9 Best Substitute For Sweet Pickle Relish

Sweet Pickle Relish Substitute

Sweet pickle relish, a vibrant blend of diced cucumbers pickled in a tangy-sweet mixture of vinegar, sugar, and spices, serves as a much-loved condiment across numerous cuisines worldwide. This versatile ingredient, known for its unique sweet-tangy flavor profile and its chunky texture, amplifies many a dish from sandwiches to salads, hot dogs to homemade recipes. However, the culinary world doesn’t halt when this specific relish is out of sight. In fact, an array of substitutes awaits to impart similar tastes and textures, proving the culinary journey to be just as enjoyable, if not more.

This article unfolds a comprehensive guide that identifies the best substitutes for sweet pickle relish. These aren’t merely replacements but taste explorations that offer close matches in flavor and texture, and sometimes even elevate the original recipe. Whether you’ve run out of this delightful relish or are simply up for a tasteful adventure, the curated list of substitutes will help you navigate your way through the myriad flavors that await. So, let’s embark on this culinary quest to uncover the best alternatives that promise an equally delicious outcome.

What is Sweet Pickle Relish?

Sweet pickle relish is a condiment made from diced cucumbers pickled in a vibrant mixture of vinegar, sugar, and a medley of spices. The cucumbers are finely chopped, giving the relish a chunky consistency ideal for adding texture to a variety of dishes. This unique condiment is known for its sweet-tangy flavor profile, making it a perfect addition to sandwiches, salads, hot dogs, or even used as a tangy twist in your favorite recipes.

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Glance at Greatness: Substitutes For Sweet Pickle Relish

  • Dill Pickle Relish
  • Cornichons
  • Chow Chow Relish
  • Pickled Gherkins
  • Chopped Pickled Peppers
  • Giardiniera
  • Green Tomato Relish
  • Capers
  • Pickled Okra

Best Substitutes For Sweet Pickle Relish

Let’s now delve into each of these substitutes, providing in-depth insights on their taste, texture, and usage to better guide your culinary decisions.

Dill Pickle Relish

One of the most obvious and straightforward substitutes for sweet pickle relish is its close cousin, the dill pickle relish. This variant is made almost identically to sweet relish, but instead of a sweet and tangy taste, it boasts a tangy and slightly sour flavor owing to the dill herbs used in pickling.

Although the taste might differ a bit, the texture and consistency are quite similar to sweet pickle relish, making it an excellent substitute, especially for recipes where texture is crucial. Moreover, using dill pickle relish as a substitute provides a unique opportunity to vary the flavor profile of your dishes.


Cornichons, also known as gherkins, are tiny, tangy, French pickles. Their crunchy texture and tart flavor can bring a refreshing change to your dishes. While they might not have the inherent sweetness of sweet pickle relish, a quick dice and a dash of sugar could bring them pretty close.

These tiny pickles are traditionally served with pâtés and cold cuts, but their versatility doesn’t stop there. Diced cornichons could be an exciting addition to potato salads, sandwiches, and even deviled eggs. They are especially effective when you want to introduce a subtly different flavor into your dishes.

Chow Chow Relish

Chow chow relish is a Southern staple made from a mix of pickled vegetables. It typically includes cabbage, bell peppers, onions, and sometimes, a hint of spice. It’s tangy, a bit sweet, and crunchy, mimicking many of the attributes we love in sweet pickle relish.

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Not only does chow chow relish bring a similar texture to your recipes, but its medley of flavors can also bring an extra layer of complexity to your dishes. Plus, its ingredients are often customizable, so feel free to adjust the sweetness to taste, making it as close to your preferred sweet pickle relish as you’d like.

Pickled Gherkins

Pickled gherkins, though similar to cornichons, are usually larger and sweeter. Their sugary, tangy taste and crunchy texture make them an excellent substitute for sweet pickle relish.

To use pickled gherkins as a substitute, you would need to finely chop them. They can be a fantastic addition to salads, sandwiches, and sauces. Their slight sweetness and acidity offer a comparable flavor profile to sweet pickle relish, making them an excellent stand-in.

Chopped Pickled Peppers

Pickled peppers, finely chopped, can be a great substitute for sweet pickle relish. They offer a comparable crunch, an acidic punch, and, depending on the type of peppers used, a touch of heat.

These peppers can bring an unexpected twist to your dishes, especially if you’re up for a bit of spice. Consider pickled jalapenos for a hotter variant or pickled bell peppers for a milder, sweeter option.


Giardiniera is an Italian relish of pickled vegetables in vinegar or oil. The traditional version uses mixed vegetables, including peppers, celery, carrots, cauliflower, and gherkins. It’s tangy, crunchy, and full of flavor.

While the flavor profile of giardiniera might be a bit more complex than sweet pickle relish, it can add a delightful crunch and zesty flavor to your dishes. And if you’re making a version at home, you can control the amount of sugar you add, tweaking the sweetness to your preference.

Green Tomato Relish

Green tomato relish is another interesting alternative to sweet pickle relish. It’s tangy, a bit sweet, and filled with the crisp texture of green tomatoes. This relish might be a bit more obscure, but its unique flavor can be an exciting change to your dishes.

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Though it lacks the inherent cucumber taste of sweet pickle relish, the texture and tanginess are on par. It’s especially effective in recipes that don’t strictly rely on the cucumber flavor of sweet pickle relish.


Capers, when finely chopped, can bring an interesting twist as a substitute for sweet pickle relish. They are tangy and salty, bringing a punchy flavor to dishes. While they might not have the sweetness of the relish, a little added sugar could balance the taste.

Capers are versatile and can be used in various dishes, from pasta to sandwiches. However, their stronger flavor profile means they might not work for all recipes that call for sweet pickle relish.

Pickled Okra

Pickled okra may be an unconventional substitute for sweet pickle relish, but it’s worth a try. These Southern favorites are tangy, a bit sweet, and have a unique, slightly slimy texture that’s loved by many.

Though the texture differs from sweet pickle relish, pickled okra brings a similar sweet-tangy balance to dishes. Plus, the unique texture can be a fun change in salads, sandwiches, and more.

Substitutes for Sweet Pickle Relish: Nutritional Profile

SubstituteCalories (per ¼ cup)Fat (g)Carbs (g)Fiber (g)Protein (g)Gluten
Dill Pickle Relish120300No
Chow Chow Relish6001611No
Pickled Gherkins130310No
Chopped Pickled Peppers100210No
Green Tomato Relish4001000No
Pickled Okra150311No


Whether you’ve run out of sweet pickle relish or just want to try something different, there are plenty of substitutes available to bring that familiar tangy-sweetness to your recipes. From the obvious dill pickle relish to the unique pickled okra, each substitute provides a unique spin on the traditional sweet pickle relish. So go ahead and experiment, you might just discover a new favorite!

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