I’ve personally taste-tested a variety of mango chutney substitutes to find the best one for every cooking occasion.
Whether you’re on the hunt for the closest flavor match, in need of a last-minute pantry substitute, or seeking an alternative tailored to your specific dietary requirements, rest assured that I’ve got you covered.
Nothing comes close to the flavor of homemade mango chutney! But other fruit-based chutneys like peach chutney make a great substitute. Or you can try mixing your favorite fruit jam with a splash of vinegar and chili flakes. Sweet chili sauce will also work in a pinch.
Let’s jump right in.
I made coronation chicken (yum!) to try out different mango chutney substitutes.
Mango chutney is a condiment similar to relish or jam. It has a spiced, sweet-tangy flavor with a subtle heat and you usually find it alongside curries.
Nothing can quite replace mango chutney’s unique flavor, but I found plenty of substitutes that will get the job done1
Here are the substitutes I tested and my verdicts:
|Substitutes||How to Substitute||Verdict|
|Homemade Mango Chutney||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||10/10|
|Other Fruity Chutneys||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||10/10|
|Apricot Jam/Preserves + Vinegar + Spices||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||8/10|
|Tamarind Paste||1 tbsp = 1 tsp tamarind paste.||8/10|
|Cranberry Relish/Sauce||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||7/10|
|Sweet Chili Sauce||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||7/10|
Common uses of mango chutney and the best substitutes
Here are some popular ways to use mango chutney and the best substitutes for those situations:
- As a condiment/dipping sauce: Try using homemade mango chutney, other fruit chutneys, or apricot jam/preserves. Tamarind paste also works, but it’s best to mix it with a pinch of sugar for a more balanced flavor profile.
- As a spread for crostinis and sandwiches: Try using homemade mango chutney, other fruit chutneys, or apricot jam.
- As an addition to charcuterie boards: Try using homemade mango chutney, other fruit chutneys, or apricot preserves. Tamarind paste is also a decent alternative, but be careful – it’s extra sour!
Homemade mango chutney
I thought mango chutney would be super difficult to make from scratch, but this recipe from Sumi Subbu proved me wrong.
It’s a relatively straightforward process that’ll only take you 20 minutes.
And one of the most essential steps is tempering the spices – it’s what gives chutney its signature spiced flavor!
Sumi does a great job walking you through the tempering process, but here are some more tips from The Kitchn for further guidance.
How to substitute: Replace store-bought mango chutney in a 1:1 ratio with homemade mango chutney.
Other fruity chutneys
Mango chutney isn’t the only fruit-based chutney you can use!
Peach chutney is a fabulous option if you don’t like mangoes – I used this for my coronation chicken and it was really tasty.
And if you don’t mind a color change, date and tamarind chutneys work like a charm too.
The sweetness from the dates perfectly balances the tangy tamarind, giving you a nice flavor balance.
Tomato chutney is also a great option, especially if you use it as a breakfast condiment.
Or you can try apple, papaya, and pineapple chutneys (…. or any other chutney you happen to find)
How to substitute: Replace mango chutney in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with your chosen fruity chutney.
Apricot jam/preserves + vinegar + spices
This is a quick makeshift substitute if you don’t want to mess around making your own chutney.
Unlike making chutney from scratch, you don’t need to do any cooking, so it’s a handy quick fix perfect for sudden cravings or unexpected guests.
You start with a sweet base of apricot jam, then it’s all about customization!
A splash of vinegar introduces that familiar tang, while the addition of spices like mustard seeds (or one of these mustard seed substitutes) and red pepper flakes mimics the spiced flavor of chutney.
Pro-tip: If apricot isn’t your thing, there are other jams you can consider – try marmalade, peach, or fig jam.
How to substitute: Replace mango chutney in a 1:1 ratio with a mixture of apricot jam (or your chosen jam), vinegar, and spices.
Tamarind paste is an intriguing substitute for mango chutney.
It shares similar sweet and tangy notes, but leans more towards the sour side of the spectrum.
This is easy to fix though! I mixed the tamarind paste with a pinch of sugar to tone down the acidity.
And if you’re missing the spicy kick from mango chutney, you can always jazz this paste up with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.
I got my jar of tamarind paste from my local Asian market, but you might also find it in your neighborhood Walmart’s international aisle.
How to substitute: 1 tbsp mango chutney = 1 tsp tamarind paste
Next up, let’s talk about cranberry relish or cranberry sauce.
It’s a classic pairing for turkey, but its sweet and tart notes make it a surprisingly good stand-in for mango chutney.
The only catch is it is far more sour than mango chutney, but don’t worry!
Just like with the tamarind paste, mixing it with a touch of sugar easily offsets the tartness.
Psst… my coronation chicken was pink instead of yellow, which I didn’t mind, but is worth bearing in mind.
How to substitute: Replace mango chutney in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with cranberry relish or sauce, adding sugar as needed to balance the tartness.
Sweet chili sauce
Sweet chili sauce isn’t a great match for mango chutney in terms of flavor, but it brings its own charm to the table.
And it’s a popular condiment, so you might already have some on hand.
It’s mostly sweet but with a subtle heat, and to up the sourness you can always mix in a dash of lemon or lime juice. It doesn’t have the same depth as mango chutney.
But my ‘coronation chicken’ (that wasn’t really coronation chicken at this point) was a hit!
It’s also delicious with naan bread.
How to substitute: Replace mango chutney in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with sweet chili sauce.
Other substitutes to consider
Here are some more not so close substitutes for mango chutney, but they’re easily accessible condiments you can use.
- Mango pickle – this is A LOT more sour than mango chutney because it’s made with unripe mangoes. It works nicely to replace mango chutney alongside spicy curries to take the edge of them, or with poppadoms. It didn’t work too well in my coronation chicken though.
- Hot sauce – if you only want the heat mango chutney brings, hot sauce is a decent substitute. I like tabasco, and there are loads of hot sauce alternatives you can try too.
Substitutes to avoid
I came across these suggestions during my research, so I had to include them in the experiment.
But after the test, I couldn’t recommend them as a substitute for mango chutney.
- BBQ sauce/ketchup – I saw some other blogs suggesting these instead of mango chutney I have to disagree. They’re FAR too sweet and one-dimensional in flavor to work instead of mango chutney.
- Apple sauce – I thought apple sauce might be okay, but it again it tends to be lot sweeter than mango chutney and lacks the tartness.
8 Best Mango Chutney Substitutes + 2 To Avoid
- 2 pcs semi-ripe mangoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
- ½ cup water
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tsp jaggery, or brown sugar
- 1 tsp sunflower oil
- 2 tsp mustard seeds
- 2 pcs dried Kashmiri red chilies
- Over medium-high heat, add a half-cup of water to your pan and dissolve the turmeric powder. Once bubbling, add the mangoes.
- Mix everything well and cover the pan. Cook the mangoes for 6 to 7 minutes.
- At around 3 minutes, check on the mangoes to make sure the water has yet to evaporate. Add more water if the mangoes are sticking to the bottom.
- After 6 to 7 minutes, the mangoes should be soft. Add in the jaggery water and continue mixing until the mixture is thickened. Season then set aside.
- In a clean pan over high heat, add your sunflower oil. Add in the mustard seeds and wait for them to splutter. Then add the dried chilies and cook for about 5 to 6 seconds until toasty.
- Add the tempered spices to the cooked mango mixture, mix well and serve immediately or store in a jar.