Cranberry Chutney

This chutney is a fruity, spreadable adventure that treats your palate to several surprises along the way. From sweet to tart, and spicy to savory, there’s no scrumptious territory where it doesn’t make a stop.

Vertical image of two jars filled with a red spread on a cheese board, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

So if you’ve been on the hunt for a novel way to showcase cranberries this season, you’ll fall hard for this bold, delicious condiment.

If you believe cranberry sauce trumps turkey as the most significant part of the Thanksgiving plate, we have something in common.

The spread’s tart, sweet flavor somehow pairs perfectly with everything it comes into contact with at this annual feast. I smear it over buttery oyster dressing. I dollop it onto my airy mashed potatoes. I make sure it clings to every savory forkful of meat.

And while this recipe is a berry-based condiment that’s far more interesting and less traditional than basic cranberry sauce, it lives in the same family and can travel to all the same tasty places.

Vertical top-down image of two jars full of a thick fruit spread on a wooden board next to cinnamon and a bowl of sliced jalapenos.

I bet you’re wondering what sets this recipe apart from the aforementioned classic made-from-scratch cranberry sauce you’re used to devouring around the holidays. I’m glad you asked.

Cranberry sauce doesn’t typically have a wildly complex flavor profile. And that’s part of what makes it delicious – its simplicity.

Chutney, on the other hand, is a condiment with a touch more texture that provides plenty of pizzazz on the palate. The term “chutney” finds its roots in India. It’s a condiment composed of simmered fruits and veggies mixed with vinegar and spices. It can be made with a base of any variety of fruit options, such as mango, plum, apple, and more.

The sweet, savory, and/or spicy condiment can be used to enhance other dishes.  And boy, does it ever!

Vertical image of a glass jar filled with a chunky red fruit spread on a cheeseboard.

This version leans hard into that savory category thanks to rich, sweet, caramelized red onions and a pinch of pungent minced garlic.

The recipe calls for stripping away the jalapeno’s spice – the seeds and ribs – leaving just the grassy flesh of the pepper to perfume the spread and add color and texture. But if you love a spark of heat with your sweet, don’t let us stop you from chopping that sucker up, seeds and all.

The plump, tangy cranberries are clearly at the center of things, but a crisp Granny Smith apple thrown into the mix and a splash of pleasantly sour apple cider vinegar bring a little extra bite. Golden raisins deliver a fruity flavor all their own, and tender texture.

Vertical image of a jar of chunky fruit spread surrounded by items on a cheese board.

Spice-wise, peppery ginger, allspice, cinnamon, and clove echo the subtle warmth of the jalapeno and bring an unexpected layer of flavor.

This fruity spread makes an epic addition to a charcuterie board, or a perfect pairing with roast pork. But I know I’ll be showcasing it front and center on my Thanksgiving plate.

Feel free to even sneak it into the cranberry sauce’s usual spot on that Thanksgiving leftover sandwich.

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Horizontal image of jars with a red jelly spread next to spices and fresh ingredients.

Cranberry Chutney

  • Author: Fanny Slater
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1/4 cups (36 1-tablespoon servings) 1x


Caramelized onions and warming spices give this eclectic cranberry-apple chutney its sweet and savory zing while jalapenos bring the heat.


  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil (grapeseed, canola, etc.)
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 12-ounce bag fresh or frozen whole cranberries
  • 1 medium jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced (about 1 1/3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves


  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil and add the onions. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Set the onions aside in the pan.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepot over medium-high heat, combine the water, brown sugar, cranberries, jalapeno, apple, raisins, vinegar, garlic, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and cloves. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer. Cook, stirring often, until the chutney has thickened to a chunky consistency and reduced by about half, about 25 minutes.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat, stir in the caramelized onions, and season to taste with additional salt. Transfer to an airtight container or half-pint jars, and cool to room temperature before covering and refrigerating.
  4. This chutney may be stored in the fridge for 10-14 days.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Chutney
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Condiment

Keywords: cranberry, apple, caramelized red onion, chutney

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Gather, Measure, and Prep Ingredients

Get out a cutting board and a chef’s knife.

Horizontal image of chopped onions, jalapenos, and garlic on a wooden cutting board next to a knife.

Measure the oil, water, and apple cider vinegar. You could substitute orange or apple juice for the water to heighten the sweetness of the recipe.

Measure the salt, brown sugar (packed, please!), raisins, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and cloves.

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the apple. Make sure the variety you choose is good for cooking. I like to use a tart and firm like Granny Smith. Remove the core and chop the apple.

Chop the red onion, and mince the garlic.

Horizontal image of measured and prepped ingredients for a cranberry chutney.

Remove the stem, ribs, and seeds, and mince the jalapeno. To give the chutney an added boost of spiciness, leave the seeds and ribs intact. Either way, don’t forget to wash your hands well after handling the hot pepper!

Step 2 – Caramelize the Onions

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and season with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Stir to combine.

Horizontal image of caramelizing chopped onions in a cast iron skillet.

Slowly cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown and caramelized. This will take about 20 minutes and they will reduce in size by about half

While the onions are cooking, move onto the next step of preparing the chutney.

Set the pan of caramelized onions aside when they are finished cooking.

Step 3 – Build and Simmer the Mixture

Add the water, brown sugar, whole cranberries, minced jalapeno, diced apple, raisins, apple cider vinegar, garlic, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and cloves to a large saucepot placed over medium-high heat. Stir to combine and then bring the mixture to a boil.

Horizontal image of the early stages of a chutney mixture in a pot.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 25 minutes, stirring often, until the chutney is thick, darker in color, and concentrated. The volume will be reduced by about half when it’s ready.

Horizontal image of a cooked chunky fruit mixture tinted red in a pot.

You can use a spatula to crush any of the remaining whole cranberries if you like as the mixture simmers, but you want it to have a nice chunky consistency overall.

Step 4 – Stir in the Onions, Chill, and Serve

Take the pot off the burner and stir in the caramelized onions. Season to taste with additional salt if necessary and then transfer the chutney into an airtight container or half-pint jars.

Horizontal image of a spatula holding a scoopful of a chunky red condiment over a pot.

Cool to room temperature and then cover and refrigerate. Store in the fridge for 10 to 14 days.

For longer storage, portion the chutney into smaller, freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to 6 months, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace at the top to give it room to expand as it freezes.

Horizontal image of two jars filled with cranberry fruit spread on a wooden board next to a knife spreader.

This chutney tastes best after the flavors have had a chance to meld, so I suggest making it a day or two in advance of eating or gift-giving..

Ho-Ho-Holy Holiday Gift Giving!

Once Thanksgiving’s come and gone, ‘tis the season to rack your brain for some last-minute holiday presents. Who doesn’t love something they can unwrap and then eat?

Horizontal image of jars with a red jelly spread next to spices and fresh ingredients.

This condiment will result in far more thank you hugs than that candle you were thinking of re-gifting. Just keep in mind it’s not a shelf-stable product unless canned under pressure or in a water bath. If made according to the basic instructions outlined above, it has to live in the fridge.

Will you smear this condiment onto a gooey grilled cheese with sharp cheddar, serve it alongside a roast, or plop it onto a pretty charcuterie platter with salty cured meats? Share your suggestions for the best way to cherish your chutney in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.

Jalapenos deliver a vegetal flavor and prickly heat that’s absolutely addictive. If you’re a fan of the sassy peppers, try these recipes next when you’re in the mood for some spice:

Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Lorna Kring on December 16, 2015 . Last updated on “publish date”.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Fanny Slater

Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”

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