This easy hot pepper relish recipe is a wonder condiment, great for preserving your abundant pepper harvest. Use this recipe method with any type of chili pepper.
This very simple pickled pepper relish recipe 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.
Make Relish to Preserve Your Peppers
Seriously, if your garden is practically exploding with chili peppers like mine does every year, consider the humble pepper 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.
Let's talk about how to make hot pepper relish, shall we?
Hot Pepper Relish Ingredients
- 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 for many batches. Today I've used serrano peppers, Fresno peppers and milder Anaheim peppers for body and flavor.
- Vinegar. I use white wine vinegar usually, though any good vinegar will do.
- Sugar. For sweetness. Honey is a nice substitute.
- Other Ingredients. Onion, garlic, mustard seeds and salt. These all add body and flavor.
How to Make Hot Pepper Relish - the Recipe Method
Boil the Ingredients. Add all ingredients to a large pan - vinegar and sugar, chili peppers and onion, garlic, mustard seed, salt - and heat to medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil.
Simmer the Relish. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 25 to 30 minutes, or until liquid is reduced and absorbed into the mixture. It make take only 15 minutes to 20 minutes, so just keep an eye on it as the pepper mixture simmers.
Cool the Pepper Relish. Add to a jar and allow to cool.
Boom! Done! Easy enough, isn't it? Your delicious pepper relish is ready to enjoy. How are you going to use yours?
Recipe Tips and Notes
- 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 and red peppers are awesome, 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.
- Pepper Consistency. You can chop your peppers to make them chunkier if you prefer a chunkier relish, or use a food processor to process them finely. The choice is yours, but I find the best results when making all of the peppers a uniform consistency.
- Seeds or No Seeds? You can remove the seeds from your peppers if you wish, but it is not necessary. Contrary to some belief, chili pepper heat is not in the seeds, but in the whitish pithy interior of the peppers. So, if you prefer to reduce the heat, core out the pepper insides before using. The seeds are edible and fine to use, though some dislike their consistency.
- Preserving. Pepper relish will last a long time in the refrigerator properly sealed because of the acidity from the vinegar. This is a good recipe for water bath canning as well, if you'd like to store the hot pepper relish longer term in a pantry.
How Do You Use 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. I love sweet and spicy pepper relish anytime.
Enjoy! It's time to make the relish!
Check Out These Other Popular Pepper Relish Recipes
- Quick Tomato-Pepper Relish
- Sweet Pepper Relish
- Chile-Cucumber Chow Chow
- Green Tomato Relish
- Green Tomato Chutney
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
- 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.
NOTE: This recipe was updated on 5/21/21 to include new information, photos and video. It was originally published on 7/29/2015.