This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for details.
You are about to make your favorite tuna salad or want to spice up your burger, and you find out you don’t have any pickle relish left! It’s a sad day for sure, but we can help!
Finding good substitutes for pickle relish can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. Here are a few tips to help you find the best substitution for your favorite condiment. Plus, we’ve got a few recipe suggestions that you can whip up right at home!
But before we dive in, let’s make sure we understand what pickle relish is and what it tastes like. I find that it’s super helpful to know how something tastes to make the best swap with other ingredients.
What Is Pickle Relish?
Pickle relish is a type of condiment typically made from chopped cucumbers, onions, and peppers that have been pickled in vinegar or brine.
It is commonly used as a topping on hot dogs or burgers but can also be used in recipes such as potato salad or tuna salad.
While the exact origins of pickled relish are unknown, it is thought to have originated in the United States, but pickling has been used by many cultures for centuries.
Today, pickled relish is widely available in supermarkets and can also be easily made at home.
What Does Pickle Relish Taste Like?
Key Characteristics To Look For
If you’ve never had pickle relish before, you might wonder what it tastes like. And this is super important if you are trying to find a good substitute.
The combination of ingredients makes for a tangy and slightly sweet condiment that pairs well with various dishes. It can take something and make it extraordinary! If you’re looking for a way to add some extra flavor to your favorite recipes, pickled relish is worth a try
- Slightly Sweet
Substitutes for Pickle Relish
Below are some of the closest matches I could make for pickle relish. I hope one of them works great for your recipe!
So, you don’t have pickled relish, but you have pickles! You are in luck! One of my favorite substitutes for pickle relish is chopped pickles. This will give you that same tangy flavor with a little crunch.
You can use dill pickles, sweet pickles, or even bread and butter pickles. If you want to get really creative, you could even mix a few different types of pickles together.
To use chopped pickles as a relish substitute, follow this simple recipe! It will work like a charm!
- 1 cup diced pickles
- 1/4 cup mustard
- 1 tablespoon pickle brine from the pickles
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried dill.
Combine everything above in a bowl and mix well!
Cucumbers with Dill
If you don’t have any pickles on hand but you do have some cucumbers, you can make this relish recipe ahead of time.
1 Cups diced cucumbers (remove skin if it is thick and waxy)
1.5 Teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 Cup distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1-1.5 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 Teaspoon of dried dill or a pinch of fresh
- Mix the cucumbers with the salt and strain them for about 30 minutes. This will release water from the cucumbers.
- While you are waiting, place a pot on the stove and add the vinegar and sugar together. Bring to a simmer so the sugar can fully dissolve. Make sure to stir.
- Place the cucumbers into a glass jar and add the hot vinegar mixture to it. Let it sit at room temperature until cooked.
- Once cooled, cover and place in the fridge overnight.
Green olives can also be used as a substitute for pickle relish. They have a tangy and slightly salty taste that can add a lot of flavors. And if you love olives, this could be a double win.
You can chop up some green olives and add them to your recipe or whip up an actual relish recipe. To use green olives as a relish substitute, follow this simple recipe! It will work like a charm… Spicy Olive Relish.
Chow chow relish is a type of pickled relish that is popular in the Southern United States. It is made from various vegetables, including cabbage, onions, bell peppers, and green tomatoes. The vegetables are chopped into small pieces and then pickled in vinegar and spices.
Chow chow relish has a tangy flavor that is perfect for adding to sandwiches and salads. It can also be used as a condiment for cooked meats or mixed into sauces and dressings. It would make an excellent substitute when you are out of pickle relish.
Chutney is a type of sauce or condiment that originates from India. It is typically made from a combination of fruits, vegetables, and spices, and it can be either sweet or savory. The exact ingredients vary depending on the region, but common fruits include mangoes, apricots, and even apples.
In terms of spices, chutney often includes ginger, cumin, and coriander. Chutney can be used as a dip for appetizers or as a relish for main dishes. It can also be used as a sandwich spread or a condiment for curries.
It can work really well as a replacement for pickle relish; just make sure flavor profiles complement each other.
Sauerkraut is a type of fermented cabbage that originates from Germany. It is made by chopping cabbage into thin strips and then submerging it in brine (water and salt). Over time, the cabbage ferments and breaks down, resulting in a sour, crunchy, and slightly tangy product.
Sauerkraut is often used as a condiment or side dish and can even be used as a substitute for pickle relish! If it’s not relishy (is that even a word??) enough for you, try out this recipe to make more your cup of tea: Sauerkraut Relish.
In addition to its delicious flavor, sauerkraut is also a good source of probiotics, which are beneficial for gut health. Major win!
FAQ and My Final Thoughts About Substitute for Pickle Relish
Here are some common questions that you might have when trying to find a sub!
Is pickle relish just chopped pickles?
A: While pickle relish does have chopped pickles as a base, it also contains additional ingredients like vinegar, sugar, and spices. The pickles are preserved using either sugar, vinegar, or a combination of both.
So, while finely chopped or minced pickles can be used as a substitute for relish, they are not the same thing.
Can I use sweet pickle relish as a substitute for dill pickle relish?
A: Yes, sweet pickle relish can be used as a substitute for dill pickle relish. However, keep in mind that sweet pickle relish is sweeter in taste, so it may change the flavor profile of your dish, which could make it even better or sadly not.
Are there any non-pickle substitutes for pickle relish?
A: Yes, if you’re not a fan of pickles or the pickle flavor you can use finely chopped bell peppers, cucumbers, celery, or onions as a substitute. These will give a similar crunch to your dishes.
If you don’t like pickle flavor, then my guess is you want to skip the tang. But if you just want a hint of it I would suggest a splash of apple cider vingear.
Can I substitute pickle relish in deviled eggs?
A: Absolutely! Some people prefer to use finely chopped pickles, capers, or even olives in their deviled eggs instead of pickle relish. You can also skip it all together. I make a bacon cheddar deviled eggs that doesn’t use pickled relish.
So, if you’re in a pinch and don’t have pickle relish on hand, any of the substitutes above will do just fine. Each one has its own unique flavor profile that can add something special to your recipe.
Whether you choose cucumbers with dill, green olives, chow chow, or sauerkraut, your dish will surely impress. Have fun experimenting until you find the perfect substitute for pickle relish! Happy Cooking!