Red Onion Chutney

Red Onion Chutney

Let’s face it, Christmas isn’t a time for giving and it certainly isn’t a time for sharing, it’s the time of the year at which everyone attempts to work out what each of their friends and family would like to receive. Therein lies my problem – it’s exceedingly difficult to buy gifts for people of whom you don’t have an in-depth understanding. As you’ll all probably know, there’s nothing more disappointing than receiving an inadequate gift, particularly when you’ve put so much time and effort into the reciprocation. As such, it seems to me that the best approach is simply not to chance it – instead, make gifts that you know your loved ones will enjoy. Besides, gifting something unwanted is tantamount to waste and as we all know… waste is exceedingly un-frugal.

Red Onion Chutney

Perhaps I’m what’s best described as a Christmas sceptic, a scrooge; someone who finds it impossible to understand the true meaning of the festive season. However, I suspect that there may be more Christmas sceptics out there than anybody lets on. After all, no one likes to openly admit to being even a little selfish. Still, with gifts like this red onion chutney perhaps my sin and punishment isn’t as large as first presumed. Perhaps a little cognisant selfishness has the power to help everyone receive a gift they actually want, or at least one they’ll use and enjoy. Once people realise that everyone’s just as selfish as everyone else, they’ll start buying gifts in order to encourage healthy reciprocity.

Red Onion Chutney

If you’re in search of a little culinary warmth, you’ve come to exactly the right place. Not only is this chutney pleasingly comforting, it packs a healthy dose of spice to get those sinuses flowing freely once more… how beastly. As you can imagine, this festive chutney has rather a lot of flavour – it contains eight red onions after all! But it isn’t too powerful and pairs rather nicely with a little mature cheddar, or perhaps something even a little stronger! Perfect for the cheese course of your Christmas Day meal! Merry Christmas!

Red Onion Chutney Recipe

P.S. There’s a new frugal tip in my tips section!

Red Onion Chutney

Makes 2 jars


• 8 red onions, finely sliced

• 2 chillies, finely slices

• 150ml balsamic vinegar

• 150ml white wine vinegar

• 200g light brown sugar

• A little salt and pepper

• Olive oil


1. Heat a little oil in a large pan and fry the onions and chillies until lightly browned. This should take approximately 20 minutes.

cooked red onions

2. Tip in the vinegars and sugar, season tentatively and cook over a medium heat for 30 minutes. Once thick enough to adequately coat the back of a spoon remove from the heat.

Balsamic and white wine vinegar

3. Sterilise your jars and tip in the chutney, sealing immediately. Leave for at least two weeks to mature, a month is best (though you’ll miss Christmas!)

Red Onion Chutney

Cost: By following this delightful festive recipe you’re likely to produce two jars of chutney for a mere £3. How very frugal, particularly when you realise that buying one jar of good quality chutney can sometimes cost as much as £5!

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90 comments on “Red Onion Chutney

  1. silverbells2012
    December 14, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    It looks wonderful and am sure I wouldn’t be disappointed when I tasted it! I’ve got a lot of chutney to use at the moment, but maybe next year………..

    • frugalfeeding
      December 16, 2012 at 10:54 am

      Thanks! You won’t – I hope you do try it!

  2. savorysouthern
    December 14, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Wonderful idea and recipe! I myself prefer homemade gifts, which is what I give also. Christmas has turned into a holiday for stores instead of consumers. People overspend and get into debt. I love spending my time in the kitchen making personal food gifts that I deliver with much love. Merry Christmas, happy holidays and a blessed New Year!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 16, 2012 at 10:54 am

      Fantastic! I know, I love not to give too much money to big companies.

  3. Christina Hunter
    December 14, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    brilliant! I have been looking for a good onion chutney recipe for a while – nice one 🙂

  4. cookinginsens
    December 14, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    You are so right Frugal! It’s so difficult to choose just the right gift at Christmas. I want to help. Give me that skillet 😀

    • frugalfeeding
      December 16, 2012 at 10:53 am

      Rosemary. I have instructed my girlfriend that in the event of my untimely death, you are to receive my skillet!

  5. spree
    December 14, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    I have such a weak heart for chutney Nick! This looks sounds smitten-ing! 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      December 16, 2012 at 10:52 am

      As so I… as do I. There’s something exceptional about a really flavoursome chutney!

  6. veronicacloudbusta
    December 14, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    I have been looking for a chutney recipe, looks like I found it, this sounds perfect. Will be making it next week! 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      December 16, 2012 at 10:51 am

      I think you have! 😀 Let me know if you like it!

  7. strawberryquicksand
    December 14, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    Sometimes I enjoy your food photography even more than your recipes. I’d love you to include tips about how you arranged each photo! 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      December 16, 2012 at 10:50 am

      Oh my, thanks! I think that would make every post take a little too long I’m afraid. Besides, I’m far from an expert…

  8. greenandginger
    December 14, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Yum! This looks totally delicious. I’m a chutney fiend, and I’ll definitely be trying this. Thanks for sharing!

  9. annesturetucker
    December 14, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Looks like a wonderful chutney and the perfect gift!!
    There is wonderful flavor in red onions!

  10. Green Door Hospitality
    December 14, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    This looks great! And I love that there are chillies in this!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 16, 2012 at 10:49 am

      Thanks! Yes they give the flavour a real interest and one’s mouth a real kick!

  11. Shira
    December 14, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Indeed this would make a fabulous gift Nick – and I could not agree more that inadequate gifts can be a (slight) bummer! Love this recipe – yum!

  12. My French Heaven
    December 14, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    Stunning! As usual…

  13. cecilia
    December 14, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    We have another wee gathering tonight so i am going to make this today.. it will be perfect! And i am a fiend of onions! c

    • frugalfeeding
      December 16, 2012 at 10:47 am

      Fantastic, Cecilia! It’ll go down a storm, I’m sure!

  14. katielovescooking
    December 14, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Gonna have to try this!!

  15. Jude
    December 14, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    I can see I should never have signed up to your blog – I’ll be forever writing out new recipes! This red onion chutney is an absolute must, 🙂

  16. Karen
    December 14, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Onion chutney is a wonderful accompaniment to cheese and your looks and sounds wonderful.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 16, 2012 at 10:46 am

      Thanks – this really is the perfect chutney for cheese!

  17. Trish
    December 14, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    oooh, this looks like a delightful gift to give to oneself! will go wonderfully with my extra sharp Vermont cheddar.

  18. petit4chocolatier
    December 15, 2012 at 2:11 am

    Your red onion chutney looks divine. A perfect gift 🙂
    Love your food photography!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 16, 2012 at 10:46 am

      Thanks so much! I’m loving doing the photography at the moment too!

  19. sylvia
    December 15, 2012 at 2:20 am

    Your recipes look awesome. I love that you are just using straightforward food…the types of things we can get here in China. I hate reading a recipe, getting hungry for it, and then realizing…oh, yeah, I can’t get at least half of these ingredients. I cook with the basics, fresh seasonal veggies, homegrown herbs, nuts, olive oil, etc. It has to be available, and not at ridiculous import prices!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 16, 2012 at 11:25 am

      I’m glad it wouldn’t be a problem! That’s a great way to cook!

  20. narf77
    December 15, 2012 at 2:42 am

    I can almost imagine myself licking that spoon…must…make…red onion chutney…

    • frugalfeeding
      December 16, 2012 at 10:44 am

      Haha – easy now! More chutney coming soon too!

  21. Go Cooking
    December 15, 2012 at 8:12 am

    Great recipe…Thanks for sharing.

  22. Patch
    December 15, 2012 at 8:19 am

    I would be very happy to receive this as a present, it’s one of my favourite things 🙂

  23. Skuggs
    December 15, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Hmmmm chutney is lovely. I’m storing this recipe away to make after we’ve moved. We just finished the last of my onion chutney this week.
    Have you tried tossing bangers or meatballs in chutney for their last 5 minutes of oven cooking? It makes for a sensational, sticky change. Your chutney will work perfectly.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 16, 2012 at 10:44 am

      Oh it is 😀 – fantastic, it’s really delicious :). Hope the move goes well! That’s a great idea – perhaps I’ll give it a shot!

  24. Susan
    December 15, 2012 at 10:30 am

    I think homemade presents are so much nicer! Great chutney recipe. 🙂

  25. Bam's Kitchen
    December 15, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Great gift Nick! I am sure anyone who is lucky enough to receive one will have it polished off in just a day or 2.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 16, 2012 at 10:42 am

      Thanks BAM. I hope so – I want the jars back 😀

  26. Somer
    December 15, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    I’d take this over another dull plate of Christmas cookies any day!

  27. saucygander
    December 15, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    I have a weakness for anything that involves slowly cooked onion. This will be my present to myself (a reward for cooking Christmas dinner for my husband’s extended family, perhaps)! Thanks for the recipe.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 16, 2012 at 10:41 am

      Haha – me too! Amazing, enjoy and no problem 😀

  28. applepiezucchini
    December 16, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    I was just looking for edible gifts for my Dad who hates being bought things from shops for Christmas but absolutely loves home-made presents – think this one is a winner!

  29. sweetveg
    December 16, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Wow! This looks ridiculously delicious! Anything with onions and I am so hooked. Especially the red ones. Any thoughts on how to reduce the brown sugar a little? I was wondering about some maple syrup. What do you think? Do you think it needs the brown sugar for the right consistency?

    • frugalfeeding
      December 22, 2012 at 5:09 pm

      Thank you so much! I’d stick with the brown sugar, I tried to use less but it doesn’t work.

  30. egg me on
    December 16, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    What a a really great Christmas present! So tasty. Love red onions.

  31. Michelle
    December 17, 2012 at 1:58 am

    Count me as “a Christmas sceptic, a scrooge” also, but that chutney looks grand.

  32. cfreese
    December 17, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    This looks to die for!

  33. ocelot81
    December 17, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    I was looking for a similar recipe, but I’ll stick with this one 🙂

  34. ohlidia
    December 18, 2012 at 3:09 am

    I am also giving edible home-made gifts this year – a first! I have the perfect person in mind for this chutney.

  35. lucyloohoo
    December 20, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    These would make a great Christmas gift. Homemade and personal 🙂 who doesn’t love chutney?

    • frugalfeeding
      December 22, 2012 at 1:43 pm

      Thanks! Exactly. It’s waiting to be gifted actually!

  36. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen
    December 20, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Nothing beats a homemade gift.. a sparkling jar of chutney is just the perfect Christmas present:)

  37. exploreroffood
    December 22, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    This looks really great! I love onions, so I’ll definitely be giving this one a try.

  38. Kavita Rawat
    December 24, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    wow !! looks yummy will try it , thanks for the post.

  39. roni
    December 26, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    thank you so much goingg to do a smaller batch and i am going to give my dad a jar of this as well a lofe of my herb , tomato and cheese bread for his birthday on new years eve he is a man who loves his food

  40. lizziegrigio
    August 14, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    I made this shortly after you posted in December. I brought a jar here and there to a party, and people went nuts over it! Now that fall’s is coming, I have so many people asking me to make it!!! Thank you for the post! Making it tonight!

  41. dottynoodle
    January 15, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    I agree, handmade edible gifts are the way forward. I’ve made food gifts for the past few years and it’s so much cheaper and easier because everyone gets the same thing!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 16, 2015 at 9:06 am

      Exactly! To be honest, I didn’t make anything this year. No time!

  42. Lindsay
    April 18, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    Chillies? Sceptical? In what sort of insane spelling world do you reside???

    • frugalfeeding
      April 28, 2015 at 1:09 pm

      I believe it’s called Britain, origin of the English language.

  43. Sally Holloway
    April 23, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    The chutney looks great but please could you be more specific about the weight (or at least size) of red onions used? Mine vary in size from very small to large so 8 can vary considerably! Also, you say the ingredients make two jars of chutney – what size are these? Many thanks, Sally.

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