By Carl Hanson

We love chutneys! A piquant marriage of vinegar, herbs, spices, fruit and/or vegetables, chutneys are always a thrilling palate pleaser.

These sweet and spicy relishes -- called "chatni" in India -- are super versatile. Chutneys are perfect partners for roasted and grilled meats; they play just the right note with cheese plates; are essential alongside curries; and add tangy zing to milder flavored foods like rice and breads. Try chutneys in place of relish on hotdogs and hamburgers, too! They'll really stand out at summer BBQs!

The sweet and spicy fruit chutneys popularized in the West are just one of many traditional varieties. Each region of India boasts its own specialties: walnut chutneys are cherished in Kashmir; coconut chutneys in the south; and tomato versions rule throughout India.

English colonizers brought chutneys from India back to Britain, where they evolved to suit English tastes. English styles are characterized by sweet pickled fruits cooked to the consistency of jam. Mango is the most popular by far. "This mango chutney has a sweet and sour taste and goes particularly well with samosas and mint raita," says Michelle. "Make it at least 2 weeks in advance for enhanced flavor or 1 day before serving."

"This piquant chutney is not as sweet as traditional cranberry sauce," says foodelicious. "The bite of the fresh ginger will become more pronounced as the chutney rests. If you have any left after Thanksgiving, try it in turkey sandwiches with a smear of cream cheese. Oh. My. God."

Cranberry, Apple, and Fresh Ginger Chutney | Photo by foodelicious

"A sweet and spicy chutney made with tomatoes, peaches, apples, celery and onion that's very addictive," says Lucy Danylewich. "So easy to make you'll find yourself adding this to just about any dish!"

Fresh grated coconut and yogurt form the base of this tangy South India-inspired chutney spiced with chili peppers, mustard seed, and cumin seeds. "May take a little time to shred the coconut, but it is SO WORTH IT!" raves Kathleen. "I served it with papadaums. Wonderful sweet-not too spicey-delight!"

"This is a red tomato chutney which has a lot of flavor and is GREAT with Samosas," says SEIRRAC. "Lengthy time to make this is due to the fact that it should stand and cool long before it is served. A good thing to make a day or two in advance."

"These types of fruit chutneys are some of the most flavorful things you'll ever taste," says Chef John, "and perfect condiments for those special occasion holiday dinners. If you like applesauce, you'll find this is a fairly familiar experience, and despite the ingredient list, nothing really overpowers the fruit." Try it with pork chops, pork tenderloin, ham, or roast chicken or turkey. See how it's done:

A delicious, fresh-tasting, sweet and sour chutney with Greek yogurt, chopped onion, green chile pepper, lemon juice, and ginger.

Apricots and cranberries combine with raisins, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, sugar, and cider vinegar. "We have enjoyed it as an alternative to the traditional cranberry sauce!" says Sher. " She doesn't mind sharing it!"

A minty chutney with onion, sugar, vinegar, and cayenne pepper. "This aromatic chutney is a wonderful condiment for meats, especially lamb," says sal. "Try it on sandwiches, too."

Peaches and preserved ginger combine with raisins, garlic, onion, chili powder, mustard seed, curry powder, brown sugar and cider vinegar. "This chutney closely resembles imported Indian chutneys and is good with all curry dishes," says Shana. "It is also great with cream cheese and crackers."

Mango goes sweet-and-savory here, with onions, garlic, golden raisins, ginger, vinegar, sugar, and spices like cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, and chile peppers "A Hawaiian chutney, excellent with pork or lamb," says Shirley Crowley. "Also a treat with peanut butter on bread."

Mango Chutney | Photo by SunFlower

This cilantro-based chutney preps in minutes. Just add fresh lemon juice, a small green chili, peanuts, salt, garlic, and fresh ginger and process until smooth. "This is an amazing sauce," raves TOELESSINCA. "My peppers weren't that spicy so I used 2 instead of 1. I've been putting it on sandwiches and it's great."

An East India-inspired chutney featuring tamarind paste, cumin seeds, ginger, cayenne pepper, fennel seeds, asafoetida powder, and garam masala

Chutney in Main Dishes and Appetizers

Chutneys are amazing condiments for roasted meats, including pork, chicken, duck, and lamb. Here are some of our favorite pairing partners:

Grilled Lamb Burger | Photo by Meredith

Check out our complete collection of Chutney Recipes. And don't miss our selection of Indian Recipes -- including top-rated curries, tandoori recipes, side dishes, and more.