This gorgeous old fashioned Tomato and Onion Chutney is sweet, tangy and spicy. Made with rich ripe tomatoes and loads of onions, it's the perfect gift for someone who loves food for Christmas, or to make as a condiment to share all year round.
This Tomato and Onion Chutney recipe is my Granny's recipe which she wrote down for me some years ago. Our family called this recipe Granny's Tomato Relish, but in truth it's more like a chutney. It was a mark of being a true grown up when she gave you a jar of your own to take home. The joy of opening a jar to slather onto a piece of toast with some cheese to top it off was unparalleled.
Granny had lots of hints and tips that she gave me when I made it with her, so I've tried to pass them all on here, because this recipe is too delicious not to share! If you want a similar recipe that uses green tomatoes, try my Green Tomato and Chilli Chutney which is perfect for end-of-season produce. Or if you've still got loads of ripe tomatoes to use up, why not try this Homemade Tomato Ketchup without Onion and Garlic recipe- it's perfect for burgers and sandwiches. And of course, if you want the perfect hostess gift, you can't go past wrapping this chutney up with some of my Granny's Savory Cheese Cookies!
- Ripe Tomatoes- This recipe works best with really ripe tomatoes. You can choose almost 'too' ripe tomatoes (we used to sometimes get a farmers stand box of overripe tomatoes cheaply just to make this recipe)
- Onions- White onions that have a bit of a kick are best.
- Sugar- any old white cane sugar is fine.
- Vinegar- Granny's recipe says 'brown vinegar'. I used malt vinegar this time.
- Salt- Ordinary sea salt.
- Curry Powder- Granny used old fashioned curry powder, however I used garam masala instead. It's richer in flavor and works perfectly in this chutney. Given that back in the depths of time this probably would have been an English take on an Indian recipe, it feels appropriate.
- Mustard Powder: Definitely choose mustard powder over mustard. It has a different kick to it. In the UK I use Coleman's Mustard, but in Australia (where I'm from and my Granny was making this originally) we used Keen's.
See recipe card for quantities and the substitutions section below for alternative ingredients.
Follow along with the steps for making this Tomato Onion Chutney.
- Score the tomatoes on the base.
- Boil some water and dunk all the tomatoes in the hot water.
3. The skin will now slip off the tomatoes easily.
4. Roughly chop the tomatoes, sprinkle over a little salt and rest for at least 1 ½ hours in a colander to drain out some of the liquid.
5. Finely chop the onions, sprinkle with salt and rest in a colander to remove the liquid.
6. In a large saucepan add the tomatoes and onions and barely cover with the vinegar. Bring to the boil and add the sugar.
7. Mix together the mustard and curry powder with a little cold vinegar into paste and add into the chutney saucepan.
8. Simmer for 1 hour until the tomatoes break down and the chutney is thickened.
9. Sterilize jam jars or mason jars and pour in the chutney.
10. Seal the lids tightly and allow to cool before labelling.
Hint: This Tomato and Onion Chutney recipe tastes even better if you can leave it a few weeks for the flavours to develop (if you can wait that long to try it!)
🌶️Substitutions & Variations
- Vinegar: Choose apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar in place of the specified brown/malt vinegar.
- Sugar: brown sugar works as well as white sugar. I do not suggest using any sugar free sugar substitutes or syrups (such as date or maple syrup)
To make this chutney recipe you will need a big saucepan and 6 (or maybe 7) x 250 ml/8.5 oz jars. *I filled 6 jam jars and had enough left over for a half jar, which I decided was to be the cooks treat.
The vinegar and sugar content in this chutney ensures that once it has been boiled and sealed in sterilized jars, it can last for up to a year, or even longer unopened. Once opened, keep in the fridge and use within 2 weeks. (Don't stick your dirty butter knife in there and it might last longer!)
To sterilize the jars to use them, put them on a high heat through the dishwasher or wash them and dry in a cool oven. Be sure not to touch the inside of the jars or the jar lids and to seal them up tightly.
Watery chutney occurs when the chutney has not been cooked down enough. To remedy this, simmer it for longer until the liquid evaporates. You can speed this process up by cooking it in a wide pan.
Relish and Chutney are similar , however relish tends to be more of a fresh or lightly pickled condiment. Chutney tends to have fruit or vegetables simmered in vinegar and sugar for some time until it reduces.
Tomato and Onion Chutney (Granny's Relish)
- 6 250 ml jam jars or mason jars.
For accuracy, I measure all ingredients in metric as standard, then convert and test the recipe for American cup measurements etc.
(Heads up Aussie and UK readers- your measurements in cups are sometimes different, so please use metric or check you have the correct cup and spoon type!!)
- Using a sharp knife, score a small cross in the base of each tomato.
- Boil some water and cover the tomatoes. The skins should now slip off easily.
- Skin the tomatoes and roughly chop them and sprinkle over a little salt. Put them into a colander and leave to drain out their liquid for 1 ½ hours.1500 g Ripe Tomatoes
- Peel and finely chop the onions.500 g White Onion
- Sprinkle salt over the onions and put into a colander and leave to drain out their liquid for for 1 ½ hours.
- Add the tomatoes and onions to a large pan. Just barely cover them with vinegar (leave yourself a tablespoon for the next step).
- Bring the tomatoes, onion and vinegar to a simmer and add the sugar and what is left of the salt.1500 g Ripe Tomatoes, 500 g White Onion, 500 ml Vinegar, 375 g Sugar
- In a small bowl, mix up the curry powder and mustard powder with the tablespoon of cold vinegar you saved.10 g Mustard Powder, 7 g Curry Powder, 17 g Salt
- Add the curry/mustard mixture to the chutney.
- Simmer for 1 hour until the chutney is reduced and slightly sticky.
- Sterlize jars by washing them in hot water and putting into a low oven to dry out OR by putting them through a hot dishwasher.
- Once the chutney is reduced, let it cool so you can handle it.
- Add the chutney to the jars and screw the lids on tight. Label the jars and leave to mature for a few weeks (optional but the chutney tastes better)