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24 May 2019

This step by step tomato chutney recipe will have you making chutney in no time, made with fresh tomatoes, optional chilies, vinegar and spices. It is wonderful with Indian food, or can be used as a flavorful condiment.

It’s chutney making time in the Madness kitchen, my friends. I’ve been in the mood for tomato chutney for days so I ran to the market for some heirloom tomatoes. I usually make chutneys from my own garden grown tomatoes as one way of preserving them, but alas, my garden isn’t producing tomatoes yet.

Chutneys make for flavorful condiments, and pair up nicely with many different foods and cuisines. Tomato chutney is a staple in south Indian cuisine, often paired with idli (savory rice cakes), dosas (much like crepes), fried snacks like vada and pakora, and more.

I personally enjoy spooning chutney over grilled meats for a tangy accompaniment. Tomato chutney particularly pairs well with chicken or pork. I also enjoy it spooned over grilled sausages. If you think you like ketchup, swap it out for this tomato chutney.

You’ll love it.

What is Tomato Chutney?

A “chutney” is a condiment made with a mixture of vegetables and/or fruits, often mixed with vinegar, spices, and some form of sweetener, such as sugar or honey.

Chutneys originated in India, but their flavor and versatility has helped it spread around the world.

There are many different types of chutney, including mango chutney, coconut chutney, and especially tomato chutney, which focuses on fresh tomatoes.

Let’s talk about how we make tomato chutney, shall we?


Tomato Chutney in a bowl and jar, ready to serve

Tomato Chutney Ingredients – What You’ll Need to Make Spicy Tomato Chutney

  • 1.5 pounds red tomatoes
  • 2-3 red chilies of choice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt

NOTE: There are other spices and ingredients you can include to make tomato chutney. I discuss those options below, but this is everything you need to make a simple, easy tomato chutney.

How to Make Tomato Chutney

First, chop the tomatoes and peppers and add them to a a large pot or a wide pan.

Next, add the apple cider vinegar, cilantro, paprika, sugar and salt. Heat the mixture to medium heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

The ingredients will break down and thicken up into a sauce-like consistency.

Finally, remove from heat and let the chutney cool.

Enjoy your chutney!

Recipe Notes

The simmering time is variable. You can simmer for shorter or longer, depending on the consistency you’d like. Simmer longer for more of a sauce. You can add a bit of water or extra vinegar to thin it out, again, depending on your preferred use. The longer you simmer, the more the ingredients will break down.

Cut the simmering time for a chunkier chutney. I like it a bit more chunky for topping sandwiches or sausages on a bun, but thinner for grilled meats. Though I enjoy it either way.

Recipe Variations

Use my recipe as a base recipe for making your own easy tomato chutney. There are many other seasonings and ingredients you can use to make it  your own. Some popular additions include:

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Many different chili peppers
  • Mango or other fruit
  • Mustard Seeds
  • Clove or other seasonings

If don’t want to incorporate fresh chili peppers, you can use chili powder instead. Or, omit the peppers entirely and focus more on the tomatoes and seasonings. I like a good spicy tomato chutney, so I include peppers with mine.

You also can make tomato chutney with green tomatoes. In fact, green tomato chutney is quite popular in Indian cuisine.

How Do You Make Tomato Chutney with Green Tomatoes?

The process for making green tomato chutney is the same for making any chutney. The steps are:

  1. Chop your green tomatoes and peppers (if using) and add them to a a large pot or a wide pan.
  2. Next, add vinegar, preferred seasonings, sugar or honey (if using) and salt.
  3. Heat the mixture and let it simmer for 20 minutes, stirring often, until the chutney thickens up.
  4. Serve as desired.

See my Green Tomato Chutney Recipe with notes.

How to Preserve Tomato Chutney

Your chutney will last a good month in the refrigerator, but if you’d like to preserve your chutney, you can jar it and process the jars in a water bath. 

Here are the steps to preserve your chutney with the water bath method.

  • The National Center for Home Food Preservation provides home canning instructions and many recipes that have been tested for food safety.
  • Wash jars, lids and rings in hot soapy water, or run jars and rings through the dishwasher. If a recipe calls for 10 minutes or more processing time, you do not need to sterilize jars by boiling.
  • Scoop the chutney into the jars, leaving a ½ inch space. A canning funnel is very useful.  Use a wooden or plastic chop stick to release any air bubbles. Wipe the rims clean with a wet paper towel. Place lids and rings onto the jars, gently twist the rings until they stop, then tighten just once more inch. Air must be allowed to escape.  The canner should have warm water in it about a quarter filled. (Don’t place cool or cold jars into hot water.) Place the jars on the rack and add more water to cover the jars with 1” of water. Bring water to a rolling boil and start the timer for 15 minutes.
  • Turn off heat and wait 5 minutes. Then lift the jars out and put on a dish towel on a cutting board. Do not put hot jars on a cold surface.  A canning jar lifter is almost essential, as you do not want to tilt the jars. (The water on top will evaporate and does not need to be removed). Don’t touch the jars or rings for 12-24 hours.  The lids with pop tight as they cool, rather quickly. If a lid doesn’t seal within an hour, replace the lid and reprocess, or put in the refrigerator.
  • Remove the rings and wash the jars thoroughly. Store jars in a cool, dry place without the rings. Label with contents and date. 

NOTE: The processing time is for altitudes of 1,000 feet or less. For altitudes up to 3,000 feet, add 5 minutes; 6,000 feet, add 10 minutes; 8,000 feet, add 15 minutes; 10,000 feet, add 20 minutes.

10 Ways to Eat Tomato Chutney

  1. Spread some onto your favorite sandwich
  2. Use it to top grilled sausages on a bun.
  3. Top a grilled chicken breast or other grilled meat to add a pop of flavor.
  4. Mix it into pulled pork shoulder for a tangy zip.
  5. Serve it with your favorite curry recipes (like this Beef Vindaloo Recipe)
  6. Mix a spoonful into your breakfast scrambled eggs.
  7. Serve it as a dip with rice cakes.
  8. Toss some into your salad for a flavor burst.
  9. Add it to your charcuterie board.
  10. Use it anywhere you might use ketchup.

It’s also popular with vegetarian recipes.

Tomato Chutney in a bowl, ready to serve

Try Some of These Other Popular Recipes

If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

Spicy Tomato Chutney Recipe and How to Make It

This step by step tomato chutney recipe will have you making chutney in no time, made with fresh tomatoes, optional chilies, vinegar and spices.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course, Salsa
Cuisine: American, Indian
Keyword: chili peppers, chutney, recipe, spicy, tomato sauce, tomatoes
Servings: 40 tablespoons
Calories: 5kcal


  • 1.5 pounds red tomatoes chopped
  • 2-3 red chilies of choice chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced (optional)
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  • Heat a pot to medium heat and add all of the ingredients.
  • Simmer, stirring often, until the mixture breaks down and becomes thick and sauce, about 20 minutes.
  • Enjoy!



Heat Factor: Mild, though you can easily adjust the heat with hotter or milder peppers, as well as chili flakes and powders.
Store in the fridge in airtight containers. Should last about a month.
Makes about 2.5 cups.


Calories: 5kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Sodium: 30mg | Potassium: 53mg | Vitamin A: 250IU | Vitamin C: 5.6mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.1mg