Cranberry chutney is one of the most essential dishes of the traditional Thanksgiving meal.

Those excellent delicate cranberries give way to a velvety flavor, with a hint of spicy accentuated by the ginger and red wine.

cranberry chutney with red wine

The richness of the red wine and I have selected a deep Pinot Noir, deepens the flavor of the dried figs and raisins.

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Add the orange zest infused in the mix, and you have a savory and sweet jam-like chutney you can serve at Thanksgiving and enjoy for months thereafter.

In this Article

Why do we eat cranberry chutney on Thanksgiving?

Adding cranberries to your Thanksgiving plate allows you to partake in one of the oldest traditions.

Cranberries grow primarily in the Northeast and Pacific Northwest.

Reports have been found of what we consider traditional cranberry sauce, which requires stewing the cranberries in water and sugar, dating back to the 1630s.

By the 1860s, cranberry sauce was ingrained as an American dish, and General Ulysses S. Grant reportedly ordered that cranberries be served to soldiers as part of their Thanksgiving meal.

Cranberry is a sweet sauce with some acidity from the sour cranberries. Turkey breast can be a dehydrated meat; adding the sauce adds moisture.

cranberry chutney with red wine in a serving plate with orange wedges

Many use how to enjoy your cranberry chutney recipe

If my family had their way, and the cranberries had a more extended season, this chutney sauce recipe would be a staple in our refrigerator as they devour it.

You will use this cranberry chutney similarly to your cranberry sauce. However, with the chutney, you can go behind the turkey for what to do with it.

You can enjoy it in other uses, and here are our favorite ways to serve it:

  • With our Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas dinner
  • Cranberry Chutney as a condiment for your turkey sandwiches
  • It is terrific alongside pork and gamey meats such as duck and venison.
  • An excellent pairing for cheeses, including goat cheese, gorgonzola or Roquefort, soft brie, and sharp cheddar served over crostini or cracker.
  • With our French toast
  • Mix it with our yogurt, sour cream, or cottage cheese for a quick afternoon snack.
  • As a topping to our morning toast of crunchy baguette
  • Puff pastry appetizer over brie
  • Added to your grilled cheese sandwiches or quesadillas

As you can see, the possibilities are endless

Here are a few helpful tips for the ingredients needed

Fresh cranberries – rinse and remove any damages or debris from them before cooking.

Red wine – I selected a Pinot Noir, the star of this chutney. The rich body of the wine plays well with the cranberries and dried fruits.

Dried figs – Fall at their best and are so good to nibble on. Perfect here, and they absorb the wine nicely.

Raisins – who does not like raising with your fruits and wine?

Fresh ginger – works well as it can be both savory and sweet, bringing a touch of heat to the wine and fruits with this recipe.

Orange strips – infuse the sauce with the citrus flavor and release the essential oils into the sauce, bringing it to a new level of deliciousness.

Salt and pepper – this is optional. Omit if you feel it is savory enough. I add very little of it and sometimes none, as I enjoy the sauce’s sweet taste.

ingredients on table for cranberry chutney with red wine

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Chef’s knife – used to chop the dried figs and to remove the orange strips peeled from the orange

Small saucepan – to simmer and soak your wine and your dried fruits

Colander – to separate the figs from the wine, fine mesh.

Zester – to grate the fresh ginger

Large saucepan – where you will cook all your ingredients in batches with the dried fruits

Serving bowl – I love pretty sauce bowls and have a few on my table when I have a large crowd for the holiday.

cranberry chutney with red winer in a mustard color plate with orange wedges

Cooking tips and step-by-step instructions on how to make your chutney recipe

This recipe does not require much time to prepare.

  • You will start with simmering and marinating the figs and raisins in the red wine. Chop the figs into small pieces to be better infused and enjoyed. Let them soak for thirty minutes.
 dry figs, raisins marinating in red wine
  • Once the above step is done, you can start dissolving the sugar with the water, fresh ginger, orange zest, and reduced red wine.
preparing the chutney with red wine in pan and with orange zest
  • Add half of the cranberries and cook until they pop and become soft.
  • Stir in the rest until soft.

Your sauce will continue to thicken as it cools

Chef’s Tip

Keep a keen eye on your cranberries, which tend to over-boil and fast. This can cause it to spill all over your stove.

Select a rich red wine. I used Pinot Noir here. A rich Barbera, Barolo, or Sangiovese wine will work great, too. We should always select a wine that we know we will enjoy.

Variations and Substitutions

One of the beautiful things about making homemade cranberry sauce is letting your imagination go and creating your dish to suit your palate.

Here are a few of our favorite ways to change things up:

  • Cutting down on the sugar
  • Substitute the dry red wine with a sweet red wine. You may want to adjust the sugar amount or add more ginger to balance the sweetness.
  • Adding texture by adding some chopped dates or dried chopped apricots
  • Half of a cup of orange juice will balance well with the ginger and the berries.
cranberry chutney with red wine and orange wedges

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I freeze homemade cranberry sauce?

Yes, once completely cooled off, transfer it to a freezer-safe container, and it keeps frozen for up to 6 months.

How do I cut through the bitterness of the fresh cranberries?

Adding sugar, honey or agave will reduce the fresh bitterness.

How long does this cranberry sauce recipe last?

We suggest making this cranberry chutney sauce at least a day in advance. This will allow all the flavors to bind well and have plenty of time to chill properly. Stored in an airtight container, it will stay fresh in the refrigerator for two weeks.

Why is my homemade cranberry sauce recipe watery?

Adding too much liquid can cause your recipe to turn out watery or need more cooking time. Let it simmer longer on the stove to thicken up. Your cranberry chutney will thicken as it sits.

cranberry chutney with red wine on a spoon


Your chutney will save for a couple of months in a glass air-tight container in the refrigerator.

When completely cooled off, transfer it to a freezer-safe container, and it will stay frozen for up to 6 months.

Whichever cranberry recipe you select and eat on Thanksgiving day it may just be the most critical component of the traditional meal.

Cranberry Chutney with Red Wine

5 from 1 vote
cranberry chutney with pinot noir
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Resting: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4 cups
An amazing combination of velvety dried figs and raisins infused with red wine and a hint of spiciness from the ginger. The orange zest infuses another layer of aromatic essential oil. A must-try recipe!


  • 2 cups red wine
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 12 dried figs, diced
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated finely
  • 3 orange strips, make them large for extra flavor
  • 4 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed
  • salt and pepper


  • Bring the wine to a simmer in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and add the raisins and dried figs. Set aside and let them soak for about 30 minutes. Drain and reserve the wine and raisins separately.
    red wine with dry figs marinating
  • In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, 11/2 cup of water, the reserved wine, orange zest, and ginger. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the sugar has dissolved.
    cranberry chutney with pinot noir in pan with orange zest
  • Add half of the fresh cranberries and cook, keeping a keen eye on your pan as the cranberries tend to over-boil fast. Stir, and once the berries have popped and are very soft, about 10 minutes, add the remaining cranberries and the soaked raisins fig mixture and cook for about another 5 minutes.
    added the fresh cranberries to the pan
  • Season with salt and pepper lightly.
  • Discard the orange zest and place the cranberry chutney into a serving bowl.


Calories: 451kcal | Carbohydrates: 95g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 7mg | Potassium: 387mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 76g | Vitamin A: 62IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 1mg

Giangi’s Kitchen provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as a registered dietician does not calculate them.

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