Dill Relish vs Sweet Relish: What’s The Difference?

My kids love pickles and especially relish them! My 8-year-old enjoys the sweet taste of relish pickles, while my 5-year-old enjoys the sour, tangy taste of the dill relish. But what’s the difference between them?

In this article, I am going to explore the differences between these two delicious relishes: Dill Relish vs Sweet Relish.

Dill Relish vs Sweet Relish: What’s The Difference?

The main difference between sweet relish and dill relish is that sweet relish calls for quite a lot of sugar to get its sweet taste, whereas, in dill relish, the primary ingredient to its taste is the dill for the sour contrasting taste. Dill relish has little to no sugar. 

What is Dill Relish? 

Dill relish is a very versatile condiment with a sour, tangy, slightly spicy (at times) taste. It’s a good condiment used on everything from sandwiches to beef or pork and hotdogs.

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What is Sweet Relish?

Sweet relish is a sweet, tangy, versatile condiment that is great for salads, burgers, hot dogs, and other dishes.

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Difference Between Dill Relish vs Sweet Relish


The base for both relishes is typically cucumber, vinegar, and onion. Dill relish also includes dill seed, turmeric, red pepper, black pepper, and canning salt.

The different ingredients in sweet relish include salt, mustard seeds, celery seeds, and a considerable amount of sugar. The difference in ingredients makes a more distinct taste for each of these condiments.


This is the difference that matters, the taste. Sweet Relish is sweet, as the name suggests, but it has a tangy sour underlying taste from the vinegar.

Dill relish is much like eating a diced-up pickle. It has a sour, dill pickle-like taste that is heightened by the vinegar base.


The texture for both relishes is the same. Both relishes have a chunky but wet texture. The chunky, diced cucumber pieces give it a chunky texture, while the water from the diced cucumber and the vinegar give it a wet texture. Between the two, only the taste is different! 

Dill Relish vs Sweet Relish Uses for Dishes

Hot Dog

Relish Hot Dog

This is by far one of my favorite places to use Dill relish. Both can be used on your hotdog, but Dill is my personal favorite.

Dill relish pairs well with chili, but don’t let my own personal feelings steer you away from sweet relish. Sweet relish can also give you a nice sweet kick to your hot dogs. 

Potato Salad

Potato salad is best with sweet relish. Potato salad is made with a considerable amount of mustard which is already sour-tasting.

Sweet relish gives potato salad a nice balance with its sweet flavor. You can certainly use either one interchangeably, and it just depends on where you want your taste buds to go!

Tuna Salad and Chicken Salad

For these two, sweet relish and dill relish can also be used interchangeably. Usually, use whatever relish I have a particular taste for on that day.

The sweetness of sweet relish can make your chicken or tuna pop, but dill relish also has a distinct taste that will mix well with the mayonnaise to make a really good backyard barbeque. Once made, add a sprinkle of paprika on top, and you have a very delicious meal!


Much like with my pickles, dill is the choice for me to go on my burgers. Luckily relish, in general, is simple and versatile. It just depends on taste and which one is better for you.

Traditional Healthy Salads

As I said, relish is versatile! It can be used as a very tasty topping! One of my favorite salads includes a garden salad blend of chopped leaf, butterhead, and a little arugula lettuce topped with relish, honey mustard, honey sunflower seeds, and chicken. If you don’t believe me, try it on your next salad! 


Are you making a ham and cheese sandwich for lunch but realizing you have no sandwich pickles? Reach for the relish instead! Dill relish, especially, is a great alternative to pickles. 


Relish Storage

As long as your container has not yet been opened, relish can be stored in a cool dark place. Make sure this storage space is away from windows, the oven, the dishwasher, or anything else that gives off heat, as it can cause your relish to spoil.

If it has been opened, it should be stored in the refrigerator, just like with your other condiments.


Relish can last for up to 12 months, sometimes longer, if the container has been opened and stored properly. In terms of expiration, it’s helpful to keep in mind that relish, in general, has a vinegar base.

Not only does relish has a vinegar base, but it is pretty acidic, unlike other condiments you might find in your refrigerator. This acidity and vinegar base is what helps keep it fresher for longer periods. 


Notably, this article predominately focuses on the traditional store-bought versions of dill and sweet relish.

If you go into a supermarket or farmers market and go to the relish section, you’ll notice that different types, flavors, and kinds are abundant.

Not just of relish in general, but sweet and dill relish as well. I would definitely suggest trying as many as possible that are out there. Experimenting with types of the same food is fun!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I substitute sweet relish with dill relish?

Yes! Just as long as you don’t mind the differences in taste, they can be substituted for each other.

What’s the difference between pickle and relish?

Pickles are cucumbers (or any other veggie or fruit) that have been put whole or sliced into a jar of vinegar or brine. Relish goes a few steps further. It is characterized as a pickled fruit or vegetable that has been diced up and other herbs and seasonings added to it.

Is sweet relish good for you?

It is best used in moderation. This is not particularly a yes or no answer. Cucumbers generally have probiotics that are good for your health, but, at the same time, relish can include a high amount of sodium and, for sweet relish, a high amount of sugar. 

Which relish is best with hotdogs?

This is just a flavor preference. I favor dill relish myself, but if you’re in the mood for something on the sweeter side, by all means, go with sweet relish. 

Does relish go bad?

Yes, relish goes bad, but they have a large shelf life, so it’s not a big problem. If unopened and stored in the pantry, relish can last up to 30 months. Whereas if opened and refrigerated, relish should be consumed within a year.


Both sweet relish and dill relish have separate yet distinct tastes. While they may have these separate tastes, it is possible for them to be substituted for each other, and both of these have bold flavors that enhance your food and adds to the flavor. This is a condiment that will put a smile on every member of the family.

I’m a passionate food blogger on a journey to become a go-to person who can help others prepare delicious foods. I share recipes, food substitutes, and other cooking tips. Read more about my journey...

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