Homemade Hot Dog Relish Recipe

Whether or not hot dogs are sandwiches, we love them a lot, not only because they taste exactly like summer, baseball games, and country fairs, but also because notwithstanding their smoky spiciness, hot dogs are a beautiful blank canvas on which to paint your culinary creativity in the form of different breads and toppings. And one of those toppings is relish, in various forms.

"Relish is a chunky cucumber-based condiment," says private practice registered dietitian and recipe developer Kristen Carli. That makes it a vegetable dish in addition to a condiment. (Chalk up one for good health!) It's also way easier to prepare in the comfort of your own home than you might have thought. For this "classic hot dog relish," as Carli refers to it as, your food processor is going to do most of the work for you. As an added bonus, if you store your leftovers in sterilized jars, Carli says this relish can keep for up to three months in the fridge.

Gather your ingredients to prepare homemade hot dog relish

For Carli's classic hot dog relish, you'll need to round up a bunch of vegetables, a few spices, some sugar, and vinegar. Specifically, the vegetables you'll need are one onion, three green bell peppers, and two cucumbers — all roughly chopped (meaning, however you want to chop them is fine, as long as you make them into pieces small enough for your food processor to handle). The spices you'll need include mustard seeds (½ tablespoon), celery salt (1 teaspoon), and turmeric (½ teaspoon). And the whole thing comes together with a mildly sweet and sour dressing comprised of ½ cup of sugar and 1 cup of white wine vinegar (plus ½ cup of water). You'll also need your food processor and a sprinkling of salt.

Prep your peppers, cucumbers, and onions

As promised, your food processor is going to do most of the heavy lifting in this recipe for homemade hot dog relish. In fact, the cucumbers don't need to be peeled, and it's not necessary to scoop out the seeds in the middle, Carli notes. The seeds make the mixture watery, but you're going to drain off that water, anyway. For the peppers, you will want to remove the seeds, but that's easy to do. Simply cut the peppers in half, and run them under water. Onions are easy to purchase pre-chopped, but if you'd like to do it yourself, remember that you only have to do so roughly so they'll fit into your food processor.

Use your food processor to mince the vegetables

Place your roughly chopped peppers, cucumbers, and onions into your food processor with the regular chopping blade. Process until the vegetables are minced. As you can see in the photo on the left, there will be a lot of liquid. You'll want to drain off all that liquid using a colander propped up in your sink, so that when you transfer the minced veggies into a bowl, they'll look more like the photo on the right. Cover the bowl, and allow it to rest overnight in the fridge, during which time the salt will pull the remainder of the liquid out of the vegetables via osmosis.

Give your homemade relish another chance to drain while you mix up the dressing

Assuming you've allowed your minced peppers, cucumbers, and onions to rest overnight, in the morning, they should have released quite a bit more additional water into the bowl. You'll want to drain that again using your colander propped up in your sink. 

While that's going on, take out a small bowl, and use it to mix up the mustard seed, celery salt, turmeric, sugar, vinegar, and water to form a flavorful dressing for your relish. Then, set the dressing aside as you turn to the next step.

Mix the dressing into the veggies, and boil for 10 minutes

Transfer the contents of your colander into a large pot on the stove. Pour the dressing you just made into the pot. Turn the burner under the pot to high, and allow the mixture to come to a boil. When it does, lower the heat slightly, and allow the mixture to boil for 10 minutes. At that point, remove the pot from the heat, and allow it to cool before serving. Leftovers can be stored for up to three months as long as you store them in sterilized jars.

Homemade Hot Dog Relish Recipe
5 from 44 ratings
Homemade hot dog relish is way easier to prepare in the comfort of your own home than you might have thought.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Homemade hot dog relish in a jar
Total time: 20 minutes
  • 3 green bell peppers, roughly chopped
  • 2 cucumbers, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • ½ tablespoon mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  1. Place the roughly chopped bell peppers, cucumbers, and onions into a food processor. Process until minced.
  2. Drain, and transfer to a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt, cover, and rest overnight in the fridge.
  3. In the morning, drain the veggie mixture once again.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the mustard seed, celery salt, turmeric, sugar, white wine vinegar, and water to make the relish dressing.
  5. Transfer the veggie mixture into a large pot on the stove.
  6. Add the relish dressing to the pot. Heat over a high flame to boiling, then lower the heat, and allow to boil for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from the heat, and allow the relish to cool before serving.
Calories per Serving 58
Total Fat 0.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 14.1 g
Dietary Fiber 0.5 g
Total Sugars 12.9 g
Sodium 1.6 mg
Protein 0.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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