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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!

A jar of sweet corn relish

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!

Overhead view of corn relish ingredients

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.
Sweet corn relish being spooned into jars

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!!)
A spoon stirring a jar of sweet corn relish

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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A jar of sweet corn relish

Zesty Sweet Corn Refrigerator Relish

Yield: 4 pint or 8 half-pint jars of relish
prep time: 15 minutes
cook time: 25 minutes
total time: 40 minutes
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!
4.5 Stars (14 Reviews)


  • 8 cups cooked sweet corn kernels cut from the cobs of 10 to 12 medium ears (Important: read the note below)
  • cups diced red bell pepper
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • ½ cup diced poblano pepper
  • cups distilled white vinegar
  • 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.


Important! Only use the freshest, most tender sweet corn you can find. I learned the hard way that an ear or two of tough or mushy corn can ruin the whole batch. Also take care to not over cook the corn on the cob. After adding the corn to boiling water, and after the water returns to a boil, only cook the ears for about 3 minutes. Then cool immediately in cold water.
from a farmgirl’s dabbles
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Spoonacular. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.
Did you make this recipe?Please leave a comment below. And share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #afarmgirlsdabbles or tag @farmgirlsdabble!
A jar of sweet corn relish

This post was first published in 2012, and then updated in 2022.

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44 comments on “Zesty Sweet Corn Refrigerator Relish”

  1. I have made corn relish in the past, but it has never had the zesty kick of this recipe. This will be gone in no time.

  2. Thanks for the recipe! Made a 5x batch after putting up 100 bags of fresh sweet corn. Hot bathed 20 jars put two in the fridge. It’s awesome thank you!!!

  3. Last summer my family froze sweet corn by blanching and cutting off the cob. Do you think it’s worth a try to make this relish using frozen farm fresh sweet corn? Thanks, this looks like a great recipie.

  4. 4 months after canning and the relish is still crispy. I caught a terrible cold before Christmas and was so glad to have enough relish for neighbor presents. Got rave reviews from everybody! No need to reply, just wanted you to know!

  5. Love this relish, thank you for the recipe! I canned this and to no detriment that I can tell. 15 minute hot water bath for the pints, 10 for the 12 oz. jars, and 8 for the 8 oz. jars. Relish kept its crunch, too. I’d have refrigerated all the jars, but I have too many condiments in the fridge, so no room there–HA!

  6. Wow, uber easy!! Didn’t have red pepper so headed out into the garden and found some Aruba peppers and gypsy peppers, not as colorful but very yummy!
    Trying the curry cauliflower today….

  7. Carole’s Chatter is collecting links for jams, jellies and relishes today. This is a nice one. I do hope you pop over and link in. This is the link . Cheers

  8. Hi & Happy Easter,
    I luckily stumbled across your blog! I love your recipe for corn relish, but being a single, doing a refrigerated corn relish isn’t my preferred method. I like to can & make gift baskets & contribute to rescue fundraisers, so my question is….Can I hot water bath your recipe & if so for how long please?


    1. I have not processed this in a water bath, Shawn. You can always consult Ball online for processing times = http://www.freshpreserving.com/recipe.aspx?r=79 = the corn relish recipe on the Ball site says to process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes.

  9. Brenda,
    Thanks for this wonderful recipe. We made two batches this year. Our sweet corn was really sweet, so we reduced the sugar on the second batch. I brought a jar to the New Effington Elementary school and my fellow teachers liked the new batch.

    I really enjoy your site. I have tried many of your recipes.

    1. So nice to hear from you, Linda – I’m so happy you liked this. It’s quickly turned into a must-make each summer at our house, especially now that the girls like it, too. Thank you SO MUCH for stopping by! :)

  10. This is great stuff, I thought I’d give some away after I made it but I have changed my mind.
    Such a good combination of sweet/sour . Thanks!!

  11. Thanks soooo much for making it easy to print your recipes! I save recipes to my computer but also like hard copies. I used to work at a restaurant that had a relish like this on the salad bar. Can’t wait to make it.

  12. Sweetsugarbelle

    Hahahahahaha, condimentaholic! You make me lol! I cannot say it enough how much I adore your blog. It’s beautiful and delicious, an the photos amaze me every time!

  13. This corn relish looks so yummy. From the looks of my fridge you must have inherited that ‘condition’ from me!

  14. My name is Suzy and I’m married to a condimentaholic ! My refrigerator is 3/4 condiments and 1/4 other edibles. If there is one jar of mustard left in the refrigerator, he’ll go into panic mode and head to the store. He is going to LOVE this relish ! Thanks for the recipe and nice to hear you have folks in Lake City – it’s such a beautiful town and a great drive when the eagles land on the open ice in the Spring ! (Eagan/Burnsville here). ~Suzy

    1. The same realization hit me about a year ago, that the percentage of condiments in our fridge is freakishly high!! I seriously have a problem. So nice to hear from you, Suzy. And good luck with recouping your fridge space. ;)

  15. Julia {The Roasted Root}

    You’re a total crack up! My name is Julia, and I’m a condimentaholic too! I love making condiments from scratch and unfortunately, I haven’t gone through the process of canning large batches yet. I love your corn relish and enjoy the fact that I can make it and have it for months and months! Every night at dinner, I layout the condiments on the table, whether or not they actually go with the meal. Need to make some corn relish to add to the mix!

    1. I know what you mean about bringing out all the condiments. I have to try to hold myself back sometimes, because it does get to be a bit ridiculous!

  16. are you able to can this?? I know you can’t can corn becaue it has no acidity in it but I see this has distilled vinegar in it so would that make it safe to can? Looking for ways to use our corn from our garden :)

    1. Hello Tanya – I’m certain this could be processed in a hot water bath, but I’ve never actually done it. Please let me know if you can this!

  17. Laura (Tutti Dolci)

    I love condiments too! Salsas, mustards, tapenades… you name it and I want to try it. Stores like Dean & Deluca can be disastrous for the wallet :). Love this relish idea and your suggestion to pair it with Mexican food is perfect!