Cranberry Salsa & Cream Cheese Dip

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Several years ago I was at a holiday party and spied a pie plate full of bright crimson something-or-other.  I honestly thought it involved Jell-o and walked right past it to the double fudge brownies.  I was surprised however, when a little while later I noticed everyone at the party huddled around the red stuff trying to scoop it up before it was gone.  Peer pressure and curiosity got the best of me and I jumped right in there to see what all the fuss was about.  I ate it intently, to figure out what all of the ingredients were and quickly understood why it was the the belle of the ball.  It was sweet, yet spicy, tart and flavorful.  This recipe is a salsa made from fresh cranberries, served over cream cheese for the most amazing holiday dip!

Our Best Bites Cranberry Salsa on a Plate

A little googling and I realized it was a popular recipe, with lots of similar versions all over the web- most coming from friends, grandmas, and newspaper clippings.  If this is new to you, don’t be turned off by the unusual combo; this is the perfect holiday appetizer dip recipe and I promise it will have everyone standing around the bowl scraping up the last bite.

Our Best Bites Cranberries

You’re basically making a salsa, with beautiful, tart cranberries.  It’s poured over a plate of cream cheese and served with crackers.  Watch!

 

Fresh cranberries are only in stores for a short window during this time of year and they’re SO gorgeous that I love finding ways to use them in the kitchen.

Our Best Bites Cranberry Salsa Ingredients

If you have a large food processor you can pretty much throw everything in there together.  I have a smaller one, so I like to process a bunch of the cranberries on their own first, and then add the rest of the ingredients.

Our Best Bites Fresh Cranberries

Pulse them until they’re pretty fine,

Our Best Bites Diced Cranberries

and then place them in a mixing bowl.   Fresh cranberries are quite tart and bitter on their own, so sugar is added to sweeten them up.  You can adjust the amount of sugar to your liking.  Some recipes call for up to a whole cup of sugar.  I like mine with about a half of a cup.

Our Best Bites sugar in Salsa

Next, process the rest of the berries with a generous handful of green onions, cilantro, and jalapeno.  Like any salsa, you can adjust all of these ingredients to taste.

Our Best Bites Processing Salsa

I’m not a fan of super spicy things, so I tend to cut way back on things that call for jalapeno, but this is an exception.  For the amount it makes, and the fact that everything is mellowed by the cream cheese, you can really add quite a bit of jalapeno and still not have it be too spicy.  I added 2 whole peppers and it wasn’t spicy at all.

Mix everything together and let it chill for at least a couple of hours to let the berries macerate in the sugar.

Our Best Bites Cranberry Salsa

In the mean time, spread out some cream cheese on a pie plate or dish.

Our Best Bites Plate of Cream Cheese

Spread the salsa right over the top.

Our Best Bites Cranberry Salsa Dip

Serve it with crackers for dipping.  My favorite are wheat thins because they’re strong enough to not break in the cream cheese, and those nice square edges make it really easy to grab the perfect bite.

Our Best Bites Cranberry Salsa on a Plate

It’s also suuuuper delicious on Ritz crackers, but I often serve those with a little spreader.

Our Best Bites Cranberry Salsa with Crackers

This is a great make-ahead dish you can keep in the fridge to pull out when holiday guests arrive.  It’s unique, beautiful, and most importantly- tastes awesome.  

Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Salsa Dip from Our Best Bites

Fresh Cranberry Salsa with Cream Cheese Dip

The perfect sweet & savory holiday appetizer: bright and tangy cranberries combine with spicy jalapenos and are cooled by creamy cream cheese.

Ingredients

  • 12 oz bag fresh cranberries, washed
  • 2 jalapenos, minced (adjust according to taste)
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar, more to taste if desired
  • 2 8oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature

Instructions

  1. Place cranberries, jalapenos, green onions and cilantro in a food processor and process until fine. Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in lime juice, salt, and sugar. Chill in fridge for about 2 hours or more. To serve, spread cream cheese evenly in a pie plate or other shallow serving dish. Spread salsa on top and serve with crackers.

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7 reviews

 

37 comments

  1. Y’all FINALLY published this recipe that I suggested to you 2 years ago! HOORAY!!!! I love the picture of the deep red against the white cream cheese and the pretty plate – absolutely stunning! This salsa is addictive, beware! It’s also good with lemon juice and canned jalapenos. I keep a bag or two of frozen cranberries in my freezer just so I can make this in the summer when I have a craving for it. Love it!!!!!

  2. My mom is famous for her cranberry salsa, but we add green peppers, carrots, and celery too along with a few more spices and a secret pepper vinegar to splash over. We eat it all winter with tortilla chips. I am going to have to try spreading it over cream cheese now too!

  3. Can not tell by the perspective of the photos, so I thought I would ask if the salsa ratio to the cream cheese is even or if there is a lot of salsa left?
    Thanks!

  4. I’m sorry, I see you answered this in the recipe notes. Looks good and seems easy enough to halve if you only needed that much.

  5. I was given this recipe when I got married 13 years ago. It is a holiday staple in my house now. We don’t even serve it with the cream cheese anymore as it is perfect with tortilla chips – just like regular salsa. But it is great with crackers too. If you freeze your cranberries it makes great Super Bowl party food. Thanks for sharing this great recipe!

  6. Hoping you’ll start adding the option to your recipes and facebook posts that would allow us to directly add to pinterest pages.

  7. I made this for a family feast last night and it was a hit! I’ll definitely be making it for Thanksgiving. I’m really excited to spread it on leftover rolls loaded with leftover turkey. Mmmm.

  8. I made this last night for a Women’s Party & I got so many compliments on it.
    Most people who loved it said that they normally didn’t even like cranberries! I’ll be making it again next week for thanksgiving. YUM

  9. i’m going to make this, but does anyone have ideas for an alternative to the cream cheese for those who don’t do cows’ milk dairy? (sheep or goat is fine.) thanks!

    1. I’m going to try it with tofuti
      It’s “cream cheese” non-dairy, made with tofu, its great by itself so I’m sure it’ll be great with either salsa or cranberry salsa

  10. Made this over the weekend….it was a big hit! Definitely making it for thanksgiving =) Thank you!!

  11. Mmm!! I’ve been making this for the last couple years and it is always a hit! It has become a must have dish for Thanksgiving for me!!

  12. We made a salsa just like this but add pomegranate seeds too. I dare you to try it, I promise you will LOVE IT!

  13. This was delicious and so easy! Everyone loved it. I didn’t take your advice and only added one jalapeno. I should have listened and added 2. Can’t wait to make this again for Christmas. The red and greed were gorgeous.

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  15. This is sooo yummy! I made it for a Christmas party and everyone loved it. Definitely needs both jalapenos, I think – and next time I will leave more of the ‘ribs’ too. I didn’t measure very closely, but otherwise stuck to the recipe. We had it with wheat thins; seems like you could have it with/without the cream cheese depending on your crowd. Will be making again ASAP!

  16. I have no words for this recipe…..it left me speechless…..it was that good. I can’t thank you enough for sharing this recipe. I took it to a friends ornament exchange this year and everyone demanded the recipe. Can’t wait to make it again for our Christmas dinner appetizer this year.

  17. This cranberry spread was awesome on crackers, but it was just as good spread on left-over turkey sandwich the day after Thanksgiving – love it

  18. Just in case anyone is wondering…I made this recipe today for Christmas, but the store didn’t have any fresh cranberries left. I used the 6 oz.-ish I had leftover in the fridge, then used a can of whole cranberry sauce. Not my favorite ingredient ever, but, it totally worked in this recipe. I did adjust the sugar, as there was sugar in the canned stuff. I just adjusted according to my taste, I think all told about 1 cup instead of 2. It was too runny of course, so I put it in a fine sieve strainer and swirled it around for a bit with a rubber spatula. Worked perfectly. Dumped it on top of the cream cheese and still tasted great! Definitely get the fresh stuff when you can though.

  19. Great recipe that I’ve made many times. My original recipe said to spread on graham crackers….and surprisingly that is delicious too! Try it, you wont be disappointed!

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