Pacos Chilli Chutney Recipe


chutney cooking in the pan

chutney cooking in the pan

In the summer of 2020, I had a lot of hot spicy chilli peppers growing on my deck. I didn’t know what to do with them, so I tried to find a recipe. I found Jamie Oliver’s Cheeky chilli-pepper chutney and tried making it. I didn’t like (a) how complicated it was (roasting the peppers didn’t go very well for me) and (b) how long it took. I have modified that recipe a lot, and I’ve written it here in a blog post so I don’t forget. I think it’s my first (and for now, only) recipe on my blog.


  • 6 Red Fresno Peppers (or other hot, spicy pepper). I recommend 180g - 250g of peppers (uncooked, uncut weight)
  • 1 tin of diced tomatoes (My store sells it in 14.5 oz tins, roughly 400g). You could use whole peeled tomatoes if you’re gonna use a food processor like I do.
  • Olive oil (just a little for sautéeing)
  • 2 medium, red onions
  • Rosemary (I used 1 tsp of dried rosemary)
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 5cm stick of cinnamon
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 150ml balsamic vinegar


  1. Dice the onion
  2. Add a bit of olive oil to the pan and sautée the onions with the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Keep cooking until it reduces and becomes tacky.
  3. While the onions are cooking, I coarsely cut the peppers (1 or 2 cuts per pepper) and put them in a food processor with the tomatoes.
  4. Whiz the peppers and tomatoes for a few seconds on high, until you have a salsa-like texture. You want to see bits of pepper, but you want those bits pretty small.
  5. Add the pepper/tomato mixture to the cooking onions.
  6. Add the balsamic vinegar, sugar, and rosemary.
  7. Simmer a while on low heat. Maybe 20-30 minutes. You’re trying to cook off a lot of moisture so that you’re left with a dark sludge.
  8. Remove the bay leaves and the cinnamon stick.
  9. Put the chutney into some kind of container to keep. While Jamie suggests you could use sterilised jars and keep it a couple months, that’s laughable in my house. We eat it in a matter of days.
chutney in the jar

chutney in the jar

Makes: About 350ml, or 1½ American cups

Cooking Time: Start to finish it’s probably 45-60 minutes total

A Couple Caveats

I’ve made a number of mistakes over the years, so I figure I’ll share them.

  • I love cast iron. I cook this in a deep, cast-iron skillet and it works great.
  • Watch the temperature. I frequently get impatient and cook the onions or the whole chutney too hot. This will get hot peppers into the air and make people gag or give it a burnt flavour that isn’t what I’m going for.
  • Generally my kitchen becomes uninhabitable while making this. Use a vent, open a window, close the door to the kitchen if your kitchen has a door.
  • When I work with really hot, spicy peppers, I wear gloves. I use a pandemic facemask and sometimes eye protection when I’m cooking this because the hot pepper can get airborne and everyone gets a little homemade pepper spray in the air while they wait for the chutney.

I’m interested in variations. If you try this and have thoughts, share them with me on social media or by email.

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