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}
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
2 hrs 10 mins
Total Time
3 hrs 10 mins

Recipe for homemade sweet and roasted red pepper relish. A jam-like condiment that tastes delicious on everything, from bread to meats!

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Macedonia
Servings: 32 servings
Calories: 46 kcal
  • 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)
  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Wash and dry the peppers.
  3. Prick bell peppers in several places with fork.
  4. Place on baking sheet and roast the peppers for 40 minutes or until skin is blackened, turning occasionally.
  5. Transfer peppers to a plastic bag and close the bag. Let stand 10 minutes.
  6. Remove peppers from bag; peel off and discard skin.
  7. Cut the peppers open and discard the seeds.
  8. Cut the peppers in one inch pieces and place them inside a food processor and pulse/puree to a consistency of a chutney.
  9. 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.
  10. Taste for salt and pepper.
  11. While the Ajvar is cooking, prepare your jars:
  12. Preheat oven to 170.

  13. Wash the jars, then put them in the oven for 30 minutes.
  14. 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.
  15. When the Ajvar is done, remove from the stove and let cool for a few minutes.
  16. Preheat oven to 350.
  17. Heat 2 tablespoons of EVOO on the stove top.
  18. Pour the Ajvar into the jars and place them on a baking sheet.
  19. Put the jars in the oven for a few minutes, or until a thin crust forms on top of the Ajvar.
  20. Once you see the crust, pour the heated EVOO over each jar, just enough to cover.
  21. 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.
Recipe Notes
  • 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

Nutrition Facts
Roasted Red Pepper Relish {Ajvar}
Amount Per Serving (2 tablespoons)
Calories 46 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 1mg0%
Potassium 62mg2%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Fiber 0g0%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 0g0%
Vitamin A 930IU19%
Vitamin C 38mg46%
Calcium 2mg0%
Iron 0.1mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Want To Save This Recipe?

roasted red peppers


roasted red pepper relish ajvar


56 Responses
  1. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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! 😀

  4. 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! 😉

  5. 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 🙂

  6. Jennifer

    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. 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!

  7. Becca

    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. 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!

  8. 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!!

  9. 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! 🙂

Leave a Reply

I'm a cookie-maker & picture-taker! For me, eating is a moment to share, an enjoyment, a passion. I hope you enjoy my recipes!
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Instagram

Get my eCookbooks!

Diethood Cookbooks

Download one of my cookbooks and get instant access to easy & delicious recipes you won't find on this site.

Amazon Affiliate Program

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.