Tomato chutney in a bowl next to tomatoes and chillis

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With a little sweetness and a little spice, this tomato chutney is a hugely versatile accompaniment to so many dishes. Add some rich flavour to vegetables, use it as a dipping sauce for bread or spoon it alongside a curry. It’s also incredibly easy to make.

What is it?

A chutney is a condiment originating in India, which is used for dipping or topping foods. Typically, chutneys have a mixture of sweet, sour and spice.

This recipe combines diced and slowly simmered tomatoes with mustard seeds (or cumin can be used) and a little sugar to add a bit of sweetness.

What is the difference between relish and chutney?

Generally, chutney and relish are very similar, and the name is often used interchangeably. They are both made with vegetables vinegar, sugar and spices. However, chutney can contain fruit instead of veg – and multiple varieties of either – whereas relish will only contain one vegetable.

However, there are so many variations on the above, and perceptions on what constitutes what vary vastly from country to country, so the rules are pretty loose.

Tomato chilli in jars

What can I serve it with?

This tomato chutney is extremely versatile. You can serve it as a dip or spread or as an accompaniment to chicken, meat or veg. A few great ideas to try:

  • As a side with vegetable fritters – like these halloumi and courgette fritters or these courgette and sweetcorn fritters
  • As a topping or dip for poppadom’s
  • Spooned alongside a curry for extra flavour, such as with this chicken rogan josh or this aubergine curry

How long does it keep?

Transferred to a sterile sealed container this will keep for around a week in the fridge. Some chutneys will keep for much longer, but this recipe doesn’t have any added preservatives such as vinegar to prolong the life of the fruit. Pour a little olive oil over the surface to maintain the freshness by minimising contact with the air.

To keep this chutney for a longer time you can freeze it for 3-6 months. I recommend portioning it before freezing so you can grab what you need each time. An ice cube tray is perfect for this.

Should I use fresh or tinned tomatoes?

You can make this chutney with either fresh or tinned/canned tomatoes. The result will be quite different depending on which you choose.

Tinned chopped tomatoes give a deeper colour and a more homogenous texture since tinned tomatoes have their skins removed (and for some reason, they seem to have fewer seeds). I actually prefer this method myself because the chutney is more ‘uniform’ in texture and the colour is richer.

If you opt for fresh tomatoes, then you will need to make them with the skins on (I’ve found the result impossibly watery otherwise). Therefore, the texture will be chunkier. and more rustic. Be sure to dice them into small pieces so you don’t end up with big pieces of skin in the chutney.

Tomato chutney in a bowl with tomatoes next to it

Is it spicy?

Providing you use a standard chilli, rather than one which is on the hotter side, then this tomato chutney has a little heat, but not too much. However, the beauty of cooking at home is that you can control the amount of spice in your dish.

Increase or decrease the amount of chilli based on your preferences. Also bear in mind that the heat of a single chilli can vary greatly. In general, smaller chillies are hotter, but this is not always true. It’s always easier to add than to take away so start with a little and add more if needed.


For a full list of ingredients with weights and measurements jump to the printable recipe card.

Tomato Chilli ingredients
  • Mustard seeds or cumin seeds
  • Garlic, crushed
  • Ginger paste
  • Chopped tinned tomatoes or fresh tomatoes, diced into small pieces
  • Red chilli, finely chopped
  • Sugar
  • Coriander, finely chopped

How to make it

For more detailed steps with recipe tips jump to the printable recipe card.

Recipe Steps
  1. Fry the garlic, chilli and ginger in a pan for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  2. Add the tomatoes and sugar and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
  3. Gently simmer the tomatoes, stirring regularly, until you have a thicker consistency, and the tomatoes are broken down (if using fresh). Allow around 15 minutes for tinned tomatoes and 20-30 for fresh.

Looking for more great homemade condiment recipes? Try:

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Tomato chutney in a bowl next to tomatoes and chillis

Tomato Chutney

  • Author: caroline
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


With a little sweetness and a little spice, this tomato chutney is a hugely versatile accompaniment to add flavour to so many dishes.

The default recipe serves 4 (approx. 2 tbsp per portion)


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds (or cumin seeds)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 400g tin/can chopped tomatoes or 500g / 1.1lbs fresh tomatoes, diced into small pieces (see note 1)
  • 1 red chilli, finely diced (see note 2)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • few sprigs of fresh coriander, finely chopped


  1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Fry the chilli, garlic and ginger for 2 minutes until aromatic. Make sure they don’t burn or blacken. 
  2. Add the tomatoes and sugar to the pan and stir well. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the chutney has thickened and, if using fresh tomatoes, they have broken down.


  1. Tinned tomatoes will give a more uniform texture with a richer colour, while fresh tomatoes will give a more rustic texture. If using fresh tomatoes make sure to dice into fairly small pieces so you don’t have big pieces of skin in the chutney.
  2. Generally, larger chillis are milder than smaller ones. However, heat can vary drastically from chilli to chilli. Deseed and remove the inner membrane (the lighter part) unless you want a very hot chutney, and if you are unsure of the spice level in your chilli add a little initially and taste before adding more at the end. 
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Chutney
  • Method: Hob / Stove
  • Cuisine: Indian


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 65
  • Fat: 4g
  • Carbohydrates: 6g
  • Protein: 2g

Keywords: chutney, tomato, sauce, side, dip, Indian, relish

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