Southern Corn Relish

5 from 3 votes

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You are going to love today’s recipe for corn relish. This classic blend of corn, bell pepper, onion, and spices in a sweet vinegar bath is easy to make, versatile, and bursting with flavor. Use it as a dip, side dish, condiment, and so much more.

side view closeup: several mason jars full of Southern corn relish

My corn relish recipe is bright, zesty, tangy, and sweet. This flavor bomb of a relish features summer veggies like sweet corn, crisp cucumbers, and spicy peppers along with the deep, aromatic flavors of spices like turmeric, celery seed, and mustard. 

I love making this corn relish right at the height of the summer harvest to celebrate the bounty of the season — and hopefully my garden. One day of canning and I get to enjoy it for the whole year!

closeup: a ceramic bowl of corn relish with a jar visible in the background

But, of course, you don’t have to wait around for harvest season or have your own garden to enjoy this recipe. Whip up a batch any time of year and watch your meals come to life!

For more zesty corn recipes, check out my Roasted Sweet Potato and Corn Salad, Mexican Street Corn Salad, and this Tex Mex Chicken Corn Soup.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Corn – You can either start with fresh ears of corn or use frozen and thawed kernels. Aim for 4 cups of kernels in total — 4 to 6 ears of corn should do the trick, depending on size. 
  • Tomatoes – Roma, or plum tomatoes, are my top pick for this recipe for their firm, meaty texture. You can use any tomato you have on hand, though. 
  • Onion – White onions add a sharp pop of sweet pungency. Yellow or red onions are milder but will work just as well. 
  • Cucumber – If using a regular pickling cucumber, be sure to peel and seed before dicing. If you substitute in thin-skinned Persian or English cucumbers, peeling and seeding is optional.
  • Bell Peppers Red and green bell peppers add a lovely dash of color along with a complete spectrum of sweet, zesty, peppery flavors. 
  • Serrano Peppers Spices up the relish with a dose of bright, fiery heat. 
  • Vinegar – Use apple cider vinegar for this corn recipe if it is available. Otherwise, you can substitute regular white or white wine vinegar. 
  • Sugar – Gives the relish recipe a harmonizing, flavor-enhancing sweetness. 
  • Kosher Salt Be sure to use a coarse salt, like kosher or pickling salt for this recipe. 
  • Spices – This corn relish recipe features potent, aromatic spices like allspice, mustard seed, celery seed, and turmeric.
side view: several mason jars full of Southern corn relish on a countertop

Tip From Kevin

Notes on Altitude

The rules/times for canning change depending on your altitude. The basic instructions are for high-acid foods canned at sea level to 1000 feet. Start with 15 minutes and add extra time as needed for the following altitudes:

  • 1,001 – 3,000   ft above sea level – 5 minutes
  • 3,001 – 6,000   ft above sea level – 10 minutes 
  • 6,001 – 8,000   ft above sea level – 15 minutes
  • 8,001 – 10,000 ft above sea level – 20 minutes
a ceramic bowl of corn relish with a jar visible in the background

How to Make Corn Relish

  1. Prepare the Vegetables. As close as possible, dice all of the vegetables into similar-sized pieces about the size and shape of the corn kernels. You can also work in batches with a food processor but be extra careful NOT to puree anything!
  2. Combine & Boil. Use a 6-quart Dutch oven to combine the diced vegetables, serrano pepper, vinegar, sugar, salt, and spices. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. 
  3. Spoon & Seal. Use a spoon to transfer the corn relish into sterilized glass jars. Seal and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks. Canning instructions are below. 

Canning Instructions

  1. Prepare the Jars. Thoroughly clean your jars with hot soapy water. Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot along with enough water to cover your jars by 1-2 inches. Place the pot over medium heat and keep the jars in warm water until ready to fill. 
  2. Remove & Fill. Once the relish is ready, carefully remove the jars from the water. Shake off any excess water and fill each jar, leaving a ¼-inch clearance at the top. Remove any air bubbles and wipe up any spills before adding a seal and ring to each jar. Screw the lid on finger tight, then process the jars for about 15 minutes. The time may be different depending on your altitude. 
  3. Wait for the Pop. Carefully remove the jars from the water bath. Allow them to cool completely on the counter and look out for the signature lid pop that lets you know they are sealed.
closeup: a ceramic bowl of corn relish with a jar visible in the background

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do you eat corn relish?

This corn relish recipe is incredibly versatile and can work as a side dish, snack, appetizer, or condiment. 

– Use as a topping for burgers, hot dogs, or your next batch of Pulled Pork Sandwiches.
– Serve as a dip with tortilla chips, Fire Roasted Salsa, Refried Bean Dip, and Authentic Guacamole.
– Stir some into bean dishes like these Charro Beans or rice dishes like this Mexican Red Rice
– Spoon a bit on to jazz up any of your favorite Tacos, Burritos, or Fajitas
– Enjoy as a side dish with Grilled Pork Chops, Southern Fried Chicken, or this Perfect Grilled Ribeye.

Where did corn relish originate?

Corn relish has origins in the American South. The earliest, most traditional versions can be traced back to Louisiana, in particular.

How long does canned corn relish last?

When properly canned and stored in a cool, dry place, unopened jars of sweet relish will last for around one year. Once opened, you’ll want to store the jar in the refrigerator and consume it within 6 weeks.

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Southern Corn Relish

5 from 3 votes
My recipe for corn relish is sweet, zesty, and tangy with just the right amount of fiery heat. Make this delicious classic today!
Servings: 64
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 35 minutes


  • 4 cups corn kernels cut from 4 to 6 ears or canned or frozen thawed
  • 2 plum (roma) tomatoes diced
  • 1 large white onion diced (about 2 cups total)
  • 1 large cucumber peeled, seeded and diced (about 2 cups total)
  • 1 red bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 1 green bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 1 serrano pepper seeded and minced
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 allspice berries
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp celery seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric


  • Either dice all the vegetables into uniform shape and size as the corn kernels, or working in batches, pulse in food processor. BUT DO NOT puree!
  • Transfer diced vegetables and serrano pepper to 6-quart Dutch oven or soup pot. Add the vinegar, sugar, salt and spices. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cover. Cook for 20 minutes.
  • Spoon the corn relish into sterilized jars and seal. The relish will last 6 weeks refrigerated.
  • OPTIONAL: To can, process as directed below.


  • Clean the jars and lids with hot soapy water. Fill a large stockpot with enough water to cover your jars by 1-2 inches. Place your rack on the bottom of the pot and transfer to stovetop. Turn heat to medium and place your jars in the pot to keep them hot until ready to fill.
  • Carefully remove jars from hot water, shaking off excess water. Pour hot Corn Relish into hot jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Remove any air bubbles. Wipe rims of jars with a damp paper towel to remove any spill residue. Place a lid on the jar and screw a ring on until finger-tight. Process jars 15 minutes, depending on altitude.
  • The processing times are for high acid foods based on canning at sea level to 1000 feet. When processing at higher altitudes, adjust the processing time according to the below times.
    Altitude in Feet >> Increase Processing Time
    1,001-3,000 ft above sea level = 5 min
    3,001 – 6,000 ft above sea level = 10 min
    6,001 – 8,000 ft above sea level = 15 min
    8,001 – 10,000 ft above sea level = 20 min
  • Remove jars from water bath and allow to cool completely and lids pop, letting you know they are sealed.


This makes 4 pints. 32 tbsp = 1 pint. Nutritional information based off 2 tablespoon serving. This makes 64 servings total.


Calories: 29kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 0.2g | Saturated Fat: 0.03g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 240mg | Potassium: 40mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 90IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: condiments
Cuisine: Classic American, Southern
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image (and shown): Southern corn relish


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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  1. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for including canning recipes. This corn relish sounds delicious. I am getting my ingredient together to can this soon.

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you KEVIN this recipe reminds me of my great grandmas summer relish. You are amazing, keep up the great recipes. Kathleen