Cranberry-Apple Chutney

If you, like my brother, abhor the combination of cranberries and orange, for they produce a tangy cranberry sauce (we’re talking homemade here, I’m not implying that one should ever pour orange juice over the gelatinous, can-ridged sauce), this cranberry-apple chutney should do the trick to satisfy your not-so-bracing holiday-sauce cravings.

With a base of apple cider and a touch of maple syrup, there is nary a bitter bite to be had, a fact to which I am able to attest as I have been eating it by the spoonful for days. Partnered with nothing – as though it were a spoonful of Nutella. Though nothing truly compares to Nutella, of course.

Should you have chutney remaining after the holiday, do not hesitate to serve it as part of a holiday-season appetizer course alongside a creamy Gorgonzola dolce or a sharp clothbound cheddar – with crusty bread on the side, of course. Always with the crusty bread. That said, you should try to have that wipe-out-the-leftovers snack within a week of making the chutney, though if you end up enjoying it as much as I, I don’t think there’s any need to worry that you won’t. But if there is pressure mounting to eat it up within the week, you could always serve it as a condiment to pork, chicken, or, heck, even in one of those Pilgrim-style sandwiches with the stuffing and turkey. You know the ones.

If you’ve never made cranberry sauce (or chutney) from scratch before, it is a very simple process. Simply simmer the cranberries in whatever liquid medium your recipe calls for until all of the cranberries have burst, and the mixture has thickened to that sauce- or chutney-like consistency you’re familiar with – not from your experience with the jiggly cranberry sauce in a can, but from experience with good-quality preserves.

Cranberry-Apple Chutney

Yield: Makes approximately 5 cups


  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 (12 ounce) bag fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over for squishy berries and stems, both of which belong in your trash bin
  • 3 medium apples (I used a mix of Macoun and Empire), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch wedges
  • 1 medium (10 to 12 ounce) Vidalia onion or other sweet onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries


  1. Pour the cider and maple syrup into a large (at least 4-quart capacity) non-reactive (stainless steel) stockpot, then add the brown sugar and stir it into the liquid to break up its cup measure shape. Throw in the cinnamon stick, then add the cranberries, apple wedges, onion, raisins, and dried cranberries. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until the cranberries have done that bursting thing, rendering the sauce a lovely strawberry-rhubarb jam shade of red, the apples have broken into pieces about one-quarter their original size, and the chutney has thickened to a loose-preserves consistency, approximately 20 minutes from the time the mixture begins to simmer. It will thicken as it cools.
  2. Let the chutney cool slightly, remove the cinnamon stick, then transfer the chutney to a large (at least 6-cup capacity) airtight storage container and refrigerate it until it's time for it to sidle up to the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy. If you make the chutney 2 days ahead of the Thanksgiving Day feast, that gives you until the following Tuesday to use any leftover chutney up.

Estimated cost for the batch of chutney: $8.93, or around $1.79 per cup. The apple cider costs $2.99 for 8 cups, so it’s roughly 75-cents for the 2 cups. The maple syrup costs 60-cents per tablespoon, we’re using 4, so that’s $2.40. The brown sugar costs 4-cents per tablespoon, so that’s 16-cents. The cinnamon stick costs approximately 47-cents (figuring it’s one of 10 in a jar that costs $4.69). Cranberries are on sale, 2 bags for $5.00 – tis the season – so $2.50 for our 12 ounces. The apples will weigh around 1 and 1/4 pound, and at 99-cents per pound, that’s $1.25. The onion will cost around 75-cents. The raisins cost $1.99 for eight 1/4 cup servings, so that’s 25-cents. The dried cranberries are also on sale this time of year, and they cost $3.99 for a package containing around ten 1/4 cups, so that’s 40-cents.

Dinner tonight: Homemade Pumpkin Tagliatelle with Roasted Fig and Brown Butter Cinnamon Sauce. Estimated cost for two: $6.39. Yesterday, at my local Whole Foods, there was a cook-off between two restaurants and the Whole Foods prepared foods team. The prepared foods chefs made a sweet potato gnocchi with a fig and brown butter cinnamon sauce, and I have been planning to make pumpkin pasta for a while (part of my own personal Pumpkin Obsession 2009), so I must thank them profusely for pushing me to finally make the tagliatelle. The pasta will cost around $2.66 to make. The flour will run me around $1.30, the pumpkin around $1.00, and the olive oil will be around 36-cents. I’ll probably use some egg to be sure it binds, so let’s add in another 54-cents for two eggs, and that gets us to $3.20. I expect that will yield us at least two 2-person servings, so that’s $1.60 for tonight. The figs were $3.99, the butter is 70-cents, and the cinnamon will be around 10-cents. All pumpkin, all the time! (I will tire of it soon, I’m sure. But I think I’ve got at least another 4 or 5 pumpkin preparations left in me before I do. You have been warned.)

12 Comments to Cranberry-Apple Chutney

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Out of curiosity, do you know how this recipe might fare if canned? I’m looking for preserve ideas to can and send as gifts, but I don’t know if recipes can be easily converted for canning. This one sounds delicious!

  2. Liz says:

    Pumpkin pasta sounds awesome. I went for a pumpkin kale lasagna tonight, it was delicious. I’m down to 3 quart bags of pumpkin puree in the freezer. Hopefully that’ll take me through to Xmas. On a side note, the Farm City/City Farm talk last week was awesome! I only regret not bringing my copy to get signed while I was there. Oops!

  3. Amy says:

    Hi Elizabeth,
    I’ve done a little research trying to find an answer for you, and, sadly, cannot find a definitive answer as to whether there is enough sugar in this chutney for it to keep properly if canned. I’ll keep hunting around, though. It’s a good question, and I’d like the answer also because it would make a nice gift.

    Hi Liz,
    Oh, I’m so glad you enjoyed the talk the other night, and I’m sorry you didn’t get your book signed! I know it was busy (and crowded) there, but I’d love to meet you, so hopefully there will be another event (or something food related that isn’t through Slow Food) where we can meet!
    I am also stockpiling the pumpkin – I’m going to get a couple more fresh to tide me over for the winter!

  4. kittiesx3 says:

    And your third Elizabeth-derivative comment . . . this is right in my wheel house. I despise orange with cranberry and always substitute raspberry instead. However your recipe looks divine :P

  5. Liz says:

    Well, I’m no canning master. I dabble in the craft, but there’s much to learn. From other recipes I’ve seen, it may work to water process it. An extra 1/2 C. of sugar may help and possibly some lemon juice for acidity. Both cranberries and apples have enough pectin to jell it up good though. Jam type things don’t usually scare me too much, if they don’t come out good you would probably be able to tell from the get go i.e. mold, stink etc.
    Amy, it would be awesome to meet up sometime. I always enjoy finding like-minded people in the area!

  6. Cristie says:

    Pumpkins and cranberries are two of my favorite foods. I’ve no clue why they’re both considered seasonal. Maybe it’s cuz we eat so much of them in autumn we’re sick of them by spring. Perhaps some folks are, but not me. Thanks for featuring these favorite foods in your recipes.

  7. JP says:

    help – I made this lovely recipe, but noticed a funny bitter & metallic smell wafting from my pot throughout. Sure enough, it tasted putrid. Are cranberries no to be cooked in metal?

  8. Amy says:

    Hi Elizabeth!
    Yes, this is a very Elizabeth-full comment page, isn’t it?! Glad to hear that this cranberry treatment will work for you. Once my brother mentioned his disdain for orange with cranberry, I knew I had to work another option up, and, of course, knew he couldn’t be the only one! Glad you like it!

    Hi Liz,
    It would be great to meet up – maybe after all of the holiday madness is over!

    Hi Cristie,
    I’m with you on the pumpkin and cranberry love – I can’t get enough of them right now!

    Hi JP,
    That is distressful, I’m sorry to hear this recipe didn’t work for you. I made mine in a stainless steel pot, which is non-reactive. If you were cooking in aluminum, which is reactive, that may have caused the chutney to be ruined. I apologize, I should have thought to state that the pot should be non-reactive. I’ve edited the post to reflect that now; thank you for the heads up and I’m sorry to have you make the effort for naught. UGH.

    Take care,

  9. Cindy says:

    This looks great! I must try it. I love the flavor combination.

  10. Cynthia says:

    This looks fantastic!!! Now I know what to do with my leftover cranberries from Thanksgiving!

  11. Anonymous says:

    About to try a version of this with rehydrated dried cranberries and something fresh (maybe gooseberries maybe apricots?) since there are no fresh cranberries to be found in SOuth Africa – any tips? thoughts? advice? warnings? i know its thanksgiving eve (and we are 7 hours ahead of EST) but I’m all ears!

    • Amy McCoy says:

      Hello there! I can imagine that there aren’t too many fresh cranberries to be found in South Africa! I hate to take you down a bad path, as I haven’t tested cranberry substitutions for this, but my gut instinct is to go with the gooseberries rather than apricots, as it seems their flavor would be a better match for the apples & dried cranberries than apricots would. I hope that in the end, it turns out okay – we may have to organize a fresh cranberry export plan for next year, though! Please let me know what you end up doing & how it goes over! Happy Thanksgiving!

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