Diethood » Recipes » Macedonian Cuisine » Roasted Red Pepper Relish {Ajvar}

Roasted Red Pepper Relish {Ajvar}

Roasted Red Pepper Relish (Ajvar) – Recipe for homemade sweet and roasted red pepper relish. A jam-like condiment that tastes delicious on everything, from bread to meats!

If there was ever a food that I could not be without, it would have to be this – Ajvar (Eye-vahr).

Growing up in Macedonia you knew it was September just by the smell of the neighborhood – Ajvar, or Roasted Red Pepper Relish, and other Zimnica, was cookin’!


Zimnica (Zeem-knee-tsa) comes from the word Zima which means Winter, and Zimnica translates to “winter food”. Winter-Food includes, Ajvar, all jams and jellies, compotes, pickled peppers, pickled tomatoes, pickled etc… Basically, anything that can be stuffed in a jar is a Zimnica. 🙂

roasted red pepper relish ajvar

But, if you were to do a poll, I bet my whisks and spoons that Ajvar would win as the best Zimnica food, ever! Though everyone has their own recipe for Ajvar, one ingredient is for certain – roasted red peppers. In other parts of the Balkans some include eggplants, garlic, green peppers, and so on, but I like the Macedonian recipe the best (I’m a bit biased :)) – just red peppers, salt, black pepper, and olive oil.

roasted red pepper relish ajvar

If you have a minute, please give this a try. You’ll love me for it. I promise!


Roasted Red Pepper Relish {Ajvar}

Katerina | Diethood
Recipe for homemade sweet and roasted red pepper relish. A jam-like condiment that tastes delicious on everything, from bread to meats!
Servings : 32 servings
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes


  • 8 red bell peppers
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons of salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)


  • Preheat oven to 450.
  • Wash and dry the peppers.
  • Prick bell peppers in several places with fork.
  • Place on baking sheet and roast the peppers for 40 minutes or until skin is blackened, turning occasionally.
  • Transfer peppers to a plastic bag and close the bag. Let stand 10 minutes.
  • Remove peppers from bag; peel off and discard skin.
  • Cut the peppers open and discard the seeds.
  • Cut the peppers in one inch pieces and place them inside a food processor and pulse/puree to a consistency of a chutney.
  • Put the pepper puree in a pot, add in salt, black pepper, and olive oil, and cook over medium heat for 2 hours, stirring frequently.
  • Taste for salt and pepper.
  • While the Ajvar is cooking, prepare your jars:
  • Preheat oven to 170.
  • Wash the jars, then put them in the oven for 30 minutes.
  • Sterilize the lids by placing them in a bowl and pouring boiling water over them. Wipe the rims of the jars clean before applying the lids.
  • When the Ajvar is done, remove from the stove and let cool for a few minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of EVOO on the stove top.
  • Pour the Ajvar into the jars and place them on a baking sheet.
  • Put the jars in the oven for a few minutes, or until a thin crust forms on top of the Ajvar.
  • Once you see the crust, pour the heated EVOO over each jar, just enough to cover.
  • Remove from the oven and seal. Or do what I did – dig in with warm, homemade crusty bread and a side of feta cheese. YUM! Our Ajvar never made it to the Zimnica pile – we always ate it/eat it way before the first snow even appears.


  • Ajvar is also a great accompaniment to grilled meats, especially lamb, chicken, and sausages.
  • Store in a dry and dark place. Refrigerate after opening.
WW Freestyle SmartPoints: 1


Serving: 2 tablespoons | Calories: 46 kcal | Carbohydrates: 1 g | Protein: 0 g | Fat: 4 g | Saturated Fat: 0 g | Cholesterol: 0 mg | Sodium: 1 mg | Potassium: 62 mg | Fiber: 0 g | Sugar: 1 g | Vitamin A: 930 IU | Vitamin C: 38 mg | Calcium: 2 mg | Iron: 0.1 mg | Net Carbs: 1 g

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Macedonia
Keyword: ajvar recipe, relish recipes, roasted peppers
Did you make this recipe?Leave a Rating!


roasted red peppers


roasted red pepper relish ajvar


Ask a Question or Rate this Recipe

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating:

57 comments on “Roasted Red Pepper Relish {Ajvar}”

  1. Will the finish product need refrigeration? I do a lot of canning but I haven’t ever seen the oven approach.

  2. Avatar photo
    Averie @Averie Cooks

    I taught myself to can not so I could make strawberry jelly or peach jam …no. So I could make Hot Pepper Jelly with red peppers. I love them SO MUCH! This would be instantly devoured by me. I love dips and spreads of all kinds!

  3. Avatar photo
    Lana @ Never Enough Thyme

    This is something I’ve never heard of, but oh my goodness it looks totally amazing!

  4. Avatar photo
    Sprigs of Rosemary

    I’m delighted to know that roasted red pepper relish has such a delightful name. And I promise to love you after I make this.

  5. Avatar photo
    Cheryl and Adam @

    The simplest things are the best, roasted peppers, salt, black pepper and olive oil, could it be any simpler or more delicious! Can’t wait to try this. Thanks for yet another delicious recipe from the travelogue for our taste buds that is Diethood!

  6. Avatar photo
    Jean (Lemons and Anchovies)

    Hi Kate! This relish is screaming for me to try it. I had set aside a recipe to try last year but have never gotten around to it. Slowly getting back to blogging again and as usual, your blog is full of inspiration!

    Have a great weekend!

  7. I can imagine why you love this so much…it sounds wonderful! And I was just drooling over it spread on the crostini, but then you recommended it for meats and that sounds even better!

  8. Avatar photo
    Kate @ Kate from Scratch

    I have never heard of this, but just looking at the ingredients, I know I already love it. Wonderful recipe..I’ll definitely try this one soon, if not even tonight! Yum!

  9. This relish looks and sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing some background about it. So is this relish spicy with some sweetness?

    1. Katerina - Diethood

      Hi Cristina! This recipe for Ajvar is not spicy at all, but many do make it spicy by substituting the bell peppers for hot red fresno peppers.

  10. The fun about blogging is how we learn about different cuisines. I love roasted pepper and this looks delicious and smoky!

  11. My first boyfriend was Serbian and his mom made this ALL the time! I loved it so much and haven’t had it since college! Thanks for bringing back a great memory! YUM! 😀

  12. This sounds really good Kate, and thank you for sharing some of your traditional family recipes. I would love to have this with turkey or pork loin.

  13. No need to convince me kate, I already love it by readint the ingredients list, mothod and the way u describe it
    anything “labeled” with pickle or bellpaper just count me in!
    glad to learn more about macedonia kate, tq for sharing 🙂
    ps: by the way – I saw ur family photos in facebook – 3 of u looks great! 😉

  14. Avatar photo
    Tori @ The Shiksa in the Kitchen

    Holy moly Kate. The red pepper relish on bread was great, and then you had to go and add feta on top. Seriously delicious!

  15. Avatar photo
    Maya@Foodiva's Kitchen

    Call me a recluse but I’ve never heard of a red pepper relish before. This looks so delicious though that I’m going to give it a try in my kitchen soon!

  16. Oh Kate, this is a keeper of a recipe. It’s gorgeous and since I wouldn’t be able to eat the bread, I’d just spoon it out of the jar into my mouth!

  17. Avatar photo
    Baking Serendipity

    I have never had this before…and that definitely needs to change! I love the thought of making it to serve with sausages. I’ve loved grilled chicken sausage the past few months, but am not a fan of mustard, so it always seemed a little dry to me. Instant fix 🙂

  18. Avatar photo

    What a wonderful recipe, Kate! I am big on preserving the harvest and also love anything made with red peppers so I am definitely going to have to try this. Thanks!

  19. Avatar photo
    Jennifer Eloff

    Wow – I didn’t know you grew up in Macedonia! That must mean that you speak Greek? Love the sound of this roasted red pepper relish. I love red peppers – hate green ones.

  20. I’m making a roasted red pepper soup this week – this would make a great side for it! (And I just happen to have a lot of red peppers!) 🙂

  21. Becca:
    I have been married to a Macedonian for almost 20 years and for years we made ajavar with my in-law…grilling all those peppers outdoors, removing the skin, putting them through the hand grinder they brought over. It is one of the best foods ever. We started making ajavar on our own a few years ago…roasting peppers is one of the greatest smells of all time. Thanks for sharing, there are so few authentic Macedonian recipies to be found.

    1. Katerina - Diethood

      Hi Jennifer!! So nice to hear that you love Macedonian cuisine!
      My mom still uses that same grinder for Ajvar :)) … she brought it with her when we came to the states over 20 years ago and it still works!

  22. Hi Katerina,
    This looks like a delicious recipe and a great way to use up all my peppers before the frost comes! I love Mediterranean food so I was so excited to find your blog! Do you think you could store containers of this in the freezer?
    Thanks! Becca (aspiring cooking blogger)

    1. Katerina - Diethood

      Hi Becca! I have never put Ajvar in the freezer, but I do store the jars in a dark, dry place, and only put the jars in the fridge once I open them. Ajvar in jars stays for months and months, so long as the jars were properly sterilized. Hope this helps!

      1. Thanks Kate! I freeze a lot of food but have never canned anything so I’ll have to try it out with my peppers next summer.

  23. Avatar photo
    The Elegant Eggplant

    This looks amazing! I am always looking for new things to serve with wine and cheese… this is perfect!!

  24. Avatar photo
    Megan @ Pip and Ebby

    Wow! Looks amazing! I love the thought of “winter food” smells floating through the air. Mmmm…

  25. Avatar photo
    The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh

    That looks amazing and you could use it for so many things too! Thanks for sharing recipes from your wonderful heritage with the rest of us!

  26. Avatar photo
    Sandra's Easy Cooking

    You explained it so well:)))) Zima and Zimnica…:)))Your Ajvar is bit different than we are making on other side, using eggplant and garlic, but I did enjoyed many times Macedonian finest “pepper caviar”:)) Nicely done!!

  27. wow, that looks so flavorful! I would to have a jar of that delicious concoction in my fridge, what a great way to enjoy crusty bread!

  28. Avatar photo
    Roxana GreenGirl

    When I saw the photo the other day on facebook I instantly start drooling. Now I know even how to make it! Thanks Kate!

  29. Roasted red peppers are the one food that I simply can’t enjoy. But I still adore how beautiful this relish looks!

  30. Kate, you really inspire me to try to recreate more recipes from back home. There are so many things I stopped eating because I thought “Oh, those are foods that taste good only at home, I can’t get them here.” How did this get into my mind?? I’m looking at your recipes, and now I’m completely decided: I must start to do all those things I lack here! And this includes your wonderful Ajvar as well as “Liutenitsa” which I miss so much! 🙂

      1. Oh my!!! Alright, that’s it, I’m spending my weekend doing Ajvar, Liutsenitsa, and other such! 🙂

Scroll to Top