This sweet and tangy Tomato Relish is made with a handful of fresh and flavorful ingredients. It’s super easy to make and one of the best condiments for burgers, scrambled eggs, tacos, and more!
Are tomatoes taking over your garden or kitchen? You could make another batch of tomato soup, sun dried tomato pesto, or honey roasted tomatoes or you could opt for something more shelf-stable, like this Tomato Relish!
It’s thick and chunky like chutney and packed with sweet and tangy flavors similar to salsa and ketchup. Keep a batch on hand for weeks or even months at a time. While you’re at it, do yourself a favor and make a double batch because it goes well with almost everything.
This tomato and onion relish is quick and easy, and there’s no canning necessary. Instead, tomatoes, onions and garlic, sugar, vinegar, and Hungarian paprika are gently simmered together, leaving you with a profoundly flavorful spread. Use it on sandwiches, toast, summer cheese boards, lamb burgers, and so much more.
- It’s a wonderfully fresh condiment that showcases fresh tomatoes.
- It doesn’t require any special equipment or a lengthy canning process. Just chop, simmer, and store in the fridge or freezer.
- This tasty all-purpose condiment is the perfect substitution for salsa and ketchup.
Tomatoes - Opt for meaty, low moisture tomatoes to give the relish a thick, spreadable consistency. I like using Roma, Beefsteak, and even cherry tomatoes, but feel free to toss in other varieties. The tomatoes you choose should feel firm and almost heavy with no discoloration or blemishes and the stem should have a bright, garden-fresh aroma.
Onion and garlic - This pair of aromatics intensifies the mouthwatering flavors. Feel free to use yellow, white, or red onion or some of each.
Sugar - Sugar is crucial to palatability. It balances the tart vinegar and tones down the acidity from the tomatoes. You can use any type of granulated sugar, but brown sugar brings rich, caramelized undertones.
White vinegar - For tang and to keep the relish fresh.
Hungarian paprika - I recommend using Hungarian paprika over regular paprika because it isn’t smoked, which allows the sweet red pepper flavor to shine. There are eight variations of Hungarian paprika ranging from mild to hot, so pick the grade that best suits your taste buds.
Step 1: Sauté the onion and garlic. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until they’re soft and fragrant.
Step 2: Cook the tomatoes. Next, add the tomatoes and cook until they begin to cook down and release their juices.
Step 3: Season and simmer. Stir the sugar, vinegar, and paprika into the tomato mixture. Leave it to simmer. When it’s almost done, taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
Step 4: Cool and store. Take the pot off the heat and let the relish cool completely. Transfer it to an airtight jar and store it in the fridge or freezer for later.
Tips and FAQs
- You can use peeled or unpeeled tomatoes. Unpeeled tomatoes will create a chunky texture, while peeled tomatoes will be saucier.
- If the relish isn’t thick enough after simmering, let it gently simmer for a few extra minutes or until it thickens to your liking.
- Please do not attempt to can this salsa. It doesn’t contain enough acid to keep it preserved at room temperature.
Is this tomato relish spicy?
Paprika is the only ingredient that adds pungency and heat to an otherwise bright and tangy tomato spread. I recommend using Hungarian paprika because it has a sweet and mild flavor.
If you want it to be spicy, use a hotter variety of Hungarian paprika (called erős) or season the relish with a pinch of cayenne or red chili flakes.
What do you use tomato relish for?
A dollop of tomato relish adds a dynamic sweetness to a variety of mains and snacks. It’s an all-purpose condiment (kind of like ketchup) you can use practically anywhere:
- Dipping sauce - Use it as a dip for fried catfish or tilapia, fish sticks, and chicken nuggets.
- Burgers and hot dogs - If you’re a fan of ketchup on your burgers and dogs, you’ll love using tomato relish instead. It pairs especially well with my lamb burgers!
- Meatloaf - Use it to glaze your favorite meatloaf recipes.
- Grilled cheese - Swap sliced tomatoes in this Caprese grilled cheese or Mediterranean grilled cheese for tomato relish.
- Mexican-inspired meals - Use the relish instead of salsa as a topping for nachos, tacos, quesadillas, etc.
- Breakfast - Add a dollop on top of your scrambled eggs or keep a little on the side as a dip for your breakfast sandwiches and quesadillas.
Refrigerator: Store the relish in an airtight jar in the fridge for 6 to 7 days.
Freezer: To further extend its shelf life, freeze the relish in the jar instead. It’ll stay fresh for up to 6 months.
More homemade condiments
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- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup onion finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 lb. tomatoes diced
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoon white vinegar
- ½ teaspoon Hungarian paprika see notes for substitutions
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, then add the onion and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
- Next, add the tomatoes and sauté for 5 minutes before adding in the sugar, vinegar and paprika. Simmer relish for 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove from the heat and transfer to a jar. Store relish in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.