Tangy Red Onion Chutney

Posted 28 December 2010 by

This red onion chutney is a great basic onion chutney recipe which would probably appeal to a lot of people who don’t normally “do” chutney. It’s sweet, doesn’t have an overwhelmingly strong taste and is along the same lines as the caramelised onion chutney and red onion marmalade type things that are all the rage. This recipe is for tangy onion chutney and comes from BBC Good Food.

Spoonful of red onion chutney on a plate.


  • 8 red onions
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 100 ml red wine vinegar
  • 100 ml red wine
  • a “dash” of grenadine

Now, the recipe says “8 onions”; obviously onions come in different sizes and there could be a big variation in the actual amount of onion you end up with. Chutney is usually pretty forgiving though, so just taste it towards the end and add more sugar / vinegar if needed.

Cloesup of a red onion.

Sliced red onions

Slice the onions. Cook the onion slices and sugar over a medium heat until the onions are nice and soft (about 10 minutes). There’s no need to add any oil.

Sliced red onions cooking wth sugar for red onion chutney.

Add the red wine and red wine vinegar and simmer until it has reduced to a sticky consistency. The recipe said 10 minutes for this part too, although mine took a little longer. When it’s ready, you should be able to push a wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan and be able to see the bottom for a few seconds before the chutney settles back into place. At the end, add a “dash” of grenadine, depending on your taste. Pour the chutney into sterile jars (messy!) and seal.

Red onion chutney in a ramekin.

The comments on the BBC site contain a few gripes about grenadine (“I’ve never even heard of it!”, “is that really necessary?” etc.) Having tasted the chutney before and after adding the grenadine, I would say that no, it’s not necessary, it tastes perfectly nice without. However, grenadine is quite cheap (in the UK anyway) and a lovely, fruity addition to cocktails, or with lemonade, vodka, whatever. It also lasts, so why not just get a bottle and keep it for later occasions? As the onions cook, the red colour does leak out, leaving the chutney a bit paler and the grenadine helps add some of the redness back. it also gives the flavour a bit of added “something”. I definitely recommend adding it!

The Good Food recipe didn’t say anything about maturing/keeping time, but I can confirm that the chutney is fine to eat straight away, and probably won’t last long enough to mature! It’s really tasty with cheese, ham, salad… anything probably! It would make a great gift for Christmas.

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