Green tomato chutney

Prep: 25 mins Cook: 1 hr, 15 mins Plus overnight salting


Makes about 3kg
This chutney recipe is a great way of using an excess of tomatoes from your garden, making them last all year

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per rounded tbsp

  • kcal34
  • fat1g
  • saturates0g
  • carbs9g
  • sugars4g
  • fibre1g
  • protein1g
  • salt0.26g
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  • 2½ kg green tomato
  • 500g onion



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 1 rounded tbsp salt
  • 500g sultana
  • 500g cooking apple
  • 500g light muscovado sugar
  • 1.14 litre jar spiced pickling vinegar


  1. Slice the tomatoes (you can skin them if you want, but I don’t usually bother). Finely chop the onions. Layer both in a large bowl with the salt. Leave overnight.

  2. Next day, chop the sultanas using a large, sharp knife, then peel, core and chop the apples. Put the sugar and vinegar into a large pan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the sultanas and apples and simmer for 10 mins. Strain the tomatoes and onions in a colander (but don’t rinse), then tip into the pan and return to the boil.

  3. Simmer for about 1 hr, stirring occasionally until the mixture is thick and pulpy. Transfer to warmed jars (see Know-how, below) and cover with lids.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Comments (66)'s picture

Made a variant of this 3 years running. I follow it more or less to the letter but add extra spices. Usually chopped chilli and turmeric and cumin. But I imagine various combinations would work.

1hr simmer is enough for me. Leaves it chunky which I like. Matures nicely but also fine almost straight away. Don't really get the too vinegary comments. I think it's a nice balance of sour and sweet. Even better with a bit of chilli.

janjan87's picture

Came across this recipe after being given a glut of green tomatoes. Read through the other comments and added in a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, all spice, caymenne pepper and ground ginger. Used dark brown muscovado sugar and apple cider vinegar. Halved the recipe to match the 1.25kg of green tomatoes I had and then halved the vinegar amount again so 285ml. Still a bit chunky at the end so gave it a blitz in the food processor. Granted the end result is a bit of a sludgy brown colour but I'm sure it'll taste fine. My first batch is maturing at the mo and now need to make some more after aquiring more green toms!

abikinsey's picture

I made this a week ago, I'm no chutney connoisseur, having only made a beetroot chutney once before, but, 2.5hrs rather than the 1 stated, I have a very nice brown sticky chutney. It does have a vinegary tang, but it also has a sweet crunch to it too...
I only had half the green tomatoes required so halved all the ingredients, then read all the comments. Looking forward to eating it at xmas with cheese and left over turkey! AK

Robert.helm's picture

I've just made this exactly as it was recommended other than I simmered it for much longer and I have filled 6 medium sized jars. The consistency is spot on and whilst it does taste somewhat acidic I am optimistic that with a few weeks maturing in the jars it will be delicious. I hadn't read any if the comments posted here on before I made it. Good way to use up the last of my green toms from the allotment.

Jane Does's picture

I would never use that much salt. Slice toms and leave in warm 50c oven to dry out a bit 1 to 2 hours, then added just half a tea spoon of salt. Onions are fine as they are. Only used half the qty vinegar or would take hours to reduce. There is no seasoning other than salt in this recipe, I used garlic chilli and lots of pepper. Turned out lovely in 1 and half hours, but recipe was only used for basic proportions really! ...and leave the pan lid off for the whole cooking process or it will never reduce. If you have runny chutney, before adding cornflour try dividing into batches and reducing smaller quantities at a time.

TrishHarewood's picture

I should have read the comments below as I am very disappointed with the basic recipe and feel I have wasted 2.5kg of good green tomatoes! It's not the right consistency and not particularly tasty! I used spiced pickling vinegar and I drained the tomatoes & onion (and salt) after leaving overnight as instructed. But I should prob have used another recipe and added the spices myself. How can I rescue it, I wonder? -Taking a look at the comments below I will add some spices and maybe cornflour and simmer for a lot longer! But disappointing so far.....

linnyh04's picture

I agree. Dark muscovado sugar is better. To strain the tomatoes, drain in a colander,then place in large muslin square to hang for about 15 minutes whilst apples are simmering. Cooking time about 2 hours on rapid simmer.

rosemaryw's picture

I have just made this and it was delicious....I used apple vinegar, boiled it in the pressure cooker pan - minus the lid, and also used dark brown muscovado sugar and then made a small muslin bag in which I placed 6 cloves, half a tspn of black pepper corns, half tspn coriander seed, 3 bay leaves, and a sprinkle of nutmeg, I removed the bag after about 2.5 hours.....initially whilst the vinegar was cooking off it did smell strange, but even after an hour and a half, it tasted lovely....I simmered it for 3.5 hours on quite a rapid simmer. I will definitely make it again.

itsgarb's picture

this is a little 'vinegary' also don't pay any attention to the cooking times, i simmered mine for about 4 and a half hours to get a decent consistency. i also added some chilli and mixed spice after reading other reviews. I've made a few batches of chutney before and i guessed the 1 hour simmer would be way off, especially for this amount of ingredients. As with other comments, chutneys take a few weeks to mature so don't take the fresh taste to be gospel.

Juley's picture

This was an easy to make and straight forward recipe. I have made a lot of chutney in the past but couldn't remember the proportions and had a lot of green tomatoes. I think that the first comments are off putting and should be ignored as it takes a few weeks for chutney to mature fully and lose the overly vinegar hit to the back of your throat. Also what do you expect if you simmer vinegar in your house? I made this at work with some volunteers to use up green tomatoes, it was well worth it and everyone went happy with their own jar with some left for the farm shop. Juley Howard, Community Farmer, Lawrence Weston Community Farm.

jenn8's picture

I made this today... I have to say I will never make it again!. My house smells vile and the taste was way to vinegary! I have 7 quite large jars of brown sour slop which I will probably never use... if you are reading this before making it, then I would definitely read a few more reviews before you decide. It also took a lot longer than 25 minutes to prepare and, even when I drained the tomatoes for a good half hour or more before putting them in, there was so much fluid I had to simmer it off for a lot longer than the hour the recipe suggests. If honest I would probably halve the ingredients and make a test batch before you decide especially if you have a smaller family so as to avoid wasteage. Can't help feeling that I have wasted my time and, the last of my lovely home grown apples and tomatoes...when I think of all the lovely things they could have been used for I feel a little cheated now.

Rebeccaens's picture

This is not nice. The recipe worked but the flavour is nasty - very vinegary and not much else. I was really disappointed and wished I had listened to the other negative reviews.

Kipska's picture

A taste of this when just cooked was far too salty for me. Will see if this mellows in the jar, but otherwise, am inclined to use brine to soak tomatoes overnight and rinse before cooking when I do this again.

Munchie1966's picture

Only read previous comments after starting to make this but it turned out fine. Secret is to leave the tomatoes to drain in a colander for about 5 mins and boil with the lid off. Perfect chutney.

aelynn's picture

So I made this chutney last weekend. Overnight, I drained the tomatoes/onions in jelly bags over bowls and squeezed them as much as I could before making the chutney to avoid the liquid problem. Worked well, but it still took 2h+ to get to the right consistency. I didn't want to add cornflour to the mix so at the end I blitzed some of the mix to thicken it. Worked well. It's not bland as such, I'd say it's fairly neutral, but quite good and tangy all the same. It will enhance the flavour of good cheese instead of masking it. I'll definitely make it again next year.

weldonblue's picture

I misplaced the chutney recipe I used successfully last year, so thought I would give this one a go. I made it yesterday. I'm sorry but it has such a strong acidic taste it's like vinegar. I bought the exact ingredients and followed the instructions to the letter. Very disappointed.

nannyjulie's picture

I am in the middle of making the chutney, there seems to be loads of fluid do I just boil it off a bet longer or thicken it with cornflour I was wondering if the flour change the taste ?

tatt1054's picture

I am in the middle of making it Just leave it to boil , the liquid will eventually boil away.

elliewag's picture

too much salt in mine. any remedy please?'s picture

Try a desalination sieve, Lakeland usually has them in stock


Questions (13)

emmajanelek's picture

Can I use tin tomatoes?

islay's picture

when you chop tomatoes and onions do you put water on them

tillys's picture

How do I read the answers to the questions posted? I too want to know the shelf life of this recipe, and does it freeze well?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there, thanks for your question. You shouldn't need to freeze chutney as the combination of vinegar and sugar preserves it well. As long as you have sterilised the jars thoroughly, your homemade chutney should last for up to a year in a cool, dark place.

rosemaryw's picture

I googled this a few days ago and there were people that had jars of chutney that were made 8 years ago, and said it was still lovely when they opened the jar up....not sure I would want to keep it that long though :)

goodfoodteam's picture

You shouldn't need to freeze chutney as the combination of vinegar and sugar preserves it well. As long as you have sterilised the jars thoroughly, your homemade chutney should last for up to a year in a cool, dark place.

mikemoo's picture

Can I use a pressure cooker ? If so how long are the cooking times

rosemaryw's picture

I wouldn't use a pressure cooker as you need to boil off the vinegar and reduce it down a lot. Use your pan by all means but without the lid. You will actually need to simmer it for at least 3 - 4 hours, not one hour, as stated in the instructions.

goodfoodteam's picture

Yes, you can - we'd suggest, at step 3, cooking for 20 minutes on high and then taking the lid off and simmering until thick.

annerwright's picture

Is there a recipe for chutney made without vinegar?

goodfoodteam's picture

Chutney is traditionally made from a combination of vinegar along with sugar and spices. The vinegar is a preservative. You could use a fruity salsa an an alternative to accompany cold meats and cheese but this will need to be prepared fresh and cannot be kept for lengthy periods of time.

elliewag's picture

HELP!!! I put too much salt in. Can I remedy this with anything please? I stupidly tipped salt into the tomatoes and onions without measuring it. I lightly rinsed them just in case but I've just tasted the chutney and it's still quite salty. Is there anything I can do to rescue it please? Please help!

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi Elliewag, I'm afraid it's too late at this stage to rectify. You could make another batch and dilute it down with the other but it really depends on how salty it is. We'd suggest starting again - sorry!

Tips (5)

Kaskazi's picture

Instead of the muscovado, I used brown Splenda. I added a pinch each of Cumin and coriander powder. Progress with simmering was very slow and I removed about half a litre of liquid after about 3 hours. I ended up simmering for 5 hours. At this point the mix was just beginning to burn.
However, I regard my cookup as a great success - sweet, with a bit of a kick. Nest time i will start with perhaps a quarter litre less vinegar, but everytbhing ewlse just as stated in the recipe (with my few variations).
The family vote it a highly successful resipe.

Kaskazi's picture

I forgot to say that I was unable to get spiced pickling vinegar, so used just a regular pickling vinegar.

Mrs Mudge's picture

All chutneys need time to mature, usually about three months and this one is no exception, give it time and you will enjoy. Some types of tomato have a higher water content than others which will account for the longer simmering time.

Mrs Mudge's picture

All chutneys need at least three months to mature in order to lose the raw vinegar taste and this one is no exception, give it time and you will enjoy. Some types of tomatoes have more water content than others which will account for the longer simmering time.

antimca's picture

Even with 750 mls of vinegar, the simmering process still took 2.5 hours. End result delicious !