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Easy Homemade Onion Chutney Recipe with Apples

Make a batch of this easy homemade onion & apple chutney to perk up salads, baked potatoes & sandwiches. The subtly spiced flavours make it a winner.

a spoonful of easy homemade onion chutney with apples.

Easy Homemade Onion Chutney Recipe with Apples

My work friend Margaret, gave me a wonderful gift, a bag of windfall apples from her garden. 

So, I decided to make some Apple and Red Onion Chutney as it's one of my favourite chutney's and very easy to make.

I adapted this recipe from one I found in a Good Housekeeping magazine a few years ago and tweaked it a little each time I made it. 

Red onions make a sweeter chutney and I tweaked the spices too.

Why make onion chutney at home?

You may think, well I can just pick up a jar of apple and onion in the supermarket, so why make my own?

Here are a few reasons why:

  • Fun - it's so fun to make your own
  • Easy - super easy too
  • No special equipment - all you need is a big pot, a wooden spoon and a few sterilised jars
  • Recycling - keep your old jam jars for storing homemade jams and chutneys.
  • Cheap - you can use windfall apples from your own or a friend's tree (or a bit of scrumping, I won't judge, but if anyone asks I didn't know you did it), alternatively, you can buy apples and onions when they are on special offer in the supermarket or if they are in the marked down (price) section
  • Tastes delicious - always so much nicer than shop-bought
  • No problem - sterilising jar is actually super simple, I will tell you how further down
  • Beginners - it's a great recipe for beginners are you are just chopping a few apples and onions and adding them to a pot with a few other ingredients, then stirring a it bubbles away.
  • Smells great - some people may disagree, but I love the smell of chutney bubbling away in the pot

red onions.

What you need to make easy homemade onion chutney with apples

Here are the simple ingredients you need to make this tantalisingly tasty apple and onion chutney.

  1. Cooking apples - you can make it with eating apples and it's still gorgeous but the texture is a little different
  2. Red onions - you may use white or brown onions, but I think it's better with red onions
  3. Seedless raisins - or sultanas
  4. Lemon - the juice and zest
  5. Demerara sugar - or brown sugar, caster sugar would work too, but the brown sugars give a richer caramel flavour
  6. Malt vinegar - you can use a different type of vinegar, but this is my preference
  7. Cumin seeds - if you only have cumin powder, you could add that instead. 

Chopped red onions in a large pan.

Variations to this apple chutney

Here are a few tweaks you can make to this homemade onion pickle.

  • Cranberries - as well as raisins for a Christmas chutney to give as a gift or serve with a deli or cheese board, I would use half raisins and half cranberries
  • White wine vinegar - or cider vinegar instead of malt vinegar
  • Mustard seeds - instead of cumin seeds
  • Chilli flakes - for a bit of heat

The easy way to sterilize jam jars

Many people are put of at the thought of making homemade chutney like this apple and onion chutney because they think sterilising jam jars is difficult, but it's actually very easy.

The traditional way to sterilise jam jars and their lids is to wash them in really hot soapy water, then put them in hot oven to dry off and sterilise.

Clean, empty am jar.

A more modern way of doing it, and my preferred method is to pop them through a dishwasher cycle.

Whichever way you do it, just make sure you fill the jars while they are still hot and don't touch the inside of the lids or the jars. 

If you do touch the inside of the jars or lids, you will introduce bacteria and then have to start the sterilising all over again.

And, you don't want that!

homemade onion chutney being made in a large soup pot.

Do you need any special equipment to make homemade chutney or pickle?

There's all sorts of specialised kit you could buy for making homemade jams, chutneys and pickles, but all you really need is a big pot, a wooden spoon and a few sterilised jars (which can be old jam jars, you are re-using).

The only bit of kit I would recommend for jarring (canning) is a jam jar funnel. 

It's not necessary, but it makes spooning the preserves into the jars much easier and less messy, as you have a wider area to spoon into (the funnel sits in the neck of the clean jam jar).

Just remember this should be sterilised too, so only handle the outside of it.

apple and onion chutney.

What about jam jar labels?

Again, you don't need anything fancy, although you can buy all sorts of pretty labels.

A plain sticker will do.

Just add the type of chutney (or other preserves) and the date you jarred (canned) it up.

Can you eat onion chutney right away?

You can eat freshly made chutney and pickle, but the flavours won't have developed and the vinegar would be harsh, so I wouldn't advise it.

This style of chutney is best stored for a few months  (2-3 months), so the flavours can really settle in and develop.

Yes, you do need to be patient when making an onion pickle, but it's well worth the wait as it tastes so good.

If you want a tasty condiment that's a bit quicker, to perk up a sandwich or meal, you could try this red pepper sweet chilli sauce, which is ready to serve right away or this simple red chilli chutney, which just needs a few days in the fridge to develop.

Where should you keep chutneys and pickles while they mature?

A dark, cool cupboard is the best place to store homemade pickles and chutneys while they are maturing.

Sunlight is not your friend during this process.

They don't need a fridge either until they are opened.

So just pop them in your larder, a food cupboard or anywhere dark and cool you can tuck them away.

Just remember where you put them!

How long will homemade onion pickle keep?

This homemade apple and onion chutney will keep in the fridge for 3-4 weeks once it is opened.

The unopened jars (provided they have been sterilised and jarred properly) will keep for a couple of years in a cupboard or larder.

Some people keep them even longer!

Long maturing chutney doesn't need to be put in the fridge until it is opened, but then it is important that you do.

I will sit in a dark cupboard quite happily until you are ready to serve it.

It's very forgiving.

How to serve apple and onion chutney

We Brits like to serve a fruit chutney on a sandwich (we do love our sandwiches), but it is a lot more versatile than that.

Here are a few ideas.

  1. Ploughman's sandwich - the absolute classic British sandwich, try this vegan ploughman's sandwich, or if you are veggie, just use your regular cheddar.
  2. Salad - any hearty salad, but particularly a ploughman's salad, another British classic.
  3. Baked potato - also known as a baked spud (in England), or a baked tattie (in Scotland) with grated cheddar.
  4. Cheese board - on a cheese board or deli board, add a dollop to an oatcake or cracker piled with cheese and you will see what I mean.
  5. Toastie - in a cheese toastie (grilled cheese).
  6. Pie - with an individual savoury pie, another very British pairing.
  7. Sausages - on a veggie sausage sandwich or on the side if you are serving sausages and mashed potatoes.

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chutney, pickle, onion chutney, apple chutney, homemade chutney, preserves
Yield: 120 servings (4 jars)
Author: Jacqueline Meldrum
Easy Homemade Onion Chutney Recipe with Apples

Easy Homemade Onion Chutney Recipe with Apples

Make a batch of this easy homemade onion & apple chutney to perk up salads, baked potatoes & sandwiches. The subtly spiced flavours make it a winner.
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 45 MinTotal time: 55 Min


  • 700g (1 1/2 lbs or 6 cooking apples), peeled, cored and diced
  • 700g (1 1.2 lbs or 6 medium red onions), skinned and chopped
  • 225g (8 oz or 2 cups) seedless raisins (or sultanas)
  • grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
  • 350g (12 oz or 1 1/2 cups) demerara sugar
  • 300ml (1/2 pint or 1 1/4 cups) malt vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted & crushed,


  1. Sterilise 4 x 545g (1 lb) jam jars. See notes for tips.
  2. Put the apples, onions, raisins, lemon rind and juice, sugar, vinegar and cumin in a preserving pan or large heavy-based saucepan.
  3. Heat gently, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil.
  4. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick and pulpy, with no excess liquid. You should be able to draw your spoon across the base of the pan and leave a channel behind!
  5. Spoon the chutney into (sterilised) clean, dry warmed jars as full as you can and seal with a plastic-coated metal lid.
  6. Leave to cool on the countertop, then add the label and store in a dark cool cupboard for 2-3 months to allow the flavours to develop. The longer the better. I usually store it for about 6 weeks.
  7. Enjoy!


  • Sterilise - run the jars and lids (funnel if you are using one) through a dishwasher cycle, then jar while hot or wash in hot soapy water and place in a hot oven until dry. Jar the chutney will the sterilised jars are hot. DO NOT touch the inside of the jars, lids or funnel after they are sterilised or you'll have to start again.
  • Label - label the filled, cooled jars with a label that has the name of the chutney and the date it was jarred (canned). If you are giving as a give include information on how long it keeps in the fridge once opened.
  • Store unopened chutney - the unopened chutney (stored in a cool dark cupboard), will keep for a couple of years, although some people keep it longer.
  • Once opened - store your chutney in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.

  • Each serving (1 tablespoon) is 35 calories.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

0.06 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

0 g

Carbs (grams)

7.32 g

Fiber (grams)

1.3 g

Net carbs

6.02 g

Sugar (grams)

2.9 g

Protein (grams)

1.45 g

Sodium (milligrams)

1.03 mg

Cholesterol (grams)

0 mg


  1. Did you make that apple label? It's cute!

    I KNOW -- chutney is hard because you have to WAIT. But it really is delish in the end, it gets better the older it is. Definitely time to make it now and have it for the holidays!

  2. Hi Tanita, Thanks, yeah I did make the label, just some watercolour paper and double-sided tape! My drawing skills are a little rusty I found, will have to practise!

    You are right, I will try to wait with a bit of patience!

  3. Love the labels, never have the patience for that sort of thing once I've made the chutney ;)

    It will keep for much much longer than a year - I've eaten chutney that's six or seven years old (more, maybe), and the flavours just keep on getting better. Just make sure that you don't put a metal lid. And keep making more than you think you can possibly eat, because you will - and if you don't, you've got lovely presents to give to people.


  4. Hi Joanna, I am pleased you like my labels!
    I can't believe chutney could last that long! The advice I got was to use metal lids with plastic coating, what do you use?

  5. Oh yum, Holler! That looks so delicious. I love chutneys especially on some nice sahrp cheddar. This one would go great! I just love the color!

  6. Yes - wait, wait, and wait some more - it'll be worth it. It will mellow, blend, settle, and be fabulous!

    Look at you: you told me not a week ago that you couldn't cook! :)

    (of course, the safety people will tell you that you have to can it properly and all that)

  7. Oooh - love the label! Can't draw for toffee, myself. It looks so cute :-)

    And have never ventured into chutney territory either but this could be the start...

  8. Hi Jenn, I have the first opening of the chutney earmarked for a ploughman's lunch, with a lovely extra matured cheddar!

    Hey David, I will wait!

    Splutter, splutter, indignation! I can cook, it is baking that unchartered territory for me, with exception of my mum's fruit loaf!

    Thank you Jen, I was quite pleased with the label! I hope you do try the chutney, it was dead easy and inexpensive!

  9. Chutney improves with age. It is worth the wait!

  10. Chutney... I guess I always thought it'd be difficult to make, so I've never thought to attempt it. But, you make it look so easy!!! Cute labels, too! :)

  11. Holler, this is a great post! I love all of the photos leading up to the finsihed product. Also, your label on your jar, did you make that? I love chutney's during the holidays! So winter-like, although I am sure you can enjoy all year round!

  12. Hi Val, I hope you are right, I am rubbish at waiting!

    Hi Jenny, It was so straight forward and hardly any ingredients!

    Hi Deb, Yes, I made my own labels.

    You are right, it does remind me of Christmas!

    Thanks Wendy

  13. What an interesting combination of flavours! Nice labels.

  14. Dear Holler. Firstly, I think congrats are in order because you got married?! I was so hectic with work in the late summer that I was reading only thru my google reader and didn't get a chance to leave comments. Also, I went on a holiday to Scotland (I walked the West Highland Way) so I was in your neck of the woods for a little bit.

    The chutney looks delicious - I think I might try my hand at some, I've never made it before but love eating it :o)

  15. I considered making some chutney this year, but didn't. Seeing yours, I could kick myself for putting it off.

  16. It does look good. I tend to stick to making the same old chutneys, so I might have a try at this one now.

  17. Hi Kevin, I thought it would be best to start with basic flavours, I will maybe be more adventureous next time, but you can't go wrong with apple and onion, can you?

    Hi Little Miss Moi, Nice to speak to you again. Hope you had a good holiday and the weather held for you! Beautiful countryside, huh?
    Thanks for the congrats!

    It is not too late Nicole, give it a go!

    Hi Lynn, What kind of chutney do you usually make?

  18. A sweet tomato and chilli one. You don't have to leave it to mature and you can even make it with tinned tomatoes!!!!!

  19. That sounds good Lynn, recipe please!

  20. I've sent you an e-mail about it. xxx

  21. Hi Lynn Thanks for doing that! It looks good, a heck of a lot of garlic, huh?

    You said it can be eaten straight away. Will it keep as long as other chutneys or does it have to go in the fridge! I have read that some chutneys, that are more relish style, don't last as long!

  22. It'll store for ages (I've had jars for up to a year) and they'll keep fine, but once opened, I keep all my jams and chutneys in the fridge and try to eat within a month. Not a chore with his chutney, believe me. I know the whole bulb of garlic sounds a lot, but please trust me on this. It's truly a fabulous chutney. My OH regularly tried to OD with it.

  23. Hi Lynn, I am definitely going to make this one, it sounds delicious! If I am pushed for time, I will try it with good quality tinned tomatoes, as you suggested!

  24. I'm with Tanita here - the label is adorable - you're very creative!! Thank you for taking part at the WHB - the round-up will be up tomorrow!

  25. I can't wait to see the line-up Pille!

  26. Very impressive, and your label is great! Great idea to use red onions too, more colorful.

  27. Hi Kalyn, it has turned out a pretty colour. I have made a batch since with white onions and it doesn't look as appetizing, although I am sure it will taste good!

  28. Mmm cumin is my favourite spice. I love it in chutneys. I also love your labels - very special.

  29. Hi Vegeyum, Hope it works out with the cumin, I only put it in my first batch as I wasn't sure. I just had a hunch!

  30. Hi Jac, Just made this today with the Cumin, smells lovely. Did it taste nice after the wait? x

  31. Love the labels, never have the patience for that sort of thing once I've made the chutney ;)

  32. Nothing wrong with your drawing skills ,great label, and will definitely make in time for Christmas.


I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x