Day After Thanksgiving Cranberry Chutney

An open jar of cranberry chutney on a cutting board next to a partially carved chicken and a sandwich being assembled.

I’ve never been a cranberry sauce fan—and when you hail from near Cape Cod, this is practically a treasonous act. In fact, I think so little of it on Thanksgiving that I usually make no more than 1 1/2 cups of anything cranberry for our up-to-12 guests. Alas, The One is a cranberry freak. (Why is it that opposites attract in the most inconvenient places?) He pleaded with me to make this cranberry chutney, and make a lot of it. As I was deep sighing my way through the recipe, making sure to toss terribly martyred looks his way, something wonderful happened. I took a taste and liked it. Actually, not just liked it. Loved it. It’s the sweetness from the sugar and honey, the tartness from the cranberries and vinegar, and the heat from the mustard that makes it special. Diana Henry, the author of the recipe, says that it’s great with turkey sandwiches (not to mention ham and roast beef, too). All I have to say is this cranberry chutney—a double batch of it, to be precise—is making an appearance on our Thanksgiving table this year.David Leite

LC All We Want for Christmas Is... Note

We know, we know. It’s not even Thanksgiving yet. Still, we can’t help looking ahead and thinking that all we want for Christmas, after tasting this sweetly tart condiment, is jar after jar of it. That and ample leftover turkey and ham. As author Diana Henry notes, “Its selling point is that it’s both hot and sweet. It’s perfect at Christmas, when you’re making all those turkey and ham sandwiches and want cranberries with a kick.” And, she adds, “Don’t rule it out with cold rare roast beef, too.”

Cranberry Chutney

  • Quick Glance
  • (3)
  • 10 M
  • 35 M
  • Makes about 1 1/2 pints
5/5 - 3 reviews
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Place the dried cranberries in a saucepan and add enough apple juice or orange juice to cover the tart little roly-polies. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and let plump for 30 minutes.

Place the fresh or frozen cranberries and cold water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the cranberries have burst, 2 to 5 minutes. Add the sugar and honey and stir until dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small skillet and sauté the onion until soft and translucent, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the vinegar and mustard and cook gently for another 5 minutes.

In a food processor, combine the plumped dried cranberries and their liquid, the cooled sugared cranberries and their liquid, and the onion mixture and pulse to the desired consistency. (If you want it really smooth, you can then press the mixture through a strainer, but it’s also quite nice when left chunky.) Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir to combine. Let cool completely, transfer to jars, cover, and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. If serving straight from the refrigerator, taste again before using and, if needed, add salt and pepper to taste. (A chill tends to mute even otherwise robust flavors, so the chutney may seem underseasoned.)

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

I didn’t want to like this! I’m a homemade-cranberry-sauce, Grandma’s-recipe kind of person. But I couldn’t resist. This is so good. Yes, mustard, but you smell it more than taste it. It’s better after it’s refrigerated awhile. The fresh cranberries—why not use the whole package instead of 7 1/2 ounces? Chopped onion was about 2/3 of a cup and cooked down to less than a 1/4 cup. The sauce was tart when I first tried it but mellowed in the fridge. Now I have to cook turkey!

This is delightfully delicious and oh so easy to make. It’s the perfect accompaniment for leftovers the day after Thanksgiving, and the onions give it such a wonderful flavor. The onions take about 7 minutes to turn golden, so factor in a little bit of extra time when cooking. The overall process, however, is really straightforward with great results.

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  1. I love having a jar of this in the refrigerator. Have made numerous time — this recipe is in my permanent files. Amazing with roasted turkey. Elevates ham, turkey, or roast beef sandwiches. I like a skosh more mustard and on the chunky side.

  2. I have made this recipe 4 times and have started roasting turkey breasts as an excuse to make it again. It’s great on sandwiches, too. The onion and mustard are great additions, as are the dried cranberries. I prefer it “chunky” and so for the final step I prefer to mash it by hand instead of with a food processor.

    1. Janet, this is my favorite kind of reader comment—the one that somehow pertains to being unable to stop making a recipe. Love it. Appreciate the tip on leaving it chunky, and we’ll be waiting to hear what else you can find to smother with this chutney.

  3. I typically make a cranberry orange relish, but this year I was super disappointed to taste it at dinner and realize that the oranges were extra sour. This recipe showed up, and I decided I’d try it and could give it as gifts if I liked it. I’m happy to report, through a mouth full of turkey/stuffing/gravy/cranberry sandwich – it’s delicious.

    1. Hi Casey, I think that this chutney would make lovely gifts. The following website is a great resource for canning questions and can give you guidance for the proper method, whether it be hot water canning or pressure canning:

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