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Caramelised Red Onion Chutney Recipe (Easy and Tangy)

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Say goodbye to over-sweetened and unhealthy chutneys. This red onion chutney calls for a mindful amount of sugar, allowing the flavourful spices and caramelised onions shine through to make a deliciously sweet but savoury spread, side dish or dip!

Red Onion Chutney with table spoon are in the jar that is on the chopping board with pieces of bread | Hurry The Food Up

We’re not yet called ‘currythefoodup’, but the thought certainly crossed my mind as we came up with this red onion chutney.

We’ve now got numerous dips, chutneys, and don’t even get me started with the curries. What can I say? Variety is the very spice of life, and the abundance of these recipes means there’s something on our site for just about everyone. 

This red onion chutney is particularly excellent as it goes well with virtually any curry – or can be eaten as a simply-made but tastily-complex condiment to breads, cheeses or sides of your choice.

Of the various dips and sides available for curry (including this tomato chutney and cucumber raita), onion chutney is probably my all-time favourite. 

Tangy yet sweet, tart and soft, it’s good with basically anything, elevating almost any dish it’s paired with. 

Chutney ingreadients: red oinions, dark brown sugar, garlic, chilli pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar etc. | Hurry The Food Up

Ingredients

Vinegar and Olive Oil

These two are some of the most important pantry staples every kitchen should have, but if you happened to have emptied your bottles right before stumbling on this must-try recipe, no worries. 

For the balsamic vinegar, an equal volume of red wine vinegar with a tablespoon or two of maple syrup or honey will suffice, and for the olive oil, peanut or almond oil should do.

Spices and Sugar

This recipe uses a pinch of salt and pepper, and two tablespoons of dark brown sugar. If you don’t mind some extra moisture, agave nectar, honey or maple syrup are great dark brown sugar alternatives

Otherwise, mix two tablespoons of molasses with a cup of granulated white sugar for a rich caramel flavour similar to that of some dark brown sugar.

Herbs

The sharp, tangy and mildly sweet flavours of the herbs are what really make a caramelised onion chutney the perfect accompaniment it is. 

This chutney calls for red onions but you can try this recipe out with white or yellow onions, and for the chilli pepper, use a jalapeno, cayenne or even a serrano if you really want to bring the heat. 

Health Benefits

One serving of our onion chutney contains:

1 serving contains:

kcal 185kcal
Carbs 21g
Fat 10g
Protein 1g

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This chutney was made low-sugar intentionally but I’m no sourpuss. I sternly believe in the real and totally not made-up saying; 

A little sugar never hurt nobody” by… someone, probably. 

But, some chutney recipes are filled with a sickly amount of sugar, and that’s not very ideal. That’s why we decided to go for a balance with ours, so it’s just as savoury as it is sweet.

Being low in sugar isn’t the only upside though. 

Packing antioxidants and offering an immunity boost, there are numerous health benefits of red onions, the main ingredient, as well as the rest of the ingredients and spices, present here.

Plus, this tangy delight is completely plant-based, so if you’re vegan, congratulations because you’ve just hit the jackpot! 

This caramelised red onion chutney, alongside the delicious ideas in our free 7-day vegan meal plan are pure gold and the perfect addition to your menu.

Red onions and chilli pepper are cooking in the large pan | Hurry The Food Up

How to make the best onion chutney

  • Dice the red onions and chilli pepper, grate the garlic cloves and set those aside.
  • Heat up a little oil in a pan then add the chilli pepper and chopped onions to the hot oil.
  • Cook on medium heat for about fifteen minutes and for best results, stir so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan or turn brown.
  • Add the garlic, salt, sugar and pepper. Keep stirring for an extra five minutes.
  • Pour in the vinegar and continue stirring as it boils on high heat until all the vinegar has evaporated. 
  • Turn off the stove and let the chutney sit at room temperature to cool for another five minutes.

And it’s really that easy! Slather it on some bread and take a hearty bite for a taste of your next favourite dip.

The ingredients with balsamic vinegar are cooking in the large pan | Hurry The Food Up

FAQs

How do you store red onion chutney?

A red onion chutney can be stored in a nice glass jar and will keep well in a fridge for weeks or even months. Although that tangy vinegar works well to preserve the chutney, I wouldn’t recommend keeping a jar for that long, but what the heck. 

What is the difference between onion marmalade and onion chutney?

The recipes out there and the ingredients used for both are incredibly similar, so it’s hard to put a finger on what exactly makes a red onion marmalade and onion chutney different. Although the name marmalade is tied to citrus, both onion marmalades and onion chutneys are basically relish-like spreads.

How long does it last?

It should last over a month in the fridge. We’ve never tried freezing or canning it (because we eat it so fast we don’t need to), so we can’t recommend how long it would last with those approaches.

Does it need to sit after being cooked?

Chutney is supposed to be a cold condiment! There’s no harm in eating this red onion chutney fresh off the stove (other than maybe burning your tongue), but it’s so much better after it’s cooled off and been spread on some crusty bread. 

What do you eat with onion chutney?

I hear you! If you aren’t used to eating chutney with every meal, don’t worry. We’ve got tons of recipes that pair perfectly with this delicious red onion chutney.

If you’re just after the recipe, feel free to skip to the bottom.

Vegan chickpea curry – our true queen of curries. The most popular curry on the site, animal-friendly, quick and very tasty.

Banana curry – a creamy, smooth curry. Exceptionally quick and with sweet tones, it’s hard to slip up with this one.

Pakistani roasted cauliflower curry – a nutritious beast with a tomato and lemon twist; it shouldn’t be missed.

Vegan coconut curry – this curry stands out for its sheer simplicity. A better effort vs quality ratio just can’t be found – it’s so good!

Easy cauliflower curry – learn the art of curry as lime mixes with maple syrup for a wonderful balance of sweet and sour. See for yourself.

Thai green curry – waste not, want not with this Asian-inspired curry that uses up all leftovers. It’s good to be green.

Onion Chutney is in the jar that is on the chopping board with pieces of bread | Hurry The Food Up

More Chutneys and Dips

Tomato Chutney
Persian Cucumber Dip
Black Bean Lime Dip
Cucumber Mint Raita

What our readers are saying

Made this couple of weeks ago to go on a gourmet tri-tip sandwich. Absolutely delicious with rave reviews! I had a little bit left over and had my chef friends try it. They loved the depth of flavors, and I’ve noticed how the flavor keeps developing more over time. Great recipe Jennifer! Excellent on sandwiches and burgers, as well as crostinis with goat cheese! Can’t wait to try it with pate!

Cathy Shank⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This recipe is amazing. We made 4x the amount to give people for Xmas presents. This made 6-7x small jars…. so probably 4-5 jam jars (and more for scooping up with cheese hot out the pan)The quantities are perfect, the ingredients are easy (as is the method) and affordable. thanks for the great recipe.

Maisie ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Red Onion Chutney
4.78 from 50 votes
This red onion chutney calls for minimal sugar, allowing the flavourful spices and caramelised onions shine through to make a sweet but savory spread, side dish or dip!
Cuisine:Vegan, Vegetarian
Diet: dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, vegan
Prep Time:5 minutes
Cook Time:30 minutes
Total Time:35 minutes
Servings:4 people
Calories:185kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Finely dice the red onions and chilli pepper. Grate the garlic.
    4 red onion, 1 red chili pepper with seeds, 2 cloves garlic
  • Heat up the olive oil in a large pan and cook the onions and chilli pepper for fifteen minutes on medium heat. Stir frequently so it doesn't stick or go brown.
    3 tbsp olive oil
  • Add the garlic, salt, sugar and pepper. Cook for another five minutes.
    2 cloves garlic, 1 pinch Salt and pepper to taste, 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • Add the balsamic vinegar and bring to the boil on a high heat. Stir well and consistently until the vinegar has evaporated.
    ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
  • Turn off the stove and let the chutney sit and cool for another five minutes.

NOTES

We’ve tested many onion chutneys over the years, and a big shoutout has to go to Holly at The Little Blog of Vegan for her version. 
We modified it only very slightly as we found it almost perfect to begin with. Thanks for the inspiration, Holly, you rock!
Ever tried a chickpea flour pancake? No?! You’re missing out. Rectify that today 🙂

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Red Onion Chutney
Amount per Serving
Calories
185
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
10
g
15
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Sodium
 
12
mg
1
%
Potassium
 
220
mg
6
%
Carbohydrates
 
21
g
7
%
Fiber
 
2
g
8
%
Sugar
 
14
g
16
%
Protein
 
1
g
2
%
Vitamin A
 
105
IU
2
%
Vitamin C
 
24.8
mg
30
%
Calcium
 
39
mg
4
%
Iron
 
0.6
mg
3
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Ditch the butter and throw out the mayo because this red onion chutney recipe is the only spread you’ll ever need. I hope you’ll enjoy this dip just as much as I do. And, I’d love to know how yours turned out, so leave us a note telling us how it went in the comments below!

Comments

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Recipe Rating




35 comments
  1. Can this be hot water bath canned?

    1. Hi Jennifer! In all honesty I’ve never tried it. But chutney does tend to store well, and this one has kept well for me so far. I can’t really see a reason why it wouldn’t! 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    Made this couple of weeks ago to go on a gourmet tri-tip sandwich. Absolutely delicious with rave reviews! I had a little bit left over and had my chef friends try it. They loved the depth of flavors, and I’ve noticed how the flavor keeps developing more over time. Great recipe Jennifer! Excellent on sandwiches and burgers, as well as crostinis with goat cheese! Can’t wait to try it with pate!

    1. So good to hear, Cathy! I love this chutney and I’m really happy to hear other people are getting the chance to try it too!

  3. I’ve been receiving misfits markets boxes and last week we got an over abundance of red onions…this recipe sounds like the perfect way to use them up! How long would this last in the refrigerator? Could it be frozen? Thanks!

    1. Hi Rachael, haha yes, I’d say it’s the perfect way to use up those onions! To be honest, chutney lasts for aaaaged in the fridge. Keep the lid on tight and you should be good for months – in fact it’s probably going to keep maturing over time. I’ve never tried freezing chutney before so I couldn’t say – but that’s because it usually lasts so well on it’s own. I hope that helps – enjoy!!

    2. What sort of size onions did you use?

      1. Hi, I would say ‘medium’ but I know that means different things to different people :D. If you look to the second to top photo in the post you can see the exact onions we used. I aim for around that size every time I make it. I hope that helps!

        1. Hi, regarding the size, weight of the onions – as you try to use the same size onions everytime would if be possible for you to weigh them next time you make some chutney and include this in your ingredients list – I still find it difficult even from your photo as to the size of the onions as it depends on the size of your pots, chilli etc in the photo that is used for the comparison. – Many thanks Pam

          1. Hi Pam, very good point! I just weighed the ones I’m using for a recipe right now, and they’re about 120g each, or just over 4oz. I’ll try and point that out in following recipes :). Thanks for writing!

    3. 5 stars
      I can tell it’s going to be awesome.
      On it.. and oh, those are small onions. They’re no way medium. Even seen a large onion? lol Look for one and you’ll realise how small the onions used for this recipe are.
      Thank you. I am hooked on dips and chutneys. Always looking for something new.

      1. You’re right, the onions are smaller than usual medium! But that’s ok! You get a great chutney anyway! Looking forward to your feedback after trying out this 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    This recipe is amazing. We made 4x the amount to give people for Xmas presents. This made 6-7x small jars…. so probably 4-5 jam jars (and more for scooping up with cheese hot out the pan)The quantities are perfect, the ingredients are easy (as is the method) and affordable. thanks for the great recipe.

    1. What a huge compliment, thank you, Maisie! Really happy to hear our chutney is getting given out as Christmas presents! Haha yes, why not scoop out a bit with cheese 😉

      1. How long would this recipe keep for?

        1. Hey there – chutney lasts for quite a while and this one is no exception. If you ‘can’ it properly (with hot water and so on) then it can last for a couple of years. If you’re just popping it into a jar and screwing the lid on (which is what I do) then it’ll usually still last for a few weeks, or even a couple of months 🙂

  5. Hi
    Can this recipe be done in a slow cooker as well.

    1. Hi Carole, interesting question. I haven’t tried it so these are just my first thoughts. It might stay a little too liquidy in a slow cooker, and perhaps the onion would go a little too soft. That being said, the flavours should meld quite nicely together. I think I might gently cook the onion in a pan first, and then transfer them to the slow cooker. It’s got to be worth a try, anyway!

  6. Made this for my dad’s b-day and stored it sterilised jars and lasted 7 months.

    1. Absolutely delicious btw!

      1. Thanks Millie!! Really pleased you enjoyed it, and thanks for writing

  7. 5 stars
    Holy Batman – I could not love this more. Impossible to find red chili peppers here right now but Serrano worked like a charm. Didn’t have dark brown sugar so used light brown sugar and replaced black pepper with white pepper. Can’t wait to give this as gifts! It’s perfection with a hard aged cheddar.

    1. Yay woop, what a compliment to this lovely chutney! Thanks Aimee! Fully agree, amazing with hard cheddar. Really glad it worked out so well – and a great idea to give as a gift!

  8. 5 stars
    Delicious. I used a habañero pepper and accidentally used red wine vinegar so I added the balsamic vinegar too, but it turned out fantastic.

    1. Awesome! Glad it turned out well, Graham. Thanks for the comment

  9. 5 stars
    So easy to make. Although I did have to cry but that was because of the onion cutting. Now waiting for it to mature. Can’t wait.

    1. Hopefully it’ll be tears of joy when you next open it, Marion! I’m excited for you

  10. just fantastic !!!! i’m so pleased with how this recipe turned out – it’s the best tasting chutney i’ve ever had. i used coconut sugar instead of dark brown sugar and i left out the chilli and black pepper due to my own personal sensitivities. it’s so great to have found a delicious condiment that can be made with 100% healthy ingredients. i’m absolutely obsessed

    1. It’s healthy and useful indeed! Adn your version sounds great! Thanks for sharing!!

  11. 5 stars
    Delicious! I’m not one for chutney or so I thought.

    1. Haha, sounds like you’ve been convinced! 😀

  12. 5 stars
    No words can describe how delicious this chutney tastes. The only change I made was that I used jaggery instead of dark brown sugar, because that was what i had at hand. Excellent outcome. We tasted it on a slice of sandwich bread, and later in a cold sandwich with some salami, colby cheese and a bit of Dijon mustard. 5 stars.

    1. Hooray! What a great comment, thank you. Happy to help 🙂

  13. Do you have to use fresh grated garlic or can you use minced garlic out of a jar?

    1. Hi Sue, I’m sure the minced garlic from a jar would be absolutely fine!

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