Zesty Sweet Corn Refrigerator Relish
Zesty Sweet Corn Relish is a delicious way to use and preserve summer’s sweetest fresh corn. This homemade relish pops with bites of pure corn flavor – a fun chip dip as well as a tasty condiment for tacos, quesadillas, burgers, hotdogs, and more!
Easy Corn Relish Recipe
I LOVE condiments in every form…dips, sauces, salsas, relishes, pickles…you name it. Especially when they are whipped up from scratch, made from fresh ingredients that let the seasons shine.
This Zesty Sweet Corn Refrigerator Relish is one such condiment, bursting with summer’s harvest. It’s one of my favorite things to make when I find local sweet corn at farmers markets and roadside stands. If you like Trader Joe’s Corn & Chile Tomato-less Salsa, I have to say that this relish is even better – you will LOVE it!
This homemade sweet corn relish recipe captures summer with simple refrigerator preservation. No hot water bath processing involved. Just store it in the fridge for up to 3 months, to enjoy an extended season of summer’s best corn.
We love to eat this tangy relish as a dip, with tortilla chips. Or as a condiment for tacos, quesadillas, burgers, and hotdogs. It’s also pretty wonderful served as a side with most anything that comes off the summertime grill – think steaks, pork chops, chicken, and salmon – YUM!
What You’ll Need
This sweet corn relish is made with a few veggies for added flavor and crunch, plus vinegar and a handful of spices for a zesty, tangy flavor.
- Sweet corn kernels – Cooked briefly, until just tender. Be sure to use the freshest sweet corn and absolutely avoid any mushy ears.
- Bell pepper & poblano pepper – These add a nice crunch, plus a variety of mild pepper flavors.
- Distilled white vinegar – Adds the tangy, acidic flavor.
- Sugar – Adds sweetness to the relish and helps to balance out the vinegar’s acidity.
- Seasonings – This relish is seasoned with mustard seeds, ground cumin, coriander seeds, celery seeds, crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. It’s a wonderful combination!
- Cornstarch – Thickens the relish perfectly.
How to Make Sweet Corn Relish
Here’s how to make this quick and easy corn relish. It all comes together in just 30 minutes or so.
- Combine the veggies. Add the cooked corn, red pepper, onion, and poblano pepper to a bowl.
- Boil the vinegar mixture. Bring the vinegar, sugar, and seasonings to a boil.
- Combine everything & thicken. Add the veggies to the vinegar mixture and simmer for 15 minutes. Make a slurry of water and cornstarch and stir it into the corn mixture. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until relish thickens.
- Transfer to jars. Ladle relish into sterilized canning jars and screw on the lids. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for up to 3 months.
Tips for Success
Making refrigerator relish for the first time? Here are a few helpful tips.
- Use the best sweet corn you can find. I learned the hard way that an ear of tough or mushy corn can ruin the whole batch of relish. So be sure to make this with only the freshest, most tender sweet corn.
- Do not overcook the sweet corn. Since the corn will be cooked again when making the relish, be sure to not overcook it. Once the water boils, cook for just 3 minutes, then cool in cold water.
- Let chill before enjoying. For the most divine flavor, let the corn relish rest in the fridge for at least a day or two before diving in, so all of the flavors have time to meld. (But no judgement from me if you can’t wait!!)
What To Serve It With
I like to serve sweet corn relish with any meal that has a Mexican twist. With carnitas, a delicious grilled chicken salad, or grilled crab quesadillas. Or simply with tortilla chips, to scoop up all those tender, tangy kernels.
It also shines at the breakfast table, atop fried eggs and slices of creamy avocado.
This is a great at cookouts, too. Enjoy the relish on burgers, hot dogs, and chicken sandwiches. And it’s wonderful alongside grilled steaks, pork chops, BBQ chicken, or salmon. It can even be folded into a cold macaroni salad for extra fun pops of fresh corn flavor!
Basically, any dish that needs a boost of flavor could use a spoonful of this zesty corn relish.
How Long Will Refrigerator Relish Last?
The relish stays crisp and fresh and utterly irresistible stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. But it truly never lasts that long around here!
Note that since we’re not going through the full canning process, that the relish does need to be kept in the fridge (hence the name “refrigerator relish”) and cannot be stored on the pantry shelf.
More Condiment Recipes:
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Zesty Sweet Corn Refrigerator Relish
- 8 cups cooked sweet corn kernels cut from the cobs of 10 to 12 medium ears (Important: read the note below)
- 1½ cups diced red bell pepper
- 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- ½ cup diced poblano pepper
- 2½ cups distilled white vinegar
- 1¼ cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons mustard seed
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander seed
- ½ teaspoon celery seed
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- In a large bowl, combine the corn, red pepper, onion, and poblano pepper. Set aside.
- In a large pot, combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, cumin, coriander seed, celery seed, crushed red pepper, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then add the corn mixture. Return to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Spoon off any accumulated foam.
- Whisk together the water and cornstarch and then stir it into the corn mixture. Turn heat up to medium and cook for 5 minutes, or until mixture starts to thicken, stirring occasionally.
- Ladle into 4 pint or 8 half-pint sterilized canning jars. Cover jars with lids and screw on the bands. Let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for up to 3 months.
This post was first published in 2012, and then updated in 2022.