Canning Jalapeno Relish

Putting relish on dishes can add a whole new dimension of flavor, and enhance basic foods. While relishes are commonly made from pickles, there is no reason not to  be a little more inventive! If your taste buds like spicy foods, I have come up with a hot, tangy and slightly sweet relish that’s sure to satisfy.

This relish is versatile and the perfect addition to a vast array of dishes. Pour it on top of cream cheese and serve along side crackers. Mix it into scrambled eggs or add it to a hot dog for a spicy kick! When vegetables are abundant during summer, saute diced squash and relish, then top with shredded cheese for some quick and fresh calabacitas.

Jalapeno Relish

Yields 14 quarter pints

What You Need:

  • 24 large jalapenos
  • 3 medium onions
  • 3 cups vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp sugar.
  • disposable rubber gloves

Due to the high acidity level in this recipe, you can preserve this relish by using a water bath canner. I don’t own a water bath canner, so I created one by placing a steamer basket into a large stock pot. This leaves enough space on the bottom of the pan to allow water to move around all sides of the jars.

I chose to use quarter pint jars, since the relish packs a lot of punch, and a little goes a long way. Start by washing and sterilizing your jars. To sterilize, bring water in a stockpot or water bath canner to a boil and place empty jars into the water and boil for 15 minutes. If you are using hard and unfiltered water, add a couple tablespoons of vinegar to prevent white film of mineral deposits from getting on your jars. Don’t boil the lids, as it can damage them. After the jars are sterilized, I turn off the heat, and add the lids, funnel and ladle to the water for a few minutes.

While the jars are sterilizing, start making the relish by washing the jalapenos. If you’re not a fan of spicy foods, you can use bell peppers in place of jalapenos, which would result in a milder and sweeter relish.

Jalapeno Relish - Little House Living

I strongly recommend putting on some disposable rubber gloves for this next part. Some jalapenos are mild, while others are incredibly hot, and the oils from the jalapenos will transfer onto your fingers and hands, which can irritate your skin.

Jalapeno Relish - Little House Living

Cut off and discard the stems of the peppers.

Jalapeno Relish - Little House Living

The seeds and membranes of the jalapenos are the hottest part of the pepper. If you want a spicier relish, leave them intact. If you want your relish more mild, remove the seeds and white membranes before chopping. Dice the jalapenos into small pieces.

Jalapeno Relish - Little House Living

Next, remove the skin from the onions and dice into pieces about the same size as the jalapenos.

Jalapeno Relish - Little House Living

In a large pan, add the chopped jalapenos, onions, vinegar, water and spices. If the pan isn’t large enough, you can cook this in two batches. Stir and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Jalapeno Relish - Little House Living

Using a ladle and funnel, fill up the jars with relish, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Wipe the rims of the jars and place the lid on each jar, and secure it with the ring. Tighten the jars fingertip tight, but not too tight, or the air cannot escape and the jars will not process correctly.

jalapeno relish water bath

Using the same pot that the jars were sterilized in, place the filled and sealed jars into the boiling water, making sure that the water completely covered the tops of the jars. Boil for 10 minutes, then remove the jars and allow to cool on a towel.

Jalapeno Relish - Little House Living

I think the best part of canning is hearing the “ping” of the jars sealing, signaling a job well done!

Please be sure to check with your local extension office for specific tips on timing, pressure, and temps for canning.

Want more relish recipes? Try this Cucumber Relish Recipe or this Zucchini Relish Recipe!

Make sure you check out all the free Canning and Preserving Recipes we have on Little House Living! And don’t forget to check out The Canner’s Cookbook, it has recipes on how to use all your home canned goods!

I recommend a Presto Pressure Canner and the book Putting Food By for all your canning projects!

Have you ever made Jalapeno Relish or any kind of relish that you could can?


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  1. Please tell me how I know these little guys are ripe. This is my first year growing jalapenos and I have a plant that is pretty productive. Shoot they are green when they are first born and they are still green. Help me please.
    Thank you

    1. I usually pick them when they are about 2 inches long and they are just fine. I am sure they could go for longer, I just get impatient and pick them…lol I am looking forward to making this recipe as we eat a lot of relish in our house.

      1. Jalapenos will turn black or red when fully ripe. The longer they go supposedly they are hotter. I use all phases of the pepper. Some are hotter than others.

        1. While they are on the plant, give them a little lift. If they snap off, they’re ripe. If you have to pull hard, they’re not.

    2. Hi Merle,

      I agree with Jennifer. When they are about 2″ long is when I usually pick them. I have noticed on my plants that the first round of jalapenos don’t always grow to be that big, so I may pick some a little smaller at the beginning.

      Other ways to tell they’re ripe is by examining their color. You want a deep green and glossy skin. They may just be starting to develop small cracks in the skin also, when they’re ready (which is another sign that the peppers may be spicy).

      1. Hi Andrea (or anyone who can answer this for me!!)! If I want to make these in half pint jars, how long do i need to boil the jars in boiling water? Your quarter pint jars boil for ten minutes, but I’m not sure how to translate to half pint jars. Thx

        1. For canning times jars up to pint are pint times. Between pint and quart use quart times. Larger than that is not generally recommended, however you can add 20% time to quart times to get the approximate time for a 1/2 gal (or double quart) jar.

    3. Hi Merle, Jalepanos can be eaten at all stages of growth. They are typically green in early maturity but quickly turn colors depending on the type. Jalepanos heat and flavor increases as they are allowed to stay on the vine and some will turn red. If you leave them on the vine too long though they can get tough. I pick them whenever I want to eat some of their yummy goodness, I agree with Jennifer, 2″ is a good size, however, Anita is right, some of the first round peppers don’t always grow to that size. Pick a couple at different stages for your own taste and crispness test. Most of all, enjoy! The ones we grow are so much more flavorful, crisp and DELICIOUS!

    4. I just started canning. I also just finished making my first fermented habanero sauce. Hooked on peppers now! After getting a deal on about 40 jalapeño, I managed to slice and pack about 30 into a half gallon fermentation jar with 3% brine to ferment for a few weeks. How would you suggest adapting recipe for the salinity of the brine? There is approximately forty-eight grams of Himalayan salt in the liter of brine.

  2. Wonderful recipe! I can’t wait to try it with burritos and even chips. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with all the jalapenos my one little plant produced until I saw this. I will add them to my gift baskets this Christmas if there are any left. 🙂

    1. You can also make the best Hot Pepper jelly! I also add jalapeños to my Blueberry jam. They are both great with crackers and cream cheese, or Brie, which is our favorite!

  3. Would this relish be ready to eat immediately or would it take several weeks? I was thinking of making the relish recipe to eat right away if possible.

  4. I use jalapeno relish with some mayo to make a spicy, yet yummy tartar sauce for fish….my family won’t eat store bought any more 😉

  5. I made this today and it is way to runny. How do I fix it. VERY disappointed. I waited to get enough peppers to make and now this mess is very disappointing. Now I have to wait to make more. Any suggestions would be a help.

      1. You can still can and/or eat it if it’s too runny. After it’s done in the pan, just use a slotted spoon to fill jars with the “pulp”, then add the amount of liquid that you want (from the pan you cooked it in)

    1. Hi Kelly,

      It would vary, of course, depending on the size of the jalapenos. The ones I used were fairly large, and I wound up with about 4 cups.


  6. This jalapeno relish is the best of the best! I can’t quit eating it. Thank you so much for sharing!!

    1. Hi Carrie,

      I am so glad to hear it! Thanks so much for sharing your feedback 🙂 My family and friends really enjoyed it too, so it has become a staple in our house!


  7. Thank you so much for this recipe. I’m not into spicy foods, but my 85 year old mother LOVES it. I made a similar relish for her last year but didn’t save the recipe. I’m so happy that I found yours and will be saving it for next year. I have the jars in the water canner now and they will be a nice gift when I visit my mom next week. 🙂

  8. Can you please tell me if I am make this without the onion? My husband can’t eat it. If so what could be used to substitute?

    1. Hi Kimberly,

      You should be able to omit the onion, just increase the amount of jalapenos you add, by about 2 cups, so you don’t have a mix that is too runny.

  9. I’m excited about this recipe, can’t wait to gift some jars. I used organic pure cane sugar for personal health reasons. I also used my Pampered Chef Food Chopper on both the peppers and onions, making the process quick and easy. Looking forward to trying it! Thank you for sharing!

  10. this is super good! i too found this really watery, so i packed it like you would a pickle with brine. that left me with extra brine which is surprisingly rich and mild in terms of heat. i subbed in some lime juice and garlic and used freshly ground cumin. next time i would leave in more than half the seeds & ribs. i am going to use the extra liquid to brine pork chops.

  11. I just made this a few days ago and love it. I had tortilla crusted tilapia and used this in homemade tartar sauce. It was delicious.
    I did have some Fresno Chile’s I needed to use and they were red so it added a little pop of color.
    I will definitely make this again. Thank you!

  12. I just made this relish yesterday and it is awesome!!!!! I had an abundance of peppers this season from just one flower pot that I planted. Maybe about 3 plants came up but it has been a producer….. I could not wait to use the peppers and so this recipe made it a perfect way to use them all at once. Now, I did add two bell peppers just to ensure I had enough. I served a breakfast strata this morning and my sweetheart loved it with the relish. He likes it hot and so he was very pleased. I will keep this recipe on file for next year. Thanks for putting it out here.

  13. Made the relish and added habaneros and one of the super hot peppers, the Carolina Reaper. I halved the cumin and added a couple of cloves of minced garlic. This stuff is heaven for us pepperheads. Thanks

    1. My husband and I have made this recipe several times. Last time we used only jalapeños and chopped them with a food processor. We have shared with many friends and family with rave reviews. We have requests for more relish or the recipe. We eat this relish on practically everything. Thank you for such a delicious recipe!

  14. I have several family members who’d eat this up – thanks for the recipe – I’ll be trying this with some of our garden produce!

  15. What a great idea! We always have so many more jalapenos that we can use (and we use a lot!) We stuff a bunch, freeze some for chili and then we are at a loss for the rest. This would be a perfect way to use them!

  16. This looks so delish! We love jalapeno’s. This is a must try. Thanks for sharing at with us at Merry Monday:-)

  17. The hubby just finished a batch of zucchini relish. This sounds so good! It’ll have to be our next batch of canning goodness. Thanks for sharing on the Homestead Blog Hop!

  18. My first time making jalapeño relish, might be my last. It came out very watery and had a strong vinegar taste. I would have like it to be a lot sweeter for a relish.

  19. I made this last year and read the comments afterwards. I may not have had enough cups of peppers as it was runny. I actually used a strainer and strained it then added juice back into it in the jars. Everyone loved it. I was so bummed as I didn’t print the recipe and thought I had lost it. Glad I found it again this year to make it or I would have had disappointed people.
    Is there a way to cut back the liquid so that it doesn’t come out so runny? Could altitude have something to do with why it happens to some and not others? Or maybe stove temps? I see not all people have this problem. Thanks!

  20. This recipe looks fantastic! I was just wondering if you’ve tested the pH levels after canning to be sure it is acidic enough? (or if the recipe came from a trusted canning source initially)… I’ve read time and again that I should only use canning recipes from a “Trusted Source” rather than online, which is a little vague, really. I am only cautious because I know both the onion and peppers are low acid, and I’m not sure how much vinegar is necessary to balance that together, and I simply want to be sure if I’m giving away Christmas canned goods! Thanks!

  21. Hi Merissa! I have the same question as Cassie Nobel…I am a new canner and want to BE SURE the level of acidity is correct. ALSO, as I will be using not just jalapeños, but many other sizes and types of peppers, I would want to know the cup amount of the chopped peppers, rather than just “24 large jalapeño peppers”. I would so appreciate your reply. I am excited to make this, and buy your book! Sincerely, Claire

  22. I like this recipe but wish it was more precise instead of saying large jalapenos and said a weight. Can you please give me a weight of how many jalapenos to use?

  23. On the yeild amount of 14 pints. Did you mean 14 1/2 pts or 1/4 pts? I don’t see how you can get 14 full pts from about 12cups of ingredients.

  24. Made this today and it turned out great. I doubled the recipe, took your suggestion on how to make it thicker, and I got 8 pints and 1 half pint.

  25. Here are the specifics I used. I did not add water or sugar:

    24 jalapenos (2 lbs of whole peppers) = 4 cups of diced peppers.
    2 large white onions (1.3 Lbs). = 2 cups diced onion.
    4 medium cloves of minced garlic.
    3 cups apple cider vinegar.
    2 Tb kosher salt.
    2 tsp ground cumin.

    After 20 minute simmer, the pH was 4.0.

    it made 5 1/2 pints of hot relish/salsa.

  26. Hi all! If I want to make these in half pint jars, how long do i need to boil the jars in boiling water? Your quarter pint jars boil for ten minutes, but I’m not sure how to translate to half pint jars. Thx

  27. This is THE BEST recipe for jalapeños. My husband told me not to bother making anything else with our garden jalapeños. I double everything in the recipe except the liquids

  28. I just have a question. I have made your Canning Jalapeño Relish for a few years.Everyone loves it! Recipes will call for ‘Vinegar’, I never know if they mean AC Vinegar or Distilled White Vinegar? Thanks for your help with this question.