Sweet pickle relish is one of the most popular American condiments and is considered one of the three most important dressings for your popular cookout foods like hot dogs and hamburgers. It is right up there with ketchup and mustard. If you run out of it you can try one of the sweet pickle relish substitutes below.
Your best bet: Make your own sweet pickle relish
The best way to replace commercial sweet pickle relish is to use your own. In the old days, sweet pickle relish used to be made at home as a method of preserving vegetables over long winters just like traditional pickles. Homemade sweet pickle relish is not just a relatively simple preserve and condiment to make, it is also a great way to use up any extra cucumbers you may have.
The standard recipe will include pickling cucumbers along with bell peppers and onion. The main element of the flavor profile is sweetness and this will usually come from brown sugar. Most of the recipes that you will find are meant for bulk canning, but there are a few fast recipes to be found online. These will be the best options to use in an emergency.
Your sweet pickle relish will be a great addition to tuna and chicken salad as well as to homemade thousand island salad dressing.
A decent second choice: Chutney
Sweet pickle relish is a descendant of East Indian chutney, which makes it an excellent substitute. The name of the condiment comes from an Indian word: chatni or catni.
There are many different kinds of chutney that have different flavor profiles including spicy, tart and sweet. There are authentic Indian chutney recipes that use many of the same ingredients used in sweet pickle relish. Sweet pickle relish is a Westernized version of one that was introduced to Europeans via British colonists who ruled India. They brought it back with them to the UK and from there it made its way to the New World.
Keep in mind that there are many kinds of chutneys so you will want to choose one that has a similar flavor profile to that of sweet pickle relish. Green mango chutney or a Branston pickle — a British chutney — will be among your closest flavor matches.
In a pinch: Sweet pickles
Various kinds of pickles are categorized as sweet pickles including bread and butter pickles. Any of them can work as a sweet pickle relish substitute. You can use them whole but the texture will be different. Chop or grind them to get a texture that is closer to that of jarred sweet pickle relish. In all cases, they will provide much of the same sweetness and tanginess that you want from a sweet pickle relish. They will work just as well on hot dogs and hamburgers.
Ketchup does not look like sweet pickle relish nor does it have the same texture. What it does have is the sweetness and acidity that sweet pickle relish would bring to your dish. Use it on the same food items.
Piccalilli relish is more of a mustard-based relish than sweet pickle relish; however, it can play the same role when you have no other options. It is especially useful as a condiment for hot dogs and other sandwiches.