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Cranberry Jalapeno Dip and Salsa

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! 

cranberry salsa over a block of cream cheese

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:

Find even more on my holiday dip recipes page.

cranberry salsa over a block of cream cheese with crackers

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. 

Recipe FAQs

How long will cranberry salsa last?

This salsa will last at least a week in the fridge. 

Is cranberry jalapeno dip spicy?

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. 

Can you use frozen cranberries?

I’d recommend staying with fresh cranberries for this dish because frozen ones won’t have the same texture. 

What to serve with this cranberry dip?

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.  

ingredients in a food processor

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. 

chopped ingredients in food processor

That’s it!

cranberry salsa with cream cheese on a white marble board
cream cheese block covered in cranberry salsa

Cranberry Jalapeno Dip and Salsa

Darlene Kratz
A beautiful and easy holiday cranberry appetizer for Christmas or Thanksgiving. This cranberry salsa is a quick, festive and fresh salsa recipe perfect for fall and winter. Serve over cream cheese to make a cranberry jalapeno dip.
5 from 1 vote
Total Time 5 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 69 kcal


  • 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. 


If using a small food processor, you can process the ingredients in batches. You can also mix the sugar in after you’ve chopped everything. 


Calories: 69kcal
Keyword appetizer, christmas, cranberry, holiday, salsa
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