Pepper and Onion Relish is extremely easy to make and can be used in so many different ways, from snacks and appetizers to sandwich toppings. Basically, wherever you want a little sweet and sour with a touch of heat, this relish is the perfect condiment.
Pepper & Onion Relish is a very popular gourmet speciality in many stores that sell relishes and spreads and it can be very expensive to purchase. I happen to think this version is better and I know it's less expensive to make.
Making your own is the perfect way to easily customize the flavors by adding different types of peppers and even making it very mild to very spicy, so it's your perfect pepper and onion relish.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, this recipe is based on ratios so it makes it very easy to make as little or as much as you want. Use equal parts of white wine vinegar and sugar to create the syrup and add as many or as few peppers and onions as you like. The red pepper flakes are completely optional and you can use as much or as little as you want to create the level of spice you enjoy.
I usually don't because of the long shelf life in the fridge, but there are several recipes with similar ingredients that are canning recipes and you certainly can follow their processing guidelines if you wanted to can the relish. Here is a link to one from the National Center for Home Preservation: Pickled Pepper and Onion Relish
One thing to note is the colors of the peppers do dull when processed in a water bath for the appropriate time and that is another reason I don't usually can it. I like the vibrant colors in the peppers.
You can use any color peppers you like, but a combination of red and green bell peppers are what I use. You can make it with all red bell peppers, all green peppers, or throw in a yellow or orange pepper. Yes, you can use any color peppers you like.
You can even add in hot peppers, like jalapeno peppers or your favorite hot pepper. Any combination of peppers will work and the spiciness will depend on what you use and if you add in the red pepper flakes or not.
What is Pepper & Onion Relish Used For?
This sweet pepper & onion relish can be used for so many different things! It's a great condiment to use on hot dogs in place of a traditional pickle relish. I just recently found out that it's great to use as a spread on a turkey sandwich! Add it to your cheesesteaks, too!
In fact, I'd bet it would be delicious on this recipe for chicken cheesesteak!
You could even serve the hot relish as a side to a pork loin. I know that would be amazing! Or, stuff the pork with a combination of onion & pepper relish and your favorite cheese.
The more traditional use is as an appetizer, and this can take many forms.
Cream Cheese and Crackers
The simplest way to use it is to spread some cream cheese on a cracker and top with a little bit of the pepper relish. It's absolutely delicious!
You can also turn it into a hot or cold dip by draining the liquid from the relish and adding 1 cup of the pepper relish recipe to 8 ounces of cream cheese and then add in about 1 Tablespoon of the liquid and heat over medium heat until the cream cheese is melted.
Cold Dip or Cheese Ball
If you prefer a cold dip or want to make a cheese ball out of the cream cheese and pepper relish, simply make the hot dip, and then refrigerate. Once chilled, you can serve it in a bowl with crackers or fresh veggies or roll it into a ball. You can even roll the ball in crushed nuts or shredded cheese if you like.
If you want a looser cold dip, simply add more of the liquid from the pepper and onion relish until it is the consistency you like.
Party Pinwheel Appetizers
Take a 10" flour tortilla and spread a thin layer of cream cheese over it, leaving about an inch on 3 sides. You want the cream cheese to go all the way to the end of the tortilla closest to you so you have filling in the very center. Add a thin layer of the pepper and onion relish and roll the tortilla. Cut into ½" slices. The ends won't have much if any filling in them and I usually either snack on them or discard them. Place the pinwheels on a serving tray. These are best made just before serving, although they can be refrigerated for a few hours. Any longer than that and the liquid from the relish will soften the tortilla too much.
Another version of a pinwheel appetizer that I love is using my recipe for Turkey Spread in place of the cream cheese and then topping with the relish.
Savory Cheddar Thumbprint Cookies
I make these cheddar crackers that look like thumbprint cookies and this relish works great in the center. I'm in the process of completing that recipe and will link to it when it is available on my website.
How to Make Onion & Pepper Relish
This onion and pepper relish is so easy to make and, honestly, the most time consuming part is dicing up the peppers and onions.
You want to make sure they are in small enough dices so it's easy to serve on a cracker. If the dices are too big, they will simply fall off the cracker and that's no fun for anyone eating them.
You can use a food processor if you like, but I prefer to hand cut the peppers and onions because I have the best control over the size and uniformity of the dice. I recommend making the dice about ¼"-½" for the best results. Any smaller and the vegetables will turn to mush during the cooking process and any bigger and they are harder to scoop onto a cracker.
I used the Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker & Air Crisper for this recipe, but that is absolutely not necessary. The only thing you need is a pot big enough to hold the ingredients, and a heat source. The stove or even an outdoor grill will work just fine. As long as you can boil and simmer the relish, you can make it!
Boiling the Liquid
In this recipe, I use white wine vinegar because I like the flavor the most. While you can use any type of vinegar, including white vinegar or red wine vinegar, I recommend white wine vinegar or a champagne vinegar for the best results. You can even use balsamic vinegar, but the results would be very different.
I use equal amounts of vinegar and sugar to create a nice balance of sweet and sour, but you can play around with the sugar amounts if you like. Keep in mind, reducing the sugar will change the consistency of the liquid from a syrupy liquid to a thinner liquid. You can also try using sugar substitutes. I imagine, although I haven't tried it, that honey would also work just fine. I would start out with half as much honey as vinegar and adjust as needed.
Pour the vinegar and sugar into the inner pot of the Ninja Foodi and turn the heat on high sear/sauté. If you are using a pot on the stove, do the same thing and use medium high heat. Add in the pepper flakes if you are using them. Bring the vinegar and sugar to a boil, stirring occasionally. Allow to boil for about 10 minutes.
While the mixture is boiling, you DO NOT want to put your head over the pot and breathe in! It will take your breath away with the fumes from the vinegar.
Preparing the Vegetables
I like to dice up the onions and peppers while the liquid is boiling. If you are slower with your prep, you might want to do this step before you begin to boil your liquid. The reason I let the liquid boil and reduce before I add the vegetables is so they do not soften too much or cook to the point that they take on a dull color. I like my relish to be vibrant with color and have not found that this affects the flavor at all.
I use twice the amount of peppers to onions, but you can add more or less of the sweet red bell peppers, green bell peppers, and/or onions. That is completely up to you. Whatever combination and ratios you decide on, you will want the equivalent of 4 bell peppers and 2 large onions. This will be between 4 and 5 cups of the diced vegetables.
As I dice the onions and peppers, I add them to the pot of boiling liquid.
Cooking the Pepper & Onion Relish
When all of the vegetables are in the pot, reduce the heat to low and then adjust the heat until you have a simmer where there is movement in the liquid, but it is not boiling. Cook for about 10 minutes to let all the flavors combine and the liquid will be thicker and a little syrupy. Turn the heat off and you are done!
You can either serve the relish hot or put it into containers to chill. You will want to store the relish with the liquid so the peppers and onions continue to marinate in the juice, but I usually drain some off when serving it.
I like to put my relish into canning jars and store them in the refrigerator for a simple snack spread. The relish will last months in the fridge!
This comes in handy if you have unexpected guests and you want to offer them a snack. Just put a block of cream cheese on a plate surrounded by crackers and open the jar and put a spoon in it!
More Appetizer Recipes
Pepper & Onion Relish Recipe
- 1½ cups white wine vinegar
- 1½ cups white sugar
- 1 Tablespoon hot pepper flakes optional
- 2 red bell peppers
- 2 green bell peppers
- 2 sweet onions yellow or white onions are fine
- Pour the vinegar and sugar into the inner pot of the NInja Foodi or a pot large enough to fit the liquid and vegetables. Turn the Ninja Foodi on high sear/sauté or the stove on medium high. Add the pepper flakes and stir to combine. Bring the liquid to a boil.
- While the liquid is boiling and reducing to create a syrupy liquid, dice your onions and peppers into ¼" dice and add to the pot.
- Once all the vegetables are in the pot, give it a stir and reduce the heat to low-medium. Adjust the temperature as needed to maintain a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes.
- Serve hot or cold! See written post for different ideas on how to use the relish.
ABOUT THE RECIPE AUTHOR, LOUISE LONG
Louise is a full-time recipe creator and food blogger @ The Salted Pepper. She has over 30 years of experience with cooking and recipe development. She owned a restaurant for several years and was a full-time RN until retiring to blog full-time.
Louise has several very active Facebook groups that help people with the basics of cooking and getting the most out of the Ninja Foodi.
Seeing the need for easy, delicious, and high quality recipes, she is focusing all of her efforts creating recipes specifically for the Ninja Foodi. Her recipes are easy for the home cook to follow and provide step-by-step instructions.
Louise is also a YouTube creator and you can find most of her recipes in video format on The Salted Pepper YouTube channel.
She is very responsive to messages and eager to help in any way she can.
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