Chestnut Herbal School

Hibiscus Chutney Recipe

Written by Juliet Blankespoor
Photography by Sarah Snyder

Eight glass jars of Hibiscus Chutney.

This Hibiscus Chutney recipe is a favorite at my house any time of year, but it makes an especially nice stand-in for cranberry sauce on the holiday table.

Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa, Malvaceae)

Parts Used: Flowers (technically, calyces)

Brewed as a puckery red tea, hibiscus is enjoyed as a refreshing and medicinal beverage throughout the world. The sour red “fruits” can be found in hibiscus chutney recipes, jams, conserves, and alcoholic fermented beverages. Hibiscus has been widely adopted in tropical regions around the globe as a refreshing medicinal food and beverage. It is quite popular in the Caribbean and Central America as a cold herbal tea mixed with sugar; this drink is called sorrel in the islands and agua de flor de Jamaica in Mexico. It is also widely used in Africa and South America as a beverage tea, medicinal herb, and food. In many parts of the world, roselle “fruits” are sold fresh at market. Roselle has been used medicinally in many traditional cultures for its diuretic, hypotensive, and antimicrobial properties. In Mexico, roselle is highly regarded as a natural liver and kidney tonic and weight-loss herb. With its demulcent and soothing qualities, hibiscus is also used acutely to assuage colds, mouth sores, and sore throat. Visit my blog on the Medicinal Benefits of Hibiscus to learn more.

Hibiscus is my kind of herb. It is highly medicinal and nutritive and easily prepared in a hundred different ways. Hibiscus is incredibly safe—it is a traditional food, after all. I readily admit to having dreamed up more recipes with hibiscus than with any other herb. Both the immature leaves and calyces are edible. The flavor of the juicy calyx is often likened to rhubarb or cranberry. It can be eaten raw or cooked. Its sour flavor, coupled with its natural pectin content, readily lends itself to jams, pies, sauces, and sun teas. Infused in honey, hibiscus makes a lovely garnet-colored treat with a delectably fruity flavor. And of course, hibiscus chutney is a flavonoid-rich family favorite at my house, which is why I’ve shared the recipe here!

To learn about growing hibiscus in your own garden and gathering up a big basket of these ruby jewels, please visit my article on Hibiscus Pomegranate Fire Cider.

Ingredients for the Hibiscus Chutney recipe.

Ingredients for the Hibiscus Chutney recipe.

Hibiscus Chutney Recipe

Tart and spicy, this crimson condiment is a lovely accompaniment to Indian dishes and curries. It makes a bold impression on a cheese plate, pairing well with aged cheeses and crisp apples. Hibiscus chutney balances out the savory and starchy flavors of stuffing and can serve as an innovative twist on cranberry sauce.
Course Condiment
Yield 2 quarts


  • Food processor
  • Large pot


  • 1 pound fresh hibiscus calyces (Hibiscus sabdariffa) - Can substitute 3 ounces of dried hibiscus flowers for 1 pound of fresh calyces.
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 jalapeño peppers
  • 10 ounces onions
  • 18 ounces apples, red or green
  • 1 ½ cups organic whole cane sugar
  • 1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar


  • Peel the hibiscus calyces from the green ovary if using fresh. Peel the onions and core the apples; chop both coarsely.
  • Blend the onions, apples, hibiscus (dry or fresh), and jalapeños in a food processor.
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the blended hibiscus-onion-apple slurry in a large pot with a heavy bottom. *If using dried hibiscus, add 6 cups of water to the pot.
  • Simmer for 2 hours, stirring frequently.
  • Let cool and place in a jar. Will keep refrigerated for 1–2 weeks. Freeze any extra in freezer-safe jars.
Keyword Chutney, Hibiscus, Sauce
Tried this recipe or have questions?Leave a comment!
Five glass jars of Hibiscus Chutney.

Five glass jars of Hibiscus Chutney.

Meet the Green Mastermind Behind Blog Castanea

Juliet Blankespoor

JULIET BLANKESPOOR is the founder, primary instructor, and Creative Director of the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine, an online school serving thousands of students from around the globe. She's a professional plant-human matchmaker and bonafide plant geek, with a degree in botany and over 30 years of experience teaching and writing about herbalism, medicine making, and organic herb cultivation. Juliet’s lifelong captivation with medicinal weeds and herb gardening has birthed many botanical enterprises over the decades, including an herbal nursery and a farm-to-apothecary herbal products business. 

These days, she channels her botanical obsession through her writing and photography in her online programs, on her personal blog Castanea, and in her new book, The Healing Garden: Cultivating and Handcrafting Herbal Remedies. Juliet and her family reside in a home overrun with houseplants and books in Asheville, North Carolina.

Interested in becoming a contributor?


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10 thoughts on “Hibiscus Chutney Recipe

    • Melissa Quercia says:

      Good question,Grace. When “whole cane sugar” is mentioned in the recipe it is actually referring to unrefined sugar like this that has already been removed from the cane, but I can see how the wording is a bit confusing! I hope you enjoy this recipe. 🙂

  1. Hello there. I would like to make the hibiscus chutney, but I only have jalapeños in a jar, small chopped slices, can I use them instead if fresh and how much. Also, how long can I keep chutney unopened? Thank you

    • Christine Borosh says:

      We haven’t tried using jarred jalapeños in this recipe yet, but I think that should work. I would use about 12 slices total (about 6 would be equivalent to one fresh jalapeño) or you could use a little less if you don’t want it to be as spicy.

      Once it is prepared, I would only keep the chutney out at room temperature for a short period of time (an hour or two at most). To keep the chutney fresh, it can be stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks or you can freeze it for longer-term storage.

    • Melissa Quercia says:

      This chutney is super versatile. You can enjoy it as a tasty topping on rice, bread, crackers, or even as a side dish with your main course. I hope you enjoy it!

  2. Bonnie Reynolds says:

    I want to try this with dried hibiscus. In the instructions, when halving the recipe, the amount of dried hibiscus and the six cups of water stay the same. I am assuming I should use 1.5 ounces of hibiscus and three cups of water? Thanks!

    • Melissa Quercia says:

      Hi Bonnie. Yes, That’s correct. When halving the recipe, you should use 1.5 ounces of dried hibiscus and three cups of water. I hope you enjoy this recipe!

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