This recipe for tomato chutney is hands-down the best recipe for a condiment that is a favorite of everyone on both meat, vegetables, and more. It’s the first thing I make sure to make enough of when tomatoes are in season – we never want to run out of this tomato chutney!
Note: This classic AOC recipe for tomato chutney has also been adapted to use less sugar and still keep that amazing flavor. You have your choice to make the original recipe below or to click here to go to the lower sugar version. (If you’re wondering, I only make the low sugar version now – less sugar is a good thing!)
Most people I know don’t have much experience with chutney except for the occasional visit to an Indian restaurant and so aren’t sure if it’s something they would eat or what they would eat it with. This also was my experience and if I hadn’t been faced with a counter of tomatoes even after all the salsa and marinara sauce had been made, I may have never ventured into the chutney world.
But am I ever glad I did! I took a chance with a small batch of an interesting recipe and the result was history (for our family at least!). If this describes you, too, I encourage you to give this tomato chutney recipe a try because it’s so good you’ll be ruined for regular ketchup as a condiment forever.
And if you’ve made chutney before, well, I know you’re going to love the flavors in this recipe!
How to Make Tomato Chutney
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There is nothing fancy in the ingredients needed, but when it all comes together you’d never guess these humble beginnings.
You will need to use Canning & Pickling Salt that is made with no additives. While you could use another pure salt like sea salt, the volume may differ and since this is a canned recipe, I recommend the canning & pickling salt (if you’re not going to can it, though, you can substitute another pure salt).
You’ll also want these spices on hand in addition to the other ingredients: ground ginger (love this brand), cumin, and red pepper flakes (you can save a lot if you buy it in a larger container like this – and then you’ll have flakes to make this honey-sweetened Sweet Chili Sauce, too.)
For canning the chutney, gather 5 half-pint mason jars and a water bath canner. See my favorite canning and preserving supplies here for recommendations.
Start the chutney recipe by prepping the main ingredient – tomatoes. Peel (see my quicker peel technique here), core and chop the tomatoes and place in a large stock pot. Then it’s just a matter of prepping and adding the other ingredients.
Chop about one whole head to equal the recipe amount (click the arrow above or below for the full recipe). I use a little electric mini chopper to make it easy to chop that much garlic quickly and then add it to the pot of tomatoes.
Then add the remaining ingredients through the black pepper to the pot .
FYI -I’m making a double batch of tomato chutney in these pictures, so the pot is fuller than a single recipe. This recipe is so good I can’t even think about making a single batch anymore…
And this is one of the ingredients that may just put it over the top: lime.
Grate the zest of a lime into the pot and then juice it and add it to the pot. I hope you’ve gotten one of these microplane graters, I use it all.the.time.
Now here’s the part of chutney I wasn’t always thrilled about: the raisins. Whole raisins 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 my solution is to simply chop them a bit in my mini chopper (right after blending the garlic) and voila – no more fat, squishy raisins!
You’ll want to measure the raisins before chopping, chop, and then add to the rest of the ingredients in the pot. Of course you can always leave them whole if you don’t mind them – it’s totally up to you.
Cooking the Tomato Chutney
Stir all the ingredients well and bring to a boil over high heat before reducing the heat to simmer for a few hours. Here’s what the chutney will look like as it cooks:
At the beginning. The pot will start full, though less than the pot pictured above if you’re making only one batch. (Note: If you use a food processor like I do now to chop the tomatoes, you won’t have the big chunks you see above – this was when I still peeled and chopped. It’s SO much quicker to use the processor!)
At the one-hour mark. It has reduced in volume by 1/8 to 1/4 and thickened.
At the two-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.
To Can or Not to Can
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, and the half-pints also keep well in refrigerated storage for 2-3 months.
To have the convenience of it ready to go on the shelf, as well as a year to a year-and-a-half storage life, canning is an easy alternative. If you’ve water-bath canned before, you know what I’m talking about and if you haven’t, I made this video tutorial that walks you through the steps:
If you are canning, prepare five 1/2-pint canning jars and the other equipment you’ll need as described here in the written tutorial for step-by-step water-bath canning.
When your 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. When the timer goes off remove the jars to a towel-lined surface and leave undisturbed for 24 hours before storing in a cool, dark place.
I like to call this tomato chutney recipe “adult ketchup” because it elevates burgers and hot dogs to a whole new level. However, it really is addicting and you’ll find yourself using it on all kinds of other things, too, like:
- sausage or any grilled meat
- sandwiches, especially grilled and paninis
- roasted potatoes and french fries
- roasted vegetables
If you make this, be sure to let me know what you use it on!
Click the arrow for the full tomato chutney recipe (with print options)!
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