What Is Chutney and 8 Easy Chutney Recipes for 2023

Chutney. The word itself elicits intrigue. This mystical condiment has its origins in the ancient culinary heritage of India, yet has managed to seamlessly integrate itself into cuisines across the globe.

But what exactly is chutney, and how did it manage to charm taste buds universally?

In this blog post, we’ll unravel the mysteries of chutney – from its quirky name to the eclectic mix of ingredients that go into making this versatile sauce.

What is Chutney?

What Is Chutney and 8 Easy Chutney Recipes

Chutney is a chunky, flavor-packed sauce or condiment made with fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. Originating in India over 2000 years ago, chutneys bring a sweet, sour, hot and aromatic flair to dishes.

Traditional Indian chutneys emphasized heat and spice, while Westernized versions highlighted the natural sweetness of fruits. From mango chutney to mint chutney, the possibilities are endless!

The term “chutney” comes from the Hindi word “chatni” derived from the Sanskrit word “catnī” meaning “to lick”. And it’s no wonder this tempting condiment got its name – the flavors will leave you wanting to lick your plate!

Chutneys can be made using a single dominant ingredient, like cilantro or coconut, or a blend of vegetables, fruits, and spices. The ingredients are ground, mashed, cooked down or blended to create rich, potent sauces.

Common techniques involve sautéing aromatics like onion and garlic, simmering fruits into a jam-like consistency or pulverizing herbs, coconut and spices into a coarse paste.

This allows the ingredients to meld together while intensifying the flavors. The possibilities for creating chutneys are boundless, making it an adventurous blank canvas for both traditional and fusion recipes.

Types of Chutney

One of the best parts of chutney is the incredible diversity – there are so many wonderful types to discover! Let’s explore some of the main categories of chutneys.

Fruit Chutneys

Fruit chutneys highlight the natural sweetness of fruits, balanced by spices and vinegar for tartness.

Popular fruit chutneys include:

  • Mango chutney – Made from ripe mangoes, spices like cumin, and vinegar. Has a jam-like consistency.
  • Tomato chutney – Typically contains tomatoes, raisins, sugar, lemon juice, and spices. Sweet-tart flavor.
  • Apple chutney – Apples, raisins, vinegar, cinnamon and cardamom are common. Much thicker than applesauce.
  • Pineapple chutney – Pineapple, vinegar, raisins, sugar and ginger make a tropical chutney.
  • Plum chutney – Sweet and tangy chutney with plums, ginger, garlic, vinegar and brown sugar.

Fruit chutneys pair especially well with rich meats like pork or lamb. They also make flavorful marinades and glazes.

Vegetable Chutneys

This category covers chutneys made with vegetables, herbs, nuts or seeds as the main ingredients, adding layers of texture and nutrients.

Popular vegetable chutneys include:

  • Coconut chutney – Shredded coconut blended with yogurt, ginger, green chilies and cilantro.
  • Mint chutney – Fresh mint, cilantro, garlic, lemon juice and green chilies pulverized together.
  • Onion chutney – Caramelized onions mixed with chili powder and lemon juice.
  • Peanut chutney – Dry roasted peanuts ground with garlic, chili and tamarind.
  • Pumpkin chutney – Pumpkin, mustard seeds, curry leaves simmered into a rich chutney.

Vegetable chutneys make nutritious accompaniments to balance out meals. They also tend to have longer shelf lives than fruit varieties.

Spice and Herb Chutneys

This type of chutney spotlights bold, aromatic spices and herbs as the star of the show. They pack a flavor punch.

Popular spice and herb chutneys include:

  • Cilantro chutney – Cilantro, chili peppers, garlic, lemon and spices blended together.
  • Tamarind chutney – Made from the sour tamarind fruit pulp along with jaggery, spices and chili.
  • Green chili garlic chutney – Chilies, garlic, cilantro and spices ground to a coarse paste.
  • Ginger chutney – Fresh ginger blended with onions, garlic, vinegar, sugar and dried red chilies.
  • Curry leaf chutney – Curry leaves sautéed with chili, garlic, coconut, cumin and tamarind.

Spice chutneys shine when paired with street food favorites like samosas, tacos, chaat and stuffed flatbreads. Their intense flavors hold up well to bold seasonings.

Regional Varieties

India’s different states and regions are known for their own signature chutney specialties that reflect local cuisine.

Some examples include:

  • Bengali chutney – Made from dates, ginger, chili and yogurt. Sweet and creamy.
  • Gujarati chutney – Sweetened freshly ground peanut chutney popular in Gujarat.
  • Andhra Pradesh chutney – Features ginger, garlic, red chilies, and tamarind.
  • Maharashtrian chutney – Spicy coriander and peanut chutney with coconut.
  • South Indian chutney – Typically coconut-based with curry leaves and mustard seeds.

Exploring regional chutneys is a delicious way to savor India’s cultural diversity through food.

How to Use Chutney

Now that we’ve covered the different types of chutney, let’s look at the versatile ways they can be served and enjoyed!

  • As a condiment – Chutneys are fantastic condiments paired with dishes to add extra flavor. Try mango chutney in a cheese sandwich, coconut chutney with dosas or mint chutney to dress up roasted potatoes.
  • As a dip – Thick, spoonable chutneys make great dips for scooping up with breads and crackers. Apple chutney and yogurt raita chutneys work well for this.
  • In chaats – Chutneys are a key component in Indian chaats (savory snack foods). Tamarind, cilantro and potato chutneys are popular choices.
  • In sandwiches – Chutneys can jazz up a boring sandwich. Spread mango or date chutney on a grilled cheese or add mint chutney to a veggie sandwich.
  • As a base – Mix chutney into the base of marinades, salad dressings, yogurt dips, stuffed breads and more to infuse them with flavor.
  • With snacks – Dunk samosas, pakoras, papadum crackers, French fries and more into chutney for extra flair.
  • With main dishes – Serve chutneys on the side of curries, biryanis, roasts, kabobs and other entrees as a flavor booster.
  • As a finishing touch – Drizzle spiced ginger or garlic chutney over finished dishes to add a pop of flavor.

Chutneys truly elevate any food they accompany! Don’t be afraid to experiment with creative chutney pairings.

8 Tasty Easy Chutney Recipes to Make at Home

Let’s dive into some delicious homemade chutney recipes! Both novice cooks and seasoned chefs can succeed at chutney making with the right ingredients and techniques.

These recipes include a mix of fruit, vegetable and herb chutneys with unique flavor profiles. Adjust spices to suit your desired level of heat.

1. Mango Chutney

Sweet and tangy mango chutney is a tropical delight. It takes some time to prepare but is worth the wait.


  • 3 cups diced ripe mango
  • 1⁄2 cup brown sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1⁄2 small onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves


  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer for 45-60 minutes, until thickened to a jam-like consistency.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool before transferring to an airtight jar.
  4. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

2. Mint Cilantro Chutney

This vibrant herb chutney packs a flavor punch. It tastes delicious paired with samosas or as a sandwich spread.


  • 2 cups packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup packed fresh cilantro
  • 1⁄4 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 2 green chilies, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt


  1. In a food processor, blend all ingredients together until smooth but still coarse.
  2. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water if needed for blending.
  3. Transfer the chutney to an airtight container.
  4. Refrigerate for up to 1 week.

3. Tomato Chutney

This tomato chutney is a versatile condiment that pairs well with many dishes. The sweet and tart flavors balance beautifully.


  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of asafoetida powder


  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients.
  2. Cook uncovered for 35-40 minutes until thickened, stirring frequently.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool fully before transferring to an airtight container.
  4. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

4. Coconut Chutney

This coconut chutney makes the perfect accompaniment to dosas, idlis and upma. It has a cooling yogurt base.


  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1⁄2 cup yogurt
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 green chili pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1⁄2 inch ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of asafoetida powder


  1. In a food processor, blend all ingredients together to a smooth paste.
  2. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water if needed to blend.
  3. Transfer the chutney to an airtight container.
  4. Refrigerate for up to 1 week.

5. Tamarind Chutney

Sweet, sour and slightly spicy, this tamarind chutney is a key component in chaats and chutney sandwiches.


  • 1 cup tamarind pulp
  • 1⁄2 cup brown sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup roasted peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt


  1. In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until thickened.
  3. Allow to cool fully, then transfer to an airtight jar.
  4. Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

6. Spicy Onion Chutney

This pungent onion chutney packs some heat. It’s delicious paired with samosas or pakoras.


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 dried red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon asafoetida powder
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro


  1. In a skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Fry onions for 12-15 minutes until caramelized.
  2. Add chilies and spice seeds; cook 2 minutes more.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients.
  4. Allow to cool fully before storing in an airtight container.
  5. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

7. Cilantro Peanut Chutney

This zesty cilantro chutney gets a nutty crunch from peanuts. It’s versatile enough to pair with nearly any dish!


  • 2 cups packed cilantro
  • 1⁄2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 1 green chili pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1⁄2 inch ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of asafoetida powder


  1. In a food processor, blend all ingredients to a coarse paste.
  2. Add 1-2 tablespoons water if needed to blend.
  3. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 1 week.

8. Ginger Chili Garlic Chutney

Spicy, pungent and flavor-packed – this chili garlic ginger chutney adds a kick to any dish.


  • 1 inch ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 green chili pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro


  1. In a food processor, blend the ginger, garlic, green chili, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons water to a coarse paste.
  2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add cumin seeds; cook 1 minute.
  3. Add ginger-garlic paste. Sauté for 2 minutes while stirring frequently.
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in salt and cilantro.
  5. Allow to cool fully before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Storing and Serving Chutney

Chutneys not only taste incredible, but last for weeks in the refrigerator if stored properly. Here are some tips:

  • Store chutneys in sterilized glass jars or airtight containers. Make sure they seal tightly.
  • Most chutneys will keep for 2-3 weeks refrigerated. Spice chutneys may last a bit longer.
  • For longer storage of up to 6 months, freeze chutneys in freezer-safe containers.
  • When ready to use frozen chutney, thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
  • If the chutney seems too thick, stir in a bit of hot water before serving to loosen it up.
  • Transfer any leftover chutney from the serving dish back into the storage jar quickly to maximize freshness.
  • Look for signs of spoilage like mold, off-smells and textural changes before eating chutney. When in doubt, throw it out.

Chutneys are very versatile in how they can be served:

  • As a dip for samosas, pakoras, breads, crackers and raw veggies.
  • Drizzled over meats, chaats, roasted vegetables, sandwiches and more.
  • As a spread on sandwiches and burgers in place of condiments like ketchup or mustard.
  • Swirled into plain yogurt or added to salad dressings for instant flavor.
  • As a topping for ice cream, cheesecake and other desserts for an intriguing flavor contrast.
  • Stirred into curries, dals and rice dishes to add extra oomph.

Feel free to get creative with how you incorporate chutneys into meals!

Discover the World of Chutneys

Chutneys open up a treasure trove of tantalizing flavors to explore. Whether you prefer spicy, sweet, or savory, there’s a chutney out there to suit your tastes.

From mango chutney to mint chutney and beyond, chutneys highlight both the diversity of Indian cuisine and the creativity possible in the kitchen. They transform simple ingredients like fruits, vegetables and herbs into lip-smacking condiments.

We’ve only scratched the surface of chutney possibilities in this article. There are endless regional and fusion chutney recipes to discover, along with unique ingredient combinations.

Part of chutney’s enduring popularity comes from its versatility. Chutneys can spruce up a wide range of dishes, from appetizers to desserts. They make great gifts too!

Next time you’re cooking, consider livening up the meal with a homemade chutney. Try out a couple recipes from this post or look for new ones to experiment with. Your taste buds will thank you!

Frequently Asked Questions About Chutney

Q: What’s the difference between chutney, salsa, and relish?

A: While all three are condiments, chutney differs in featuring Indian spices, herbs and aromatics like ginger, cumin, curry leaves, mustard seeds, chili, etc. The textures also vary, with chutney often being thicker than salsa or relish.

Q: Do chutneys need to be refrigerated?

A: Yes, all chutneys should be refrigerated to prevent spoilage, ideally in a sealed container. The fridge will prolong the shelf life for several weeks.

Q: Can chutney be frozen?

A: Absolutely! Freezing chutney in an airtight container allows it to keep for up to 6 months while preserving the taste and texture. Thaw overnight in the fridge before using frozen chutney.

Q: What’s the best way to use up a chutney?

A: Spread it as a condiment in sandwiches, burgers and wraps. Swirl it into plain yogurt or add it to salad dressings. Use it to top grilled or roasted meats and vegetables. The possibilities are endless!

Q: Does chutney need to be cooked or can it be raw?

A: It depends on the recipe. Some chutneys like mint cilantro don’t require cooking. But most chutneys call for sautéing or simmering the ingredients to develop the flavor.

Q: How spicy should a chutney be?

A: Chutney heat level is flexible based on personal taste and other dish flavors. Start with less chili and add more for extra kick. Flavorful chili varieties also influence heat.

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