Addictive Tomato Chutney

*Updated to use less sugar: a new combination of honey and brown sugar/sucanat. Go here to view updated recipe*

tomato chutney

Most people I talk to don’t have much experience with chutney and are not sure if it’s something they would eat or what they would use it for. If this is you, I encourage you to give this recipe a try because it’s so good you’ll never look back. And if you’ve tried chutney before, you’re gonna love this.

I like to call this Tomato Chutney “adult ketchup” because it elevates burgers and hot dogs to a whole new level. It’s actually rather addicting and now I find myself using it on lots of things like eggs, sausage, any grilled meat, sandwiches, and I even use it with fries.

These are all the ingredients you’ll need. There’s nothing fancy here, but when it all comes together, you’d never guess these humble beginnings. Tomatoes, of course, are the main ingredient. Peel (see my quicker peel technique here), core and chop 4 pounds of tomatoes and place in a large soup pot.

Chop about one whole head of garlic to equal 1/4 cup. I use a little mini chopper to make it easy to chop that much garlic, then add it to the pot of tomatoes.

Then add one cup chopped onion, 3/4 cup white sugar, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1-1/2 cups cider vinegar, 1 TB pickling salt, 1 TB dry ginger, 1 tsp. hot pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp. ground cumin, and 1/2 tsp. black pepper.

Don’t be alarmed by the amount in the pot- this is a double batch I’m making in these pictures. This is so good I can’t even think about making a single batch anymore…

Grate the zest of a lime into the pot, then juice the lime and add it to the pot. I hope you’ve gotten one of these microplane graters, we use them a lot here!

Now, the part of chutney that I wasn’t always thrilled about was the raisins. They get all plump and squishy when they’re cooked and that’s just not my favorite thing. But I know they are a crucial ingredient to most chutneys, so I simply chop them first a bit in my mini chopper and no more fat, squishy raisins!

So, chop 1/2 cup raisins (measure before chopping), and add to the rest of the ingredients in the pot. Or leave them whole if you don’t mind them.

Stir well and set the pot on the stove. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to a low simmer.

Cook at a low simmer for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. It will reduce in volume and thicken. This is what it looks like at the hour mark.

I always like to cook it for the full 2 hours until it is rich and thick and as you can see, reduced almost by half.

Now, you will need to decide if you want to can this in a boiling-water canner. I always do, but I have frozen extras with good success. I like to have the convenience of it ready to go at a moments notice on the shelf when I feel the need for it coming on. If you are canning, prepare five 1/2-pint canning jars and the other equipment you’ll need as described here for step-by-step canning.

When the canner, lids, and jars are ready, ladle the chutney into the jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Secure the lids on with the screw bands and place in the canner.

When the water comes to a roiling boil, set the timer for 10 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes in the water with the heat turned off when the timer goes off before removing to a towel-lined surface.

Leave undisturbed for 24 hours before storing in a cool, dark place.


Oregon Cottage’s Tomato Chutney

  • 4 lb.s tomatoes, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1/4 c. minced garlic (about a medium sized head)
  • 1 c. chopped onions
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 3/4 c. white sugar
  • 1-1/2 c. cider vinegar
  • 1 TB. pickling salt
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 1 TB dry, ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. hot pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 c. raisins, chopped
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a heavy nonreactive 4-6 quart pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower heat and cook at a low simmer for 1-1/2 to 2 hours until thickened. Stir often as it thickens to prevent scorching.
  2. Ladle the chutney into 1/2 pint canning jars leaving 1/4″ headspace and attach the two-piece canning lids.
  3. Boil in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove and cool before storing in a dark, cool place.

Makes five 1/2 pint jars




  1. Jenelle says

    ok, I normally stay away from chutneys because I don’t like raisins. But I’m going to give this one a try using you idea of chopping up the raisins.

    Also, where do you get your pickeling salt? I have not been able to find any, so when I made pickles earlier this year I just used kosher salt. Do you know what the difference is?


  2. Jami @ An Oregon Cottage says

    I hope you do try it- I think you will be surprised at how good it is even with raisins!
    I can’t believe you can’t find pickling salt. It’s sold only in a large box, so it will be on the bottom shelf by the seasonings in the grocery store. The box I have is Morton’s Pickling and Canning Salt.
    Regular salt will tend to leave a sediment at the bottom, but the food is OK so you don’t need to worry about anything you’ve already done.

    A nonreactive pot is basically any pot that is NOT straight aluminum or cast iron. When working with high-acid foods like tomatoes, these pots will react with the pot. Most people have cookware now that is stainless steel or enameled cast iron, so you probably don’t need to worry.

  3. Jenelle says

    ok, one more question. Is the 4lbs of tomatoes before then have been peeled cored seeded and chopped or after? Probably doesn’t matter, but I thought I’d ask.

  4. Jami@An Oregon Cottage says

    I’m sure it doesn’t matter this late (sorry!), but the 4 lbs is before chopping, etc.

    If I had said, 4 lbs. chopped tomatoes, that would’ve been after chopping, but 4 lbs. tomatoes, chopped means chop them after weighing.

    May come in handy for other recipes. :-)

    Hope you’re enjoying the chutney!

  5. says

    I also have a nit-picky question for you! :-) Is it necessary to core the tomatoes? How would I go about doing that? I have very small romas (some are about the size of cherry tomatoes) so if I used an apple corer, there wouldn’t be any tomato left! I’m hoping to try this chutney tomorrow–sounds yummy!

  6. Jami @ An Oregon Cottage says

    Hope I’m not too late in responding, Laura!

    No, you don’t have to core them (and I’d never use an apple corer- it would probably squash most of mine!). I cut the tomatoes in half first and if there’s a large white core, I cut it out. This is because they don’t really cook down and will mostly remain hard little pieces. For what you’re talking about, you probably won’t see much of a core anyway and the smaller the fruit, usually the smaller the core.

    I’d just cut them in half and use them like that.

    Good luck- I hope you like it!

  7. says

    Thanks for your quick reply, Jami! I mentioned to my husband that you also had a canned bruschetta topping, and he told me to make that instead, so I’m just finishing that up. I had a little problem cooking the peels off the tomatoes–mine didn’t crack, so I left them in the water for more like a minute and a half until the peels started to wrinkle a bit. This was apparently a mistake, since I ended up with tomato mush, but I just mixed the liquid part of the recipe in and canned it like salsa. If this is going to poison us, someone please tell me! Next time I’ll stick to the 30 seconds. :-) Thanks for posting such detailed tutorials–it makes it a lot easier for those of us just learning to can!

  8. says

    Looks like I spoke too soon…. I have about an inch of just liquid at the bottom of the jars with the tomatoes floating on top. Is this normal? Sorry for pestering you like this, but I really appreciate the advice! :-)

  9. Jami @ An Oregon Cottage says

    Oh, dear! I’m sorry, I should’ve been a little more clear- only a few tomatoes will have skins cracking, it’s the seconds they cook that are important, which you found out the hard way. :-)

    There’s no danger in the way you canned, as long as you stuck to the ratios. The only difference will be in the texture. And floating doesn’t impact the taste or safety – it’s a reaction when doing a “raw-pack” ie., the tomatoes aren’t cooked first. I always do my fruit and tomatoes raw-pack because I like the texture with less cooking, but I always have floaters. Some people don’t like the look of it floating, but it doesn’t bother me!

    I hope it still works on the bread for you- I bet the flavor will still be great!

  10. says

    Thanks so much! I was so worried I’d ruined them. My husband had some of the topping on eggs this morning that I had just put in the fridge, and said it was delicious, so I might have to bust open one of those jars pretty soon. :-) I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your advice–I don’t know anyone who cans, and I’ve been muddling along trying to teach myself, which doesn’t always work well!

  11. Jami @ An Oregon Cottage says

    Glad I could help! I had to teach myself, too, and so I post things I would’ve wanted to know when I was learning…

    I found the Ball Blue Book to be the best help then, if you don’t have one, I highly recommend it! They usually sell them in the grocery stores near the canning stuff.

  12. Debora says


    Your Chutney recipe is awesome! I am addicted and can’t wait to make another much larger batch. I followed you recipe exactly and for some reason only ended up with three jars instead of five so after tasting it I am bummed I did not double the recipe. Thank you for your great instructions. I have not canned anything before but I follwed your tips and it all went perfect. I love all of your visuals as well.

    Great Job!!!

  13. Jami@An Oregon Cottage says

    Debora- I’m so glad you tried the chutney and liked it! Thanks for the nice comments, my goal is to make it easy for people. :-)

    My guess is you cooked the chutney down a little more (longer time? higher cooking temp?) which means you have a nice, thick, sauce instead of the slightly runny sauce I ended up with this year! And I always double it now, but didn’t the first time I made it because I wasn’t sure how I’d like it…it’s a process!

  14. says

    Turns out it’s delicious even without onions and garlic! You left the garlic out of the recipe at the end, which is what I was looking at as I wrote down the ingredients. But I screwed up the onions all on my own — after peeling and chopping eight lbs. of tomatoes, I just couldn’t face chopping onions right then, so I thought “I’ll put in the other stuff, then get back to the onions.” Because yeah, doing brand new recipes out of order always goes SO WELL! But it’s incredibly tasty anyway. I had some on whole-grain bread with sharp chedder — I could just sit here and eat that all night long!

  15. says

    loligo- Aaack! You’re the first person who mentioned that I forgot to put the garlic in the recipe at the end! Thank you for alerting me- it’s all fixed now. Sounds like it turned out OK for you, but believe me it will be better with the garlic and onions. :-)

  16. Elizabeth says

    I love this, and it was a great hit at the potluck barbecue I brought it to. Everyone asked what was in it and I couldn’t remember, so it’s still a well-kept secret! Thanks for a great recipe and though I didn’t need them, your step by step photos and instructions are great!

  17. Jami @An Oregon Cottage says

    Joey- You can eat it right away- it’s awesome at any time! It’s the long-cooking time that combines all the flavors, so after that, any time is good.

  18. Jennifer says

    Just found this recipe and noticed that several people don’t like raisins in their chutney. Try dried currants instead – they’re smaller and tarter than raisins. I love them!

  19. Carol from Colorado says

    Thanks for the recipe. We had a killing frost here in Colorado so all this year’s tomatoes had to come in. I’ve made Tomato Jam before, but I was looking to do chutney this time. A question about acid ratios. I used .25 cup less sugar and .50 cup less vinegar because I wanted the tomato to come through a bit more. With 1 cup of vinegar and the lime, do you think I have enough acid to be shelf safe? These were processed 20 minutes because of our altitude. I should probably also note that I used fresh chilis and ginger.

    • Jami says

      Hey, Carol! I don’t usually fiddle with the acid-to-fresh-vegetable ratio, as that’s been tested. Unless I do a straight across (using peppers instead of onions, for example) or lessening the fresh vegetables entirely. Using less sugar and different or more dried herbs doesn’t affect acid (which I did in the updated, lower sugar version- which I just saw I never linked to here…adding that right away!). And the lime is fresh, so acid levels will vary. So for me, I wouldn’t ever lower the vinegar, especially if I were adding fresh (in this case the chilies and ginger). Hope that helps!

  20. Kathy says

    Hi, can you tell me, can you make this frozen tomatoes, which I peeled and cored from my garden this summer, how many cups would this be? How long do you think this will last being stored in dark cool place
    Thanks Kathy

    • says

      I don’t know, Kathy, I haven’t made it with frozen tomatoes. Let us know the ratios if you try it. The recommendation for homecanned goods has always been about a year to two years depending on what it is. Ours is usually gone after a year, though I think one year it was year and a half.

  21. Jennifer says

    We tried this recipe yesterday with the surplus of tomatoes we had. Wonderful!! I would consider my husband and I both “foodies”. We usually have to tweak every new recipe. This is beyond awesome. Only thing is we had to cook it longer. Soooooo yum!!! Thank you!!


Leave a Reply

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

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>