2019 update and NEW VIDEO! This fig chutney recipe has been a staple in my kitchen for over a decade. It has an incredible flavor from dried figs, ruby port, cinnamon, star anise, orange peel and walnuts. It smells like Christmas, and while I make it year-round, I especially love it during the holidays. It’s an easy appetizer when served with cheese and a fabulous accompaniment to roasted pork, turkey and sandwiches (and even breakfast!).

Fig chutney in a jar on a serving board with cheeses alongside.

Fig chutney = easy appetizer

While I love entertaining, when it comes to menu planning, I’ve learned (the hard way!) that the best meals are those that can be prepped almost entirely ahead of time, freeing me up to hang with my guests (ahem, which is one reason why I wrote the book, Fresh Flavors for the Slow Cooker! 😊). That’s why when it comes to the appetizers, I keep things simple. This fig chutney recipe is one of my go-to’s, as it’s an easy way to elevate cocktail hour. You can make it weeks ahead of time, and come the night of the party simply put it in a pretty jar or bowl and serve it aside a good wedge of cheese or two. Voila! Appetizers are served.

Close up of fig and walnut chutney in a jar.

Dried fig chutney recipe

This chutney is made with dried mission figs, which have a deep purple skin and a sweet, caramel-y flavor. You can find them at most grocery stores with the other dried fruits, or online. Avoid fresh figs, which won’t give you the same texture.

All of the ingredients for the fig chutney recipe on a countertop.

How do you make fig and port chutney?

This chutney is made with ruby port. Ruby port is a young port with a fruity, cherry-like aroma (aged tawny port, which is more nutty in flavor, doesn’t work as well here). The chopped figs are added to the port along with a splash of water, maple syrup for sweetness and whole spices for flavor, including a cinnamon stick, half a bay leaf, half a star anise and a strip of orange peel.

Process shot showing all of the ingredients for the fig chutney recipe in a pot.

Instead of adding the spices whole, I wrap them in a cheesecloth bundle. That way the bundle can be easily removed at the end. You can also use a tea strainer if you have one. Or, if you don’t mind fishing out the individual spices, go ahead and toss them in!

The figs simmer in the port with the spices until they soften and the mixture thickens to a jam-like consistency. It only takes about 15-20 minutes. 

Process shot showing the finished fig chutney in pot with a wooden spoon.

Fig and walnut chutney

Toasted chopped walnuts are stirred into the chutney at the end, providing a delicious nutty crunch.

Fig chutney in a jar with a spoon, alongside cheeses and walnuts.

How do I serve fig chutney?

This fig chutney instantly elevates a cheese board, making for an elegant appetizer. For an easy crostini, spoon the chutney over fresh ricotta or brie on toasted baguette slices. It also pairs beautifully with roasted port or turkey (as well as with pork or turkey burgers!). I absolutely love it on sandwiches, especially with brie or Comté and spicy arugula. SWOON.

Close up of a grilled cheese sandwich made with fig chutney.

For a French-inspired breakfast, you can even serve the chutney with a spread of mild cheeses, thick yogurt, fresh bread and fruit. Très sophisticated. 

What cheeses pair with this chutney?

This chutney is a match made in heaven with any of the following cheeses:

  • Alpine style cheeses, such as Comté or Gruyere
  • Aged salty cheeses, such as Manchego or Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Bloomy rind cheeses, such as Brie or Camembert 
Overhead shot of a serving board with several cheeses and a jar of fig chutney.

Christmas fig chutney recipe

As I mentioned, I especially love making this chutney during the holidays, especially since I can keep a batch in the fridge for last minute entertaining or drop-in guests (pop open a bottle of bubbly, and you have an impromptu cocktail party!). 

I also love giving the chutney as an easy but thoughtful hostess or holiday gift. Pack it into pretty jars (I love these) and give it on its own, or pair it with a nice piece of cheese, a cheese board and a cheese knife.  

How long can you store fig chutney?

The chutney will keep in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. I prefer to bring it to room temperature before serving, but it’s also tasty straight out of the fridge. 

Tips for making this recipe:

  • Be sure to use ruby port instead of tawny port in this recipe. Ruby port is a younger port with a brighter, fruitier flavor. 
  • Use dried black mission figs which you can buy online or in specialty grocery stores (such as Whole Foods).
  • You’ll need cheesecloth and butcher’s twine to tie up the whole spices, but if you don’t have them you could use a tea steeper or simply throw the whole spices into the pot and fish them out at the end. 
  • The chutney pairs nicely with both aged hard cheeses as well as soft, bloomy rind cheeses, including: Comté, Gruyère, Manchego, Parmigiano Reggiano, Brie and Camembert. 

Other appetizers to try:

Watch the video!

Get the recipe!

Easy Fig Chutney Recipe with Walnuts & Port

This easy fig and walnut chutney is fragrant with port, cinnamon, star anise, orange zest and maple syrup. It smells just like the holidays, and it’s the perfect addition to cheese platters or cheese plates. For an easy crostini, spoon the chutney over fresh ricotta or brie on toasted baguette slices. It’s also excellent with roasted turkey or pork (as well as on turkey and pork burgers!), and it makes a killer sandwich with cheese (think gruyere, Comté, brie or Taleggio) and arugula. You’ll need cheesecloth and butcher’s twine to bundle the whole spices but if you don’t have one you could use a tea steeper or just add the spices and fish them out at the end.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: fig chutney for cheese, fig chutney recipe, fig jam recipe
Servings: 1 1/2 cups

Equipment

  • cheesecloth, butcher’s twine

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups dried Black Mission figs, about 8-9 ounces, stems removed, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup ruby port
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 2-3- inch strip orange zest (removed with a vegetable peeler)
  • ½ star anise
  • 1 2-3- inch cinnamon stick
  • ½ bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

Instructions

  • In a small saucepan, combine the figs, port, water, maple syrup and salt.
  • Place the orange zest, star anise, cinnamon stick and bay leaf in the center of a 6-inch square of cheesecloth; pull up the sides and tie the ends with butcher’s twine to make a little packet (if you don’t have cheesecloth you can simply throw the spices in the pot and fish them out at the end).
  • Nestle the packet into the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer on your lowest burner. Cook, stirring occasionally and smashing the figs with the back of a spoon, until thickened (it should be the consistency of a jam), about 15-20 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and discard the packet of spices. Smash the figs a bit more with the back of the spoon. The chutney should be thick, but if it looks dry you can stir in a splash or two of water. Stir in the walnuts. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

Do Ahead: The chutney can be refrigerated for up to 3 weeks. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Tips:
  • Be sure to use ruby port instead of tawny port in this recipe. Ruby port is a younger port with a brighter, fruitier flavor. 
  • Use dried black mission figs which you can buy online or in specialty grocery stores (such as Whole Foods).
  • You’ll need cheesecloth and butcher’s twine to tie up the whole spices, but if you don’t have them you could use a tea steeper or simply throw the whole spices into the pot and fish them out at the end. 
  • The chutney pairs nicely with both aged hard cheeses as well as soft, bloomy rind cheeses, including: Comté, Gruyère, Manchego, Parmigiano Reggiano, Brie and Camembert.