Chili Sauce! (Johnston family recipe)

Your taste buds are going to thank you ~

Family recipes are a "thing" in my family.  I love to go through my grandmothers old recipe cards and see what she had created.  I love to make these recipes on special occasions and definitely on holidays.  They remind me of her and of family and how important it truly is.  

One day my husband and I were talking about some of these recipes and he brought up that his grandmother use to make "chili sauce".  

"Chili sauce?" I asked.  "What is that?"  

"Only the best thing ever!" exclaimed my husband.  

He went into this long explanation of how you mix some tomatoes and some peppers and maybe some vinegar, he wasn't exactly sure, and then sugar.  Lots and lots of sugar!  

As he was explaining it to me, it didn't sound like the best thing ever to be honest.  It sounded like a strange mix of ingredients that I wasn't sure went together well.  

But he was so excited about it that I decided to give it a try.  And you know what?  It was AMAZING! Only one thing was missing... the spice.  

Now he will tell you that everything must be spicy with me, and there is a lot of truth in that, but this definitely needed the spice to offset the sweet just a bit and it was going to make for the perfect combination!  

Chili Sauce Johnston style


10 red tomatoes

1 red bell pepper

1 green bell pepper

1 medium onion

1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar

1-2 jalapenos

1 1/2 cups brown vinegar

1 tablespoon Salt

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon black pepper


How to make Chili Sauce:

Start by washing the tomatoes and peppers in cold water.  Cut the core out of the tomatoes and slice them in half, then put them in a food processor.  You will want to dice the tomatoes, but not puree them.  Once they are diced you can add them to a saucepan.

Next, wash the bell peppers and dice them into pieces.  Add them to the saucepan with the tomatoes.  Peel the outer layer of the onion off, dice it into pieces and add it as well.  You can dice by hand or in the food processor, totally up to you!

Add the remaining ingredients; vinegar, dark brown sugar, salt, ground cloves, cinnamon and black pepper.  Stir to incorporate!

Place the saucepan on the stove and heat to a low boil.  Turn the sauce down and let it simmer for 30-40 minutes until it thickens up.

After the sauce has cooled to room temperature it's time to taste it!  If you love it the way it is, perfect!  If you would like it to have a little kick, add 1-2 jalapenos and taste again.  (I dice the jalapenos thinly so the heat spreads evenly throughout the sauce.)  And remember... you can always add heat, but you can't take it away, so add a little then taste, then add some more if needed!

This is a perfect sauce for fall with the smells of clove and cinnamon and the dark rich color. It is beautiful to serve over a tender pork loin when company comes over.

I hope you enjoy this sauce as much as our family does. I would love to hear how you like it! Leave a comment below and let me know if you like it sweet or sweet and spice!

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About Me!

My name is Tana and I am a Jesus loving, coffee drinking, twin boy wrangling woman with big dreams to help women just like you live this one life we get FULL! 

Let’s be honest - life can be flat overwhelming at times, I’ve been there and lived that.  But the life that Jesus died to give us is one that is so much more.  It is my mission to help you learn to walk in the fullness of God and live your life well!


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  1. Flora Scott on September 9, 2020 at 4:00 AM

    Your site is such a blessing! So refreshing!

    • Tana on September 9, 2020 at 5:08 AM

      Thank you so much!! I am so glad you are enjoying it!!

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