Raisin Chutney Recipe

My husband would eat Raisin Chutney with every meal if I could keep him in a constant enough supply of it. It’s a mildly-fermented, slightly sweet and tangy condiment with the flair of Indian cuisine. Raisin Chutney is positively amazing, and a good first food for those who fear naturally fermented, probiotic-rich, living foods.

I have always followed the recipe for Raisin Chutney found in Sally Fallon Morell’s Nourishing Traditions. It’s exquisite and really can’t be improved upon. Try it. You’ll agree.

Raisin Chutney Recipe

Makes one quart. From Nourishing Traditions.

The Players

  • 3 cups raisins, soaked in warm water for an hour
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 bunch of cilantro (stems removed)
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp. coriander
  • 1 tbsp. anise
  • 1 tbsp. freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 cup liquid whey (strained from yogurt, kefir, or raw milk) OR 1 tbsp. prepared vegetable starter culture (where to buy veggie starter cultures)
  • 1 cup filtered water


The How-To

Place garlic and cilantro in your food processor and pulse a few times. Drain the raisins and add to the food processor, along with the peppers and remaining spices. Pulse until the mix becomes paste-like.

Transfer to a quart-sized jar and press down with a wooden spoon to remove air pockets. Mix salt and whey (or starter culture) with water and pour into jar. You may need to poke a few holes in the chutney to help the liquid percolate through the jar. If necessary, add more water to cover the chutney. Leaving at least 1 inch of air below the top of the jar, cover tightly and keep at room temperature for 2 days.

Transfer your Raisin Chutney to the refrigerator and consume within 2 months.

Want even more recipes for naturally-fermented goodies?

I highly recommend enrolling in Get Cultured! How To Ferment Anything. It’s currently on sale again for more than $50 off it’s regular price through May 22nd. The e-course is even recommended by fermentation expert Donna Gates, author of The Body Ecology Diet.

For more information about the class, click here.

(photo by Pewari)


  1. Jen says

    I’m going to do this since I just bought a 5 pound box of organic raisins from Azure.

    What kind of serving suggestions do you have?

    • KristenM says

      We use it on sandwiches for a pleasant kick, salads as a dressing, as a dip for things like sliced jicama, and on top of hamburger patties, cuts of chicken, pork chops, rice, you name it.

  2. Sierra says

    I can’t wait to try this! What’s your favorite way to eat it? On toast? Straight off the spoon?

    • KristenM says

      The honest answer is straight of the spoon. But, we eat it all kinds of ways. See my response to Jen above.

  3. Gia says

    oh wow! I am making this right away! I looove raisins and I love them with foods that are savory and spicy as well (I’ve been known to eat them mixed in with olives). YUM.

  4. B says

    Can you make it without the whey or veggie starter culture?

    I looked at the website of the starter you recommend and the ingredients show both sugar and skim milk powder, both of which I avoid.

    • KristenM says

      You ought to be make it with any lacto-bacilli starter culture. Steal some of the brine from your sauerkraut, and you’d be set.

      I’ve only ever used whey and a veggie starter culture.

      Because it’s a sweet ferment, I’d hesitate to try to wild ferment it (too much risk of making alcohol or something else you don’t want).

        • KristenM says

          A wild ferment is when you don’t add a starter culture of a particular kind of bacteria, but just let the naturally-occurring bacterial cultures in the air and on your veggies/fruits cultivate and ferment.

  5. jacquie says

    i’m not a huge fan of rasins (and yes i know they are good for me) could a different dried fruit be used? say apricots? or cranberries? of cherries?….

  6. says

    have heard you rave about the raisin chutney before and have wanted to try it – we love other chutneys from NT. Now that I see it calls for so much cilantro I’m not sure. I’m one of those minority people for whom cilantro tastes like soap. :( I have substituted flat leaf parsley for the cilantro in the L.F. salsa and mango chutney with good results. Is the cilantro integral to the flavor of the raisin chutney or can I sub something else? What do you think?

    • KristenM says

      Oh hard call. I *love* cilantro, so I *love* what it contributes to the chutney. You could always experiment. :)

    • says

      FYI – tho I absolutely LOVE cilantro, my husband more than absolutely DESPISES it, but when I served this to him, he (who typically can’t even just pick cilantro out of food cuz of the taste of it still being in there) was never the wiser about the ‘kryptonite’ ingredient and enjoyed it every time ūüėČ

  7. says

    I’m one of those ‘cilantro tastes like soap’ people too. I’ve tried for years to get over it but not successfully. I was wondering about using basil or mint or a combo of all 3? Does the sugar content of the raisins transform into something else when they ferment?
    Thx! I’m new to fermenting so this is all a little scary.

    • KristenM says

      This is a short ferment (just a couple days), so the sugar doesn’t have the chance to turn into much else. It feeds the bacteria & yeast growing in the ferment, but the end result is still mildly sweet.

  8. Deborah says

    What an incredible sounding recipe! I will definitely make this. I like the idea of adding this to hamburgers, yum yum! And, I’d bet it would be great spooned over some heritage pork or chicken.

  9. says

    I just made some, I can’t wait to taste it in a couple of days! I did lick the spoon and the unfermented mix sure is delicious!!! I also am not a fan of cilantro, it reminds me of nail polish remover. :) But lately I like it in things and I think I will like this. Thanks for the recipe! (Just bought the book through your link.) :)

  10. Laura says

    Can I use Kombucha as my starter? Just curious because I have a lot of it and it’s tangy which is a flavor I imagine would be good in this condiment.

  11. holly may says

    question…it looks like you are reusing lids and jars from previous products. are those factory lids able to be reused safely? if you have the jars in a hot water bath are those lids able to reform their air tight seal?

    I have always used new mason jar seals when do my canning at home. But if I can just reuse other jars and lids I have from jams/jellies/pickles etc. that would save me some money and waste!

    • KristenM says

      This is not my picture. If you’re attempting to create an airtight seal, you need new lids with each use. It’s how mason jars are designed. That said, I never hot water bath can my ferments because I don’t want to kill the probiotic bacterial culture with the heat.

    • billy says

      You can get reusable canning lids at reusablecanninglids.com
      It keeps you from having to throw away lids every time you use them.

  12. pk says

    “1 bunch” cilantro… can you be more specific?
    1 cup of leaves? 4 c. of leaves? Depends on your size “bunch”!

  13. says

    I’ve just made this recipe and set it on the counter to ferment, but I am a little confused about one thing. There is a layer of raisin mixture with a layer of whey/water sitting on top. I did poke holes in the chutney, but it’s still basically two layers. Do you eventually mix it in? It seems like that would make it too liquidy. Can you elaborate on this part of the recipe?


    • KristenM says

      Yes, it should be mixed in. This chutney comes out like the mint, raisin, or plum chutneys you would get if you ordered an appetizer at an Indian food restaurant, and less like a chunky thick chutney you might make with apples for Thanksgiving dinner.

  14. says

    Just wanted to share- I poured some over some “cream cheese” that I had after draining the whey from yogurt and that makes a fantastic dip!!

  15. says

    Thanks for the great recipe, this is my first lacto fermented recipe I have tried, and I’m wondering if I tip the excess liquid out of the jar before consuming? The chutney didn’t fill the bottle and there is quite a lot of liquid to bring it to one inch below the top. thanks

  16. Sherri says

    I noticed your recipe doesn’t call for the 1 T. cumin seeds that N.T. has. Is that purposefully left out?

  17. Joy says

    I saw a bit of a discussion on lids and…. I just can’t hold back any longer! You CAN reuse canning lids. You CAN use lids you have vacuum sealed with for canning projects. You CAN use lids you canned with for vacuum sealing. Honest!! All you have to do is check them over very carefully! Look for any gouges in the sealing material or dents in the top, or distortions on the rim from opening. Indents from a previous jar are fine if they are even all the way around. Please bear with me here.

    I have been canning for 40 years. I too bought into the advice that you should never, never reuse lids. At 10 or 25 cents a box I merrily threw all mine away after one use. My mother-in-law however reused her lids all the time. I thought that was just HORRIBLE. I told my sister-in-law “she just can’t do that, it’s not safe!” Funny, she never seemed to have a problem and no one got sick on her food. For at least 15 years now I’ve been doing as I suggested above and had NO problems. Nada. AND to top it off, this year I’m finding many of the new Kerr canning jars I’ve been buying have a bit of a vacuum to them and the lids are actually lightly sealed onto the jars…. with a bit of jar rim indentation on the lids.(I suppose it’s caused by some sort of temperature difference when they’re manufactured, assembled and packaged.) They are SEALED right there on their first go round. I’m definitely not throwing away those lids…. but they HAVE been sealed…..

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