good year or longer. Once it is opened, though, a couple months in the fridge, covered.

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