Recipe: Sultana free apple chutney

If you love chutney but hate raisins and sultanas, this recipe is for you. We have alot of raisin and sultana haters on both sides of the family. And whilst I like both, I really don’t like either in chutney.

Last year I made green tomato chutney and swapped the raisins for extra tomatoes. The chutney was delicious but I didn’t want to compromise on taste by substituting a large proportion of the ingredients. This year I was determined to find something without sultanas. My search lead me to: date chutney…sultanas. Onion chutney…sultanas. Spiced apple chutney…more bloody sultanas! I finally found an apple and onion chutney recipe on and you know what? NO SULTANAS! Aside from looking delicious it’s also a good recipe for using up a glut of cooking apples.

Bramley cooking apples

We were gifted this big basket of apples earlier in the week

I tweaked the recipe a little but it’s still largely based on’s recipe. My alterations were: an extra tablespoon of oil for frying, an extra 150g of apples for a better onion to apple ratio, garlic and ginger to make the recipe a little more savoury (and because I generally add garlic to most things!), I reduced the amount of nutmeg and omitted the allspice.

Apple and onion chutney ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 500g red onions
  • 650g bramley (cooking) apples
  • 300ml red wine vinegar
  • 100g white granulated sugar
  • 200g soft dark brown sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves – minced
  • 1.5cm root ginger – minced
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Large pinch of cayenne pepper

How to make apple and red onion chutney

1. Fry the onions

Chop and fry the onions in a large pan until soft – a jam making/maslin pan is ideal if you are making a large batch.

2. Chop your apples

Chop your apples into chunks of varying size. Some apple chunks will cook down and others will remain large giving your chutney a more interesting texture.

Peeled bramley apples

3. Add all your ingredients to the pan

Apple, vinegar, sugar, spices…the lot! Mix together.

Bramley apple and red onion chutney ingredients

4. Bring to the boil then simmer for 30 mins – 1 hour

The original recipe said to simmer for 30 mins but my chutney was still quite sloppy so I simmered it uncovered for nearly an hour. As long as you simmer (not boil) the chutney, the fruit will remain in chunks and the excess juice will be cooked away.

Cooking bramley apple and red onion chutney

My chutney after 30 mins

The lovely thing about this recipe is that it uses red wine vinegar which has a very mild vinegary taste. Malt and white wine vinegar are extremely stinky and in my experience, chutney made from either results in ‘vinegar stink’ where your house wreaks of vinegar for days. Red wine vinegar is much milder and when used with dark brown soft sugar, gives the chutney a rich colour.

5. Transfer to jars and seal

Once your chutney has cooked down to the desired consistency use a jam funnel to transfer it to hot sterilised jars. Try and avoid getting chutney on the jar neck as this can affect the seal, making it more likely to spoil. Seal with sterilised lids straight away.

Sultana free apple and onion chutney

6. Leave for a few weeks

Leave your chutney in a cool dark place for a few weeks so help flavour and colour develop. We’ve already had a cheeky taste on bread with cheese and the chutney was absolutely delicious. It’s going to taste fantastic in a couple of months time.

We plan to dig the rest out at Christmas to go on the cheese board and with leftover turkey and mash on Boxing Day. If you want an excuse to think about Christmas in November then making Christmas chutney is the perfect excuse! It’s not too early if it’s prep for the big day, right?


  1. What a great post, this looks like such a fabulous recipe Gemma. I always think sultanas are a little unnecessary so this is perfect for me. We also have some apples growing in the garden so you never know…just need some time!

    • Hopefully your tree will be laden with apples and you can make lots of jars of chutney! 🙂

  2. oh I love this time of year for making chutney. I’ve been very lazy and haven’t done any yet, you have spurred me on to get a move on now. I’ll try this one too Gemma it looks and sounds delicious x

  3. Thanks Nichola. We’ve already dipped into ours and it’s lovely. Much lighter than chutneys packed full of pesky sultanas.

  4. I love the look of this recipe as I too hate raisins and sultanas! I will be making this recipe for Christmas pressies. Please could you tell me how many jars this recipe makes?

    • Hi Catherine, this recipe made 6 jars of chutney and I used the standard sized 1lb jars. The longer you leave it the better it gets 🙂 Good luck with your chutney making!

    • If your jars are clean and you keep it somewhere cool and out of direct sunlight it should keep for about a year unopened.

  5. I made this using brown sugar only, adding mustard seeds, cumin leaving the ginger out. Bottling it with whole jalapeno or cheyene chillies (in different jars) that’s been topped and tailed.jalapeno seems to be milder if not cooked. Will let you know in 3 months what it’s like.

    • That sounds delicious Andries and the mustard seeds are a nice addition! Let me know how it turns out 🙂

  6. Margaret Fawkes

    Thank you so much for this lovely recipe. I have made it a couple of times for our church sales, and I now have regular ‘orders’ from a couple of church members. One of whom bought five jars this Christmas.

    • This is so nice to hear Margaret, thanks for letting me know 🙂 Chutney without sultanas is the best kind!

  7. Donnatella

    Just made this. It tastes amazing already. I used a few varieties of apples that were going to waste. Can’t wait for it to mature in a few months. Thanks for the recipe.

  8. Tried this for the first time the whole family loved it very tasty anx easy to make thank you

  9. thank you for this delicious recipe, will certainly try it out share the details with you. great work cheers!

    • Gemma Evans

      Thanks geet! It’s great for Christmas but equally as delicious all year round. Good luck!

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