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Spicy Cranberry Chutney

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Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Chutney is packed with the Christmas flavours of mulled wine spices and orange.

A perfect partner for your festive cheeseboard and a great alternative to cranberry sauce when serving roast turkey or pork.

Sweetness from the eating apples and tanginess from the fresh cranberries and red wine vinegar combine with the heat of ginger and chilli to make this your favourite Christmas Chutney.

Jars of chutney in a stack with fresh cranberries, spices and dried orange slices.

Christmas hampers are a tradition here at the Kitchen Shed and they start coming together in the Summer.

First it’s homemade Courgette Chutney and Strawberry Jam followed in Autumn with Red Onion Chutney and Apple Chutney. Luxury Christmas Mincemeat and Spicy Cranberry Chutney are usually the last of the preserves to top off the Christmas feel.

Jars of chutney, including an open jar with a spoon with fresh cranberries, spices and dried orange slices.

Why you’ll love this recipe

Here’s why this is the best Cranberry Chutney recipe.

  • Versatile: Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Chutney is perfect with Christmas cheeses and charcuterie. Doubles as a delicious alternative to traditional cranberry sauce with your Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey or ham. Absolutely delicious in a cold turkey sandwich. We love it year round in toasted sandwiches and as a burger relish. Try it spooned over a creamy baked Brie or Camembert and served with crostini.
  • Easy to make: If you haven’t made chutney before, it’s a lot easier than you might think. It’s simply a case of adding the ingredients to a large pan and letting it simmer away. Give your chutney an occasional stir as it reduces to become glossy and thick, then it’s ready for your jars.
  • Perfect Christmas Gift: With chutney being so easy, why not rustle up an extra batch ? Then you’ll have a delicious edible homemade Christmas gift for family and friends.
Chutney jar with a spoon, fresh cranberries and chutney on a Camembert, spices and dried orange slices.

What Equipment Do I Need ?

  • Preserving pan – nice and wide so liquid can evaporate and your chutney becomes glossy and thick. If you make a lot of chutneys and jams it’s worth investing in a good solid preserving pan. I use an 8.5 litre Penguin Home Professional pan.
  • A large saucepan lid or similar big enough to cover your preserving pan.
  • A ladle.
  • A jam funnel. I prefer to use a stainless steel funnel because vinegar tends to react more with metals such as aluminium.
  • 4 to 6 jam jars with screw top lids. Make sure you are using vinegar proof lids – generally coated on the underside to prevent any acid reaction with metal.
  • Adhesive jam or chutney labels.

How to sterilise jars

Sterilise jars shortly before they are to be used. This minimises the time in which the jars might pick up new bacteria and ruin your chutney. Make sure your jars are dry when you come to fill them.

jars in the microwave.


I like to sterilise jars in the microwave. Clean your jars as normal and rinse. Whilst the jars are wet, pop them in the microwave for two minutes on full power. Remember the jars will be very hot, so remove with care.
Alternatively, wash jars in the dishwasher on a hot cycle.
Always sterilise more jars than you think you will need.

What ingredients do I need ?

Full details of the quantities of the ingredients and the method are included in the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post.

  • Dessert apples – I used Braeburn but Cox’s Orange Pippin or Gala work well too. I don’t recommend Granny Smith’s or Pink Lady as they don’t soften and thicken the chutney in the same way. You can use a cooking apple like a sharp Bramley but your chutney will not be quite as sweet.
  • Red onions – red onions add sweetness to the chutney.
  • Fresh cranberries – make sure they are firm, plump and blemish free.
  • Dried cranberries – are great for absorbing liquid and flavour. They give texture and welcome bursts of sweetness in contrast to the tangy fresh cranberries.
Spice bag with cinnamon, allspice, pink peppercorn, cloves, star anise and sea salt on a worktop.
  • Grated fresh ginger – adds a gentle heat.
  • Pink peppercorns – mild but still delivering a gentle peppery kick with a spicy floral note.
  • Chilli flakes – I’ve only used a teaspoon of chilli flakes which adds warmth without being too hot.
  • Star anise – adds a sweet peppery, aniseed flavour.
  • Cinnamon – I’ve used Ceylon cinnamon for its light, mildly spiced sweetness and citrusy flavour.
  • Cloves – aromatic and subtly sweet and used in moderation complete the mulled wine spices.
  • Sea salt – balances the flavour of the chutney.
  • Red wine vinegar – gives a mulled wine vibe to the chutney and enhances the Christmas cranberry flavour.
  • White sugar – I’ve used caster sugar as it dissolves quickly but you can use granulated if you wish. White sugar makes a sweeter chutney and helps maintain the chutney’s vibrant colour.

How to make Spicy Cranberry Chutney

Making a chutney couldn’t be easier.

Spicy Cranberry Chutney Ingredients In pan.
  • Make sure you cut your onion and apples into roughly the same size pieces so they cook evenly. Add to the preserving pan.
  • Add the fresh and dried cranberries, grated ginger, orange zest and salt.
  • Make your spice bag by tying up the spices in a large muslin square. Or, as I did, use a ready made spice bag. Add your spices to the preserving pan.
  • Pour in orange juice and red wine vinegar, stir well and slowly bring to the boil.
  • Cover with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes.
Chutney ingredients cooking in a pan, sugar being added and cooked chutney.
  • Add the sugar and simmer until nice and thick. You don’t need to watch chutney like you do jam but you still need to keep an eye on it. Stir every now and then to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Spice bag and cinnamon removed from pan. Spatula being drawn through finished chutney.
  • The chutney is ready when the liquid has reduced and the cranberries look plump and glossy. Check for thickness by drawing a silicone spatula or wooden spoon through the spicy cranberry chutney mixture. Your chutney is ready if it parts to reveal the base of the pan for a few seconds.
  • Remove the spice bag.
  • Ladle the hot chutney into warm sterilised jars.
  • When cold, label and include the date.
Potting Spicy Cranberry Chutney into a jar with scoop and funnel.

Chutney Making FAQs

Why is my chutney not thickening?

It’s essential the liquid in a chutney can evaporate easily. The relatively large surface area of a preserving pan allows liquid to evaporate more effectively than a regular pan.
Don’t expect your chutney to be ready in half an hour, it needs time to thicken. Cook the chutney nice and slow on a low heat and don’t rush it. A good chutney will take several hours to make so be patient and you’ll be rewarded with the best results.

How long does Homemade Cranberry Chutney last?

Spicy Cranberry Chutney will keep for up to a year. Once opened, use within 4 weeks.
Store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

What do you eat Cranberry Chutney with ?

Perfect on your favourite sandwich but equally at home served alongside a cheese board.
Ideal complement to a creamy baked Brie or Camembert.
Doubles as a delicious alternative to cranberry sauce with your Christmas turkey and absolutely delicious in a cold turkey sandwich.
A favourite with sausage rolls, be they shop bought or homemade. If making your own, add a teaspoon of Spicy Cranberry Chutney to your sausagemeat before wrapping in puff pastry.
Mixing your chutney with yogurt makes a delightful dip.
Two tablespoons of pureed chutney mixed with a little water gives a lovely glaze for your Christmas ham or roast.
Chutney spread on toast, layered with cheese and then grilled is delicious – Yum !

Camembert with Spicy Cranberry Chutney and toast slices around it with a jar in the backgorund.

More Homemade Preserves Recipes

Spicy Pumpkin and Cranberry Chutney
Homemade Chilli Sauce
Sweet Chilli Jam
Courgette Jam
Pumpkin Jam
Homemade Stem Ginger

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Jars of chutney in a stack with fresh cranberries, spices and dried orange slices. Vinegar added to ingredients in pan.
Jars of chutney, including an open jar with a spoon with fresh cranberries, spices and dried orange slices.

Spicy Cranberry Chutney

Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Chutney is packed with the Christmas flavours of mulled wine spices and orange. A perfect partner for your festive cheeseboard and a great alternative to cranberry sauce when serving roast turkey or pork.
Sweetness from the eating apples and tanginess from the fresh cranberries and red wine vinegar combine with the heat of ginger and chilli to make this your favourite Christmas Chutney.
4.98 from 49 votes
Print Pin Rate this Recipe Save Recipe
Course: Jams, Pickles, Chutneys, Sauces, Dips & Spreads
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 68 tablespoons
Calories: 35kcal
Author: Sarah James
tablespoons

Equipment

  • Preserving pan
  • Large saucepan lid or similar big enough to cover preserving pan
  • spice bag or muslin cloth and string
  • Ladle
  • 5 or 6 x 226 g (8oz) sterilised jars
  • Adhesive labels.

Ingredients

  • 500 g dessert apples peeled and diced – I used Braeburn
  • 250 g onions diced – about 2 medium onions
  • 600 g fresh cranberries
  • 150 g dried cranberries
  • 15 g grated ginger
  • 2 tsp pink peppercorns
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 small stick of cinnamon
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 orange zested and juiced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 400 ml red wine vinegar
  • 400 g caster sugar

Instructions

  • Place diced onions, apples, fresh cranberries, dried cranberries, grated ginger, orange zest and sea salt in preserving pan and stir.
  • Make your spice bag by tying up the spices in a large muslin square or use a ready made bag. Add to the pan.
  • Pour in orange juice and red wine vinegar and stir well. Slowly bring to the boil.
  • Cover with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Take off the lid and remove pan from the heat. Stir in the sugar.
  • Place the pan, without lid, over a low heat. Let the chutney mixture simmer for at least 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Stir every now and then to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • The chutney is ready when the liquid has reduced and is thick and glossy. Check for thickness by drawing a silicone spatula or wooden spoon through the chutney mixture. Your chutney is ready when it parts to reveal the base of the preserving pan for a few seconds.
  • Remove the spice bag before potting.
  • Ladle into sterilised jars and label when cold.

Notes

  • The recipe makes enough (approximately) to fill 5 or 6 x 226 g (8oz) jars. One serving is 1 tablespoon (20 g).
  • You can use cooking apples to make the chutney but the flavour won’t be quite as sweet.
  • The ingredient quantities should make enough chutney to fill 4 x 450g jars. Just be aware finished volumes can vary between batches.
  • The recipe is easily doubled if you use a preserving pan large enough to allow the ingredients to reduce. You’ll need to cook for an extra half hour. Trebling or quadrupling the quantities is not recommended.
  • Store for at least 2 weeks before eating.
  • Spicy Cranberry Chutney will keep for up to a year stored in a cool dry place.
  • Once opened, use within four weeks.
  • Perfect on your favourite sandwich but equally at home served alongside a cheese board.
  • Ideal complement to a creamy baked Brie or Camembert.
  • Doubles as a delicious alternative to cranberry sauce with your Christmas turkey and absolutely delicious in a cold turkey sandwich.
  • A favourite with sausage rolls, be they shop bought or homemade. If making your own, add a teaspoon of Spicy Cranberry Chutney to your sausagemeat before wrapping in puff pastry.
  • Mixing your chutney with yogurt makes a delightful dip.
  • Two tablespoons of pureed chutney mixed with a little water gives a lovely glaze for your Christmas ham or roast.
  • Chutney spread on toast, layered with cheese and then grilled is delicious.
  • Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only. 
Calories: 35kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 36mg | Potassium: 29mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 23IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.1mg
Recipe Rating




cyndy

Friday 11th of November 2022

I made this for our church Christmas Faire. The jars were a huge hit and sold out in the first hour. Now, I plan to make more for family and neighbors for the holidays. The directions were excellent!

Sarah James

Friday 11th of November 2022

Hi Cyndy, I'm so pleased to hear the cranberry chutney was a huge hot at your church Christmas faire.

Mirlene

Friday 11th of November 2022

This is the right chutney spread to have for my board. I'm going to have these along with apples, crackers, cheeses and a few other tid bits for appetizers.

Sarah James

Friday 11th of November 2022

Thanks Mirlene, it really does go well with cheeses and apples. I hope you enjoy my cranberry chutney as much as we do, Sarah.

Beth

Friday 11th of November 2022

This is amazing. I'm going to make up a triple batch of this for a fun twist on regular cranberry sauce for the holidays!

Sarah James

Friday 11th of November 2022

Thanks Beth, I hope you enjoy my Cranberry Chutney as much as we do.

Mahy

Friday 11th of November 2022

Now this cranberry chutney is such a great find! I am so glad that I've stumbled upon it!

Sarah James

Friday 11th of November 2022

Thanks Mahy, glad you found my cranberry chutney recipe.

Min

Friday 11th of November 2022

My new favorite cranberry sauce recipe. I love the spice the chili flakes bring and ginger definitely gives it a lovely flavor as well.

Sarah James

Friday 11th of November 2022

Thanks Min, he spices do give the chutney a lift and it does work so well instead of a sauce.