Cranberry Chutney

Bowl of Thanksgiving cranberry chutney
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Cranberry chutney! Simmered with apples and dried figs, spiced with cinnamon sticks and jalapeño, it makes a brilliant, mouth-awakening Thanksgiving dinner superstar, a leftover reviver and a darn tasteful hostess gift, too.

Cranberry Sauce, Hold the Wiggle. 

We’ve got nothing but love for that wiggly cylinder of cranberry jelly—most families (ours included) have someone for whom it just isn’t Thanksgiving without that straight-from-the-can tube glinting in a dish somewhere near the turkey. The sharp tartness of cranberry is a welcome flavor on Thanksgiving Day, and cranberry sauce is a MUST for our beloved day-after Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches. Can you even make a turkey sandwich without cranberry sauce? BUT, we prefer the real deal—the canned jelly stuff just isn’t our jam. We want vibrant, whole cranberries, shining like garnets and simmered with apples, dried figs and warm winter spices. Grandma can enjoy jiggly slices of cranberry jelly—just pass that gloriously chunky, tart and spicy homemade cranberry sauce down this way, please. 

How to Make Fresh Cranberry Chutney: 

In the fall, it should be pretty easy to find fresh cranberries—if you live in a part of the country where they grow (like we are lucky to, here in the Pacific Northwest!) you can often find them at farmers markets, even. Making cranberry chutney in a saucepan is both fast and really, really easy. Start by simmering equal parts apple cider vinegar and brown sugar. When the sugar dissolves, add: 

  • Fresh cranberries. 
  • More fruit! Dried figs and apples. The chunky fruit—dried figs and apples—that simmer with the cranberries are why we call this recipe a cranberry chutney instead of cranberry sauce. However, it really could be called either. 
  • Spices! Cloves and cinnamon sticks plant our cranberry chutney recipe firmly in festive food territory. 
  • Jalapeño. We adore the subtle warmth that a single jalapeño pepper gives to this cranberry sauce. It may sound a little unorthodox, but cranberry and jalapeño make a great pair. Use a sharp knife and gloves for this step! 

As everything simmers, the natural pectin in the cranberries will thicken the sauce. Watch for splatter as the cranberries begin to pop as they soften, and be sure to stir the cranberries as the sauce cooks so that the bottom doesn’t burn. 

Cranberry Chutney

How Long Does Cranberry Chutney Keep?

Whether you’re hosting or guest-ing, your Thanksgiving prep starts right here! This easy cranberry sauce recipe makes a tart side dish that keeps for 10-14 days in the fridge. You can mix this up and stash it in the back of the fridge long before you’ve even picked up your turkey. It also makes a nice gift for the holiday season. We like to make it on the day we gift it, along with a little note about how long it’ll last, as well as how to serve cranberry chutney. In addition to being the best condiment for turkey sandwiches since the invention of mayonnaise, this cranberry apple chutney makes a festive centerpiece for a cheese plate—we especially love to serve it with aged cheddar and tangy goat cheese. 

bowl of homemade cranberry sauce with a spoon
Cheese board with grapes, cheese, crackers and cranberry chutney

The Most Festive Cheese Pairing of All. 

Whether you slather it on your turkey sandwiches on the day after Thanksgiving, or serve it as part of a cheery holiday cheese platter, we think this cranberry chutney is worth the ten minutes it takes to make it. We hope you agree! Snap a photo of your fresh cranberry sauce, and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating! 

Cranberry Chutney

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 cup apple cider vinegar, unfiltered
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
10 dried figs, chopped
12 oz bag fresh cranberries
1 small jalapeno, seeded, minced (roughly 2 tablespoons)
3/4 cup apple, peeled, cored and diced

Method

  1. In a heavy sauce pan set over medium-high heat, bring the apple cider vinegar and sugar to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sugar dissolves 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add cloves, cinnamon, figs, cranberries, jalapeno and apple. Bring back up to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes or until fruit is soft, stirring occasionally.

**Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Pairs well with most cheeses.