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Make this Sweet and Savory Tomato Chutney to Preserve the Harvest

This tomato chutney recipe is one of my favorite methods for preserving an abundant tomato crop from the vegetable garden. Add it to your homemade pantry!

Be sure to try this delicious salsa recipe for canning, too.

tomato chutney in jars and some in a square white dish

Chef’s tomato chutney recipe

My friend Claudette is a personal chef. She cooks professionally for people who can afford such things. When Claudette cooks, people pay attention. My kids love to have dinner at her house because it is guaranteed to be a noteworthy meal.

She makes some amazing sausage rolls and serves them with a tomato chutney that is to die for. I enjoy the sausage rolls, but I have to admit, I’m fully prepared to forgo the rolls and resort to a spoon for the tomato chutney. Seriously. That good.

When I raved (over and over again) about the chutney, she shared her recipe with me. I modified it to assure that it’s safe for canning and now I try to keep some in my pantry at all times!


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Ingredients

Tomatoes – Start with tomatoes fresh off the vine for the best flavor; Roma tomatoes are great, but beefsteak varieties will work, too. Chop the tomatoes by hand aiming for a quarter-inch dice, or use your food processor and pulse the tomatoes and peppers to chop them.

Do you need to peel the tomatoes? I don’t, but if that’s your preference, here’s how to peel tomatoes like my mom does it.

Vinegar – This recipe calls for two different kinds of vinegar, red wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar. It’s what makes this a sweet and tangy tomato chutney.

Sugar – Use granulated sugar for this recipe. I prefer to use an organic cane sugar to avoid genetically modified ingredients, but your favorite brand will be just fine.

Red peppers – Using red peppers adds flavor and sweetness to the chutney recipe. You could probably use orange or yellow bells, too, but I definitely wouldn’t use green bell peppers. 

Green onions – Instead of bulb onions, this recipe calls for milder sliced green onions. 

Seasonings – Along with salt and pepper, mustard seeds and red pepper flakes offer up flavor and spice. While this recipe is a slightly spicy tomato chutney, it’s not terribly hot. If you’d like more heat, you can safely double the red pepper flakes.

Making the chutney

You’ll start by heating the vinegar, sugar, and spices. While that’s heating, chop the vegetables. You can do this by hand or use a food processor as I do. 

tomatoes in a food processor, before and after processing

Core and quarter the tomatoes and put them in the bowl of the food processor. Use a pulsing method to reduce the tomatoes to a chunky pulp. 

Repeat with both the peppers and the onions. 

red peppers in a food processor, before and after processing

Combine the chopped veggies with the vinegar and seasonings and cook for a couple of hours, until the chutney is thick and reduced by about half. 

green onions sitting atop red mixture in a large stock pot

Canning this tomato chutney

If you’re new to home food preservation, be sure to read this for an understanding of canning equipment and how it works. 

Once the ingredients are chopped and cooked, you’ll ladle the chutney into pint jars. Fill seven jars; that’s how many will fit in a standard canning pot. I have a canning funnel for this purpose, that makes it easier to transfer the chutney into the jars without a lot of mess. 

half pint jars of tomato chutney without lids

Use a damp cloth to wipe the rim of each jar; a little bit of food on the jar rim can prevent the lids from sealing properly. Set the lids in place and screw the bands on firmly tight (but not too tight). Use a jar lifter to transfer jars into the gently boiling water. As stated above, the water in the pot should cover the jars by about an inch. If necessary add more water to the canner.

Hot tip: Boil some extra water in a saucepan or electric kettle as you’re working. If you need to top off the water in the canner, you won’t cool down the water too much.

Process jars for the recommended time. (See below.) When time is up, use the jar lifter to transfer jars to a flat surface that’s padded with a kitchen towel. Allow jars to cool completely. As they cool, you’ll begin to hear a canner’s favorite sound: That lovely little tink! that indicates a successful seal.

jars of tomato chutney

Once jars are thoroughly cooled, check the seal on all of the jars. The lid should be concave and solid. If it flexes at all, it’s not sealed. (Place any jars that didn’t seal in the refrigerator and use them first. They are not shelf stable.)

Remove bands from cooled jars and rinse the jars. Store jars without the bands.

Canning Safety

Canning is an excellent way to preserve food for the pantry, but there are some important safety considerations to keep in mind. 

  • Know the difference between water bath canning and pressure canning. Low acid items must be pressure canned for safety. 
  • Altering ingredients may change the recipe’s pH, posing a safety issue. I highly recommend investing in pH paper to test your products for acidity level when canning. Note: The Hawaii Master Food Preservers suggest a pH of 4.2 or lower in the tropics. In other regions, the recommended pH is 4.6 or lower.
  • Use the proper jars and lids. Never reuse lids, with the exception of the Tattler lids that are intended for such a purpose.
  • For more on canning equipment, please go here
  • The recipes on this site have been made following safe canning procedures by a certified Master Food Preserver.

This tomato chutney is a good beginner recipe for novice home canners. (Find more easy canning recipes here.) Canning chutney at home is not hard. It’s basically a lot of chopping.

If you want to make this amazing tomato chutney but don’t want to do any canning, you can simply make it and store it in the fridge for 4-6 weeks. 

Be sure to read this for more on canning tomatoes.

tomato chutney in jars and some in a square white dish

★ Did you make this tomato chutney recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below! ★

tomato chutney in jars and some in a square white dish

Tomato Chutney Recipe

Yield: 7 pints
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Process Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes

This tomato chutney is one of my favorite recipes for preserving an abundant tomato crop from the vegetable garden. It's spicy and sweet and full of fresh tomato flavor. It is really very easy and so worth it!

Ingredients

Vinegar, Sugar, and Spices:

Vegetables:

  • 5 pounds chopped tomatoes
  • 5 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 3 3/4 cup sliced green onions

Instructions

Making the chutney:

  1. Combine red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, sugar, and spice ingredients to a large stockpot and bring to a boil.
  2. Add vegetables. Simmer all ingredients for about two hours or until thickened and reduced by half. As the chutney thickens, you'll need to stir more frequently (and watch out - it can get a bit volcanic as it bubbles away).


Canning the chutney:

  1. While the chutney is cooking, fill a canning pot with water, set the lid in place, and heat on high heat until boiling.
  2. Ladle hot chutney into pint or half-pint jars, leaving 1/2" head space. A canning funnel makes this easy.
  3. Wipe jar rims to remove any chutney that may have spilled. A clean rim is essential to a good seal.
  4. Set jar lids in place. Screw bands on finger tight, firmly, but don't crank the rings on.
  5. Use a jar lifter to gently submerge jars into boiling water in canning pot. Water should cover the top of the jars by an inch. The water will cool somewhat in reaction to the addition of the jars. Return the water to a low boil and set the timer.
  6. Process for 15 minutes; 20 minutes for elevations above 6,000 feet.
  7. Allow jars to cool overnight.
  8. Check for seal: the lids should feel solid and slightly indented. If they flex, they are not shelf stable and should be refrigerated and used first.
  9. Wash jars, remove rings, and store in a cool, dry place for up to a year.

Notes

This recipe tested at a pH of 3.0 making it safe for water bath canning.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 42 Serving Size: 1/4 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 95Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 7mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 1gSugar: 20gProtein: 1g

Did you make this recipe?

Share an image on Instagram and tag @attainablesustainable with #attainablesustainable!

Here are some more canning recipes to try!

Try canning nectarines or peaches to preserve the sweet flavor of a summertime harvest. 

Applesauce is easy to make and preserve with a water bath. Here’s how

Did you know you can make your own shelf-stable chicken stock? Or  ready-to-use canned beans?? Talk about a time saver. (You DO need a pressure canner to make either of these.)

Originally published August 2011; this post has been updated.

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49 comments… add one
  • Tina Aug 3, 2021 @ 16:20

    Hi I don’t wanna be negative. But I made this recipe and when we tasted it after it has so much vinegar in it. I think it needs to have more sugar or some garlic and other things it just taste like vinegar. I’m kind of disappointed sorry

    • Kris Bordessa Aug 14, 2021 @ 7:32

      What a world it would be if we all liked the same exact flavors!

  • Melissa Nov 9, 2020 @ 14:14

    This is the third year in a row I’ve made this recipe! It’s such a great way to use all those tomatoes we harvested before the frost. I use whatever sweet peppers I have on hand in place of the red bell and it’s always delicious. Thanks!!

    • Kris Bordessa Nov 23, 2020 @ 17:23

      I’m so glad! I love it.

  • Kelly Sep 20, 2020 @ 13:31

    Hello,
    Is there a way I can safely reduce the spicyness (I intend to water bath can it). I just tasted it as it is reducing and it is spicier then I thought.
    Going to can it tomorrow.
    Thank you

    • Kris Bordessa Sep 27, 2020 @ 12:10

      Eek, sorry — just now seeing this. You could double the recipe, adding everything BUT the spices, but altering the recipe for canning isn’t a good idea. If you *weren’t canning it, you could always add more of all the non-spicy ingredients.

  • Diane Frederick Sep 9, 2020 @ 16:55

    I didn’t have enough rd wine or apple cider vinegar so I topped it off with regular vinegar. Then I couldn’t find just mustard seed so I used pickling spice. I used half cane sugar and half regular sugar. I let mine cook for 4 to 5 Hours. It’s quite spicy hot but delicious

  • Dhanmati Sep 9, 2020 @ 15:56

    Good night. In Trinidad our method is different and not refrigerated. Roast or steam the tomatoes,hot pepper, pimento, garlic, onions. Clean off skins. Put in the processor adding salt to taste and some water. Hot some cooking oil and pour in choka. We call that chunkeying of tomatoes choka.

    • Kris Bordessa Sep 11, 2020 @ 8:13

      I love that I learned the word “choka” today!

  • Nikki Jul 28, 2020 @ 16:51

    Sounds amazing!
    With so much vinegar, does it have a strong vinegar taste?
    I may have to try this.

    • Kris Bordessa Aug 6, 2020 @ 15:34

      Not to me!

  • Nancy Jun 7, 2020 @ 4:37

    Would love if you made your printable recipes more condensed so they fit on two pages (1page front and back). Any more than that means it will get lost. And save trees.

    • Kris Bordessa Jul 1, 2020 @ 8:33

      I understand your frustration. Sadly, I do not know how to do this.

  • James Jun 6, 2020 @ 11:08

    This very good. I will do a double batch next time. But be careful of red pepper flakes

  • Laloona Nov 3, 2019 @ 13:05

    Add some crushed fenugreek seeds too and skip the wine .

  • Coki Sep 14, 2019 @ 11:22

    How many pints do you get out of this recipe? If I double it do I need to simmer for 4hrs do you think? Thanks! Looks delicious!

    • Kris Bordessa Sep 20, 2019 @ 12:48

      Yield is about 5 pints. And no, if you double the ingredients you don’t necessarily need to double the cook time. You’ll need to keep an eye on it to know, though!

  • Becky Aug 25, 2019 @ 5:43

    Can’t you use cherry tomatoes?

    • Kris Bordessa Aug 25, 2019 @ 12:31

      You could!

  • Juliana Fendez Nov 18, 2018 @ 0:11

    I love tomato chutney, but have never tried the sweet and spicy version. Old recipes are always keepers. I am going to make this recipe soon.

  • Gracie Oct 10, 2018 @ 6:27

    Hi there,

    I am wondering how many pints does this make? Thanks!

    • Kris Bordessa Oct 17, 2018 @ 9:52

      Roughly 5-6.

  • Jen Sep 20, 2018 @ 14:29

    This was so easy to make and tasted amazing! Strong flavor so I am thinking best with sausages or some other strong meat; also would be a great topping for warm Brie & crackers.

  • Megan Apr 9, 2018 @ 20:12

    I tried this last summer and it’s the best!! Can’t wait to make it again.

  • Rebecca Logue Jun 16, 2017 @ 9:05

    Great stuff! We love it! Yummy!

  • Ross Sep 5, 2016 @ 14:54

    Kris,
    Had too many fresh tomatoes and wanted to try something different so I picked your chutney recipe. It made 10 pint jars and I let it cook down for 4 hours. Great consistency and excellent favors. I have gifted several jars and everyone has gobbled it up and asked for the recipe. Thanks!

    • Kris Bordessa Sep 5, 2016 @ 15:30

      Oh, yay! Isn’t it GOOD?? Really it’s one of the reasons I keep persisting on trying to grow tomatoes here!

  • Sonia Jul 10, 2016 @ 12:59

    Kris, do you mind my using this recipe (giving you and Claudette credit, of course) in a publication?
    I have been looking for a good tomato chutney recipe and I loved this one!
    I did cut it by half though.

  • Dianna Feb 15, 2016 @ 7:22

    We are on a snow day today (5th one this winter!) and I’m spending the day thinking about my garden. Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  • Joanne Sep 23, 2015 @ 17:23

    What is tomato chutney use in/for? It looks good and sounds really good.

    • Kris Bordessa Oct 5, 2015 @ 8:21

      I use it kind of like ketchup. It’s also good on toasted bread with cream cheese, and the gal that I got the recipe from serves it with homemade sausage rolls. It’s yummy.

  • dorothy briggs Jul 18, 2015 @ 5:54

    Hi, i love the sound of this chutney,can you tell me how long can i keep this for.Thanks for the blog……

    • Kris Bordessa Jul 18, 2015 @ 8:57

      If you process it in a water bath canner it’ll last for a year or two. If you just refrigerate (which is fine, too) maybe a week or two?

  • isaac rideout Dec 12, 2014 @ 23:29

    Hi thanks for the link. Do you peel the tomatoes first or use them skin on?

    • Kris Bordessa Dec 13, 2014 @ 8:28

      I’m lazy. 😉 I leave them on.

  • jeanine barone Nov 3, 2011 @ 5:12

    I love most chutneys so I’ll have to try this one. Looks yummy.

  • MyKidsEatSquid Nov 3, 2011 @ 3:13

    This post was made for me–I found a big box of roma tomatoes on sale for 50 cents a pound. I’ve been looking for recipes! I’m wondering if you can do the freezer canning method with this instead of the regular way. Thoughts?

  • merr Nov 1, 2011 @ 4:27

    Have never made this but it looks/sounds (and I bet it tastes) great.

  • ruth pennebaker Oct 31, 2011 @ 12:05

    Wow, this looks wonderful.

  • Susan Oct 31, 2011 @ 11:52

    Yum! This looks like a super-easy recipe. Thanks for including all these photos of each step.

  • Living Large Oct 31, 2011 @ 10:50

    Our tomatoes are long gone, but I will keep this recipe for next year!

  • Melanie @ Frugal Kiwi Oct 31, 2011 @ 10:17

    Sounds delish. I’ll keep it in mind when my tomatoes start coming in. They are just wee spring seedlings now.

  • Jane Boursaw Oct 31, 2011 @ 10:09

    I was JUST out in the garden and trying to figure out what to do with all the tomatoes still left out there. Since we’re expecting snow any day here in Michigan, this chutney is the perfect thing.

  • Janice Sep 5, 2011 @ 4:02

    The tomato chutney looks so good. I would love to try this. Rather than using sugar, I often use maple syrup (one to one measurements of syrup for sugar). Do you think using syrup is as good for preserving?

  • sarah henry Sep 2, 2011 @ 4:22

    Adore tomato chutney. Must. Try. This.

  • Rebecca Aug 29, 2011 @ 6:24

    I would love to try this! I have a bunch of tomatoes that I need to use before they go bad. My only question is do you have any recommendation for a substitute for the peppers? Peppers don’t always agree with my digestion, so I very rarely use them.

    • Sonia Aug 29, 2011 @ 7:16

      Rebecca, I like to roast tomatoes, onions and sliced carrots when I make my tomato sauce….gives the sauce a slightly sweet taste and lots of body….maybe use some cooked carrots instead of the peppers in your chutney?

      • Kris Bordessa Aug 29, 2011 @ 10:21

        I think carrots would make a pretty good substitute. Thanks, Sonia!

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