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Rhubarb chutney

Carlton Boyce / 29 June 2016 ( 23 September 2020 )

An easy rhubarb chutney recipe that can be adapted to suit your taste. Serve with cold meat and cheese for a simple meal.

Rhubarb chutney
Try serving rhubarb chutney with cold meat and cheese

Cooking time

30 minutes


2-3 large jars


1 year


  • 1kg rhubarb, washed and finely sliced
  • 350g soft brown sugar
  • 300ml cider vinegar
  • 50g sultanas
  • 2 onions, finely diced (brown, white or red onions all work well)
  • Thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • ½ tsp salt


The ratios of vinegar and sugar to vegetables should be kept broadly similar but the beauty of making chutney is that the ratio of ingredients doesn’t have to be as clinically accurate as it does for something like baking, making this a really quick and easy way to use up any end of season rhubarb. It can be bulked up with other vegetables (such as courgettes or either red or green tomatoes) or even apples if you don't have quite enough rhubarb.

  • To star, sterilise your jars. Place the empty, clean jars and their metal lids on a baking sheet or roasting tin. Carefully place in a hot oven (130°C OR 275°F) for twenty minutes. After twenty minutes, turn the oven off and leave them to cool slightly.
  • Boil the vinegar, sugar, ginger, and salt together for five minutes in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan.
  • Add the chopped rhubarb and sultanas and simmer for another 15-20 minutes until thick and pulpy.
  • Leave to cool slightly before pouring into the still warm jars. Put the lid on, tightening firmly. As it cools, the metal lid should pop down; any that don’t should be kept in the fridge and used first as they haven’t sealed properly. The rest of the jars will keep for at least a year in a cool, dark place. Once opened, the jar should be stored in the fridge.

Serving suggestion

For a British classic try this rhubarb chutney as part of an easy Ploughman's lunch with cold meat, cheese and pickled onions. As a tasty snack try it spread on cream crackers or Ryvita with cheese or sliced vegetables such as cucumber or tomato.

Rhubarb chutney variations

Make it spicy

If you like a bit more heat you can either add more ginger and/or add a few sprinkles of dried chilli flakes.

Turn it into Christmas chutney

For a winter-warming, Christmassy taste try adding half-a-teaspoon of allspice plus a stick of cinnamon and a star anise at the same time as you add the rhubarb, not forgetting to remove the star anise and the cinnamon before bottling!

Adjust the vegetables

This simple rhubarb chutney recipe can be used as an all-purpose template; you can substitute some or all of the rhubarb for almost anything that’s in season, including runner beans, tomatoes, or courgettes, so if your greengrocer is selling slightly over-ripe veg cheaply you can snap it up and turn it into chutney!

Still more rhubarb to use up? Try this recipe for rhubarb cordial, or try one of our many other rhubarb recipes. We also have a range of other recipes for chutneys and sauces.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.