Cranberry–Cherry Chutney

published Nov 24, 2019
Cranberry–Cherry Chutney

A not-so-average Thanksgiving cranberry sauce with just the right amount of sweet ness and tartness.


Prep10 minutes

Cook30 minutes

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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Barrett Washburne; Prop Styling: Stephanie Yeh

This recipe is a part of our Ever-Evolving Southern Thanksgiving package. See all the recipes here.

Nandita Godbole, Atlanta, Georgia 

I’ve lived in Atlanta for a while now, but I’m from India and it’s important to me to keep the traditional recipes I grew up with. I am experimenting a little here and there, changing one or two ingredients in a dish as I experiment more. 

My first year in the United States, I experienced my first Thanksgiving. It was a very traditional feast with many different things to eat. The hostess made a delicious spread and a wonderful cherry pie, but the cranberry sauce seemed boring. I remember thinking how tart and one-dimensional it was. I was used to having sweet and savory chutneys as part of meals, so I guess that’s how the idea for my cranberry–cherry chutney was born. 

In Georgia, we only started to put together a Thanksgiving meal because our daughter began to ask questions about traditional Indian and American holidays as she grew up. She wanted to know what Thanksgiving was, and why we didn’t observe it. We created our version of Thanksgiving, which usually entails some version of chicken, potatoes, greens, and a dessert, but with our flavors. So for example, we usually have spicy tandoori or baked chicken. 

I’ve been making this chutney for 10 years. When we started having Thanksgiving, some of my friends thought I was going through too much trouble to make the chutney. They said they only bought the cranberry sauce from the can. I’ve seen that before; it glops out of the can and still has the can’s indentations. I thought I could do better than that. The flavors of my chutney come from Northern India, where they use fruits like plum, apple, and apricot and pair them with warm spices like ginger, cinnamon, and cloves to make sweet-and-savory chutneys. I took some of those flavors and married them to the cranberries and cherries.

There have been all kinds of life events since I first made this recipe, and our Thanksgiving table changes every year, but this is the one thread through all of it. I make this every year. I guess we do have a Thanksgiving tradition. 

Cranberry–Cherry Chutney

A not-so-average Thanksgiving cranberry sauce with just the right amount of sweet ness and tartness.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes

Serves 12

Nutritional Info


  • 1/2 cup

    dried cherries

  • 1 (2-inch) piece

    fresh ginger

  • 1 pound

    fresh cranberries

  • 5

    whole cloves

  • 1/2 cup

    packed light brown sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon


  1. Chop 1/2 cup dried cherries and place in a large saucepan. Peel and mince a 2-inch piece ginger; set aside.

  2. Add 1 pound cranberries to the saucepan, then add enough water to just cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Continue to boil until the liquid is reduced by half and the cranberries pop, about 10 minutes.

  3. Stir in the ginger and 5 whole cloves. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes more. Stir in 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar a few tablespoons at a time until fully dissolved. Simmer until the mixture is reduced to a sauce-like consistency, about 10 minutes. During the last few minutes, add 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, to retain the aroma.

  4. Remove from the heat and uncover. Let cool for a few minutes, then transfer the mixture into a sterilized jar. Let cool completely, then seal the jar and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Recipe Notes

Contributed by Nandita Godbole, Atlanta, GA.