Smoky Chipotle Tomato Chutney

Smoky Chipotle Tomato Chutney

This year, it seems I’m all about the tomato. We’ve been tomato crazy, and now have tons of tomatoes in various stages of ripening. If you’re in the same boat, this Smoky Chipotle Tomato Chutney is gonna be a perfect way to use up a glut of red ones.

Smoky Chipotle Tomato Chutney

Smoky Chipotle Tomato Chutney

Think of this chutney as a savory jam or marmalade, almost a relish, with just a touch of smokiness, a subtle heat, and a surprising back note of earthy spices.


About Smoky Chipotle Tomato Chutney:

When I first tasted the Smoky Chipotle Tomato Chutney, before it went into the jars, I was taken aback – it was a wild cacophony of flavors. Everything was jumping! As a matter of fact, it kind of reminded me of my Garden Chili Sauce.

We literally could not leave it alone. We were going back again and again for just a little taste! It’s fabulous and downright addictive!

The next day, the flavors had started to meld and mellow and it was even better! If you can stand the wait, it’s even better after it’s been jarred up and processed in the canner and has a little age on it. Maybe a month or two.

What I do is hedge my bets: I put a jar or two in the fridge for immediate use (because we just can’t wait months to taste it again, lol) and can the rest for my pantry or to give as gifts.

How to Serve Your Chutney:

Just think how great it would be to have some of this Smoky Chipotle Tomato Chutney on hand through the winter, to give as a special gift, or to trot out for a party or put on a buffet table?

Some of the ways I like to serve mine:

  • On crackers, maybe crackers smeared with a little goat cheese or even a little cream cheese. Or the chutney can be mixed with either and used as a dip or spread.
  • Toss it on your cheese platter just as is – it is marvelous with Cheddar and pairs so well with softer white cheeses.
  • In place of ketchup on a burger. Added to mayonnaise for a burger or a sandwich. It’s particularly good in grilled cheese.
  • Add a little dab to your tomato soup.
  • Think of it when you want a little condiment for some type of roasted beef or lamb, and if you’re into game, it’s especially good.
  • After you have this lovely condiment on hand, you’re probably going to find all kinds of ways to use it!

Making Smoky Chipotle Tomato Chutney:

The flavoring of this Chutney is somewhat of an original mixed with the classic background flavors of a more classic recipe.

The garlic, ginger, and vinegar are classic, but I go a bit left and use pickling spice in the chutney. It’s a bit of a shortcut because there are so many spices in that pickling spice, but it’s a little more complex than some classic chutney flavorings.

The surprise ingredients are ones I urge you to try. It’s a bit of Michael Chiarello’s Fennel Spice Blend. I “stole” it from a cassoulet recipe and loved it so much that I have continued to use it over and over! The others are the Chipotle peppers in Adobo Sauce (only 1 pepper) and a little Old Bay. Optional, but recommended is a touch of liquid smoke.

Flavoring & spicing changes are easy to make in a canning recipe if you want to make this your own; just don’t mess with the amount of vinegar (acid) and sugar which are the preservatives in the recipe.

About the Canning:

Even if you’ve never canned before, you’ll want to consider this recipe. Small batches of specialty items like this Chutney can be very worthwhile & are easy enough to do. You can probably get by with items you have right in your kitchen for a recipe like this (high acid) that only needs a water bath instead of a pressure canner.

You’ll need a big, tall pot, a rack that will give a little space below the jars when they’re in the pot and tall enough to cover the jars by two inches of water, a spoon that can be sterilized, and a pair of tongs. And jars & lids. Everything else falls into the “nice to have” category – and if you’re doing large batches they’re even nicer to have, but for a few jars you can get by with the minimum.

When canning, you’ll want to follow the recipe very closely; successful water bath canning is dependent on the acidity, the amount of sugar, and impeccably clean working practices. Another key factor is how dense or how loose your product is. All of these are reasons to follow the recipe and instructions…

If you’re not familiar with water bath canning, there are multiple resources. I personally like the National Center for Home Preservation or Ball Canning. The National Center for Home Preservation has a handy PDF. I still refer back to them before any canning project.

Saving Money:

  • Your best pricing for this recipe is ging to be in late summer when the tomatoes are abundant, cheap, and tasty!
  • Unless you’re into dying Easter eggs, you might not realize that vinegar is almost always on sale before the holiday. Not only will you find basic jugs but it’s likely you may see fancier versions on sale, too.
  • There’s a lot of brown sugar in this recipe; if you have a few minutes and some plain old white sugar and molasses, you can always make your own but for a recipe like this, simply sub in a pound of sugar and add 3 1/2 tablespoons of molasses. Dark or light, your choice.
  • Jars can be pricey and unpredictable. Keep your eye out off-season and do watch garage and estate sales. FB marketing may be a good source for used jars as well. Make sure they aren’t scratched.



Smoky Chipotle Tomato Chutney

  • Author: mollie kirby
  • Total Time: about three hours
  • Yield: 8 eight-ounce jars 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Canning


  • 4 1/2 pounds red tomatoes, skinned, seeded & chopped (weigh after skinning and seeding and include the juice in the weight)
  • 1 very large red onion, finely diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, about 1 1/2″ long, minced
  • 1 pound of brown sugar
  • 8 ounces apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon  (run it through a spice grinder or blender, first) Michael Chiarello’s Fennel Spice Rub
  • 1/2 teaspoon (run it through a spice grinder or blender, first) Pickling Spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon (run it through a spice grinder or blender, first it’s a chunkier version) Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke, optional


To loosen the skins and peel the tomatoes: heat a gallon of water to boiling. Make a thin shallow “x” on the bottom of each tomato, add to boiling water for about a minute, and then remove. When cool enough to handle, slip off the peels and set aside.

Working over a colander over a bowl to catch the seeds and juices, roughly chop the tomatoes into 1/2 pieces, de-seeding the majority as you work. Weigh the tomatoes and juice – you will need 4 1/2 pounds.

Add tomatoes and any juices to a large, heavy-bottomed, non-reactive pan (I prefer one that has high sides, like my stockpot, to keep spattering to a minimum) along with the rest of the ingredients except liquid smoke. Bring to a simmer and simmer gently for one hour, stirring as needed. At that point, increase heat and gently boil, stirring often, and being careful not to scorch, until the mixture turns dark and jammy. Add liquid smoke, if using, at this point.

Divide between 8 eight ounce-jars (see note) leaving proper headspace, about 1/2 inch, and remove any bubbles. Add lid, and lightly screw the ring on, only finger tight. Place in boiling water bath and (for up to 1,000 feet), process (once the water comes back to a full boil) for 5 minutes if jars are sterilized and still hot, or for 10 minutes if jars are washed and cleaned thoroughly (like in a dishwasher). Add one minute processing time for each additional 1,000 feet of altitude.

Remove from water bath and place on a clean, dry towel. Allow to sit for 12 hours undisturbed to ensure the seal is tight. Jars should be stored without rings.


  • I make every effort to ensure a canning recipe, when published, has the latest up-to-date recommendations in the procedures. Please review, especially if you are new to canning, a reliable site like the ones listed in the accompanying post.. Anything that is coming into contact with the contents of the jar should be thoroughly washed and/or sterilized.
  • If time allows, set the Smoky Chipotle Tomato Chutney aside for a month or two. While very good immediately, the flavors will improve with time.

Keywords: Appetizer, Brown Sugar, Canning, Chipotle, Condiments, Jam Jelly or Preserves, Michael Chiarello, Old Bay, pickling spice, Red onion, Spreads and Dips, tomato jam, Tomatoes, Vinegar

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I will be sharing this recipe at our very own Throwback Thursday and Fiesta Friday. Our Fiesta Friday co-hosts this week are Antonia @ Zoale and Petra @ Food Eat Love.


41 thoughts on “Smoky Chipotle Tomato Chutney

  1. Opal

    The tomato and chipotle chutney sounds delicious. With the pickling spice do the spices stay whole? Or would you grind them ? Like you would the fennel rub?

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Opal, good morning! That’s a great question and I should have specified. There’s very little of the pickling spice. I just leave them whole and pluck out any offending spices as i serve it but they could be ground or put in a little bit of cheesecloth and bundled for easy removal right before it’s canned.

  2. petra08

    It’s a lovely looking chutney, if chutneys looks lovely… hmm. Ok, let’s start again, the chutney looks great and I would love to taste this with cheese! Happy FF 🙂

    • I know – but we got caught up right at the end with tons and tons. What a year we had considering we only had a few plants and killed off a couple in the heat dome – I don’t really can quarts of tomatoes, but it is nice to make a few specialty items.

  3. This looks awesome Mollie! so many flavorful things go into it! I can see it with a chunk of brie and good crackers. (and I’m a little jealous of all those home grown tomatoes– are they sill growing??!)

  4. Lovely recipe Mollie! Sadly our garden was ruined this year, when a yard crew made a mistake and sprayed our organic garden beds. Can you believe it? They had to replace the soil, and by then, it was too late to re-plant summer veggies. So, no tomatoes 🙁 We do have a wonderful winter garden coming up though! Thank you for sharing this delicious chutney with us over at Fiesta Friday! Happy Fiesta Friday!

      • We were so upset. Even though they replaced the soil for free, it didn’t make up for losing an entire season of food. I will share some as they start growing. Our spinach is almost big enough to start picking off of. I can’t wait to walk outside and pick my salads! Wow! We don’t get really cold here until Dec/Jan, so we still get some good growing time in Nov. Have a wonderful Sunday!

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