Cherry Tomato Relish

A simple and delicious tomato relish recipe, perfect for keeping in the fridge or to give as gifts. Recipe with step-by-step photos.

cherry tomato relish in saucepan with fresh cherry tomatoes on vine

Tomato Relish

If you are looking for a delicious accompaniment to serve at a barbecue, whether alongside some grilled meats or sausages, or perhaps to dollop on a Classic Meat Pie, this tomato relish is for you.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Make a homemade tomato relish with just a punnet of tomatoes and some basic pantry ingredients.
  • This recipe for a small batch tomato relish takes no more than 30 minutes to cook.
  • This tomato relish keeps well in the fridge and is also perfect to give as gifts.
cherry tomato relish in saucepan with fresh cherry tomatoes on vine

Tomato Relish Recipe

This tomato relish recipe comes from Donna Hay magazine and, like most of her recipes, it is super quick and super easy to make.

I make it so regularly that I doubt I will ever try any other recipe, lest it disappoint me.

Cherry Tomato Relish

This Cherry Tomato Relish is great to make in small batches – it uses a punnet of cherry tomatoes and which should be enough for one or two meals.

But you can, of course, use any tomatoes in this recipe. In fact, if you grow tomatoes in your garden, this is a great recipe to make in a large batch, particularly at the end of the season, to store in the fridge or to give away as gifts.

How to Make Tomato Relish

For a basic tomato relish, start by sautéing the onion and garlic in some oil. Use a medium-sized saucepan, or one which will only be half-full with all the ingredients; anything smaller and the boiling mixture is likely to overflow.

If you wish to add additional flavourings to the tomato relish recipe below, such as mustard seeds or chilli flakes (see Variations below), add them to the onion and garlic mixture.

onions and garlic sauteeing in a saucepan

Add the tomatoes, together with the sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper.

For cherry tomatoes, I simply halve them. If you are using large tomatoes, roughly chop them into small pieces.

Simmer the mixture on high heat and stir the mixture frequently.

chopped cherry tomatoes in a saucepan with a wooden spoon on white spoon rest

As the tomatoes cook, they will release a lot of liquid. Let the mixture bubble away so that the liquid can evaporate. Once this happens, the mixture will start to thicken.

tomato relish in saucepan simmering

Once the mixture has thickened nicely, taste for seasoning.

Serve the tomato relish warm, or pour it into warm sterilised jars and seal while still warm.

thickened tomato relish in saucepan with wooden spoon and small jar or cracked pepper


The tomato relish recipe below is lovely as it is, and I often follow the recipe to the letter without making any changes.

But after having received so many wonderful comments below, I have tried some variations here and there, and I think this tomato relish recipe is simply a great blueprint.

If you like a bit of spice, I would add a dash of dried chilli flakes (crushed red pepper) or even some chipotle chilli powder.

Some roasted mustard seeds or fennel seeds also give the tomato relish a gentle spice.

tomato relish in saucepan with vine-ripened cherry tomatoes on marble table

What to Serve with Tomato Relish

I recommend serving tomato relish anytime you would use tomato sauce or ketchup, like for the following:

Aussie Meat Pies

Classic Meat Pies

Pie Maker Meat Pies

Pork & Sage Sausage Rolls


Cherry Tomato Relish

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4.6 from 11 reviews

  • Author: Thanh | Eat, Little Bird
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 1 to 1 1/2 cups
  • Category: Preserving
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Australian

A simple and delicious tomato relish recipe, perfect for keeping in the fridge or to give as gifts. 


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely sliced
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 500g (1 lb) cherry tomatoes, halved (or large tomatoes, chopped)
  • 110g (1/2 cup) caster sugar (superfine sugar)
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) red wine vinegar
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper (to taste)


  1. Add the oil to a medium-sized saucepan (see Kitchen Notes below).
  2. Cook the onion and garlic with a pinch of sea salt over medium heat for about 5 minutes until they have softened.
  3. Add the cherry tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, sea salt and pepper.
  4. Mix well.
  5. Turn the heat up to high and let the mixture come to a boil.
  6. Keep cooking at high heat for about 15-30 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened and looks jammy. The tomatoes will release some liquid during cooking, and the mixture will start to thicken once the liquid evaporates.
  7. During this time, gently break down any tomatoes with a wooden spoon and stir the mixture from to time to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  8. Once the mixture has thickened, taste for seasoning. You may want to add some more sugar or more vinegar.
  9. Serve the tomato relish warm, or spoon the mixture into a warm sterilised jar and seal.

Kitchen Notes

Make sure your pan is only half-full with all of the ingredients so that there is room for the mixture to bubble away and boil. Otherwise, the mixture is likely to overflow.

Recipe adapted from Donna Hay Magazine, Issue 41, Oct/Nov 2008.

This cherry tomato relish is delicious as it is but, as you will read in the comments below, many readers have added other flavourings with much success. Suggestions include chillies, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, Worcestershire sauce … I love to add some chipotle chile powder for a bit of a kick.

This cherry tomato relish keeps well in the fridge for at least a couple of weeks.

To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.


  • Serving Size: Nutritional info per recipe
  • Calories: 619
  • Sugar: 111.1g
  • Sodium: 610.8mg
  • Fat: 14.2g
  • Carbohydrates: 120.4g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Protein: 3.7g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Did you make this recipe?

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This recipe was first published on 31 January 2012. It has been updated with new photos and more comprehensive recipe notes.

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  1. Lorna Buffey 31 January 2012

    beautifully presented as always and i’m definitely going to have a go at this one!

    • eat, little bird 31 January 2012

      Thanks, Lorna! Please let me know if you do try this recipe – I would love to know what you think of it!

  2. Caroline 31 January 2012

    OOoh love the look and the sound of this…relishes and chutneys are new to me, but I have embraced them with the zeal of a new convert. I will definitely give this a go…thanks for sharing Thanh :-))

    • eat, little bird 31 January 2012

      Strange because I thought you would be familiar with relishes and chutneys? This is mainly because, after meat pies, I associate them with Indian food! Gosh, I love the array of chutneys that they serve at Indian restaurants – I think an Indian meal wouldn’t be complete without them. This cherry tomato chutney was my first foray into the world of chutneys and I’m anxious to try other recipes soon 🙂

      • Caroline 31 January 2012

        I think that the present day relishes and chutneys are inspired by the achaars or pickles from India. Chutney in India is usually a freshly made, probably ground fresh coconut, coriander and green chilli affair. At least in my neck of the woods. If you are talking about a sweet mango chutney that served in Indian restaurants, then that’s a pretty British thing. Generally, but not always, pickles tend to be fiery spiced, very tart and tangy. They may or may not be cooked. I think the state of Gujarat are known for their milder heat, sweeter tasting pickles, and that’s perhaps where most of the ‘western’ idea of chutneys comes from.

        But you can see why I love chutneys and relishes 🙂 When I tasted my first ham, cheese and chutney sandwich at the ripe ol’ age of 25…oh! Sensational!

        • eat, little bird 2 February 2012

          It seems I have a lot to learn when it comes to Indian cuisine! The sweet mango chutneys and the like do sound very much like a British adaptation … much like seeing hot chips amongst the side dishes alongside the naan breads! 😉

          I also love chutneys and relishes and hope to venture into the more traditional types used in Indian cuisine.

  3. Sandy 1 February 2012

    Hello sweetie!

    Perfect as usually, I am gonna try this recipe asap! 🙂 Greeting from Czech republic!!!

    • eat, little bird 2 February 2012

      Hello! 🙂 It’s a fabulously simple and tasty recipe, and I hope you will enjoy it!

  4. Anita Menon 1 February 2012

    I love your photographs. So so stunning.

    • eat, little bird 2 February 2012

      Oh thanks, Anita 🙂 That means a lot to me! These photos here are a mix of old and new … the photos of the chutney were taken last year, but the cherry tomatoes were taken recently. I hope I’m improving!

  5. Liz Headon 1 February 2012

    This sounds lovely: I wonder whether it would freeze ? I’d never get through 400 ml in a week, though perhaps it would be practicable to make a smaller quantity.

    • eat, little bird 2 February 2012

      I’m not sure about freezing it, Liz. Hopefully someone else could help out on that question. I think you could halve the recipe without any problem, or give a jar away to a nice neighbour? I know I said a week but I’m sure it would keep for longer if in the fridge … I tend to err on the side of caution 😉

  6. The Steaming Pot 2 February 2012

    Came here via foodgawker. Love the look of your blog.

    This sounds easy to make and delicious – just my kind of recipe 🙂 Very nice photographs!

    • eat, little bird 2 February 2012

      Thank you for visiting my blog! Just had a peek at your blog and you have some delicious Indian recipes!

  7. The Food Sage 3 February 2012

    Perfect. Was just wondering what to do with a small stash of home-grown cherry tomatoes about to come off the vine this weekend!

    • eat, little bird 7 February 2012

      Oh I’ve seen the photos of your cherry tomatoes – they look beautiful! Hopefully you can enjoy most of them in a nice salad too 🙂

  8. Amber 4 February 2012

    mmmmmmm delicious!

  9. Denise 6 February 2012

    I love a good relish or chutney, but have never made it myself (I know, I know…) I think this will be the first version to try out!

    • eat, little bird 7 February 2012

      Oh I hope you will try this relish! It was the first recipe I tried and I keep going back to it 🙂

  10. Kristin 4 March 2012

    I was super exicted for a minute because I thought the recipe was for cherry pepper relish…I’m a little sad that it’s not, but I’m really glad that it’s for cherry tomato relish! How delicious! I think I’m going to have to make this!

    • eat, little bird 4 March 2012

      LOL! Now you have me thinking … what is a cherry pepper? This cherry tomato relish is really delicious and I hope you will have a chance to give it a try.

  11. Amber DeGrace 17 May 2012

    Delicious and nearly identical to a tomato relish I had at a fine restaurant a few weeks ago. I made a few changes: caster sugar is not readily available here & I didn’t want to wake the napping offspring to use the blender so I used plain granulated sugar. I didn’t have red wine vinegar so mixed sherry and balsamic. Thank you for a great recipe! I pinned it and will be subscribing to your feed.


    • eat, little bird 18 May 2012

      I’m happy to hear that you tried this relish with successful results. I think the recipe is quite forgiving so your little changes should hopefully still result in a delicious relish. I like your addition of balsamic vinegar – I might try that myself next time!

  12. Amber DeGrace 17 May 2012

    I also wanted to make note that I plan on pushing it through a strainer because I can’t stand the tomato skins!

  13. Adam Knox 12 June 2012

    Tried this recipe the other night and served alongside a croque Monsieur for brunch the next day with friends! Everyone loved it. But for a bit of depth I added fresh chilli as well as mustard and fennel seeds! Delicious! Great recipe!

    • eat, little bird 12 June 2012

      I’m happy to hear that you liked this recipe! I like the sound of your additional ingredients, especially the fresh chilli, but the mustard and fennel seeds would have definitely added some more spice and aroma. This chutney would indeed be a nice accompaniment to cut through the richness of a Croque Monsieur. Thanks for popping by with your feedback – much appreciated!

  14. Faye Hayward 5 September 2012

    I am a total novice at cooking so i have to ask if the ‘cups’ mentioned in the recipe are the American measurements? I am determined to have a go at making this after such a beautiful photograph.

    • eat, little bird 5 September 2012

      Hello Faye,

      This recipe is adapted from a Donna Hay magazine, which is an Australian publication using Australian measuring cups. My understanding is that Australian and UK measuring cups are the same, but they are slightly larger than American measuring cups.

      It is commonly understood that:
      * 1 Australian/UK measuring cup is equivalent to 250 ml or 8 fl oz.
      * 1 American measuring cup is equivalent to 240 ml.

      As you will see, the difference between the Australian/UK and American measuring cups is very small and would generally not make a big difference in cooking and baking. I have a mix of Australian/UK and American measuring cups and use them interchangeably – in fact, I’m not quite sure which is which!

      Perhaps the measurement of tablespoons are more controversial. 1 Australian tablespoon is 20 ml, whereas 1 tablespoon in the US and UK is 15 ml. But to date, I haven’t found this to be problematic for me.

      For this particular recipe, you would definitely be fine using either American measuring cups or Australian/UK measuring cups. It is a fairly easy recipe with very delicious results. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask 🙂

      I just made this cherry tomato relish again today and have put some photos on my Facebook page:

  15. Kristen 19 January 2013

    I made this chutney today but it hasnt thickened. It tastes great but just not thickened. Any suggestions on how I could fix it? I simmered it on low for about 1.5-2 hours. It’s reduced but not enough

    • eat, little bird 19 January 2013

      Hi Kristen,
      This chutney only needs about 10-20 minutes in high heat before it will thicken, so I’m not sure what might have gone wrong if you’ve had to cook it for so long. Perhaps you’ve used a small saucepan which means you will have to cook it for longer? If it hasn’t thickened after more than an hour of cooking, I’m not sure what you could do further. I would suggest leaving it to cool and see if it will thicken slightly upon cooling. I hope you will still be able to use this chutney.

  16. Ali 21 January 2013

    I made this the other day and loved it. Mine didn’t thicken either so added 3/4 teaspoon curry powder and thickened nicely. Yum – planning to add this one to my favorite recipe file!!

    • eat, little bird 21 January 2013

      I’m glad to hear that you like this recipe! I’m also surprised to read that your chutney didn’t thicken either … there must be some science behind it which I don’t know of. But I’m happy to hear that some curry powder did the trick – sounds delicious!

  17. Holly Ekert 18 March 2013

    Hi, I used this recipe for my year twelve Food Technolgy assessment task this year and I was quite glad with the results. I practised it at home before I had to make it (not that I needed to the recipe is quite straight forward) but the house smelled amazing! Thankyou very much, you have been a greatly delicious help.

    • eat, little bird 19 March 2013

      That’s wonderful to hear! I’m glad you enjoyed this recipe and that it worked for your assessment 🙂

  18. Mummy B 12 September 2013

    Lovely, but big problem – how big is the cup? Would be so much better in ml or gs

  19. Kate 15 October 2013

    Hi there, how long would the relish keep for? Thanks!

    • eat, little bird 15 October 2013

      Hi Kate,
      So long as you keep the relish in a sterilised jar in the fridge, it should keep for at least a month. That’s the longest I’ve ever had to keep this relish in a fridge, although the jar was opened regularly during this time. Hope this helps.

      • Jo 28 August 2015

        I’ve kept the relish for more than 2 months in the fridge, used somewhat regularly, without any signs of mold or changes that would indicate that it had gone bad. still tasted great when I ate it. Usually I wouldn’t keep it that long (or rather it would get eaten long before then) but one year I made too much and got rather sick of it for a while.

  20. Gina 27 April 2014

    This is a wonderful recipe. Being Diabetic I cut the sugar by half but cherry tomatoes were so sweet that I will put even less sugar next time. Also put a big splash of Worchestshire sauce in. Mmmm lovely!

  21. karen 21 August 2014

    Made this today with some lovely tomatoes from my mother. It took much longer to cook than the recipe stated but as I do not mind stirring, that was no trouble. lovely taste.

  22. Wendy 26 January 2015

    I stumbled across this recipe looking for a use for my glut of cherry tomatoes! It looks great. I’m just wondering if you start the onions with a little bit of olive oil? Or do you just use a dry saucepan? Thankyou 🙂

    • Eat, Little Bird 28 January 2015

      Hello! Yes, you should start cooking the onions in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sorry this was omitted from the recipe above!

  23. ASHOKE BHALLA 30 April 2015

    Cherry Tomatoes getting to work now! Exciting recipe.

  24. Mechelle 20 February 2016

    Could this be bottled and stored in the cupboard? Have an excessive amount of tomatoes and only 2 people to share this with? Thanks

    • Eat, Little Bird 21 February 2016

      My guess is no – I think these bottles need to be kept in the fridge as there is not enough sugar in the recipe to “preserve” the tomatoes as such. Although I mention in the recipe that they keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge, you could keep unopened bottles in the fridge for a bit longer. I often make this relish in large batches and we probably eat it within a month or so. They also make great gifts for our friends and neighbours. I hope you will give this recipe a try with some of your tomatoes!

    • Eat, Little Bird 21 February 2016

      My guess is no – I think there is not enough sugar in the recipe to “preserve” the tomatoes as such. Although the recipe states that you can keep the relish in the fridge for a couple of weeks, you could certainly keep unopened bottles in the fridge for a bit longer. I often make a large batch of this relish and we tend to eat it within a month or so with no problems. They also make great gifts for our friends and neighbours. I hope you will give this recipe a try with some of your tomatoes!

  25. Malin Andersson 12 March 2016

    I like your recipe. I also like the way you sharing. It is looking so perfect.

  26. monica 13 August 2016

    This was really good & simple- i cut down on the sugar /vinegar and added a little curry and cayenne
    Thank you !
    Great way to curb an unstoppable crop of cherries

    • Eat, Little Bird 28 August 2016

      Thank you for your feedback! I love the sound of adding curry and cayenne pepper. I will be making a new batch soon and might try this too 🙂

  27. Shez 8 March 2018

    I’ve made this recipe so many times and it’s perfect each time!

  28. Julia 12 April 2018

    It’s SO easy! Is good food and this looks like one of the BEST! I definitely want to try this! Thank you for sharing this great recipe! So YUMMY!!!

  29. Jean Beidl 6 September 2019

    Holy cow! This is great-tomatoes seem to caramelize & it tastes fantastic! My husband said he could just eat this relish by itself by the spoonful; it’s delicious on burgers, hot dogs, etc. Great find-I’ve made it twice this week already. Thanks ?

    • Eat, Little Bird 11 September 2019

      Hi Jean,

      So glad to hear that you and your husband enjoy this recipe! I almost always have a jar of this tomato relish in the fridge as it goes with so many things, as you have also discovered 🙂

  30. Sarah 5 October 2019

    My cherry tomatoes all split from too much rain, so I have just made this with a healthy sprinkle of chili flakes. I just tasted it and it’s absolutely delicious! Thank you.

    • Eat, Little Bird 21 October 2019

      Hi Sarah,
      So glad you enjoyed this recipe! I also love this tomato relish with chilli flakes 🙂

  31. Marion Rolph 4 November 2019

    If I seal this recipe in hothe, sterile jars haw long will it keep? Do you have to leave it for a while before you eat it as you do with chutneys. Thanks

    • Eat, Little Bird 5 November 2019

      Hi Marion,
      You can eat this relish right away. But it will only keep in the fridge (in sterilised jars) for a few weeks, or a bit longer if you are lucky. Hope you will enjoy this recipe!

  32. Tia 16 February 2020

    Yum yum yum! I only had malt vinegar so used it instead and this relish is delicious!

    • Eat, Little Bird 28 February 2020

      Hi Tia,
      That’s great to hear that it also works well with malt vinegar! Glad you enjoyed this recipe 🙂

  33. Sue 26 July 2020

    My relish turned out so well. It’s delicious. Thank you so much. I added a bit of fresh chilli too for mild heat. (Cherry tomatoes came up by themselves outside the chook pen. Chillies are organic. Happy days!)

    • Eat, Little Bird 13 August 2020

      Hi Sue,
      Lucky you to have your own supply of cherry tomatoes and chillies! So glad you enjoyed this recipe 🙂

  34. Melissa Swanson 18 October 2020

    Far too sweet. Added 2 tins tomatoes, cumin, mustard & fennel seeds and lemon to save it. Would halve sugar if making.

  35. Miranda Corner 20 March 2021

    How long will it last unopen and then open?

    • Eat, Little Bird 24 March 2021

      Hi Miranda,
      Whether open or unopened, I would recommend eating it within a few weeks of making it. It should also be stored in the fridge once you have sealed the jar. Hope this helps!

  36. Clare 2 April 2021

    Absolutely easy, and delicious. We had a huge crop of cherry tomatoes this year so I made a double batch, threw in some Worchester sauce, chili flakes and paprika, and bam. So good I ate the three or so tablespoons that didn’t fit in my jars, straight out of the jug. Fantastic and worth a try.

    • Eat, Little Bird 9 April 2021

      Hi Clare,
      So glad you enjoyed this recipe! Love the additions you made as well.

  37. Linda Deys 23 April 2021

    Hello from Australia, about to make my second batch of this – delicious! The tomatoes we deliberately planted over the season were very sad and sorry this year but a self seeded cherry tomato that popped upon its own has been bountiful and still is, even with cooler weather starting. Can’t waste them!! I didn’t bother chopping in half last time as they are already quite small.

    • Eat, Little Bird 2 May 2021

      Hi Linda,
      So glad you enjoyed this recipe! It’s definitely a great way of preserving any excess tomatoes you might have ☺️

  38. Jan Sessions 24 May 2021

    I make a lot of chutneys and relishes but never thought to use cherry tomatoes (of which I still have a glut). This is so good, I’m on my second batch (made the recipe x3 first time, x2 this time. I added a couple of chillies to my batches. I was worried about the skins, but my cherry tomatoes are very thin skinned, so it’s really not an issue and the flavour outweighs the bit of skin!

  39. Laura 12 November 2021

    It looks delish! How long do you think it would last in the cupboard if sterilised and processed properly?

    • Eat, Little Bird 18 November 2021

      Hi Laura,
      I recommend keeping this relish in the fridge, where it should keep for a month or more. I have not tried keeping in the cupboard or pantry to see how long it might last, but my guess is that there is not enough sugar in this relish to preserve it safely out of the fridge for a long period.

  40. Rhonda Dansey 14 February 2022

    I will try this I have sweet 100 tomatoes in the garden thank you Rhonda

  41. Yvonne Mudford 27 April 2022

    If you want to double the recipe would you just double all ingredients and double the red wine vinegar as well??

    • Eat, Little Bird 27 April 2022

      Hi Yvonne,
      To double the recipe, please double all of the ingredients, including the red wine vinegar. I would also suggest that you use a wide saucepan so that the mixture can cook down more quickly. Hope you will enjoy this recipe!

  42. Kayleen 1 September 2022

    Hi there, once the tomato relish has been bottled, how long will it keep & do the extra bottles have to be stored in the fridge, thanks.

    • Eat, Little Bird 1 September 2022

      Hi Kayleen,
      From experience, the tomato relish will keep in the fridge for a good month or more. I recommend keeping the extra bottles in the fridge too – I don’t think the relish has enough sugar to preserve it so that it can keep outside of the fridge. But that’s just my guess – I haven’t tried keeping it out of the fridge to see how well it keeps. Hope you enjoy this recipe!

  43. Vanessa harding 7 September 2022

    Sounds good will be trying this as there is only so much soup you can make

    • Eat, Little Bird 17 September 2022

      Hi Vanessa,
      Hope you will enjoy this recipe! I just made a batch the other night 🙂

  44. Sue G 21 October 2022

    Just made this relish but added a handful of sultanas, teaspoon of smoked paprika, ground ginger, curry powder and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. Thickened so well.

  45. Dianne 20 August 2023

    I find is keeps longer than a couple of weeks. Delicious

  46. Angela Thomson 30 September 2023

    I loved this recipe. I substituted sweetener (Hermesetis) for sugar and did most of the cooking in my thermomix. Had to finish it off in a pot on the stove and added a little cornflour to thicken enough. Final result was like delicious thick tomato sauce.