Last updated on May 14th, 2019 at 11:47 am
Do you remember having relish trays at parties? Check out my modern twist on an old-fashioned relish tray and see if it doesn’t become your new favorite finger food for a crowd!
What is a Relish Tray?
Did your parents entertain a lot while you were growing up? Whether it was a party or just a large family dinner, my parents loved having people over and feeding them. One of my favorite appetizers that my mom always put out was a relish tray.
Simple to put together, she always had the ingredients on hand, and it was the finger food tray that was empty first! Full of tangy pickled beets, salty olives, and sour pickles, I hung around the relish tray and stuck black olives on the ends of my fingers and slowly ate them off one by one.
A Relish Tray is different from a Crudité Platter, a Charcuterie Plate, or a Cheese Board because it contains produce or vegetables that have been brined, pickled, or marinated. And each item can be eaten alone and doesn’t require a vehicle like a cracker to get it into your mouth.
Relish is technically a condiment or sauce that is added to another dish to add flavor, but the items can also be eaten by themselves. Pickles are usually added to burgers, but who doesn’t pop a pickle spear in their mouth every once in a while?
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Just take me to the RELISH TRAY Recipe Already!
If you’d rather skip my (very helpful, I think) tips and tricks, essential cooking info, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to this delicious easy RELISH TRAY recipe – simply scroll to the bottom of the page where you can find the printable recipe card.
A Relish Tray is often called a pickle tray or an olive tray because these tend to be the most popular items on the tray. Olives and pickles are often the easiest to find, and I think everyone on the planet has a jar of olives or pickles in their pantry or fridge.
My favorite olives to have on my Relish Tray are jumbo black olives, Castelvetrano, and olives stuffed with things like cheese, garlic, and jalapeño. All those flavors really get my mouth watering for dinner later.
Need additional ideas for pickled foods that are perfect for a relish tray?
- artichoke hearts
- peppadew peppers
- garlic cloves
- green beans
- green tomatoes
Relish Tray Ideas
If you are tired of a boring appetizer there are some easy ways to bring your mom’s Relish Tray of black olives and baby pickles on toothpicks into the modern age.
- add some unique pickled items that you can make yourself or pick up at a specialty food store or online.
- trade in her clunky glass tray that weighs 1000 pounds and doesn’t fit into your dishwasher for a new container that you can find in your kitchen or craft room. Wine glasses and mason jars work great!
- have plenty of ways for your guests to get their pickle on. I suggest toothpicks, tiny tongs, and these mini forks.
- don’t take yourself too seriously and try to follow too many “rules” that no longer apply.
Relish Trays make great Thanksgiving appetizers and are perfect Christmas Party foods. Everyone needs a few party trays for your guests to nibble on while you are greeting new guests or making cocktails.
Relish Trays aren’t just great for holidays parties, they are a staple at your summer BBQ or Easter brunch!
FAQ about a Relish Tray
- Q: Is a Relish Tray just a pickle and olive tray?
A: Yes, it is but it can be so much more!
- Q: Does everything have to be pickled?
A: Technically, no. You can add marinated items or ones tossed in a tangy dressing.
- Q: Can I include raw vegetables and dips?
A: You can, it’s your tray but these are typically reserved for a crudité tray or cheese platter.
- Q: Am I a loser if I use all store-bought pickles and olives?
A: Absolutely not! Not everyone is into home preserving and pickling, plus I can’t find those baby carrots raw, so feel free to grab all the items you need at the store. It is great for last minute guests as everything is shelf stable and ready in your pantry!
Technically a Relish Tray is for pickled items only but you can walk the line and serve items that are marinated in a tangy sauce, tossed in a vinaigrette dressing, or have a natural vinegar flavor. Think marinated cheese, tortellini tossed in a homemade balsamic dressing, or even some marinated chickpeas.
The only rule to follow when making your Relish Tray is that there are no rules.
It’s your Relish Tray and your party, so fill it with what you like to eat!
Other great Party Trays to try!
- Meze Platter
- Summer Antipasto Tapas Cheese Board
- Holiday Party Cheese Board
- Crudite Platter
- Fresh Fruit Platter
Looking for a unique dish to take to a party you’ve been invited to? How about a quick appetizer you can make ahead of time for a get-together that you are hosting and are already stressed to the max? Check out all my party food recipes, both sweet and savory, to fit your special occasion!
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Easy RELISH TRAY Recipe
Do you remember having relish trays at parties? Check out my modern twist on an old-fashioned relish tray and watch it become your new favorite finger food!
Olives (Green, Black, Stuffed)
Pickled Brussels Sprouts
Pickled Baby Corn
Pickles (assorted spears, slices, and gherkins)
Parsley or herbs for garnish
Toothpicks, skewers, and forks
Drain all your items and assemble on your serving platter.
*If you like this recipe, please leave me a comment and rate it with some stars. Thank you!
- Category: Appetizers, Party Foods, Finger Foods
- Method: Easy
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: relish tray, pickle tray, olive tray, appetizers, pickles, olives
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