Forget everything you know about pickled relish! This jalapeño relish is fresh, bright and spicy, but not too spicy. It’s unsweetened, but the apple cider vinegar does tame the jalapeño heat a bit. This relish is for more than sandwiches and hot dogs—think nachos, quesadillas, tacos and burritos, too.
Jalapeño relish will liven up your Fourth of July leftovers, and it makes staples like scrambled eggs and beans and rice much more exciting. Basically, anywhere you would add pickled jalapeños, you can use this homemade relish instead.
If you’ve ever tried pickling your own jalapeños, you know that hot vinegar combined with spicy peppers makes you cough and fills the kitchen with the undesirable fragrance of vinegar.
So, this relish is the perfect homemade alternative to pickled jalapeños. This no-cook, hands-off version is irresistible, and keeps well in the refrigerator for a week or two. Are you as excited about this as I am?
This “relish” idea came from a Mexican restaurant far from Mexico, near Glacier National Park in Montana. My family and I found ourselves there after a big hike and we were famished. The place was packed, which was a good sign. But the bartender gave me a funny look for requesting a glass with a salted rim for my Mexican beer, which was a bad sign.
After surveying the tables around me and reviewing the vegetarian options on the menu, I settled on the vegetarian nachos. To my delight, I found their “jalapeño purée” nestled between the chips and the cheese, and I loved it. So much so that I asked if we could eat there again the next night. Options were limited, and I was obsessed with the jalapeño purée!
“Purée” is not a Spanish word and the sauce wasn’t completely smooth, anyway. I was almost tempted to call this stuff “chunky hot sauce” (ew). Relish seemed like the best descriptor, since the jalapeños are chopped up very small in the food processor.
This jalapeño relish is perfect for your jalapeño garden surplus, and it’s super simple to make. I’ve gone through a whole jar myself within a week—I like it that much.
Please let me know how you like this recipe in the comments! I’m excited to hear how you put this fresh and spicy relish to use.
Fresh Jalapeño Relish
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes (plus 1 hour chill time)
- Yield: 2 cups
- Category: Sauce, dip
- Method: Food processor
- Cuisine: Mexican
If you love pickled jalapeños, this easy homemade jalapeño relish is for you! Dollop this versatile sauce onto sandwiches or hot dogs, nachos, eggs, rice and beans, etc. Recipe yields about 16 ounces, so it’s perfect for a pint-sized mason jar.
- 1 pound fresh jalapeños
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
- To prepare the jalapeños (wear food-safe gloves if you have them or just try to avoid skin contact with the cut jalapeños): Cut off the tops of the jalapeños and discard the stem ends. Halve the peppers lengthwise, then remove the seeds and membranes (reserve the seeds to add later if your relish isn’t spicy enough). Set aside.
- Place the garlic in your food processor, and process until the garlic is chopped into small pieces, scraping down the sides as necessary. This should just take about 10 seconds.
- Place the jalapeños in the food processor. Process until the jalapeños are chopped into a teeny tiny pieces, but stop before they are a wet purée. Stir in the apple cider vinegar and salt. Taste, and if it’s not spicy enough for your liking, stir in some of the reserved jalapeño seeds.
- Transfer the mixture to a pint-sized mason jar and chill for at least 1 hour. Serve as desired. Store leftover relish in the refrigerator, covered, for 1 to 2 weeks (it tastes best fresh).
Recipe inspired by Serrano’s Mexican Restaurant in East Glacier, Montana.
Can I can it? This recipe has not been validated for canning safety, so please do not can these jalapeños. They will keep in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks.