Cranberry Chutney

This fruity chutney has been my favorite cranberry condiment for more than twenty years. It's cranberry for grown-ups, thick with that wonderful sourness of fresh cranberries plus dried fruit and toasted nuts, deepened with a splash of brandy. And it's a season-spanning chutney, good for Thanksgiving but also as a side or hostess gift during the weeks before and after Christmas.

Cranberry Chutney ♥, a thick relish with pecans, raisins, dried apricots, ginger and spices. One of my oldest recipes, perfect for Thanksgiving and beyond.

Real Food, Fresh & Seasonal. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Great for Meal Prep. Great for Gifts. Potluck & Party Friendly. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Naturally Gluten Free.

A Mix of Tradition + Something New

Thanksgiving tables call out for cranberries, especially when turkey is the main course. While canned cranberry sauces are easy, a few simple recipes can make the difference between "convenient and delicious" and only "convenient".

For Thanksgiving this year, consider serving a duo of cranberry condiments.

For the traditionalists in the family, the first choice is your home’s customary cranberry dish, whatever it is. If it's a can of jellied cranberry? Go for it, it's tradition. But then stretch to something new.

May I suggest Cranberry Chutney both for the table and for a homemade food gift for teachers, neighbors and friends? My friend Cindy says she invites me to Thanksgiving dinner, knowing I'll bring an extra jar just for her!

And one cranberry lover, who shall remain anonymous, has been known to take a spoonful or two or three straight from the fridge. Cranberry Chutney is that good!

But What Is "Chutney" Exactly?

Chutneys are some times thought of as savory jams, fruit relishes or ... but these aren't quite right. To my mind, chutneys belong in a category of their very own.

We do know that chutney originated in India, particularly mango chutney, and migrated the globe with British colonialism.

So let me try to work out what makes chutneys stand out from the crowd.

  • Chutneys are condiments that enhance or complement another dish. (Other condiments? Ketchup, mustard and mayo, say.)
  • Chutneys usually include at least one fruit, including fruits treated like vegetables (like tomatoes) and dried fruit.
  • Chutneys err to the savory side, even with fruit and added sugar.
  • Chutneys are usually chunkier than fruit jams and thicker than fruit sauces and drier than fruit salsas.
  • Chutneys often rely on spices and vinegars for their flavor profiles.
  • Chutneys are cooked down, softening the ingredients and melding the flavors together almost into one.

The Cranberry "Course"

LOL apparently I have a "thing" for cranberry condiments, relishes, sauces and compotes. But the thing is, each one is wonderful and is special and useful in its own particular way. In fact, in a usual year, I'll make at least three and usually four of these between Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day.

Let's take a look, shall we?

  • Cranberry Chutney, recipe below. Over the years, I've come to use this less for Thanksgiving itself and more for food gifts for friends and family. That's because it keeps for several weeks.
  • Cranberry Orange Relish with Fresh Ginger You know that old-fashioned recipe where you grind fresh cranberries with a whole orange? This is it! I've updated it with the addition of fresh ginger, so so good, especially if your timeline allows making it at the very last minute with frozen cranberries. Icy good! Like a cranberry icee!
  • Fresh Jellied Cranberry Sauce with Apple This sauce uses an apple's natural pectin to thicken the sauce and its natural sweetness to, uh, sweeten, the cranberries.
  • Cranberry Applesauce Applesauce all dressed up for the holidays, bright red in color, beautiful on a plate.
  • Homemade Whole Cranberry Sauce for the Slow Cooker This has become my favorite cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving itself but it's easy to make ahead of time. And it keeps! It's very handy to have on hand throughout the winter months. It's also most like the canned whole-berry cranberry sauce, just way way better!
  • But Wait! There's One More! Believe it or not, I have one more cranberry recipe to share, it makes for amazing leftover turkey sandwiches.
Cranberry Chutney ♥, a thick relish with pecans, raisins, dried apricots, ginger and spices. One of my oldest recipes, perfect for Thanksgiving and beyond.


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time-to-table: several hours
Makes 4 cups
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar
  • 12 ounces (340g) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecan pieces
  • 1 cup (190g) dried apricots, diced (or other diced dried fruit)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated (about 1/2 knob, maybe be omitted but lovely)
  • 2 tablespoons brandy, dark rum or another spirit (may be omitted but again, lovely)
  • Additional toasted pecans and cranberries

Place the water and sugar in a large, heavy saucepan or Dutch oven and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, rinse the cranberries, removing any bruised or bad berries. Add the berries to the syrup and return the liquid to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and let simmer until the cranberries begin to pop.

Add all the remaining ingredients (except the brandy) and simmer for 5 – 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mixture thickens.

Add the brandy and simmer another 1 - 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool before serving or storing.

Can be made ahead of time, keeps for several weeks. Makes a great hostess gift!

ALANNA's TIPS Cranberry Chutney should be made at least a few hours in advance so the rich flavors have the chance to meld. But it also keeps so don't hesitate to make it days, even weeks ahead of time. My four-quart Dutch oven is the perfect size for making either a single batch or a double batch of Cranberry Chutney. Do choose a cooking pot that's big enough to allow room for the cranberries to puff up and pop a bit as they cook. These days, a bag of cranberries holds about 12 ounces of berries. But I've been cooking long enough to remember when the bags held a 16 ounces, a full pound. For a big cranberry taste, go ahead, use a full 16 ounces without scaling up the rest of the ingredients. Cranberries are the least expensive ingredient so using relatively more cranberries also makes for a less-expensive Cranberry Chutney, especially for gifts or large gatherings. Dried apricots are my favorite dried fruit, no added sugar! They can be quite sticky, I use kitchen shears to snip the apricots into tiny bits, much easier than a knife.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per 1/4 cup: 107 Calories; 3g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 21g Carb; 2g Fiber; 6mg Sodium; 0mg Cholesterol; 1g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 2 & PointsPlus 3 & SmartPoints 5 & Freestyle 5 & myWW green 5 & blue 5 & purple 5

More Long-Time Thanksgiving Recipes

(hover with a mouse for a description; otherwise click a photo to view the recipe)

Squash Puff Sausage Stuffing Homemade Butterhorns (Thanksgiving Crescent Rolls)
~ Thanksgiving Recipes, Menus & More ~
from Kitchen Parade

~ My Very Best Thanksgiving Vegetable Recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

Crazy for Cranberries? Me Too.

~ cranberry recipes ~

Cranberry Recipes & Ideas ♥, Savory to Sweet. Recipes, tips, nutrition & Weight Watchers points included.
Fresh Cranberry Bars ♥, a chewy almost-blondie molasses and spice bar with bursts of juicy cranberry, topped with a scattering of sugar snow. No mixer required.
  • THE RECIPE Fresh Cranberry Bars A chewy almost-blondie molasses and spice bar with bursts of juicy cranberry, topped with a scattering of sugar "snow".
  • ANOTHER TAKE Snickerdoodle Bars Snickerdoodle flavors with the firm, chewy texture of blondies.

Fresh Cranberry Cake ♥, a rustic cake that pops with fresh cranberries, best made a day ahead so perfect for potlucks and holiday gifts.
  • THE RECIPE Fresh Cranberry Cake Best made a day ahead.
  • ANOTHER TAKE Fresh Cranberry Bars A chewy almost-blondie molasses and spice bar with bursts of juicy cranberry, topped with a scattering of sugar "snow".

Cranberry Walnut Bread ♥, special for the holidays, a barely sweet yeast bread studded with dried cranberries and toasted walnuts.
  • THE RECIPE Cranberry Walnut Bread Special for the holidays, a barely sweet yeast bread studded with dried cranberries and toasted walnuts.
  • ANOTHER TAKE Hot Cross Buns Sweet buns traditional for Easter

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ cranberries ~
~ raisins ~
~ pecans ~
~ dried apricots ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

This Recipe Has Moved

Cranberry Orange Relish has moved to a new page,
please see

~ Cranberry Orange Relish with Fresh Ginger ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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2002, 2007 (online), 2008, 2011, 2015 & 2020

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anonymous10/28/2007

    Alanna -- I've been making a delicious Cranberry Chutney ever since my husband worked for Ocean Spray cranberries in the mid-1990s. Perhaps I'm mistaken, but doesn't a true chutney have to have some vinegar in it?

    Anyway, here is the Ocean Spray recipe, and it's foolproof!

    Cranberry Chutney

    1 - 16 oz. can Ocean Spray Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce
    1/2 c. golden raisins
    1/2 c.+ 2 T diced and peeled apple
    1/4 c.+ 2 T sugar
    1/4 c. + 2 T vinegar (I use rice vinegar - it's milder)
    1/8 teas. allspice
    1/8 teas. ginger (powdered)
    1/8 teas. cinnamon
    Dash of ground cloves
    Juice of 1/2 lime

    Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, uncovered, until apples are tender and sauce has thickened, about 30 minutes. Makes 2 1/2 cups. Keeps in fridge about 2-3 weeks. Great with roasted fowl or pork, and on turkey sandwiches, too. Makes a great hostess gift. ENJOY!

  2. Hi Heidi ~ Thanks for your recipe!

    As for whether chutney 'officially requires' vinegar, you may well be right. This is such a favorite old recipe that it's one of the very first recipes published in Kitchen Parade, when I was still learning my way around food writing and kept recipes' titles as I found them. I'm still learning, of course, so thanks for adding this tidbit!

  3. I've got cranberries in my freezer, picked by myself :) Thank you for a recipe - and may I just add that this is a gorgeous serving bowl!!!

  4. I just sent my newsletter readers a cranberry chutney recipe I've been making forever -- it's based on one from a little book called Condiments! by Jay Solomon. I love chutney, because it's more tart and complex than cranberry sauce.

  5. If I had to pick only one food to eat at Thanksgiving, it might be the cranberry chutney. I am crazy for it. This recipe with raisins and pecans is fabulous. I make one with dried cherries and walnuts last year. Looks like I'll have to make two this year.

  6. Pille ~ What, you mean cranberries don't grow in plastic bags? Amazing! And thanks for noticing the bowl. It's a piece by Raymond Loewy, the famous modern designer from the 1950s.

    Lydia ~ Ah yes, this is a 'forever' recipe for me too. Last year I broke down and tried something new, but as a third option!

    Susan ~ Really! I wonder how many more there are like you that choose cranberry first.

  7. I do so love cranberries...more and more each year! Because I can't get them here... There's a small red berries that some people call 'cranberries' but .... nope~!
    Last year I was in MN for Christmas and pigged out on them - it was wonderful! I'll enjoy them, vicariously, through your recipes!

  8. Anonymous11/04/2007

    My favorite cranberry chutney is from Madhur Jaffrey - I heard it on an NPR show around Thanksgiving more than a decade ago, and have made it every year since! (often for Thanksgiving AND Christmas, or any other time we have turkey!) I might have to try yours as well, because I'm always looking for ways to use up pecans. You can see the Jaffrey recipe at this NPR page (along with that infamous Mama Stamberg one):

    and here's where I blogged about it last year:

  9. I used to make a wonderful cranberry-pear-nut chutney that used curry powder as one of the spices. Anyone have such a recipe; mine is lost.

    Also, Allana, where are you from? My mother is a Kellogg too (originally from Michigan but far distant from those folks now)

  10. Hi Jan ~ Good luck with your recipe search, I'll keep my eyes peeled. If your mother's a Kellogg, we're related! All the Kelloggs descend from three brothers and a cousin who came to North America in the 1600s. If your mother doesn't know, there are amazing books of family genealogy going back even further. E-mail me and I'll send you the info.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna