A beautiful and easy holiday cranberry appetizer for Christmas or Thanksgiving gatherings. This cranberry salsa with jalapenos and cream cheese is a quick, festive and fresh salsa recipe perfect for fall and winter. Takes only 5 minutes to make this cranberry jalapeno dip!
When people see this dish, they often think it’s going to taste like a cranberry sauce. But when they take a bite, I always love to see their reactions. It’s a very unexpected flavor profile, but it’s so good!
It may look cranberry sauce like, but it’s a completely different taste. This cranberry salsa is not cooked and is a mix of spicy, sweet and tart with some unusual ingredients like red onions and cilantro.
It’s best served over a block of cream cheese as a cranberry jalapeno dip. You can also spread the cream cheese into a dish and then spoon the salsa over.
Need some other appetizers or desserts to add to your holiday menu? Try these out:
- Peppermint Dip
- Peppermint Mocha Cheese Ball
- Champagne Cheesecake Fruit Dip
- Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip with Sausage
Find even more on my holiday dip recipes page.
Tips and Tricks
- While it’s tempting to start eating this cranberry salsa immediately, it really is best to let it sit for at least 2 hours and preferably overnight.
- Make sure to use a slotted spoon to help drain the salsa before serving. You’ll still get some liquid and that’s OK, it just helps to keep it from being too much.
This salsa will last at least a week in the fridge.
As long as you remove the seeds and ribs from the jalapeno, it won’t be very spicy. If you’d like it a bit more heat, leave the seeds and/or ribs in or you could also add an extra jalapeno as well.
I’d recommend staying with fresh cranberries for this dish because frozen ones won’t have the same texture.
Ritz crackers, wheat thins or even chips work. A spreader makes it much easier to scoop the salsa onto your desired dipper.
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1: Rinse and drain cranberries. Throw out any ones that are mushy or shriveled.
Step 2: Toss everything into a food processor (except cream cheese) and chop to your desired consistency.
Note: If using a small food processor like I did, you can process the ingredients in batches. I also mixed the sugar in after I chopped everything, but you can do it either way.
Cranberry Jalapeno Dip and Salsa
- 12 oz bag fresh cranberries
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar, add more to taste
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped (leave the seeds in if you like it spicy)
- 1/4 red onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- pinch of salt
- 1 8 oz block of cream cheese
- Rinse and drain the cranberries. Discard any that are soft or wrinkled.
- Place cranberries and all other ingredients except the cream cheese into a bowl of a food processor.
- Pulse until salsa is the desired consistency.
- Cover and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
- Drain and serve over block of cream cheese.